I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but here we are in the last month of the year. The last several weeks for films vying for awards consideration to make their theatrical debuts, the last several weeks to beef up my “Seen in 2013” list (which is quite hefty already). The list of releases is fairly studio heavy – most indies have made their play by now, as the Spirit awards recently announced their nominees.
I’ve seen a couple of this month’s releases before their wide opening, and a couple more now that it’s…well…mid-December. As for the others…I likely won’t see them in theaters, but they’ll likely garner some attention, so they warrant mentioning. Overall, it’s a strong crop of titles to wrap up the year.
Out of the Furnace (Dec 6) – I know only a few things about this: Christian Bale. Woody Harrelson. Violence. Back country. 1970s. That might actually be what’s on the poster to describe it. It’s not jumped to the top of my list as the days I have to see films gets fewer and fewer, but I also love a good crime drama, so I could be persuaded. Watch the trailer here and lemme know – should I give it a go?
Inside Llewyn Davis (Dec 6) – the latest from the Coen Brothers, love ’em or hate ’em. Me, I love ’em. They’re always pros, always putting 110% on screen, leaving no stone unturned, no detail unattended. Inside Llewyn Davis made a splash following a strong festival run, and this one delivers. The performances deliver, the music delivers, the non-plot storyline delivers. It’s quiet and interesting, not too heavy but just satisfying enough. If you don’t know Oscar Isaac yet, you will soon. See why in the trailer here.
Anchorman 2 (Dec 18) – I mean, really. The world needed another one, didn’t we? Given the publicity stunts Will Ferrell (I mean, Ron Burgundy) has been pulling lately, you’ve only not heard about this one if you’re living under a rock. And you’ll also go see it – unless you’re still under that rock, I suppose. Come out from under there and watch the trailer here.
American Hustle (Dec 20) – what started as a mildly anticipated next project in the ongoing love-fest that is David O. Russell, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence has quickly shot to the top of everyone’s list as it’s garnered recognition on a few Best Lists. I’m not buying J-Law as a bitter single mother as the trailer would have us believe, but I’m a sucker for an ensemble – and one in bell-bottoms and merms (man perms. I just made that up.), at that.
Saving Mr. Banks (Dec 20) – Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson on screen together. As Walt Disney and the woman who wrote Mary Poppins. How could that be less than amazing? Cinematic achievement, it is likely not. But a total crowd pleaser? Hands down. There’s already talk that despite some more creative films in the mix this one has the Best Picture Oscar locked. The Academy does like movies about movies, after all. *cough*The Artist*cough* See the trailer for the movie about a movie here.
Her (Dec 20) – I cannot wait for Her. For real. Spike Jonze hasn’t had a major release since Where the While Things Are, and let’s all just agree that was a win for grown up kids everywhere. And Her looks to be as imaginative and original as the big screen adaptation of the wild rumpus. Throw in the major vote of confidence from the National Board of Review (Best Film, Best Director) and color me intrigued. See the compelling trailer here.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Dec 25) – I got to see this at the New York Film Festival, which was a lovely way to experience a storied festival. It’s a charming film, and Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig are charming in it. While it may not be a major awards contender and it may even land middling to poor reviews, it’s a perfectly respectable family flick with fun effects and a sweet story. See for yourself in this trailer.
August: Osage County (Dec 25) – Being all but ignored in every critic’s end-of-year list and early nominations glut cannot be a good thing for this star-studded adaptation. After premiering in Toronto, there hasn’t been much buzz at all about it. But then, you had me at Streep/Roberts/Cumberbatch, so I’ll be there. See the trailer here.
The Invisible Woman (limited Dec 25) – Ralph Fiennes directed the much-praised (and still to be seen by me) Coriolanus last year, and follows it up by helming this sort-of biopic about the (very) young woman Charles Dickens fell in love and carried on with until his death. Fiennes convincingly plays the author, from his hair to his public readings; he’s met on quite a level playing field by the talented Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) as his lover. Though the film could be 20 minutes shorter, it’s an enjoyable twist on a period piece. Wide release is delayed until February, but you can see the trailer now, right here.
Labor Day (limited Dec 25) – Jason Reitman’s been a bit all over the map since Juno, with a grown-up hit in Up in the Air and an under-appreciated if slightly unimpressive Young Adult. He did the adapting of a novel himself here, and pulled in Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin to carry the story of a fugitive who convinces an insecure single mother to hide him away from the authorities. The premise hasn’t exactly sold me, either – but if the film can deliver the taut emotion of the the trailer, we may be in OK shape after all.
And there you have it – the year of movies comes to an end as some of the best are saved for last! Coming soon: the full list of films I’ve seen in 2013, as well as my own favorites (and not-so-favorites!).