2013 Holiday Movie Preview

After a pretty decent fall slate of films, we’re gearing up for the steam train that is awards season. Here’s a preview of the films that have piqued our interest from now until the end of the year (all release dates are for Philadelphia where possible)!

Catching Fire
Release date: November 22nd

The next installment in The Hunger Games franchise has the money and pre-release chatter to be poised to surpass the first film. The Hunger Games received mixed reviews from fans of the books, many citing Gary Ross’ direction as a detriment to the overall adaptation. Without the de facto star power of Jennifer Lawrence, that film might have been a disaster. Here’s hoping that with Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants) at the helm, Catching Fire can ascend to the next level.

Release date: November 27th

The latest from Disney treads the familiar fairytale territory the Mouse House is known for, but instead of a princess seeking the arm of a prince, Frozen focuses on the intricacies of the sibling relationship between two sisters. It’s the first time Disney has based a story on a distinctly Scandinavian folktale, as well as the dual paths of two female protagonists. Sign us up!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Release date: December 13th

The time of Middle Earth may be waning in the cultural landscape, but there will always be a reason to return for this particular fan. We quite enjoyed An Unexpected Journey (in 48 fps no less!) last year and look forward to watching Benedict Cumberbatch try his hand at voicing the dragon Smaug.

American Hustle
Release date: December 18th

What can I say, Jennifer Lawrence is on a roll. After Catching Fire is sure to break records at the box office, she returns again with director David O. Russell and Bradley Cooper  for the film American Hustle, and the early buzz is positive. This period mafia con film also stars Russell veterans Christian Bale and Amy Adams.

Inside Llewyn Davis
Release date: December 20th

The Coen Brothers return with a film focusing on the early, pre-Dylan, 1960s New York folk scene. Bolstered by the soundtrack featuring stars Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and others, the film fully embraces its setting, and manages to be heartwarming and funny as well. Definitely one of the highlights of the year.

Saving Mr. Banks
Release date: December 20th

Every film has a behind the scenes story, some more interesting than others. Saving Mr. Banks hopes its story of Disney’s determination to get Mary Poppins on the big screen will delight viewers of all ages. We’re thinking Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as the persnickety P.L. Travers (author of Mary Poppins) will do most of the heavy-lifting.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Release date: December 20th

Taking place in “real time” after the original film, Anchorman sees Ron Burgundy and company move to join the early cable news world. Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner all return, and director Adam McKay is promising the film is good enough to have a second version with different jokes. As much as we love the first film, we’re trying to remain optimistic for this sequel.

August: Osage County
Release date: December 25th

Black comedy-dramas that lean toward the morbid are our bread and butter. Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts star in this film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning stage play of the same name, that deals with addiction, death, and all the other countless “joys” of family.

47 Ronin
Release date: December 25th

A Western Chūshingura, 47 Ronin is a fantastical version of the legend starring Keanu Reeves fronting an otherwise Japanese cast. It is also the feature film debut for director Carl Erik Rinsch. Our expectations are grounded, however the trailer looks visually stunning, and we’re hoping this is as fun as it looks.

Wolf of Wall Street
Release date: December 25th

Martin Scorcese. Leonardo DiCaprio. Matthew McConaughey. Jonah Hill. And have you seen the trailer? I have nothing left to say. Insert rhythmic humming and chest pounding here.

Release date: January 10th

Spike Jonze’s solo screenwriting debut has Joaquin Phoenix falling for a Siri-esque voice produced by an intelligent computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). As intriguing as the premise to the film is, so too, is the way it was filmed. Samantha Morton, who originally voiced the operating system, was on set with Phoenix, but concealed in a soundproof booth. The two didn’t spend much time face-t0-face, despite their characters’ developing relationship. Johansson’s voice will replace Morton’s in post-production.

Labor Day
Release date: January 31st

Jason Reitman’s new film is based on Joyce Maynard’s coming of age novel. The film stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, and while we always look forward to Reitman’s films, the novel’s plot line has the capacity to be unsetting and thrilling, which is a slightly new direction for Reitman as director. It will be interesting to see how he handles this subject matter.

What are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: JIll Malcolm and Ryan Silberstein

“This is the business we’ve chosen!” Jill Malcolm and Ryan Silberstein, two self-described film aficionados, tell it like it is about the latest and greatest movies. They are Contributing editors here at Cinedelphia, writing partners, and founders of Filmhash.com.

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