Jordan is back again with another guest preview of December's upcoming movies.
Happy Holidays everyone! I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving. Man...how about that November huh? What a great month for movies! And you want to know what's crazy? December might be even better. It's certainly busier!
But before we get into the upcoming films, let's discuss how November turned out. It officially marks the end of the Fall season where we only experienced a decline of 3.5% in average score from last year. The month of November individually experienced a 3.8% decline in average score: 8.8 in 2012 and 8.4 in 2013. Check out the data HERE! Here's a quick recap of how November played out:
Ender's Game: What a pleasant surprise this one was! Even after many critics calling it mediocre, I still found myself very impressed with how the novel was handled in such a mature manner. Non-fans of the book may not get the hype, but for those of us that have read it (especially if you've read it recently), Ender's Game was a fantastic adaptation of a sci-fi classic. (Rath's Review Score: 9/10)
Last Vegas: This was the first movie of the month that I skipped. Many reviews said it was a pleasant enough trip to the theaters, but one that you wouldn't remember a week from now. A shame given all the talent that was involved.
12 Years a Slave: While I sincerely believe that it is overrated by mainstream critics, it was still a fantastic, powerful film. It's hard to watch but I think every American should see it if not for a history lesson then for a film that shows just how far we have come (but still how far we have to go) when it comes to slavery. (RRS: 8.5/10)
Thor: The Dark World: This is the Thor movie that audiences wanted. Epic. Fun. Funny. It was all around an enjoyable film and balanced the expanded Marvel universe within the Thor universe better than any other Marvel Phase movie to date. Only a couple small things held this one back for me. But overall, a great addition to the near-perfect Phase 2. (RRS: 8.5/10)
Delivery Man: It just seems like Vince Vaughn can't catch a break. Maybe it's because he just isn't that funny anymore. This film's reviews weren't atrocious, but they certainly weren't good either. It seems like yet another forgettable November comedy.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: WOW! What a step up for an already impressive franchise. Catching Fire elevated the Hunger Games series to a whole new level while delivering one of the year's best blockbusters (and most faithful book adaptations). A fantastic effort by everyone involved. Everyone who saw Catching Fire cannot wait to see Mockingjay Part I now! (RRS: 9/10)
Oldboy: This is a movie that never needed to be made in the first place because it was a remake of a film barely a decade old AND the story it tells is supremely messed up and uncomfortable. A well made film technically speaking, but certainly not an enjoyable one. (RRS: 6/10)
Frozen: Another fantastic film from the studio that brought you Wreck-It Ralph. I couldn't find hardly anything wrong with it and I had a ton of fun with it. (RRS: 9.5/10)
Most Disappointing: None this month
Most Surprising: Ender's Game
Worst Movie: Oldboy
Best Movie: Frozen and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (I couldn't decide!)
Ok guys...you ready? Buckle in for a BUSY, BUSY December. We got 11 films to cover! Remember to click the titles for the movie's trailer!
Why It's Worth Seeing: For starters, it's Christian Bale's first post-Batman role. But it also features Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson in roles that look potentially Oscar-worthy. This looks like a film that will keep us on the edge of seats from beginning to end.
What Could Go Wrong: If it can't keep its tone or atmosphere strong throughout, it could easily lose the audience's interest. As I've said before, big stars don't necessarily equal a good movie *cough The Counselor cough cough*
Why It's Worth Seeing: It directed by the Coens. That should be all you need to know, but if you are looking for more reasons: it's reviews are bonkers so far, it's got John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, and the I-can't-take-my-eyes-off-of-her Carey Mulligan. If there is a movie out there that will beat Gravity and 12 Years a Slave at the Oscars, this one looks to be it.
What Could Go Wrong: The story of a struggling musician doesn't exactly sound riveting to me and I sometimes find some of the Coen brother's films to be overrated. There is no doubt that this will be a GOOD film, the question is just how good is it?
Why It's Worth Seeing: Because it's more Middle Earth and the first movie got nearly all of the exposition/travelling out of the way. I loved An Unexpected Journey but I didn't think it was quite on the same level as the Lord of the Rings films. I think with the higher stakes and greater mystery with Desolation of Smaug it could be just as good as those films were.
What Could Go Wrong: Not much, but I worry about where Jackson will choose to end the film. I don't want to give anything away, but from what I've discussed with friends/peers there is one ending that will make it a great, complete film and another that will leave it on an unnecessary cliffhanger that could seriously dampen the decision to make this book into three movies. Hopefully its the former.
Why It's Worth Seeing: Tom Hanks as Walt Disney is an inspired choice and the story of how he made Mary Poppins a Disney character seems really interesting. This will most likely be the "feel-good" movie of the holidays.
What Could Go Wrong: It could be pretty boring if it is too long and, as someone who doesn't know the details of the story, it could be a story that didn't need to be told in the first place. With such a busy month, this will be one that I'll probably be skipping.
Why It's Worth Seeing: David O. Russell is directing (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) and do you see that cast? I'm so in love with J-Law that I would see it for her alone. But other than that it looks to be a darkly humorous con-artist tale set in the 70s. Given that the cast is great, the director is great, and the script will be great, this could be one of December's best.
What Could Go Wrong: The story hasn't been hinted at that much in the trailers which makes me nervous that it might be either A) lame or B) overly complicated. Hopefully it's just as good as Russell's other stuff.
Why It's Worth Seeing: It's Will Ferrell in the role that made him the star he is today (not including Saturday Night Live). The first is a comedy classic. Since then, Ferrell and director Adam McKay have teamed up three other times: Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. As a huge Will Ferrell fan, I'd say that they are 4 for 4 when it comes to delivering quality comedies. Given how long Anchorman has had to sit in the oven, the chances that it's bad are slim to none.What Could Go Wrong: BUT...the chance is still there. It would break my heart, but there is always the chance that this film disappoints. Also, if you aren't a Will Ferrell fan (I know there are those of you out there), I'm sure you could care less.
Why It's Worth Seeing: Christmas Day is VERY busy this year. Too busy if you ask me. But 47 Ronin is not like the other films coming out that day, and that could be what audiences are looking for. If it tells a good story and lives up to its R-rating, then this could be more special than just being "Keanu Reaves as a samurai".
What Could Go Wrong: I'm not familiar with the graphic novel, but from the trailers, it doesn't look all that original. The trailer is full of clichés and eye-rolling lines. It just looks fairly forgettable altogether and I'm sure people would rather just go watch The Matrix or The Matrix Reloaded to get their Keanu fix.
Why It's Worth Seeing: The premise is fantastic. Retired boxers (DeNiro and Stallone) come out of retirement because they hate each other and want to settle a fight that never happened in their prime. This could be one of those sports movies that is highly enjoyable and it features Stallone boxing again which is always intriguing.
What Could Go Wrong: What a terrible release date! Fire the guy who made that decision. This could have been a very successful January release but to cram it in on Christmas Day where everyone will forget about it? I doubt it works out. As far as the movie is concerned, it comes across as a lame, forgettable film who's only worthwhile selling point is Stallone boxing again.
Why It's Worth Seeing: The trailers and marketing have been intriguing so far. It could be just the movie that some people need to remind them why life is so awesome. Not to mention it certainly looks like Ben is having fun with the somewhat more serious role.
What Could Go Wrong: Seeing as how I don't know much about the story as a whole, it's hard to say. I'm pretty intrigued, but I also know that Ben Stiller doesn't do his best work when he is serious. The tone in the trailers seems all over the place, and they are random in and of themselves. Will Christmas audiences be able to follow along, or will they just take a Turkey dinner nap in the theaters instead? Hard to say...
Why It's Worth Seeing: This film's release date has changed half a dozen times, but finally it got locked down on Christmas Day. Simply put, its more Leonardo DiCaprio and its more Martin Scorsese. This is one of Hollywood's biggest (and best) power duos and they have yet to disappoint. The rest of the cast is superb and the story sounds both fun and interesting.
What Could Go Wrong: The runtime. It was reported that Scorcese's initial take he submitted was 3 HOURS AND 15 MINUTES LONG! He has since trimmed that time down by half an hour, but there are few films that should be that long. Hopefully the Wolf can keep us captivated the entire time otherwise this will come across as a movie that needed more time on the cutting room floor.
Why It's Worth Seeing: I'm not familiar with the story but everyone I've talked to who has read the book has said it's incredible. It tells the tale of American soldiers trapped in Afghanistan and military movies always have the potential to be poignant, touching, and awesome all at the same time. The cast of Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana, and Emile Hirsch is pretty impressive too.
What Could Go Wrong: Military films can also end up being highly generic. From the trailer it doesn't seem like this one has anything unique to offer. Hopefully the story is as good as everyone says it is.
Must See (in order): Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle
On My Radar: Out of the Furnace, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr. Banks, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Lone Survivor
Predicted Duds: 47 Ronin, Grudge Match
I hope you guys are still with me after that long post! Have a great month at the movies in December and Happy Holidays once again! Be sure to come on over and follow me through Blogger at RATH'S REVIEWS and like me on Facebook HERE! I follow-for-follow 100%. Thanks again! See you guys next month!
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