Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Coming Soon: December 2015

Can you believe that 2015 is almost over? It feels like that year flew by! And it was such a great year for cinema too. Let's take a look at some of the films that came out in November before we dive into a busy December. 

SPECTRE: Who would have thought that out of all the spy movies for 2015, I'd be most disappointed by Bond? SPECTRE wasn't bad by any means, but it didn't live up to lofty expectations either. Rath's Review Score: 7.5/10
The 33: A well intentioned but forgettable retelling of the Chilean Mine disaster that captivated the world. I passed on this one to take a weekend off from the movies. 
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part II: This one has been dividing fans more than I anticipated but I'm on the side of the fence that firmly enjoyed it and I think it's one of the high points of the series. Then again, I'm one of those novel fans who really enjoyed the 3rd book as well. RRS: 9/10
The Night Before: Has some absolutely hilarious moments, but is rather useless and unfunny otherwise. RRS: 6/10
Secret in Their Eyes: Given the cast involved, this one was surprisingly pretty terrible/average, depending on what critic you ask. I skipped it in favor of the next film...
Spotlight: Though I didn't cover it in last month's Coming Soon (thanks limited releases), I've been eager to see this one. It was a solid breakdown of the Boston Globe team that unearthed the Catholic Church scandal. Very well made. RRS: 8.5/10
Creed: Wow. I was pretty excited for this one, but in the back of my mind I thought I'd be disappointed. Not even close. Creed is a knockout of a film (pun intended) and works better than it has any right to mainly because of the talent involved. RRS: 9.5/10
The Good Dinosaur: I can't believe I skipped a Pixar film, but the decision ultimately came down to the reviews that I was reading. It doesn't seem to be a "bad" film by any means, but it's B-grade Pixar, much like most anticipated after the long road to production that this one had.
Victor Frankenstein: I've heard from some that it's actually quite fun, but critics hate it. To me, that result means that it's likely a film you'll enjoy on TV one day, but not one that you need to seek out in the theater. 

Most Disappointing: SPECTRE
Most Surprising: Creed
Worst Film: That I saw? The Night Before. Though it was probably Victor Frankenstein
Best Film: Creed

Now let's take a look at the insane amount of cinema wealth that is headed our way before the end of the year. Remember to click on the titles for the trailer!

Why It's Worth Seeing: The timing for it is perfect as it's a Christmas horror and it looks to be a film that has plenty of fun poking fun at itself. Sometimes the self parody thing can be a hoot (i.e. Piranha 3D).
What Could Go Wrong: The self parody thing can also go really poorly (pretty much any Scary Movie spin off). Also, with this being PG-13, I'm not sure how much effective horror/gore there can be which is kind of the crux of a film like this. 

Why It's Worth Seeing: I'm actually pretty intrigued by this one because I enjoy Ron Howard's films (though I think they lack that special something at times) and the previews have been great. Not to mention, I think it will have one of the year's best original scores, assuming the trailers are using some of it.
What Could Go Wrong: This one was drastically moved in release date from March earlier this year to mid December. Usually there are only two reasons for a move like that: you think the film is really good and you want awards recognition/more money, or you think it's really bad so you put it somewhere people will forget it. Hopefully this is a case of the former.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Do I even need to fill anything out here?
What Could Go Wrong: I anticipate that if anything does go wrong, JJ Abrams will probably need to be placed in witness protection.

Why It's Worth Seeing: You may think that going up against Star Wars is a dumb idea, but this is actually a stroke of counter-programming genius. Wives, girlfriends, and moms will gladly take their nerdy male counterparts to the movies on Dec 18 if it means they get to see Amy Poehler and Tina Fay in a most-likely-hilarious R-rated comedy.
What Could Go Wrong: It all depends on the writing and how much freedom these two got. They're at their best when they're rolling right off one another. If the filmmakers were too strict with their characters or produced a lame script with little leeway than this could be a major bummer.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The subject matter is relevant and this looks to be like a solid Will Smith drama that just so happens to be about the NFL.
What Could Go Wrong: I worry that they might over dramatize the actual events (can kind of be seen in the trailer) which may lead to a film that feels, well, fake.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The last time Wahlberg and Ferrell got together we received The Other Guys, easily one of the funniest films in Ferrell's long resume. They have great, conflicting chemistry. Hopefully they'll be allowed to have some freedom with the script.
What Could Go Wrong: Part of the reason that The Other Guys was so funny was because Ferrell's good buddy McKay (director) was involved. This is not so on this film and often when a director doesn't know how to handle Ferrell, the film suffers.

Why It's Worth Seeing: It brings David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence back together again. Their last two outings have both been great (American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook) so I expect nothing less from this unique-looking film.
What Could Go Wrong: I'm beginning to wonder if this combo is wearing itself thin. American Hustle had its issues, despite how much I may have enjoyed it. Based on the trailers and the story, I'm not sure Lawrence was the right choice for this part...

Why It's Worth Seeing: This remake has been getting a lot of flak (probably for good reason), but I think the trailers are showing off a film that at the very least, looks gorgeous. There are some intense moments throughout the trailer and I will be interested to see how this stacks up against this year's earlier hit, Furious 7.
What Could Go Wrong: Already, the acting looks pretty atrocious.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Because it's Quentin Tarantino. And that's about all you really need to know.
What Could Go Wrong: I've heard that it all takes place in a single setting (it doesn't quite seem that way from the trailers). I usually find that choice results in a boring film and the last time Tarantino did something similar (Reservoir Dogs) we got, in my opinion, his most overrated film to date.

Why It's Worth Seeing: I may have not been Birdman's biggest fan, but this new film from that director looks astonishing. Leo and Hardy are pitted against each other in the cold frontier. It looks intense, gorgeous, and like a great story.
What Could Go Wrong: Birdman was overrated because I felt like it tried to be pretentious -- it was the actor's film. It also had an incredibly annoying original score of almost only drumming. I'm hoping The Revenant doesn't follow in its footsteps.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Thanks to the Denver Film Festival, I was able to actually see this one quite a bit early. It's a very interesting, funny, and depressing film all made with digital puppetry. After letting it sit for a few days, I realized it stuck with me far more than I thought it would. Click HERE for my review.
What Could Go Wrong: It will definitely be a little too weird for some, especially because of the puppets.

Must See (in order): Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Revenant, The Hateful 8
On My Radar: In the Heart of the Sea, Sisters, Concussion, Daddy's Home, Joy, Point Break
Predicted Duds: Krampus

That's a wrap for 2015 everyone! December, particularly Christmas Day, is an insanely busy month. Tune in next month for what will most likely be a MUCH shorter post. As always, I'd be really appreciative if you came and followed me through Blogger at RATH'S REVIEWS and like me on Facebook HERE! I follow-for-follow 100%. Thanks again!! 

James the Reviewer here to tell you to check back tomorrow for my review of Mad Max: Fury Road!


  1. I definitely agree with what you said about Concussion, the movie looks way too dramatic and phony. Not to mention pure Oscar-bait.

    From what I've read about The Hateful Eight, I think the first 80 minutes or so of the nearly 3 hour run time follows Kurt Russell (+ prisoner) and Sam Jackson just traveling before they are forced to take shelter in the cabin. Which like you said, was worrisome if it was 3 hours of a single location.!

    I just hope The Revenant is as amazing as it looks, especially the cinematography!

    I've never been a Star Wars fan but this one looks like one I will actually enjoy. I've always felt 'the force' wasn't utilized enough or as extensive as it claimed to be, but here the bad guy looks to use it left and right and that's what excites me. Fingers crossed

    Kind of glad to see The Hateful Eight and The Revenant bleed into January because it's so crowded this month!

    1. Definitely a lot of movies to be seeing!

  2. I can hardly believe it's almost time for Star Wars! Getting hyped. Getting very hyped. Very, very hyped. Other than Star Wars, I'm actually very interested to see In the Heart of the Sea. I hope the former explanation for the move is the right one too, and it really does seem to be, given how epic the trailer looks. I'd also like to see Joy and Point Break eventually, as long as the reviews are decent.

    1. Agreed on all fronts Sarah! Thanks!


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