As Halloween is just right around the corner, October is coming to a close and we start heading into the holiday season. Who doesn’t love the sweet company of family at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Though that’s not all we look forward to here at We Live Film. What else is there, you ask? Films, of course! The holiday movie season has been widely known for releasing big-budget fantasy films, high-profile animated flicks, and Oscar bait, and this year, it’s no different, and there’s plenty to go around.
Here’s how this is going to work. This preview will highlight the most buzzed films for each weekend in November and December, while noting the others to look out for. So, let’s get right into it!
NOVEMBER 2: Wreck-It Ralph
The season starts off with Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Wreck-It Ralph. Set in the video arcade universe, the movie tells the story of Wreck-It Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, a giant baddie who grows tired of being the villain in the classic video game, Fix-It Felix. To prove his heroism, Ralph leaves his game to test his skills in a much more modern shooter game called Hero’s Duty. Chock full of colorful 3D animation and hilarious video game cameos, Wreck-It Ralph already seems like another box office hit for Disney.
- Flight – Robert Zemeckis’ return to live-action about a pilot (Denzel Washington) who miraculously saves a plane in critical condition from crashing, but is discovered with alcohol in his system from the night before.
- The Man with the Iron Fists – From Quentin Tarantino and directed by RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan comes a hyper-violent martial arts film about a blacksmith (RZA) who must defend his village from warriors and assassins by transforming himself into a living weapon.
NOVEMBER 9: Skyfall
It’s been four years since Quantum of Solace, a James Bond film that left most fans disappointed, especially after following up Casino Royale. Though with Academy-Award winning director Sam Mendes on board for Skyfall, Bond seems to be making a triumphant return. When M becomes unable to run MI6 and the identities of every active agent are disclosed, James Bond (Daniel Craig, returning to the role) must track down Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a former MI6 agent who has personal connections with Bond and M and plans to expose them.
- Lincoln – Steven Spielberg’s biographical drama of the final four months of the famous 16th president played by Daniel Day-Lewis. (SPOILER ALERT: He gets shot! At a play!)
NOVEMBER 16: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2
Please…just end it already.
- Anna Karenina – Based off the 1877 novel by Leo Tolstoy, an aristocrat named Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) begins to question her life as she engages in an affair with Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
NOVEMBER 21: Life of Pi
Academy-Award winning director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee takes the popular novel into a beautiful 3D picture. The story tells of a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi (Suraj Sharma) who survives a sinking of a freighter. He finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with a ferocious Bengal tiger. As he tries to stay alive, Pi learns to bond with the tiger, and a whole lot more.
- Red Dawn – A remake of the 1984 film that’s been shelved for a couple of years. It retells the story of a group of teenagers who defend their town from a North Korean invasion. The movie stars Chris Hemsworth (pre-Thor), Josh Hutcherson (pre-Hunger Games), and Josh Peck (uhh…post-Drake and Josh).
- Rise of the Guardians – Dreamworks Animation brings an epic children’s fantasy to life when Jack Frost, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman team up to defeat the Boogeyman. Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Hugh Jackman, and Isla Fisher provide their voices.
- Silver Linings Playbook – Directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter), Bradley Cooper plays a man whose life has fallen apart as he returns home to his parents from spending eight months in a mental institution. As he struggles to get back his ex-wife, he meets a girl (Jennifer Lawrence) who has her own problems, and wants to help him get his life back on track.
- Hitchcock (Nov 23) – Anthony Hopkins plays the famous filmmaker in a movie that tells what really happened behind the scenes of his most iconic film, Psycho. Helen Mirren plays his wife, Alma Reville.
NOVEMBER 30: Killing Them Softly
From the director of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Brad Pitt plays an enforcer who investigates a heist that happens during a mob-protected poker game. The film features a standout cast that also features Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, and Ray Liotta.
DECEMBER 7: Hyde Park on Hudson
Roger Michell’s film recounts June 1939, when the King and Queen of England visit President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and his wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams) at their upstate New York home. Murray seems to be aiming for his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor, with Lost in Translation being his first.
- Playing For Keeps – Struggling to get his life together, a former professional athlete (Gerard Butler) decides to coach his son’s soccer team, but becomes entranced by the players’ mothers. Also starring Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Dennis Quaid.
DECEMBER 14: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Arguably the biggest movie of the holiday season, Peter Jackson returns to the legendary Lord of the Rings franchise with the first entry to his prequel trilogy. Before there was Frodo, there was Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a hobbit who must reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. He travels to the Lonely Mountain with a colorful group of dwarves and runs into the one and only Gollum. Ian McKellen returns as the all-powerful Gandalf.
DECEMBER 19: Zero Dark Thirty
Director Kathryn Bigelow follows up her Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, by returning to the topic of war. Zero Dark Thirty tells of the intensive manhunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Plot details have been scarce, but we’ve got a great cast, including Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, and Kyle Chandler.
- Monsters Inc. 3D – The 2001 Pixar classic returns to the big screen in 3D in anticipation for Monsters University, set to be released in June 2013.
- Jack Reacher (December 21) – Tom Cruise is back into action in this adaptation of One Shot, the 2005 novel by Lee Child. Cruise plays an ex-military investigator who deals with a murder case of five random victims by a trained military sniper. Also stars Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall, and Werner Herzog.
- This is 40 (December 21) – Being called the “sort-of sequel” to Knocked Up, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as Pete and Debbie, a married couple who deal with growing old and how their relationship has been impacted by it. After the box office disappointment of Funny People, director/writer Judd Apatow is hoping to return with a hit.
- Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (December 21) – The famous troupe dances its way from the big stage to the big screen in 3D, directed by Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Narnia).
CHRISTMAS DAY: Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino has prepared for us a Christmas present that will blow our minds in this epic western starring Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave who must save his wife (Kerry Washington) who was taken from him. Inglourious Basterds’ Christoph Waltz plays a bounty hunter who helps Django on this journey to rescue his wife from an evil plantation owner played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Basing off the trailer, everyone has really delved into the roles, and it still retains that classic Tarantino style. What’s not to love?
- Les Misérables – The incredibly popular musical is finally coming to the big screen, directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a Frenchman who is released from prison after nineteen years, only to become involved in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris. The all-star cast also includes Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
- The Guilt Trip – Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen play mother and son in this road trip comedy. Rogen plays an inventor who must go on a cross-country trip to sell his new product. Though to rekindle their relationship, he invites his mother on this trip, but it’s not too long before he starts questioning his decision.
- Parental Guidance – Billy Crystal and Bette Midler play a couple that must take care of their grandchildren while their daughter is away for work. Soon enough, they realize that the 21st century way of parenting isn’t so efficient, so they resort to their own style.