Movies, Movies, and More Holiday Movies

Updated 17 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Scene from "Frozen"
Scene from "Frozen"
(c) Walt Disney

How many flicks opened at the end of December that will still be projecting on cinema screens come January? Hollywood hopes a lot, but oftimes too much holiday punch dilutes audiences as they flock to the first or second choice that injected buzz, likes or tweets. An example: Although stellar word of mouth at previews propelled Warner Bros. to select “We Are Marshall” as an inspirational Christmas release, the “Rocky Balboa” boxing icon and the two week feel good lead from  “Pursuit of Happiness” resulted in only moderate reception, especially in Big City U.S.A.

My whining  aside, a modern piece of film noir partially shot in West Virginia will be one of the movies short changed in performance times and/or “hold over” weeks. Blue collar Appalachia steel-mill culture struggles of two brothers Rodney and Russell (Casey Affleck and Christian Bale) in “Out of the Furnace” symbolically represent the tarnished American Dream i.e. earning a better life than the present.

Movies, Movies, and More Holiday Movies

While animated sisters Anna and  Elsa of the eternal “Frozen” kingdom have captured the Disney “princess” spirit of past classy, graceful and feisty heroines i.e.,  Aurora (“Sleeping Beauty”), Jasmine (“Aladdin”), Ariel (“Little Mermaid”) , and Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”), the new female role models equate  strong willed and free spirited personas instilled with benevolent natures, conflicting emotions, and often dutiful aspirations, which bond relationships over romantic gestures.

Winter wonderland inducing “gifts” (a.k.a. talents)  have drawn Elsa into  an unsatisfying self-isolation castle motivated by fear having removed herself from sensitive, subtle, uncontrollable  emotional triggers that in excess merge good and bad outcomes.

Though, the Hans Christian Andersen “snow queen” slightly mimics X-Men’s “Storm,”  “Frozen” retains the fairy tale allure through mythical trolls, a funny snowman, brilliant music, stunning visuals and heart melting unconditional love demonstrations  that equate  magical signature Disney animated icons be it  “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” or “Pocahontas,” without threatening the sacredness of “Cinderella,” “Snow White” or “Sleeping Beauty.”

 DINOSAURS AND DRAMA (all unpreviewed at presstime)

Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks

The family friendly Anna and Elsa sisterhood competes with the favorite creatures of  boys, dinosaurs. Based on a BBC mini-series, “Walking with Dinosaurs” the state of the art 3D adventure has been labeled immersive as it places you in the prehistoric world alongside these extinct creatures.

Other films demanding attention:

Saving Mr. Banks” (starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers) tells the real back story behind the acquisition and making of “Mary Poppins” directed by “Blind Side’s,” John Lee Hancock.

Boxing reemerges as Sly (“Rocky”) Stallone and Robert (“Raging Bull) DeNiro face a satiric “Grudge Match.

What trade pub Variety has called “a cynical tale of Wall Street bad boys behaving badly” casts  Leonardo DiCaprio as the coke snorting, pill popping, high rolling Jordan Belfort, as  the self-proclaimed “Wolf of Wall Street.” Expect a triumphant DiCaprio performance as the stock manipulating decadent financial guru directed by Martin  (“Taxi Driver”) Scorsese as what reviewers call finger pointing at us for allowing the fleecing Gordon Gekko style stockbroker to work his charms.

Movies, Movies, and More Holiday Movies

Described as murky and intriguing, “American Hustle” places an ensemble cast in the seedy, disco days of Times Square where scheming and con-artistry prevail. Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence topline..

Four  rugged, relentless, focused Navy Seals (Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, and Josh Berry) face an onslaught from 200 Al-Qaeda soldiers which asks movie goers to determine “The Lone Survivor.” (Opens in January)

A Pulitzer Prize winning play --- “August: Osage County” featuring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, and Dermont  Mulroney --- reunites strong willed women during a  family crisis at  the Oklahoma home where they grew up. (Opens in January)

Ben Stiller reimagines “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” who drifts into a fantasy world of heroics, romance and globetrotting.

Her” offers an inquisitive examination be it in a surrealist screwball manner of an artificial “love,” herein the operating system of a computer featuring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson (Opens in January)

Finally, most of the above blend drama, comedy , fantasy or adventure, but anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell )  sets sights for comedy is the king in the sequel, “Anchorman II: The Legend Continues.”

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