Grab that crazy aunt or uncle (everyone has at least one), throw on your ugliest holiday sweater, and get to the theater this month and next for the many films showing during the most wonderful time of the year. If you’re not up for a festive flick, no worries — the eggnog is optional. Gobble up an animated feature, Oscar-worthy biopic, crazy comedy, epic blockbuster or much-anticipated sequel instead. ‘Tis the season …
Now in Theaters
Good grief, I’m excited about seeing this! Your favorite animated characters, from the brilliant mind of Charles Shultz, come to life on the big screen in this family-friendly film. Whether you grew up reading the comic strip or watching Snoopy and the gang in holiday specials such as “The Great Pumpkin” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” this movie is sure to make you smile. Don’t be a blockhead — get your tickets today!
Bond is back, baby. Actor Daniel Craig takes his final turn as 007 in this dark follow-up to “Skyfall” that delves deeper into the special agent’s past. He still likes his martinis shaken and not stirred, and he hasn’t abandoned the cheeky attitude that will garner laughs, but James is all business when he’s on the job. (He’s pretty easy on the eyes, too.)
The 33 (PG-13)
Based on the real-life story of the workers who were trapped for 69 days following the collapse of a gold and copper mine in Chile, “The 33” features Antonio Banderas (whose accent never gets old), Brazil’s own Rodrigo Santoro, Martin Sheen (who I think still answers to “Mr. President”), the long-lost (and recently found, apparently) Lou Diamond Phillips and a slew of other actors who take us to that dark place underground.
You must check out this biopic about 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (brilliantly portrayed by “Breaking Bad” protagonist Bryan Cranston), who was blacklisted for his political briefs and fought back behind-the-scenes by authoring some of Hollywood’s biggest titles, such as “Spartacus” and “Roman Holiday.” I love movies about writers, and this one has Oscar written all over it. Diane Lane and Helen Mirren also star.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Not Yet Rated)
This film needs no introduction. You have to be living under a rock not to have seen the trailer for the next installment in the most famous franchise of all time. (But it’s OK to watch it again … and again … and again.) CAN’T. WAIT.
Up-and-coming actor Michael B. Jordan portrays the son of famed boxer Apollo Creed, one-time nemesis of Rocky Balboa, in this addition to the ongoing storyline. It’s been several years since a “Rocky” movie came out, but the franchise is no less powerful today than it was when it all began. Sylvester Stallone is back on the big screen in this tale of a new underdog with something to prove in the ring.
District 12 rebel Katniss Everdeen (played perfectly by America’s sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence) must finish what she started in this conclusion to “The Hunger Games” saga, originally created by author Suzanne Collins. (If you have not read the books, btw, I implore you to do so — great reads.) Will President Snow meet his end? Who will Katniss choose — Peeta or Gale? Will Haymitch enroll in AA? Just kidding … but seriously, that guy needs help. Pre-order your tickets today!
Victor Frankenstein (PG-13)
Nothing says “Seasons Greetings” like a film based on one of the best-selling horror novels of all time. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” has been remade a million times over and not always for the best. Harry Potter, er, Danielle Radcliff (with some rather unkempt long hair) and James McAvoy (looking dapper) are partners in crime in this version, which offers up Igor’s side of the story.
In the Heart of the Sea (PG-13)
“Call me Ishmael …” The trailer for this “Moby Dick”-inspired blockbuster is visually stunning. Directed by the talented Ron Howard, this action-packed shipwreck of a flick pits Thor, er, Chris Hemsworth and his crew against (you guessed it) a ginormous whale.
The Night Before (R)
Longtime friends celebrate Christmas Eve together, their annual tradition, in this hilarious, high jinks-filled comedy starring Seth Rogen (who makes me chuckle without saying a word), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (totes adorbs) and Anthony Mackie (of “Captain America” fame) as three not-so-wise men who make myriad bad decisions on their bachelor’s night out. If the trailer is any indication, this holiday pic is going to be laugh-out-loud funny.
Love the Coopers (PG-13)
If you like “The Family Stone” (as I do) — not to mention Diane Keaton, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Olivia Wilde, Marisa Tomei and Amanda Seyfried — then this pic’s for you. When four generations of family members get together for Christmas, everything goes awry in this comedy that smacks of reality for anyone who’s headed home for the holidays. As the film’s tagline states, “You can’t regift family.”
My friend Nate hosts an annual horror-holiday party in honor of the Krampus, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with the ancient legend, now’s your chance to be afraid of the giant-hoofed creature who’s said to punish children during the Christmas season — call him the Anti-Claus. Although this modern telling is based on frightful German folklore, it also offers some comic relief in the form of its cast: Toni Collete, Adam Scott (love him!) and David Koechner.
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