November wasn’t all that special if we’re being completely honest with ourselves. Thor: The Dark World proved to be Marvel’s best solo Avengers movie, while Homefront and Oldboy kind of disappointed. Still, Delivery Man was engaging, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was spectacular and Frozen was yet another impressive entry from Disney Animation Studios.
But nothing really impressed on an Oscar caliber level, aside from 12 Years a Slave, which technically came out in October.
Now, we’re entering December, which means the Oscar race is in full swing. We’ve got lots and lots of films coming out that are sure to grab a few nominations, plus a few under-the-radar titles that I’m kind of looking forward to as well. David O. Russell‘s Silver Linings Playbook follow up American Hustle bows into theaters early on, plus Tyler Perry‘s got a Christmas movie coming out, which will probably end up being awesome.
Oh and there’s a small little sci-fi flick called The Last Days on Mars, which has been getting horrid reviews, yet I’m really excited to check it out on VOD or limited release.
But none of those films made my top five films that you must see during December. This month is a very special list, because every single one of them has the potential to blow me away. There’s one spot that I cheated and split up between two films and that’s the only spot that I’d question slightly on which one ends up delivering and which one ends up disappointing, but the rest look like winners, from filmmakers I trust and starring actors and actresses that I love.
So without any more discussion, here’s my top five films that you should check out in December:
5. Anchorman: The Legend Continues/The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
These are the only two films that I’m still on the fence about. Anchorman: The Legend Continues is the highly anticipated and long-awaited sequel to Anchorman, which just might be one of the most quotable movies of all-time. I loved Anchorman, which is exactly why I’m so worried about this sequel. It’s a passion project without a doubt, one that saw many troubles reaching a wide audience, but I’m still worried that Will Ferrell and the boys might mess it up. All of the trailers and clips have suggested otherwise, but comedies are tricky business and comedy sequels are even harder to nail. I sure hope that they succeed.
Likewise, Peter Jackson‘s second Hobbit installment, titled The Desolation of Smaug looks like a gigantic improvement over An Unexpected Journey. His first trip back to The Shire proved to be a lengthy one and one that felt a little unnecessary. I liked The Lord of the Rings series and I didn’t hate The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but I was rather unmoved by most of it and haven’t had the itch to ever watch it again after theaters, which wasn’t my feelings towards the original Rings trilogy.
Still, The Desolation of Smaug looks like a step in the right direction, with Jackson bringing back popular characters to the mix, while upping the stakes with the full-on introduction of the dragon. I sure hope that this entry brings us back to that excitement and adventure that was mostly missing in An Unexpected Journey.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues opens on December 18th, while The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens on December 13th.
Watch both trailers below:
4. Inside Llweyn Davis
It’s been a long stretch since The Coen Brothers last released a film, which was True Grit. They usually pump out quality product every year, but for some reason they decided to take a break and that break has absolutely been killing me. I’ve always been a big fan of The Coens and that is one of the main reasons why I cannot wait to see what they’ve got in store for us with Inside Llweyn Davis.
Admittedly, the first set of teasers and trailers have struck me as tame and not like their typical line of work, but the more I see the more I can slowly start to see their influences and general tones. Oscar Isaac stars in what could be a very personal journey for the filmmakers and the actor as they create something original, soft and sweet, with a dash of their trademark humor sprinkled in.
Inside Llweyn Davis opens in limited release on December 6th, 2013.
Check out the trailer below:
3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Ben Stiller‘s latest directorial effort looks to be his biggest. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty looks like the perfect feel-good movie of the Holiday season, not to mention a generally uplifting story about living life, taking chances and following your dreams. Sure, some of the early reviews have bashed the film for some of its surface-level material and its obvious product placement, but I’m still holding out, because I generally like Ben Stiller as an actor and I think his directing has definitely improved.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty looks exactly like the film to get behind and really embrace around this time of year, because of its good intentions, thoughtful-looking story and upbeat nature. I love films that make me feel good and I don’t see why this one can’t do that, plus maybe turn out a fine performance from Stiller or any one of his supporting performers.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens on December 25th.
Check out the trailer below:
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese‘s highly controversial story about a bright young man making a mess of Wall Street is finally seeing the light of day this Christmas. The Wolf of Wall Street looks to be another winner from Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, showing off its energy and power through the various trailers and clips that we’ve seen. The film was supposed to bow earlier this year, but Scorsese had a difficult time cutting down the film’s three hour running time for an R-rating.
I’ve yet to watch a Scorsese picture that I didn’t love and I consider Leonardo DiCaprio to be one of the best American actors currently working, so throwing the two together to tell a Wall Street story about money, drugs and corruption sounds exactly like the kind of movie that I want to unwrap come Christmas morning.
The Wolf of Wall Street opens on December 25th.
Check out the trailer below:
1. Out of the Furnace
Scott Cooper follows up his gripping character study about an alcoholic country singer, Crazy Heart, with an equally gripping, if not more intense film titled Out of the Furnace, which stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson. The film follows a man as he gets lost in a slimy underground world trying to find his brother, a struggling returning soldier trying to live his life and fit into a world that he doesn’t understand.
Out of the Furnace looks like a first-class mystery, surrounded with talent. The early trailers have indicated something that’s going to be dark and unsettling, yet something that you’re going to want to watch until the very end. I trust that Cooper delivers a fine drama, while Bale, Affleck and Harrelson turn Oscar-worthy performances.
Out of the Furnace opens on December 6th.
Check out the trailer below
Which films are you most excited for to see in December?