December is a BIG movie month.
For those heading out to theaters on Christmas, there are eight movies coming out. Of those, four are big wide releases.
Not sure what to see? We've broken down which films are worth watching for everyone.1. Skip: "47 Ronin"
The only reason to see it: Keanu Reeves.
It's the actor's return front and center in a big-budget film for the first time in 10 years.
Why you should pass:
We love Reeves, but after some thought, we're not convinced from the trailers this looks like a great film. Maybe it's the monstrous woman turning into a cheesy-looking CGI dragon, maybe it's the fact the film has a tumultuous production story — it's been pushed back since November 2012 with a budget estimated at $225 million — either way, both leave us hesitant.
At the least, you should check out the graphic novel.
The once-Matrix actor really resonates with fans and no matter how bad this movie may be it may very well end up surprising at the box office despite all the competition.2. Run out and see: "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures
What it's about: Leonardo DiCaprio is back as another wealthy socialite, this time as crooked stockbroker Jordan Belfort.
Why this is a must-see:
Other than the sex, drugs, and over-the-top wild parties on screen?
1. This "Anything for the Oscar" GIF of Leonardo DiCaprio
This is DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese's fifth time working together on a film. Despite DiCaprio's two Oscar nominations for Best Actor, he has yet to win an Academy Award.
3. If that isn't enough, our own Linette Lopez got her hands on the script for the film last year and picked out the 15 scenes she can't wait to see.3. Overrated: "Grudge Match"
What it's about: Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone are returning to the boxing ring to go a few rounds for the title of top boxer.
Why to watch: The addition of Kevin Hart for comic relief may be the only saving grace to an otherwise campy film that seems outdated and unnecessary.
Why to pass: Do you really want to watch "Rocky" vs. "Raging Bull"? We're not sure how many crowds of audiences have been saying they want to see this "epic" fight onscreen.
How many other films with two older actors trying to recapture the spotlight have you seen do well this year? ("The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" with Jim Carrey and "Escape Plan" with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are two examples that come to mind.)
This isn't something like "The Avengers" vs. "The Justice League" that may get fans all riled up.4. Steer clear: "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"
What it's about: Based on the James Thurber book, Ben Stiller stars as a shy guy constantly lost in a daydream who finally goes on a big life adventure.
Who should see it: Fans of the book. Kristen Wiig/Stiller fans.
Why you should pass:
Collective early reviews for the film agree Mitty's dead on arrival with the adaptation lost in its own fantasy.
If we're being serious, between "American Hustle," "The Wolf of Wall Street," and this pick, we'd go with either of the former choices.The four other movies out Christmas Day:
5. "August: Osage County": How can you go wrong with Meryl Streep AND Julia Roberts?A group of women come together for a family crisis. Ewan McGregor also stars in the film produced in part by George Clooney. Worth a watch.
6."Labor Day": Kate Winslet plays a mom who unknowingly gives a ride to an escaped convict (Josh Brolin). See it.
7. "Justin Bieber's Believe": A follow-up documentary to the singer's 2011 "Never Say Never" movie that teenage girls and "Beliebers" may want to check out, but that will probably get lost among all the other big releases. Skip.
8. "Walking With Dinosaurs 3D": Stick with Disney's animated flick, "Frozen." The title sounds like the film is geared toward one demographic, but upon viewing the trailer it feels like a kid's film (a la "The Land Before Time"). Having 3D in the title doesn't do the film any favors as audiences often assume that means you must see the movie in that format. Skip.Other films you'll want to check out:
Maybe you don't want to see any of those movies.
There are a few other movies coming out RIGHT before the holidays you should consider:Must-See: "American Hustle"
Francois Duhamel / Sony Pictures
Francois Duhamel / Sony Pictures
After last year's Oscar winner, "Silver Linings Playbook," director David O. Russell is back with actors Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. This time Amy Adams and Christian Bale join as two con artists trying to take down corrupt politicians.
Early reviews for the film are saying this could very well be O. Russell's next big Oscar win.For the diehard film fan: "Her"
Warner Bros. Pictures Initial release date:
Warner Bros. Pictures
Initial release date:Dec. 18
Need something a little more quirky? Look no further than Spike Jones' romantic dramedy about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with an operating system (voiced by Scarlet Johansson).For the Peter Jackson fan: "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
Mark Pokomy / Warner Bros. Release date:
Mark Pokomy / Warner Bros.
Release date:Dec. 13
Weren't a fan of the first film? The second of the trilogy should be the movie where the majority of the high-action takes place.
Don't take our word for it, the majority of early reviews say the second installment is better than the first.
Fans of Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock") will appreciate him voicing the menacing dragon Smaug. "Lord of the Rings" fans will welcome back the return of Orlando Bloom as Legolas.
And yes, it looks like it will be in that high 48 frames per second frame rate.For the Disney fan: "Saving Mr. Banks"
Disney Release date:
Release date:Dec. 13
Love "Mary Poppins" or Walt Disney? This film will tell you how the legend himself brought the film to the big screen. If you thought you were signing up for a film about Disney himself, look elsewhere. You may not get the full (true) story of the adaptation but you will get strong performances from Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.Must-watch comedy: "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues"
Gemma LaMana / Paramount Pictures Release date:
Gemma LaMana / Paramount Pictures
Release date:Dec. 18
The news team reassembles!
Even if the movie's bad — and with all of the marketing oversaturation lately it very well could be — it won't matter. Fans have been waiting for nearly a decade to see Ron Burgundy reunite with the Channel 4 News team. And great Odin's raven are there a number of cameos — Tina Fey, Jim Carrey, Harrison Ford, and more. If it's the last thing we do, we'll be seeing this sequel — for better or worse."Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
The Weinstein Company
I was recently asked why I didn't include the Idris Elba movie on our roundup. Simple reasoning was because this film was originally released November 28. However, since its wide release was Christmas as well, it should have a spot here. After all , we did include it on our must-see list for the fall. So if there's one more movie you want to see, in honor of the late Mandela, check this one out.
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