From Gravity to Iron Man 3 to Fast and Furious 6, 2013 was quite the year for movies – one filled with plenty of surprises and disappointments. And with December nearly upon us, it’s time to close out the 2013 movie-going season with another month chock full of new releases.
From the family-friendly fare to the smaller indies, December offers plenty of variety, which made listing our must-sees all the more difficult. Granted, the month doesn’t get going until about halfway through, but once the films start hitting theaters there will be little reprieve.
Here are the 8 Movies We’re Looking Forward to in December 2013.
Those who listen to the SR Underground know that we were less than thrilled, but still impressed, with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first in a new three-film series. Yet, that film went on to make a ton of money at the box office, proving that Tolkien’s source material and Peter Jackson’s directing are still a big draw.
With that in mind, we still expect big things from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but our enthusiasm is slightly tempered. Sure, the return of fan-favorite character Legolas and a chance to finally see the dragon Smaug (voice by Benedict Cumberbatch) are reasons enough to see the film, but we also are intrigued to see how this film leads to the third, which ties into The Lord of the Rings trilogy. No doubt, this is the biggest release of the month, but can it duplicate the success of its predecessor?
Check out the trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
It took some time for Ferrell and his creative partner Adam McKay to get this sequel going, but it’s finally here and it looks like the Channel 4 news team hasn’t missed a beat. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues catches up with Ron and the rest of his crew in the early ’80s, as they are tasked with heading up a new 24-hour news channel. Of course, with a new change of scenery comes new silly characters, but rest assured that Brian (Paul Rudd), Brick (Steve Carell), and Champ (David Koechner) won’t be left behind.
Given the time gap between original and sequel it’s hard to predict just how much enthusiasm there is for Anchorman 2, not to mention the fact Ferrell’s star power has lessened in recent years. At the same time, it has been a few months since audiences were treated to a blockbuster comedy, so we’re eager to see how the film performs.
Check out the trailer for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
All you need to do is take one look at Christian Bale in character to know that American Hustle is going to be something special. Director David O. Russell has been trying to get this project, at one point titled American Bullsh*t, off the ground for a few years now, and it has finally arrived. And based on the cast alone it will certainly be a part of the awards show conversations.
Bradley Cooper plays Richie DiMaso in the film, an FBI agent tasked with recruiting Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld, a sleazy con man, into the world of pawnbrokers and the mafia. What makes the film the most intriguing, however, is its late ’70s early ’80s time period, complete with period-specific clothing and hairstyles for all of its principal cast. O. Russell has had back-to-back hits with The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook; can American Hustle make it three-for-three?
Check out the trailer for American Hustle.
Saving Mr. Banks seeks to tell the true story of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, from her childhood in Australia, to her negotiations for the Poppins film rights, and the eventual production of the film. However, most will recognize Saving Mr. Banks as the one with Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney, if only because it’s so rare to see the entrepreneur brought to life on screen. And who better to take on Disney than one of the most celebrated actors of this or any generation?
Either way, Saving Mr. Banks has that perfect family-friendly appeal, which should help it thrive during the latter part of the month. Whether or not the quality of the film can live up to its talented cast, which includes Emma Thompson as Travers, is unclear, but the potential is certainly there.
Check out the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks.
Any year that gives moviegoers a Coen Bros. film is one worth celebrating. Whether it’s a highly anticipated, star-studded affair, or a smaller, more personal film, like Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coens usually don’t disappoint.
That being said, Llewyn Davis is quite the change of pace for the directing duo – a film about a struggling musician trying to make it in 1961. Moreover, the film’s lead, Oscar Issaac, is by no means a recognizable star, but that could work in the film’s favor.
Early reviews for the film out of Cannes praised it as yet another Coen Bros. success, which puts it very high on our must-see list. The only question is whether mainstream audiences will give Inside Llewyn Davis a chance.
Check out the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis.
Admittedly, 47 Ronin could easily be a disaster. The film has been in development for over 5 years, and has been through several date changes and reshoots. Yet, there’s something about a fantastical take on the true story of the 47 Ronin that might make it worth seeing, even for some mindless Holiday entertainment.
One thing that 47 Ronin has going for it, aside from Keanu Reeves playing a samurai, is director Carl Rinsch. Rinsch burst onto the scene in 2010 with his short film The Gift, but he has been making waves with his visually impressive commercials for years. And based purely on the trailers, it appears Rinsch has brought that visual flair to this film.
Unfortunately, Rinsch was reportedly pulled from the director’s chair after the film went over budget. So, again, we’re a little wary of this one.
Check out the trailer for 47 Ronin.
It’s Rocky versus Raging Bull, what more could you want? Well, if this were the ’80s the answer would likely be nothing, but given the state of Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro’s careers as of late we’re intrigued, but wary, of Grudge Match. We’ve seen aged movie stars reunite to go toe-to-toe before, and most of the time Stallone was involved in some capacity, but that doesn’t mean this one can’t be different.
The premise is pretty simple: two bitter boxing rivals, now well past their prime, plan to duke it out one last time and settle the score. In all honesty, this is the type of film that lives and dies with the casting of its leads, which makes the choice of Stallone and DeNiro all the more important. That being said, these aged actor team-ups haven’t worked out very well for Stallone, at least when they’re not titled The Expendables.
Check out the trailer for Grudge Match.
Although he hasn’t directed many films, actor/comedian Ben Stiller has had more success behind the camera than most, with films like Zoolander and Tropic Thunder reaching cult status. His latest directorial effort, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, is something a little different, however. Rather than an overtly tongue-in-cheek piece of satire, Walter Mitty apparently has a little more heart to it, which could work in the its favor.
The film is based on a short story from 1939 in which a mild-mannered man uses his imagination to escape the doldrums of everyday working life. As with his previous work, Stiller has cast himself in the title role, and, in essence, put its success almost completely in his hands. Early reviews for the film have been decidedly mixed, but the family-friendly tone and heartfelt approach could help Walter Mitty’s appeal this holiday.
Check out the trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
In typical fashion, the month of December is chock full of equal parts big budget releases and smaller awards show contenders. From The Hobbit to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty there’s likely to be something for everyone available this month, or at the very least some intriguing leftovers from November.
While The Desolation of Smaug is the best bet to take the month, there are still several new releases that could steal their own share of the box office pie. But what do you think? Which December releases are you most anticipating? Which films do you think will find box office success?
Once again, here are the 8 movies we’re looking forward to this month:
- December 13th: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- December 18th: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, American Hustle
- December 20th: Saving Mr. Banks, Inside Llewyn Davis
- December 25th: 47 Ronin, Grudge Match, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty