We already gave you the lowdown about the end of the 2014 movie year back in our Fall 2014 Movie Preview, but since the holidays are approaching – and people want a reminder of what awaits them at the theater – we’re taking another look at the movies that will be available to fans and families everywhere as they enter the season of good tidings and joy.

There’s also the reality that as the end of the year approaches, so changes the perception of a lot of the movies being released in this fourth-quarter blockbuster season. We learn more from promotional materials, see more in trailers and TV spots, and generally gain awareness of promising (or not so promising) flicks that may not have been on our radar before – or barely made a blip if they did register.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the November and December 2014 movie releases – which kick off the holiday season with the huge double-whammy of Disney/Marvel’s first animated venture, Big Hero 6, as well as Christopher Nolan’s new sci-fi blockbuster with Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar.

November

Bottom Line: The holiday blockbuster movie season 2014 begins in November – but there are plenty of smaller genre films in the mix as well.

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Big Hero 6

Big Hero Six Previews Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 7th

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”

OUR TAKE: Disney Animation (not to be confused with Pixar) has been churning out some good flicks, and combined with some Marvel-brand superhero action/adventure and a merchandising cash-cow in inflatable robot Baymax, we expect Big Hero 6 to be a big win for Disney, Marvel and audiences alike.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Interstellar

interstellar reviews Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 7th

A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

OUR TAKE: A Chris Nolan sci-fi film starring Matthew McConaughey at the height of his career? We’re in – even if early reviews are less than stellar.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Jessabelle

Jessabelle movie trailer 2014 1024x682 Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 7th

Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, Jessabelle (Sarah Snook) comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return — and has no intention of letting her escape.

OUR TAKE: The trailer looks like a mix of so many other horror movies – and we’re not sure our horror interest will extend beyond the Halloween holiday (at least not for this film).

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Open Windows

Open WIndows Movie Preview Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 7th

An actress named Jill (Sasha Grey) refuses to have dinner with Nick (Elijah Wood), a fan who won a date with her in an Internet contest. In return, a guy named Chord (Neil Maskell), posing as Jill’s campaign manager, helps Nick to follow in the footsteps of the actress from his own computer. But Nick soon realizes that he is only a puppet into the manic plans devised by Chord, to hunt down the star.

OUR TAKE: On the surface this looks like a B-movie thriller with the hook of starring a former porn star (Grey). However, a look beneath the surface reveals that it is also the latest work by director Nacho Vigalondo, who impressed many with his stripped-down time travel movie, Timecrimes. That’s certainly a boost.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Rosewater

Rosewater movie directed by Jon Stewart 2014 Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 7th

A journalist (Gael García Bernal) is detained in Iran for more than 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison.

OUR TAKE: This is Daily Show star Jon Stewart’s first foray into directing. It seems that not everything is a joke to the comedian behind the news desk.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything Movie Preview Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 7th

A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife (Felicity Jones).

OUR TAKE: The world knows Stephen Hawking – but not like this. Redmayne (Les Mis) and Jones (Like Crazy) are solid talents to lead this biopic drama – with early buzz pointing to awards considerations for Redmayne’s performances as Hawking.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Beyond the Lights

Beyond the Light Movie Preview Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 14th

A talented young musician (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) on the brink of super stardom struggles with the pressure of her new-found success.

OUR TAKE: This one is a curious animal, with a cast that places the likes of Minnie Driver and Belle star Gugu Mbatha-Raw alongside Nate Parker (Non-Stop) and Danny Glover. However, it does look closer to director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s breakout film, Love & Basketball, which will lure a certain audience in.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Dumb and Dumber To

Dumb and Dumber 2 Trailer Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 14th

20 years after the dimwits set out on their first adventure, Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey)  head out in search of one of their long-lost children in the hope of gaining a new kidney.

OUR TAKE: The first trailer brought accusations that the filmmaking team had lost a step – but we’re hoping that green-band restrictions are simply hiding the true depraved fun of this long-awaited sequel.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Foxcatcher

Steve Carell and Channing Tatum Foxcatcher Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 14th

Based on the true story of Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestler whose relationship with sponsor John du Pont and brother Dave Schultz would lead to unlikely circumstances.

OUR TAKE: Director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) is known for turning the most unlikely of stories into compelling character drama films. With an intense performance from Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, an oddball dramatic turn from Steve Carell as du Pont, and Mark Ruffalo as Schultz’ brother, there are definite hints of dark-horse greatness in this film.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Wolves

wolves red band trailer Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 14th

Wolves follows the story of Cayden Richards (Lucas Till) – a young, handsome eighteen-year-old with an edge. Forced to hit the road after the death of his parents, Cayden finds his way to an isolated town to hunt down the truths of his ancestry. But in the end, who’s hunting whom?

OUR TAKE: Jason Momoa is about to get some huge mainstream exposure now that he’s playing Aquaman in DC’s superhero movie universe – and considering that this is some pretty pulpy genre fare (werewolf horror) that also involves X-Men: First Class star Lucas “Havok” Till and X2 writer David Hayter, we think Wolves will draw a certain (if not limited) audience.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

hunger games mockingjay part 1 trailer1 Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 21st

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the autocratic Capitol.

OUR TAKE: Have you watched the series so far? It got exponentially better when director Francis Lawrence (Constantine) took over the sequel – and he’s back for this two-part final chapter. With the cast now settled deep into their characters, and a bigger budget for a good director to play with, we expect a great start to the end of The Hunger Games.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Imitation Game

imitation game benedict cumberbatch Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 21st

Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.

OUR TAKE: Math code doesn’t usually entice viewers into theater seats – but Cumberbatch does have a growing circle of fans. Early buzz is this film will only add to his star prestige – as he potentially heads into playing Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Reach Me

reach me sylvester stallone Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 21st

A motivational book written by a mysterious man quickly gains popularity, inspiring a group of people that includes a journalist, his editor, a former inmate, a hip-hop mogul, an actor and an undercover cop to re-evaluate their choices and decisions by confronting their fears in hopes of creating more positive lives.

OUR TAKE: Packing a cast with big names like Sylvester Stallone, Kyra Sedgwick, Thomas Jane, Walking Dead‘s Lauren Cohan, Kelsey Grammer, Terry Crews and Nelly is a nice gimmick – but it doesn’t change the fact that this film feels like one of those intertwining episodic feel-good movies like New Years Eve or Valentines Day. We’ve just traded holidays for self-help subject matter. Not at all depressing.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

VHS: Viral

VHS Viral Glow Faced Body Horror Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 21st (Theatrical)

In this third installment of the found-footage horror anthology series, we follow fame-obsessed teens who unwittingly become stars of the next (deadly) internet sensation.

OUR TAKE: The VHS series has both found a loyal audience and catapulted a few filmmakers to bigger, better opportunities (see: You’re Next director Adam Wingard). But since this film will have been available On Demand and for Digital Download for awhile when this theatrical release rolls around, we’d advise interested parties to take the cheaper, more satisfying, home theater route.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Horrible Bosses 2

horrible bosses 2 trailer poster Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 26th

Fed up with answering to higher-ups, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) decide to become their own bosses by launching their own business. But a slick investor (Christoph Waltz) soon pulls the rug out from under them. Outplayed and desperate, and with no legal recourse, the three would-be entrepreneurs hatch a misguided plan to kidnap the investor’s adult son (Chris Pine) and ransom him to regain control of their company.

OUR TAKE: In our humble opinion, Horrible Bosses was one of the better new comedies of the last few years, and it looks like the sequel has found a way to revisit the property without going all Hangover 2 on us. Could be fun.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

The Penguins of Madagascar

The Peguins of Madagascar First Trailer Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 26th

Super spy teams aren’t born…they’re hatched. Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elitists of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Led by handsome and husky Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then…you know). Together, they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, from destroying the world as we know it.

OUR TAKE: The Madagascar franchise needs no marketing help by now. Its fanbase is practically guaranteed.

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

Monsters: Dark Continent

Monsters Dark Continent Release Date Screen Rants 2014 Holiday Movie Preview

Nov. 28th

Ten years on from the events of Monsters, and the ‘Infected Zones’ have now spread worldwide. In the Middle East a new insurgency has begun. At the same time there has also been a proliferation of Monsters in that region. The Army decide to draft in more numbers to help deal with this insurgency.

OUR TAKE: The first Monsters was an unusual indie approach to a giant monster movie – and it either delighted or repelled viewers based on their expectations of the sub-genre. Well, Monsters director Gareth Edwards has moved on to literally bigger things (Godzilla), leaving Dark Continent as one of those studio-produced sequels meant to cash in on brand name. Maybe director Tom Green (Misfits, Blackout) will impress with some new ideas, but we remain skeptical…

(WATCH THE TRAILER)

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