Last month of 2013! Can you actually believe the year went by so fast? Well there are a number of great movies headed for release this month. See the list I have constructed of what I consider the most interesting, clever, and thought-provoking films to be released in December. Happy watching!
As always, check back here to catch of on my thoughts and commentary related to these movies as I watch them. Live comments and let me know what you think of any of them!
*Note: some of these theatrical release dates are for limited release before it opens in wide release, others are dates for film releases on VOD; all are US dates
—> Watch the trailer for the foreign language film Twice Born
Should-be Hollywood prince Emile Hirsch and my always girl crush Penelope Cruz come together in this film as passionate lovers whose love is threatened by the war that ravages the city of Sarajevo and forever impacts both of their lives and the life of their son. [No theatrical release; only on iTunes and VoD]
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
—> Watch the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis —> Preview a scene from Inside Llewyn Davis
It’s the latest dark comedy from the Coen Brothers (Fargo) and from what I hear, the breakout performance from Oscar Isaacs, who plays the true life folk singer/songwriter as he struggles to find his way in New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1961. I’m also there for co-stars Adam Driver (Girls) and Carey Mulligan. [Limited release; wide release on December 20th]
This is the story of Jordan Belfort, who in the 90’s became a brilliant kingpin of a investment firm which functioned as a boiler room and developed a reputation for having a hard-partying lifestyle, becoming one of the most infamous names in American finance.
Seriously, the trailer is nothing like I expected this movie to be… it’s even better. I should have picked up from the strutting Leo picture from the set that this would be a black comedy. This goes even further and shows us how much fun DiCaprio would be at a 90’s themed party (see: his impressive popping & locking skills). Based on the memoir of the same name, The Wolf of Wall Street represents the fifth collaboration of DiCaprio and Scorsese, and as we are constantly on Leo Oscar Watch, hopefully this would be the film to do it (Sorry, but The Great Gatsby won’t do it). The film also stars Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey (who is having a sort of renaissance at the moment and provided me with the second biggest laugh with his chest thumping), Jean Dujardin (though he’s missing from the trailer), and Kyle Chandlar. The Wolf of Wall Street hits theaters November 15th (an early birthday present for me).
In mere hours, it’ll be the end of 2012 as we know it. This is a year that started off slowly in terms of film, not offering some of the best, in my opinion, until the last half of the year. But it was still a year that will be remembered for much renewed discussion on slavery and what it means to be human in our eyes and in the eyes of others, our historical past and not too distant memories of high school, the quest for power and the consequences of it, and the bonds between groups of people that are created. Here is what I considered to be the best in film for 2012, and therefore great film suggestions, depending what movie genre(s) you most gravitate to:
Best Film of the Year: Argo Ben Affleck has done it again, giving us another one of the best directed films in contemporary cinema (see: Gone Baby Gone and The Town). Affleck has never been an exciting actor to me, but he has impressed me greatly with his talents as a filmmaker of movies with an effective mix of drama, suspense, and action. This one, a fictional tale of a true life yet unbelievable CIA mission during the Iranian hostage crisis, gives us a glimpse into the social and political attitudes of the 70s and reminds us just how much we don’t know about government operations being conducted in secret.
Best Drama (which presented the moral ambiguity of politics and made you want to open a history book): Lincoln The last movie I watched in 2012 was one of my favorites (you still got it Spielberg!). The movie represents a portrait of a historical figure who we all know of but few really know, intertwining his political and moral motivations for his involvement in the abolition of slavery with his personal relationships with wife, sons and colleagues. Where historical dramas are usually dry and boring, this one warms the heart. Through moving monologues and a physical transformation that was so very much like the man himself, Daniel Day Lewis transfixes us and inspires in a way that makes you want to clap aloud in the theater. Outside the “radical” nature of the Republican party, we also see just how little American politics have change in all these years - back room deals, political maneuvering and politicians saying what others want to hear all in the name of moving the country forward. The movie boasts great cameos from some of the best established actors (Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Harly, Jared Harris, S. Epatha Merkerson) and cameos from great up-and-coming ones (Dane DaHaan, David Oyelowo, Adam Driver) in the industry.
Best Comedy (which reminded you to say ‘no’ to drugs and ‘yes’ to buddy comedies): 21 Jump Street I’m not really one for most of the comedies that are released, which I usually find mindless, banal, and unoriginal. However, there is usually one I latch onto that pushes the boundaries of what is funny. Last year, it was with the ladies of Bridesmaids, this year it was the Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum duo that I did not realize would be oh so hilarious. Sure, it’s based on the late 80’s TV show, but the movie showed just how much times have changed in its portrayal of what is now high school cool.
Best Dramedy (which redefined the complexity of love triangles): Your Sister’s Sister Hooray for indie film and its uncanny way to bring to life seemingly conventional rom-com storylines with character-driven observations and dialogue. This one, about the relationship dynamics of sisters, best friends, and lovers, is sweet and endearing at times, awkward at other times but represents a great mix of carefully crafted moments that oscillate between comedy and drama. Standout performances for the trio of Rosemarie DeWitt, Emily Blunt, and the 2012 prince of indies Mark Duplass.
[A comedy that follows six friends trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. As the world unravels outside, dwindling supplies and cabin fever threaten to tear apart the friendships inside. Eventually, they are forced to leave the house, facing their fate and the true meaning of friendship and redemption.]
Yeah, we are talking about Seth Rogan’s hilarious directorial debut where he and his pals, inlcuding James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson, play themselves trying to survive a fictitious apocalypse. So funny. If only the world wouldn’t end so that I could be sure to enjoy this next summer.
Are you a fan of Judd Apatow’s Superbad? Well, a video of the table read for the “sex scene that never was” made its way on to YouTube yesterday. Apparently, the infamous scenes between some of the characters including Becca (Martha MacIssac) and Evan (Michael Cera) would have been totally different if the actors had stuck to what was written in the script. Would that have changed the movie for you? Watch the video below of the Superbad stars Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Emma Stone, and Martha MacIsaac and judge for yourself. You have to watch it if only to see a still chubby Jonah Hill.