Note to readers: 2013 has so many great cinematic offerings, a guide will prove helpful this season to provide you and your family with the best movies
Hollywood has. The Oregonian seemed to have the best compilation of holiday films this season! Happy holidays!
With the Thanksgiving holiday falling about as late as possible this year, the typical year-end glut of film releases is on an abbreviated schedule.
Perhaps for that reason, a healthy percentage of award-friendly movies have already come our way, including12 Years a Slave, All Is Lost, The Dallas Buyers Club, and Gravity. And franchise box office behemoths such as Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (which opens Friday, Nov. 22) will have made their mark before the first
Tofurkey pops out of the oven.
But there’s more where those came from, as the list below attests. A fine year for movies comes to a close with an array of crowd-pleasers, award-bidders
and family fare.
Despite some recent release-date shuffling, which pushed a few expected holiday releases into next year, the Hollywood powers that be have once again tries
to endure that no demographic goes uncourted over the next six weeks.
There are sure to be additions to this lineup, especially as Portland’s independent theaters fill out their schedules. These are the titles we can, for
now, anticipate lighting up screens and putting a bow on what has already been a good, if not great, year for film.
Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett star in a contemporary version of Langston Hughes’ acclaimed, oft-performed musical staging of the story of Christ’s
The Book Thief:
In Nazi Germany, a young girl goes to live with her foster parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) and becomes acquainted with both the power of language
and a young Jewish man who hides out in her home.
A plucky heroine teams up with a bland hunk and a talking snowman to put a halt to the endless winter brought about by her sister in Disney’s animated take
on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.”
The Great Beauty:
A social-climbing journalist celebrating his 65th birthday looks back on his life in this film from the Italian director of Il Divo and This Must Be the Place.
A former DEA agent (Jason Statham) must protect his family from a small-town meth kingping (James Franco).
Convinced by junk mail that he’s won a million-dollar sweepstakes, an alcoholic codger (Bruce Dern) embarks on a quixotic quest to claim his winnings in
the new film from director Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants).
Spike Lee’s remake of Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s notorious, shocking revenge thriller stars Josh Brolin as a man who’s held captive for no apparent
reason for 20 years and then, just as mysteriously, freed.
A British journalist (Steve Coogan) helps a woman (Judi Dench) track down the child she gave up for adoption decades earlier. Director Stephen Frears’
fact-based drama was recently awarded a PG-13 rating from the MPAA after its initial R rating was appealed.
The Broken Circle Breakdown:
Two young Belgians with a mutual appreciation for American bluegrass music pursue a tumultuous relationship in this acclaimed import.
Out of the Furnace:
A Pittsburgh ex-con (Christian Bale) searches for his missing brother (Casey Affleck) in this Rust Belt thriller from the director of Crazy Heart.
The impressive supporting cast includes Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard and Forest Whitaker.
The Punk Singer:
This documentary profiles Bikini Kill vocalist, riot grrrl pioneer and former Olympian (as in Olympia, Wash.) Kathleen Hanna.
The Desolation of Smaug: The second part of director Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy promises the first extended look at the fearsome dragon Smaug,
as Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his companions arrive at the Lonely Mountain. Whether the high-frame-rate projection will be any easier to take this
time around will also be revealed.
The Armstrong Lie:
In 2009, Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, We Steal Secrets) filmed cyclist Lance Armstrong’s comeback attempt in
the Tour de France. Now, after Armstrong has admitted to doping throughout his career, Gibney’s back to get the real story.
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas:
Perry’s tough-love-dispensing matron heads to the country for the holidays when a friend convinces Madea to help her surprise her daughter. Small-town
The stars (Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper) and director (David O. Russell) of Silver Linings Playbook reunite for a darkly comic tale set
against the ABSCAM scandal of the 1970s. Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are along for the ride.
In case you’ve avoided the merciless marketing blitz, be aware that the hilarious, insufferable Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is returning, along with the
rest of his news team, and they’re headed for New York City.
Inside Llewyn Davis:
A talented but self-destructive aspiring folk singer (Oscar Isaac) bounces around 1962 Greenwich Village, and beyond, in the latest offbeat effort from
Joel and Ethan Coen.
Saving Mr. Banks:
Two stars with four Oscars between them topline the true story of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and his attempts to convince author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson)
to let him make a film of her book, “Mary Poppins.”
Walking with Dinosaurs 3D:
Photorealistic digital animation meets the time-tested story of a youngster separated from his herd in this Jurassic saga based on the BBC-created
Keanu Reeves’ first big-budget starring role in nearly a decade comes in this version of the oft-filmed Japanese saga, tarted up with fantasy elements and
special effects. The words “troubled production” have been tossed around.
August: Osage County:
A sprawling, award-ready cast (Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, just for starters) brings to the big screen Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer and Tony-winning play
about a dysfunctional family forced to reunite for a funeral.
Two stars who had career peaks playing boxers, Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, play prizefighters past their prime who hook up for one last
mercenary bout. Also starring Kevin Hart.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom:
Idris Elba plays the Nobel Peace Prize-winning former president of South Africa in this adaptation of Mandela’s autobiography.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:
The latest big-screen take on James Thurber’s classic short story stars Ben Stiller (who also directed) as a nebbishy magazine worker who finds himself
thrust into an adventure as fantastic as any of his frequent, vivid daydreams.
The Wolf of Wall Street:
Just another story of 1980s excess, Wall-Street-style, right? Well, in the hands of director Martin Scorsese, teamed again with star Leonardo DiCaprio,
this hotly anticipated item should be anything but ordinary.
Also in December: The Northwest Film Center serves up the latest Asian cinema with its Japanese Currents series (December 6-15) … the latest food-centric
documentary, “Spinning Plates,” looks at three restaurateurs (December 6) … director Michael Gondry holds an animated conversation with philosopher Noam
Chomsky in Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? (December 13) … a pop star invites his fans behind the curtain in Justin Beiber’s Believe
Coming in early 2014:
This new film from Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”) is about a lonely guy (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his computer’s operating system,
which sounds absurd until you learn that it has the voice of Scarlett Johanssen. (January 10)
Mark Wahlberg stars as one of four Navy SEALs on a covert Afghan mission in this fact-based military thriller directed by Peter Berg (“Battleship”).
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit:
Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) becomes the latest to embody Tom Clancy’s eponymous hero as the CIA agent goes up against a villainous Russian mastermind (Kenneth
Branagh, who also directed). (January 17)
A small group of American soldiers is tasked with rescuing historic works of art from the Nazis during World War II. George Clooney stars and directs,
bringing an all-star cast along for the ride. (February 7)
Also in 2014: The latest found-footage-style horror sequel, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (January 3) … a woman not named Rosemary has a
troubled pregnancy in Devil’s Due (January 17) … an urban squirrel hatches a plan to invade a nut shop in the animated The Nut Job
(January 17) … an artificial man (Aaron Eckhart) inhabits a world of gargoyles and demons in I, Frankenstein (January 24) … Kate Winslet stars
as a single mom who harbors an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) in Labor Day.