Holiday Prevue 2015: Thanksgiving & Christmas & STAR WARS, oh my!

Before the summer blockbuster took over the box office in the 1970s with the likes of JAWS and Star Wars, Christmas was the big pull for movie-goers, and in many ways it still is. Most of the big awards contenders are sometimes pushed back to take advantage of the bustle of consumer behavior accompanying the holiday season. In recent years, at least since the successful debut of Toy Story in 1995, Thanksgiving has also become a hallmark holiday to milk for movie releases, often spawning plenty of family-friendly fare for the close-knit holiday. Looking ahead, this article is to spotlight big movies being released through Christmas.

creedCREED (Thanksgiving)

First up this Thanksgiving is a spin-off from the ever-popular Rocky Balboa franchise, this time focusing on the son of Rocky’s ally and rival from the first four films, Apollo Creed.

The movie follows Adonis, Creed’s son, who decides to step into the ring to prove something to his family, Rocky, and maybe himself.  The films is being helmed by Ryan Coogler, who previously directed star Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station, a ripped-from-the-headlines tragedy about the last day of Oscar Grant, an Oakland native who became a victim of police brutality. The film is a different direction for the franchise giving Stallone’s Balboa a supporting turn in the vein of Burgess Meredith’s Mickey.

Reviews have been favorable so far, so hopes are this underdog can be the long shot to steal the weekend from the likes of Pixar and the monstrous Frankenstein reboot.good-dinosaur-poster

THE GOOD DINOSAUR (Thanksgiving)

Information is rare on this other Pixar movie being released on Thanksgiving. All we know for sure is that it revolves around a slightly altered pre-history where a meteorite didn’t wipe out the beasts that ruled the Earth pre-humanity and the interactions between a gentle dinosaur and his feral human companion. Trailers haven’t related much of a story, only images of beauty reminiscent of AVATAR and interactions reminiscent of The Land Before Time. Comic and social media artist Patton Oswalt seemed to enjoy it! The most likely winner of the Thanksgiving weekend, overall.

Victor Frankenstein (Thanksgiving)Victor-Frankenstein-Poster

This is a movie I don’t think anyone saw coming. A Frankenstein movie starring rebooted Professor X as a whimsical, rebellious Doctor Frankenstein and Harry Potter as Igor, the overwhelmed assistant. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious after seeing the trailer. Mayhaps it has a chance, gobble gobble…

Macbeth mcb15(December TBA)

Being released sometime in December, Michael Fassbender takes on the Bard in the upcoming adaptation of Shakespeare’s most notorious tragedy, The Scottish Play. -sorry, my theatrical background is keeping the superstition alive- While Shakespeare has proven to be hit or miss when it comes to film adaptation, this one has a quality actor at the front as well as a unique artistic approach to authenticity that could bring in the crowds.

krampsKrampus (December 4th)

This will be the second horror film released this year featuring a cast of people known primarily for their comedic work: Adam Scott (Parks and Rec), David Koechner (Anchorman+2), Allison Tolman (FARGO), Toni Collette (United States of Tara)… all signed on for a film not about Santa, but the other supernatural creature associated with the Christmas season, that fewer people are aware of. That being is Krampus, a Christmas demon of sorts who does not come bearing gifts, but horror and terror. Hopefully, it’ll be in better taste than Silent Night, Deadly Night

in_the_heart_of_the_seaIn the Heart of the Sea (December 11th)

Ron Howard makes movies that I enjoy watching, personally. His latest, RUSH, was an exhilarating drama about a rivalry that made me care equally for both parties. Now, he’s decided he wants to adapt the true-life tale that inspired Moby Dick, that contender for the title of The Great American Novel. And it’s got Chris Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins). Even though it’s been pushed back multiple times this year, I really can’t wait to see what the mastermind behind A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 has in store for his audience.

Episode VII (December 18th)

swviiYes, yes, the movie we’ve all been waiting for is less than a month away. And it’s going to make more money than organized religion in general has seen in the last decade. Do I really need to add anything…besides the fact I already have my IMAX tickets? -sigh- I am a disgrace to objective cinema journalism.

Don’t disappoint us, Jar Jar Abrams. Some of us still remember what happened the last time you went into space…

*A brief mention regarding Sisters, the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy vehicle that’s decided to challenge The Force Awakens for a spot on December the 18th: It Doesn’t Have A Snowball’s Chance…

**A word on The Road Chip: no.

concussion-2015-01Concussion (Christmas)

Will Smith’s controversial drama putting the NFL under the radar is aiming for the Christmas crowd. I guess it’s a better spot than Thanksgiving, considering…

My dad will wanna see this. A better pick than Draft Day, I suppose.

h8fulThe Hateful Eight (Christmas)

Quentin Tarantino really has a thing for releasing his glorified exploitation films at Christmas. Since Jackie Brown in 1997, he has gleefully enjoyed subverting the typical Christmas fare with his bloody, ironic takes on cinematic language, genre, and uproarious content. His second western in a row, he has promised The Hateful Eight will be “the funniest snow western ever made.” Since his crowd-pleasing movies are ridiculous in content and often hilarious as well, don’t write off the holidays as completely in the hands of Jar Jar Abrams and his space opera playset.

pb15Point Break (Christmas)

If it were up to the author, this summary would be limited to “No Keanu? No Swayze? No thank you!” Alas…

It looks like it’ll cater to the adrenaline junkies crowd with portrayals of extreme (!) action sports like quad racing against avalanches, wingsuits flying through mountain forests, and an epic bromance between Edgar Ramirez and Luke Bracey. Yeah, I never heard of him either. Don’t expect this one to sweep the audience from their Tarantino gunplay and the continuing adventures of Han Solo and Co.

It looks like it’s going to be a very Star Wars Christmas after all.sw



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