Nov. 15--As a film writer I get to see a lot of movies before they hit theaters -- not all, or I'd have no life. Despite having seen nearly a dozen on our holiday list, there are a number of films I'm still greatly looking forward to seeing over the next six weeks.
The Thanksgiving period brings Disney's charming and eye-popping animated 3-D musical "Frozen," which has one guaranteed showstopper, "Let It Go," sung by "Wicked's" Idina Menzel. The studio also has the sweet comedy "Delivery Man" starring Vince Vaughn.
Judi Dench is getting Oscar buzz for her role in Stephen Frears' "Philomena." Spike Lee has put a new twist on the Korean thriller "Old Boy," and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" tells the story of the South African leader.
The heavyweight in the room, of course, is "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," which should delight fans and even attract anybody who likes action films.
December starts out with two highly praised works -- the Coen brothers' sly satirical dramedy "Inside Llewyn Davis" and the dark thriller "Out of the Furnace" from Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart").
They are followed by more Oscar contenders -- "American Hustle" from David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook"), who has guided actors to Academy Awards the last two years, and "Saving Mr. Banks," about the rocky times between Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and the "Mary Poppins" author, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson). Middle-earth fans have Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" to look forward to.
Dec. 18 brings the intriguing "Her" from Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich"), about a man who falls for his computer's operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. A couple of days later, Will Ferrell returns as the obnoxious news anchor Ron Burgundy in the comedy "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues."
Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi ("A Separation") offers a tangled tale of marriage in "The Past," while "August: Osage County," adapted from Tracy Letts' 2008 Pulitzer-winning play, brings in heavy hitters Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.
Al Pacino explores Oscar Wilde's work in "Wilde Salome," and in "The Invisible Woman" Ralph Fiennes plays author Charles Dickens in a tale of extramarital love.
Keanu Reeves returns to action in the samurai tale "47 Ronin," and Sylvester Stallone ("Rocky") and Robert De Niro ("Raging Bull") return to the ring in "Grudge Match," raising the question, what weight class will they be fighting in?
Ben Stiller updates the comedy "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," while Martin Scorsese goes after the money men in "The Wolf of Wall Street," starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Also just in time for awards consideration is "Lone Survivor," a true story about a team of Navy SEALs.
For Los Angeles News Group's list of movies out this holiday season click here.
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