News Column

Holiday movie preview: 'August: Osage County,' 'Hunger Games' sequel and more

November 15, 2013


Nov. 15--The holiday movie season begins in earnest next week with "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" opening ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, at a time when we see the arrival of movies for the whole family to enjoy, as well as prestige pictures for the discriminating viewer.

The former would feature movies such as the Disney animated movie "Frozen" and the "Hobbit" sequel for "Lord of the Rings" fans.

The latter would have to include the period drama "American Hustle" starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence; "The Wolf of Wall Street" from Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio; and Oklahoma's much-anticipated "August: Osage County" with its star-studded cast.

Then there's the return of Ron Burgundy in "Anchorman: The Legend Continues," destined to be the greatest film ever made. It's science.

The stocking is full of intriguing motion pictures through the start of the new year. The following titles -- and their expected Tulsa release dates -- are subject to change.

Opens Friday

The Best Man Holiday

Rivalries and romances ignite when a large collection of friends from college gather years later to celebrate the holidays. Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall and more return from the 1999 hit.

The Christmas Candle

Tulsa's own Impact Productions presents this film based on the best-selling novel by Max Lucado, telling the story of a progressive young minister whose arrival in an English village brings new light to the legend of a miraculous angel's visit to a local candle-maker.

The Summit

A gripping documentary about the 2008 expedition in which climbers from several countries met to climb K2 in the Himalayan Mountains range. There were 22 climbers at the start; half would not return home from this climb.

Nov. 22

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Katniss Everdeen (played by Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence) must compete in "The Hunger Games" yet again, when past winners must battle one another in an "all-star" edition of the fight-to-the-death event. Meanwhile, rebellion against the government begins to grow.

Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey stars in this based-on-a-true-story tale of a man battling the medical establishment in the 1980s when he's diagnosed with HIV, leading him to smuggle anti-viral drugs for his use and to help others.

Blue is the Warmest Color

The winner of the Palme d'Or -- the top prize -- at this summer's Cannes Film Festival was this French film that explores the intense first-love moments and sexual relationship that develops between two young women. The picture is rated NC-17 and three hours long.

Delivery Man

Vince Vaughn plays yet another of his overgrown slacker characters, but this one has a job at which he's been working overtime: His longtime fertility clinic donations have resulted in the births of more than 500 children. It's a comedy.

Nov. 27


From the creators of "Tangled" and "Wreck-it Ralph" comes Disney's new animated adventure film that follows a group's snowbound journey to a land trapped in eternal winter, thanks to the powers of one group member's sister.

Black Nativity

Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Mary J. Blige and Nas are among the cast members in this Harlem-set musical drama based on the Langston Hughes play of the same name.


Josh Brolin plays a man obsessed with finding out why he was kidnapped and held against his will for 20 years and with discovering the identity of the person responsible for his confinement.


Jason Statham stars in a movie that looks like most of his revenge-minded movies. A former DEA agent moves his family to a little town that's not as quiet as it looks thanks to a local meth-dealing druglord (James Franco).

Kill Your Darlings

Based on "a true story of obsession and murder," this drama brings together the Beat Generation's Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), among others.

Nov. 29

As I Lay Dying

James Franco and Tulsa's Tim Blake Nelson star in this drama based on William Faulkner's 1930 classic novel about a woman's death -- and her wish to be buried in a nearby town -- and her family's quest to make that considerable task happen.

Dec. 6

Out of the Furnace

An ex-convict (Christian Bale) returns home to find his brother missing, leading him into the underground world of a local crime ring and its leader (Woody Harrelson). Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana and Willem Dafoe co-star in this crime drama from the "Crazy Heart" filmmaker.

Dec. 13

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

It's time to meet the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is in nearly every film in 2013) in the second installment of director Peter Jackson's trilogy, with the finale arriving in 2014.

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas

It was just a matter of time before Madea made her way into a holiday movie. When a small, rural town plans its Christmas carnival, and Madea is in residence there, hijinks ensue.

The Armstrong Lie

Armstrong ... lie ... why yes, we are talking about Lance Armstrong, who receives the documentary treatment about his rise and fall from Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney.

Dec. 18

American Hustle

Director David O. Russell brings together stars from his films "The Fighter" and "Silver Linings Playbook" (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence) for this period drama focused on the 1970s Abscam scandal and FBI sting operation, with the cast decked out in polyester.

Dec. 20

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Stay classy, moviegoers: Ron Burgundy and his pals are back to take you to a gun show or read anything put on their teleprompters. When a 24-hour news channel in New York beckons, Burgundy and his salon-quality hair answer the call.

Walking With Dinosaurs 3-D

"For the first time in movie history, audiences will truly see and feel what it was like when dinosaurs ruled the Earth," say the filmmakers. That seems a little much to claim for an animated movie, but that's their claim.

Saving Mr. Banks

Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney circa 1960, supervising the operations of Disneyland while trying to persuade author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to allow him to make her book "Mary Poppins" into a movie.


Bruce Dern plays an alcoholic who, along with his estranged son (Will Forte), travels to Nebraska to collect his sweepstakes winnings in the new comedic drama from director Alexander Payne ("Sideways," "The Descendants").

White Christmas

The Circle Cinema, using its restored pipe organ, stages a one-week run of the beloved No. 1 box-office film of 1954, matching Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye with Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.

Dec. 25

August: Osage County

One of the most highly anticipated films for Oklahomans in many years arrives with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts heading an all-star cast, bringing to life a film based on Tulsa native Tracy Letts' award-winning play about what happens when the deeply dysfunctional Weston family gathers together.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a New York stockbroker pushed to work with authorities on a massive securities fraud case involving Wall Street corruption and mob connections. Martin Scorsese directs an all-star cast.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller stars in a remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye fantasy about a meek fellow whose constant daydreaming of fantastic adventures leads to an opportunity to make them come to life, and perhaps make the girl of his dreams (Kristen Wiig) notice him.

47 Ronin

"A band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun." Starring Keanu Reeves. You can't make this stuff up.

Grudge Match

Two rival boxers are looking to settle a score, and they're going to do it in the ring. The bad news: the boxers are Robert De Niro, 70, and Sylvester Stallone, 67. Jake LaMotta and the Italian Stallion this ain't.


So many Beliebers saw the 2011 documentary "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" that they made possible a second documentary about the pop star, just in time for Christmas.

Jan. 3

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Perhaps you shouldn't think of this as "Paranormal Activity 5," because it's a spinoff of some type with a largely Hispanic cast. As usual with these films, that's all the information available for now.

Jan. 10


Joaquin Phoenix plays a man with a broken heart whose life brightens when his computer upgrade comes with an artificially intelligent operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) with whom he falls in love.

Lone Survivor

Marcus Luttrell (played by Mark Wahlberg) was the only member of Navy SEAL Team 10 to survive the failed 2005 mission "Operation Red Wings," which was given the mission of eliminating Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. This is their courageous story.


The Book Thief

Based on the best-seller, "The Book Thief" is set during World War II and details a young girl's life in Nazi Germany with her beloved books, her foster parents and a refugee who is hiding inside their home.


Judi Dench stars as a woman who goes in search of the child whom she was forced to give up decades earlier, with a writer (Steve Coogan) in tow for her journey.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

From his childhood to his becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa, the life of Nelson Mandela is dramatized with Idris Elba in the lead role playing the anti-apartheid activist.

Inside Llewyn Davis

It's a black-and-white picture about a singer-songwriter (Oscar Isaac) in the middle of the Greenwich Village folk-music scene in the 1960s, which is a curiosity. It's also a Coen brothers film co-starring Carey Mulligan, John Goodman and Justin Timberlake, so we're even more curious.

Michael Smith 918-581-8479


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