News Column

Winter movie preview: 58 hot films for the cold season

December 5, 2013

YellowBrix

Dec. 05--The winter months mean two things: lots of Oscar-bait films from the likes of Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio, and lots of ... shall we say, lower-quality films (or, at best, guilty pleasures) in the first two months of the new year, such as a Frankenstein flick from the makers of "Underworld."

Here are 58 new films that you might want to check out during this winter season:

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Get back on the path with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and crew as they take on the dragon Smaug. You know the drill: lots of walking, lots of grave danger and just one precious ring.

'Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas'

Madea is up to her usual antics over the holidays. Also starring Larry the Cable Guy, in case you weren't already geared up for the film. (Dec. 13)

'Saving Mr. Banks'

Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney in this based-on-a-true-story about the visionary's struggle to get P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the creator of Mary Poppins, to agree to let the movie studio make a film of her character. (Dec. 13)

'American Hustle'

"Silver Linings Playbook" director David O. Russell returns with this drama about a con man and his partner who are drawn into working with an FBI agent, in a film inspired by the Abscam scandal in the late 1970s-early '80s. Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence. (Dec. 13)

'Here Comes the Devil'

A couple's kids go missing during a family trip to Tijuana. When they show up again, there's something clearly sinister. In Spanish with subtitles. (Dec. 13)

'Hours'

The late Paul Walker plays a father working to keep his newborn daughter safe during Hurricane Katrina. (Dec. 13)

'Some Velvet Morning'

Often-controversial director Neil LaBute ("In The Company of Men," "The Shape of Things") enlists Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve for this film about a man, his mistress and their complex relationship. (Dec. 13)

'Her'

Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation") writes and directs this sure-to- be-quirky sci-fi rom-com about a writer (Joaquin Phoenix) and his relationship with his computer operating system, built to meet his needs. Also starring Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde. (Dec. 18)

'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

Ron Burgundy and his news team head to New York City for a gig at a 24-hour news channel. It's a sequel, so keep your expectations in check. (Dec. 18)

'Walking With Dinosaurs 3D'

A runt dinosaur grows up to become a hero in this animated coming-of-age story. Featuring the voices of Justin Long and John Leguizamo. In 3-D, of course. (Dec. 20)

'The Past'

An Iranian husband returns to France to grant his French wife a divorce. Things only get more complex from there. Starring Berenice Bejo ("The Artist"). In French with subtitles. (Dec. 20)

'47 Ronin'

Keanu Reeves stars as a half- Japanese, half-British outcast in this revenge flick set in Japan, about a group of samurai who are out to avenge the death of their master. (Dec. 25)

'August: Osage County'

The Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the women of a dysfunctional Oklahoma family hits the big screen with an all-star cast of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch and Dermot Mulroney. (Dec. 25)

'Justin Bieber's Believe'

Remember that little kid singer people used to like before he got all violent and gross? Here's his new movie. (Dec. 25)

'Grudge Match'

Could it be Rocky Balboa vs. Jake LaMotta? No, but Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro star as a pair of old boxing legends brought out of retirement for one last match. Comedy! Also starring Kim Basinger, Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin. (Dec. 25)

'The Invisible Woman'

Ralph Fiennes, who also directs here, plays Charles Dickens in this film about the writer's younger secret lover (Felicity Jones). (Dec. 25)

'Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

Ben Stiller directs and stars in this new adaptation of the classic James Thurber story about a daydreamer and his vivid imagination. Also starring Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt and Adam Scott. (Dec. 25)

'The Wolf of Wall Street'

From director Martin Scorsese comes this film, based on a true story, about Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), a stockbroker befallen to illicit behavior. Also starring Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau and Kyle Chandler. (Dec. 25)

'Lone Survivor'

Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster and Eric Bana headline this film telling the true story of "Operation Red Wings" in 2005, in which a SEAL team was sent to capture or kill a Taliban leader. Spoiler alert: We won't tell you how many people survive the mission; you'll just have to see the film. (Dec. 27)

'One Chance'

Tony winner James Corden (for "One Man, Two Guvnors") stars as a blue-collar worker with a talent for singing opera who wins "Britain's Got Talent." Oddly, the trailer never shows him singing. From "The Devil Wears Prada" director David Frankel. (Dec. 27)

'The Railway Man'

A man victimized during World War II seeks revenge against the people who tortured him. Starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. (Jan. 1)

'Beyond Outrage'

Hit Japanese writer-director Takeshi Kitano follows up his 2010 yakuza thriller. (Jan. 3)

'Open Grave'

A group of amnesiacs wake up and have to figure out what caused all the dead bodies around them. (Jan. 3)

'Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones'

More activities of the paranormal kind. When a guy pulled a long string out of his eye, I kind of stopped watching the trailer. (Jan. 3)

'Dumbbells'

A gross-out comedy about a one-time basketball star who now works at a gym. Lots of Fabio in the trailer. (Jan. 10)

'The Truth About Emanuel'

The title girl offers to baby-sit for her neighbor's baby and becomes obsessed with the neighbor who looks a lot like her dead mother. Starring Jessica Biel, Kaya Scodelario and Alfred Molina. (Jan. 10)

'Hercules: The Legend Begins'

"Twilight" star Kellen Lutz plays the Greek demigod in this epic directed by Renny Harlin ("Die Hard 2"). (Jan. 10)

'The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box'

This pulpy flick feels like it's the disciple of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" -- and that's not a compliment. The adventure film follows the search for an incredibly powerful box. Starring Michael Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill and Ioan Gruffudd. (Jan. 10)

'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit'

Chris Pine takes over the role of Jack Ryan in the latest installment of the Tom Clancy action franchise. Here the CIA analyst is trying to stop a Russian terrorist attack. Also starring Keira Knightley and Kevin Costner. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. (Jan. 17)

'Ride Along'

A security guard (Kevin Hart) goes on a ride along with his girlfriend's cop brother (Ice Cube) to get his blessing to marry her. From director Tim Story. (Jan. 17)

'Gloria'

An older woman gets into a relationship with a former Navy officer who is not as divorced as she'd like. (Jan. 17)

'Devil's Due'

A couple has an evil baby! Oh, the horror! (Jan. 17)

'The Nut Job'

A pack of squirrels try to rob a nut shop in this animated flick. Featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson and Katherine Heigl. (Jan. 17)

'Jamesy Boy'

A gang member (Spencer Lofranco) gets his life in order while in prison with the help of a convicted murderer (Ving Rhames). Also starring James Woods. (Jan. 17)

'I, Frankenstein'

Aaron Eckhart plays a very different Frankenstein -- one who has lived for a few hundred years and now passes for a regular guy -- in this thriller from the producers of the "Underworld" movies. (Jan. 24)

'Gimme Shelter'

Based on a true story, a teen goes in search of her father, who works on Wall Street, and has to endure many hardships on her journey. Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson and Brendan Fraser. (Jan. 24)

'That Awkward Moment'

Three pals deal with relationships in their own unique, allegedly comical way. Starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller. (Jan. 31)

'Labor Day'

Not one of those sappy, stunt-cased holiday movies like "New Year's Eve," this drama from writer-director Jason Reitman ("Thank You For Smoking") follows a single mom and her son who help an escaped convict, who then becomes a part of their lives. Starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. (Jan. 31)

'At Middleton'

When taking their respective kids on a college tour, George (Andy Garcia) and Edith (Vera Farmiga) go on "tour hooky" and find love. (Jan. 31)

'Best Night Ever'

This found-footage comedy follows the supremely tired premise of a woman about to get married having a wild time in Las Vegas before the big day. From the makers of "Paranormal Activity" and "Insidious." (Jan. 31)

'The LEGO Movie'

In this animated film, set in the blocky world of the popular building toy, a regular guy finds out that he is the most important person in the universe and has to save the world from Lord Business. Supporting cast includes Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Featuring the voice work of Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman and tons of other awesome people. Now that's how you build a movie! Sorry for that. (Feb. 7)

'The Monuments Men'

From writer-director-star George Clooney comes this film about World War II soldiers who are out to rescue artwork stolen by Nazis. Based on a true story, and featuring an awesome cast of Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban and Jean Dujardin. (Feb. 7)

'Back in the Day'

"Smallville" star Michael Rosenbaum writes, stars, directs and even writes the imdb.com summary of this comedy about a guy heading back home for his high school reunion, and the havoc that he and his boys cause. Also starring Nick Swardson, Harland Williams and Morena Baccarin. (Feb. 7)

'Nurse 3D'

Nurse by day, killer of unfaithful men by night. You know, in 3-D. Starring Paz de la Huerta, Katrina Bowden and Corbin Blue. (Feb. 7)

'RoboCop'

Joel Kinnaman ("The Killing") stars as the title mechanized law enforcement agent in this remake of the violent 1980s sci-fi film. Also starring Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson. (Feb. 12)

'About Last Night'

Follow two couples as they maneuver their respective relationships. Starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall and Joy Bryant. (Feb. 14)

'Vampire Academy'

Things go awry at a school for vampires that will likely appeal to "Twilight" fans. (Feb. 14)

'Endless Love'

A young couple are in a relationship while their parents try to stop them. Starring Gabriella Wilde, Alex Pettyfer and Bruce Greenwood. (Feb. 14)

'Winter's Tale'

Colin Farrell plays a robber who breaks into a fancy Upper West Side mansion, where he finds a dying woman whom he falls in love with. Then we're in the future and I'm not sure what happened. It's adapted from a critically acclaimed 1983 novel by Mark Helprin. Also starring Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe and Jessica Brown Findlay. (Feb. 14)

'Jimmy P.'

Director Arnaud Desplechin was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year for this drama starring Benicio Del Toro and based on the book "Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian." (Feb. 14)

'In Secret'

In this 1860s period piece set in Paris, a young woman, forced to marry her cousin, pines for her husband's pal. Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Lange. (Feb. 21)

'Pompeii'

From director Paul W.S. Anderson ("Mortal Kombat," "AVP: Alien vs. Predator" and three "Resident Evil" movies) comes this action thriller about the devastating volcanic eruption that buried this Roman city. Starring Kit Harington and Emily Browning. Don't expect too much historical accuracy. Just saying ... ? (Feb. 21)

'Three Days to Kill'

McG directs this thriller about a Secret Service agent who's dying, his estranged daughter, an experimental drug and a final job that likely has a lot to do with the title of the film. Starring Hailee Steinfeld and Kevin Costner. (Feb. 21)

'The Wind Rises'

From famed director Hayao Miyazaki ("Spirited Away") comes this animated biopic about Jiro Horikoshi, who was a designer of World War II fighter planes. Miyazaki says this is his final film. (Feb. 21)

'Non-Stop'

Liam Neeson plays an air marshal on a flight dealing with a killer who will murder a passenger every 20 minutes until money is transferred into the killer's bank account. But conspiracy begins to grow as the account is attached to the air marshal. Also starring Julianne Moore. (Feb. 28)

'Son of God'

The story of Jesus, with Diogo Morgado in the title role and Roma Downey as Mother Mary. (Feb. 28)

'Almanac'

A found-footage film about some teens who find plans for a time machine (DeLorean?!?). (Feb. 28)

'Repentance'

A life coach is taken hostage by a client in this thriller starring Anthony Mackie and Forest Whitaker. (Feb. 28)

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