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Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Dirty Grandpa, The Hateful Eight and More in This Week's MPAA Bulletin

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 12/02/15 at 11:13 AM CT

Even though Thanksgiving has come and gone, it looks like Hollywood is still being really generous. There is a simply massive influx of ratings this time around, including my most anticipated movie of the year - along with several other high profile films coming out in the near future. This includes the latest from Tarantino and the Coen Brothers as well as the latest rude and crude comedy that looks to find success among the Neighbors crowd. We'll see if December continues to bring us such a bounty, but for now there is plenty to take in.

MPAA Official Logo

In no uncertain terms, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is going to be the biggest film of the year. Despite its December release date (not known for the biggest blockbusters), I have no doubt this is going to open as not just the biggest December opening of all time, - but, quite possibly, the biggest opening of all time period. My anticipation level is off the charts (I was able to score opening night tickets - not the first show, but I'm still ecstatic) and, for once, they have done an excellent job of rolling out trailers and TV spots that gives you just the right amount of information and teases without spilling all the beans. There are certain movies I look forward to watching, but this is the first time in a long time I have felt this strongly about experiencing a film. Sure, it could all go sideways and turn out just wrong but in my heart of hearts I hope beyond hope this restores Star Wars to its former glory - seeing as we have a bunch more films on the way, it better. This becomes the second Star Wars film (after Revenge of The Sith) to score a PG-13 rating - for sci-fi action violence - we'll see if that spells a more adult take on the classic series.

Okay, okay, I got my fanboy excitement out of the way, but that doesn't mean there isn't even more to celebrate. While Star Wars is a big passion of mine, I'm also a fan of Quentin Tarantino. Some people are turned off by the director, but I've always enjoyed his films - especially his dialogue and choice of music. Thus I am also looking very much forward to The Hateful Eight. For a time, there was a good chance this movie was never going to get made after a script was leaked and Tarantino just up an cancelled the whole thing. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and we now get this claustrophobic western about a group of ne'er-do-wells trapped in building during a Wyoming blizzard. Some familiar faces show up (Tim Roth, ZoŽ Bell, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins and, of course, Samuel L. Jackson) joined by some new players: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir and Channing Tatum. I have high hopes for this one - even Tarantino's more disappointing efforts are often still better than most stander films. Consider this one on my radar and, surprise, surprise, the film gets an R rating for strong bloody violence, a scene of violent sexual content, language and some graphic nudity.

Joel and Ethan Coen have delivered some of the most offbeat comedies and some of the darkest dramas over a good 30-year career. While not every film has been a knockout, more often than not pretty impressive. Their next film is going to be part comedy part drama and even part musical following a bumbling star (George Clooney) in the Golden Age of Hollywood, Hail, Caesar!. The film has an outstanding supporting cast - Josh Brolin as the fixer trying to rescue the star, Tilda Swinton as Hedda Hopper, a blond Channing Tatum along with Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, David Krumholtz, Frances McDormand, Clancy Brown, Emily Beecham and Fisher Stevens. Based on that lineup, the film is pretty much guaranteed to be exceptional. Coming out next February, Hail, Caesar! earns a PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking.

Following in the long line of rude and crude comedies, director Dan Mazar hopes to follow the stops such as the likes of Paul Feig, Nicholas Stoller, Todd Phillips and Judd Apatow with his Dirty Grandpa. The film follows an uptight soon-to-be groom (Zac Efron) as finds himself on an unwilling road trip with his salty grandfather (Robert De Niro) to Florida for Spring Break. It looks like raunchy fun at its finest - it comes out at the end of January, we'll see if audiences are ready to laugh by then. Dirty Grandpa nabs an R for crude sexual content throughout, graphic nudity, and for language and drug use.

On to more courageous stuff, we have the based-on-a-true story rescue mission as the Coast Guard braves a massive blizzard off of Cape Cod to rescue as many people following a collision of two oil tankers. The film will truly live up to its title, The Finest Hours. This is the kind of heroic films that calls for heroic men - and thus we have Chris Pine, Eric Bana, Casey Affleck and Ben Foster all showing some true grit on the high (frozen) seas. Now, I admit, the film looks pretty intense - and this also comes out at the end of January, so we may be looking at humor vs. drama. The Finest Hours earns a PG-13 for intense sequences of peril.

Finally, we have How to Be Single. Clearly going after the Valentine's Day crowd (coming out on February 12th), the film follows a group of New York men and women learning there is a right and wrong way to be single. As far as I'm concerned, romantic comedies are the bane of film - but a lot of people seem to like them. But the audience that supports them is also quite fickle - we'll see if the likes of Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson, Leslie Mann, Alison Brie, Jason Mantzoukas, Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Lacy and Anders Holm are enough to convince them to show up. How to Be Single earns an R for sexual content and strong language throughout.

Whew - now that's a big update! The full bulletin is below:

411

Rated R for brief violence.


BACKTRACK

Rated R for violence, disturbing images and language.


DIRTY GRANDPA

Rated R for crude sexual content throughout, graphic nudity, and for language and drug use.


THE FINEST HOURS

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of peril.


HAIL, CAESAR!

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking.


THE HATEFUL EIGHT

Rated R for strong bloody violence, a scene of violent sexual content, language and some graphic nudity.


HONEYGLUE

Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug content.


HOW TO BE SINGLE

Rated R for sexual content and strong language throughout.


JERUZALEM

Rated R for horror violence, language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and brief drug use.


ROMANTIC SCHEMER

Rated PG-13 for suggestive content, innuendo and partial nudity.


STAR WARS: EPISODE VII - THE FORCE AWAKENS

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.


THE VEIL

Rated R for violence, disturbing images, and language.


WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT

Rated PG for thematic elements, brief disturbing images and some language.

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