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New in Theaters Dec. 24: 47 Ronin, Wolf of Wall Street, Walter Mitty, Grudge Match, Bieber's Believe

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By Chris Kavan - 12/24/13 at 04:00 PM CT

Ho-ho-holy end of year rush, Batman! Why does Hollywood wait until the last minute to release so many movies? I see some of these as being potential Awards contenders, but some of the others.... really? Anyway - audiences won't have to want for much this Christmas as there is comedy, action, drama and... Justin Bieber - something for everyone! But there are always going to be winners and losers - and with so much new (and so much good left over) there is only going to be room for a few at the top.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET For a long time there was speculation at just when Martin Scorsese was going to unleash this wolf on audiences. With a stellar cast featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Jean Dujardin, Jon Bernthal and Jon Favreau (along with relative newcomer Margot Robbie) - I was hooked about seeing this the moment the first trailer dropped. Plus, the story is timely - as we are still dealing with the economic fallout from people like the (true life Jordan Belfort) - of which the story is based. It's about living the high life - and the fall that accompanies it when you eventually go corrupt. The only drawback to this film making more than it should is 1) is targeted at a strictly adult audience and 2) its nearly 3-hour run time. People are willing to spend that time with Hobbits and Dragons - but a bunch of smarmy rich people? Scorsese may be asking a bit much. Still, I think this looks like an absolute knockout (even if the awards talk has been tepid) and I'm looking forward to this one.


THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Directed and starring Ben Stiller, this is based on the novel of the same name. Essentially in this version Walter Mitty works for Life magazine (which, according the trailer) is publishing their final issue. Mitty's regular life is boring - and he is prone to flights of fantasy where he is the hero - and he harbors a secret love for co-worker Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig). When the photo they need for the cover comes up missing, Mitty goes on a real-life adventure to track down award-winning photographer Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn) to track it down. I have to admit, the more I watch the trailers, the more appealing this film is to me. It is also a family-friendly option and it really looks like a feel-good movie - perfect for the holidays. Stiller has had his ups and downs - so it remains to be seen whether audiences embrace this one, but with so much heart - how can you go wrong? Personally, I might wait to watch this one at home, but the fact I want to watch it at all means they have done the job right.


47 RONIN Keanu Reeves pet project essentially looks like an East Asian version of 300 - substituting slow-motion abs and Gladius swords with slow-moving samurai swords - both movies look to have their share of monsters ans mutants to go around, however. It's way to hard to say whether this is going to appeal to male audiences or totally bomb out. I have to admit, it does look quite entertaining - but I don't know why they waited until now to release it. It has been pushed back a few times (this one screams "summer action"), so it won't help the bottom line any. Plus, personal projects don't always work out for the better, but this is yet another one I would be willing to watch... from the comfort of home at least.


GRUDGE MATCH It hasn't been a great year for the AARP action crowd - movie after movie has fallen short of expectations. But this isn't an action film - it's a comedy - so things are bound to be better... right? Well, with the exception of Kevin Hart - this is looking like yet another geriatric misfire. Sure it will be nice watching Sylvester Stallone throwdown in the ring with Robert De Niro... but it would have been a lot better about 30 years ago. I don't care how you spin it - I just don't see the appeal. This is not Rocky vs. Raging Bull - it's more of a nostalgic embarrassment. I guess for a certain group of peoples this might be the right film - but it has to be a pretty slim number. Eh, I could be wrong and this will climb the box office charts, but I have a feeling it will be more like Bullet to the Head than anything else this year


JUSTIN BIEBER'S BELIEVE Really? Who the hell asked for another documentary on this twerp? I swear, if this makes it into the top five, I will weep for humanity. If you like his music - more power to you (also, you have terrible taste in music) but please, don't support him anymore than need be - or else we'll have to suffer through one of these documentaries until he's old enough to know better (or just goes away... please go away). If you can't tell - I'm not a Belieber and never will be. Now a documentary on Miley Cyrus and the many uses of twerking...


If that wasn't enough - we also have the limited release openings of the family drama August: Osage County, the biopic of Charles Dickens and his secret lover Invisible Woman and the harrowing war tale Lone Survivor (which opens wide in January). So all told - there's a lot of meat out there - but only so much you can savor. Audiences are going to have to choose and it will be interesting to see where the chips fall after the long Christmas holiday. See you this Sunday with the results.

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Chris

Wrote on 12/27/13 at 02:19 PM CT

47 Ronin is looking to be one of the worst releases (in terms of gross vs. cost) of the year - I thought it looked kind of bad, but not "worst movie of the year" bad. It really should have been a summer movie - even Grudge Match probably would have been better off earlier in the year. Hopefully Bieber really is retired - good riddance!

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smeagol

Wrote on 12/27/13 at 01:16 PM CT

haha great write up about bieber couldn't of said it better myself
I think the wolf on wall street will do well I am looking forward to seeing it every review seems to agree its up there as one of the best.. ,though47 Ronin and grudge match will struggle. which is a shame as they are both made with good heart i think. but its a bad move to release them now.

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