Inherent Vice (December 12)
Paul Thomas Anderson hasn’t exactly blown us away with his speediness as of late; he took five years between Punch Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood, and five more before The Master. So the mere two-year break here is pretty exciting — even more so is the prospect of a reunion with Joaquin Phoenix (alongside the likes of Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Michael K. Williams, Maya Rudolph, Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Owen Wilson, and — wait for it — Martin Short) in a Long Goodbye-styled adaptation of Pynchon’s novel.
The Interview (December 25)
Look, as far as I’m concerned, we can have a This is The End-style comedy with Rogen and Franco sending themselves up once a year, with no complaints. This time, instead of skewing the apocalyptic action movie, they’re taking a crack at political thrillers, playing Hollywood idiots trying to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. The trailers look ridiculous (and uproarious), and hats off for hiring Lizzy Caplan to play the foil.
Selma (December 25)
Ava DuVernay’s The Middle of Nowhere is one of the best indies in recent memory, but it never quite found the audience it should’ve (hell, until recently, it was difficult to even see it). But no matter — it got her one of the most important pictures of the fall, a ground-level look at the marches that defined the civil rights movement. David Oyelowo playing MLK is a masterstroke, but I’d like to buy a drink for whoever cast Tim Roth as George Wallace.
Unbroken (December 25)
A film adaptation of the riveting book by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand (America’s greatest living non-fiction writer, don’tcha know) is noteworthy enough; Angelina Jolie in the director’s chair is also cause for celebration (it’s a male-driven adventure story, meaning Jolie’s already broken the confines of what is typically expected from female directors). But here’s the cherry on top: a screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen, who took a crack at it after The Fisher King’s Richard LaGravanese and Gladiator’s William Nicholson. That combination of off-kilter talents means this sounds like much more than traditional Oscar-bait.
ALSO IN DECEMBER:
Annie (December 19): So maybe we weren’t really dying for another movie version of Annie, and that Cameron Diaz performance looks… troubling. But the idea of Jamie Foxx as Daddy Warbucks is nearly as tantalizing as Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role.
Big Eyes (December 25): A compelling and possibly disturbing true story, with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in the leads (and Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, and Terrence Stamp in support). So maybe this will finally, after all these years, turn out to be a Tim Burton movie worth seeing? Hey, ’tis the season for miracles!