Take a look at the best films being released this holiday season.
Take the hectic out of the holidays by catching some great films. My wish-list has been successfully fulfilled this season with an array of movies guaranteed to please. So whether you're looking for something naughty or nice, the following should suffice:
"MACBETH"— Dec. 4
"A more visceral retelling of the story of the man who would be king." Essentially a good man who's nagged by his overbearing wife becomes consumed by ambition and ends up on a killing spree. And it gets gory. Perhaps, this version will draw in a younger crowd to sample a little Shakespeare. Marion Cotillard plays the missus, while the great Michael Fassbender is rumored to rock as Macbeth. Justin Kurzel directs. Expect some Oscars.
"YOUTH" — Dec. 4
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel are on top of their games portraying two aging artists pondering the ends of their careers. The retired composer and fading film director reminisce at a spa in the Swiss Alps.
"Icons playing icons" according to Rachel Weisz, who also stars. Directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
"IN THE HEART OF THE SEA"— Dec. 18
Based on the story that inspired "Moby Dick," the focus here is on how the crew attempted to survive after their ship was destroyed. The trailer looks harrowing. Ben Whishaw stars as Herman Melville, and Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Brenden Gleesen round out an impressive cast. Directed by the illustrious Ron Howard.
"STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS" — Dec. 18
Let's just quote The Donald: "HUGE." It's the seventh in the space saga, and few details are available in hopes to preserve the sense of wonder. Heroes, machines, monsters and familiar faces will fill the screen with magic. Look for Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, among some new pals and enemies. Directed by J.J. Abrams and scored by maestro extraordinaire John Williams.
"45 YEARS" — Dec. 23
The buzz: A simple film with an enormous impact. A couple is planning their 45th wedding anniversary when they receive some astonishing news. The past has come back to haunt them, and their relationship is forever altered. The film explores the concept of really knowing the person to whom one is closest. The divine Charlotte Rampling and stately Tom Courtneay star, and Andrew Haigh directs.
"THE BIG SHORT" — Dec. 23
Director Adam McKay examines the 2008 economic meltdown in this star-studded political drama. Hedge funding, subprime mortgaging and betting against the market are explained in layman terms so we can become hip to the jargon. Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Steve Carell share the credits in this energetic and absorbing piece of filmmaking.
"THE HATEFUL EIGHT" — Dec. 25
Tagline: "The Wildest Western yet." The era is "Django Unchained," but the DNA is "Reservoir Dogs." Eight shady characters become blizzard-bound in one room. Surviving the ordeal becomes a sketchy game of cat and mouse. The eight: Kurt Russsell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth and Demian Bichir. The one and only Quentin Tarantino directs. Who can resist?
"JOY" — Dec. 25
Director David O. Russell's third collaboration with Jennifer Lawrence puts her front and center. The film charts the tumultuous journey of a woman who builds a family dynasty over the course of 30 years. The director describes it as "a meditation on what the word 'joy' means." Sporting a killer cast, which includes Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper and Edgar Ramirez, for starters.
"CONCUSSION" — Dec. 25
The film is based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered that repeated blows to the head results in degenerative brain disease. Naturally, the NFL is hell bent on discrediting him — after all, they OWN a day of the week. In the trailers, it looks as though Will Smith, who portrays the brave physician, has finally come back on track. Directed by Peter Landesman and also stars Alec Baldwin.
"THE REVENANT" — Dec. 25
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass, who in the 1820s was attacked by a bear and left for dead by his so-called friends, one of whom is played by the great Tom Hardy. He vows to track them down and exact revenge for the death of his young son. Alejandro G. Inarritu directs this epic adventure, inspired by a true story. The trailer looks brutal and brilliantly shot. Inarritu never disappoints.