Christmas Movies 2013 – Guide5.12.13 # Christmas Movies # 4 Comments
Let’s have a look at the movies on wide release over Christmas 2013. There’s only one that’s (vaguely) Christmas-themed so we’ll end with some festive DVD / streaming choices from the last couple of years.
Here are the biggest and best movies of Christmas 2013.
Starring: (voices) Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad
Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
When her estranged sister uses her icy powers to trap the kingdom in eternal winter, a fearless princess (Bell) sets off on an epic journey accompanied by a rugged, thrill-seeking mountain man (Groff), his loyal pet reindeer, and a hapless snowman (Gad). Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale ‘The Snow Queen’, this has been in and out of development at Disney since the ’40s. Critics and audiences have hailed it a new Disney classic, either their best work since ‘The Lion King’ era, or on a par with ‘Tangled’/'Wreck-It Ralph’. Expect emotionally engaging family entertainment with brilliant Broadway-style songs. It’s also given Disney their biggest box office opening since ‘The Lion King’.
Starring: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark
Director: Stephen Frears
A world-weary political journalist (Coogan) picks up the story of an Irish-Catholic woman (Dench) searching for her son, who was taken by the church 50 years earlier when she became pregnant out of wedlock and was forced to live in a convent. Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, the screenplay is co-adapted by Coogan and direction comes from Stephen Frears (‘The Queen’, ‘High Fidelity’). Critics say it’s a poignant, brilliantly acted drama that should see Judi Dench Oscar-nominated.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
A week in the life of a young folk singer (Isaac) as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles – some of them of his own making. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, scaring up what work he can find, his misadventures take him from an empty Chicago club on an odyssey to audition for a music mogul (F. Murray Abraham). Don’t come here expecting to find much of a plot, this is a character study about an artist who’s too sincere to compromise and the near-inevitable disappointment that brings. The Coen Brothers are the best in the business at witty dramas – this won the Grand Prix at Cannes.
The Last Days On Mars
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai, Elias Koteas
Director: Ruairi Robinson
An eight-strong research crew based at a Mars outpost are on their last day when the discovery of a sample on the surface leads to infection – turning them one by one into deadly zombie-like creatures. The director is a first timer, and the screenwriter wrote UK cop series ‘The Bill’. The cast is sprinkled with solid actors but they’re reportedly let down by the dated, derivative script. It might appeal to someone looking for an unchallenging old-school sci-fi horror. Mars is a great setting for a movie but it’s been nearly 25 years now since they came up with a good story to go with it (‘Total Recall’).
Out Of The Furnace
Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana
Director: Scott Cooper
Russell (Bale) and his younger brother (Affleck) live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother is lured into a violent and ruthless crime ring with disastrous consequences. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother. From the director of ‘Crazy Heart’ (which won Jeff Bridges an Oscar), the great cast also includes Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe and Sam Shepard. Reviews have been mixed, with praise for Bale and Affleck and the film’s portrait of a dying way of life, while others question if the retribution story is itself too stagnant, and ordinary.
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving
Director: Peter Jackson
After crossing the Misty Mountains, Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo to fulfil his contract with the dwarves. Will they discover what has become of Gandalf? This is the second of three Hobbit movies, all of which were filmed largely back-to-back. Each has been fleshed out with details not in the novel. The final part follows same time next year. It’s still fair to expect good things, even though ‘An Unexpected Journey’ was a bit overstretched and underwhelming.