The stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a goldmine of incredible filmmaking and predictable box office flops. With the Oscar race officially started, actors have begun to hunt for awards and screen writers have started to reach for their breakthrough. Whether you like fantasy or harsh reality, this holiday season offers something for every person willing to pay an arm and a leg for popcorn.
“The Theory of Everything”
Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones
In theaters November 26 (PG-13)
The love story of young Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde, “The Theory of Everything” has been called ‘tasteful and affecting’. Half biopic and half love story, the film deals with Hawking’s fight against motor neuron disease which has rendered him unable to speak. At the same time, it tells the story of his engagement to his wife, their wedding, and their struggle to deal with his condition.It also features David Thewlis, who played Remus Lupin in the “Harry Potter” movies. Redmayne is already being suggested for an Academy Award, and Felicity Jones was praised for her performance.
“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”
Starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Rebel Wilson and Owen Wilson
In theaters December 19 (PG)
The third Night at the Museum movie goes international, with the nocturnal contents of the Museum of Natural History heading across the pond to the British Museum. In their rush to stop all the animals and figurines from freezing forever, the gang teams up with Sir Lancelot (Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens) and a rude security guard (Rebel Wilson). And of course, the movie reminds us just how funny Robin Williams will always be.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage
In theaters December 19 (PG-13)
The eagerly anticipated conclusion to the Hobbit Trilogy is set to release this week, and fans everywhere are waiting to see how director Peter Jackson will manage to fill three hours with two book chapters. With the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) on a terror spree above Lake Town, the 13 dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo are going to need to rely heavily on their elf friends (Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly) and of course, that pesky Ring in Bilbo’s pocket.
“The Imitation Game”
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley
In theaters December 25 (PG-13)
Like The Theory of Everything, this Oscar-hunting biopic tells the story of another bad-at-relationships genius, in this case British code-breaker Alan Turing (Cumberbatch). During World War II, he and three other scientists (Matthew Goode, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard) set out to break the Nazi code Enigma. In an era when homosexuality was a crime, Turing tries to conceal his true self by his engagement to Knightley, the character whose job it is to prove women’s equality to men. And of course, because his life wasn’t hard enough already, Turing is accused of being a Soviet spy. Imitation Game has already gotten rave reviews, and will certainly make a profit.
Starring James Franco, Seth Rogen and Lizzy Caplan
In theaters December 25 (R)
A popular tabloid host and his producer manage to score an interview with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea (Randall Park). Kim Jong-un is a huge fan of the show, and this is the opportunity they’ve been waiting for to become legitimate journalists. But of course there’s a catch, and it comes in the form of the CIA. With North Korea being a significant threat to the United States, Agent Lacy (Caplan, who played Janis Ian in Mean Girls) recruits the two incompetent media hogs to assassinate Kim (as his friends call him).
Bonus Points: The screenwriter is GFS alum Dan Sterling ’89!