Thursday, December 4, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Year In Film 2014, Episode XI

December is a packed month as the big push for Awards Season enters its big shove. Here are the notable films for the final month of the year. 

It all hits the road with….

WILD – Reese Witherspoon (WALK THE LINE) stars in this true-story about a woman who hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Coast Trail alone to cope with loss. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB). 

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS – Sir Ridley Scott (GLADIATOR) brings his version of the Bible story to the big screen. Christian Bale (THE DARK KNIGHT) is Moses, and Joel Edgerton (WARRIOR) is Ramses. Co-stars Aaron Paul, John Turturro, and Sigourney Weaver. 

INHERENT VICE – Paul Thomas Anderson (THERE WILL BE BLOOD) adapts the novel of the same name in which a stoner/private detective (Joaquin Phoenix) investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. Co-stars Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, and Martin Short. 

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES – Peter Jackson (THE LORD OF THE RINGS) brings the Middle-Earth saga to a close. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, and Richard Armitage return. 

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB – Ben Stiller and the late great Robin Williams return for a third adventure. Shawn Levy, who directed the first two films, also returns. 

ANNIE – This latest big-screen version of the beloved musical stars Jamie Foxx as the Daddy Warbucks stand-in, and Quvenzhane Wallis (BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD) is Annie. Co-stars Cameron Diaz and Rose Byrne. 

MR. TURNER – Timothy Spall (Wormtail from HARRY POTTER) stars in this biopic of famed British painter JMW Turner. 

THE GAMBLER – This remake of the 1974 film stars Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, John Goodman, and Jessica Lange. Directed by Rupert Wyatt (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES). 

INTO THE WOODS – This Disney production is an adaptation of the famed Stephen Sondheim musical. Stars Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Lilla Crawford, Tracey Ullman, and Johnny Depp. Directed by Rob Marshall (CHICAGO). 

UNBROKEN – Angelina Jolie directs this true story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini; an Olympic athlete who in WWII spent two years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Stars Jack O’Connell, Garrett Hedlund, and Domhnall Gleeson. 

STILL ALICE - In this emotional powerhouse, Julianne Moore stars as a mother diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Co-stars Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth. 

BIG EYES – Tim Burton (BEETLEJUICE), returns to the world of the living in this true story about artist Margaret Keane, whose work was fraudulently claimed by her husband. Stars Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Terence Stamp, and Jason Schwartzman. 

AMERICAN SNIPER – Clint Eastwood is back behind the camera in this biographical film about Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. Stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. 

SELMA – David Oyelowo stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and he is joined by an ensemble cast which includes Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Strong, Dylan Baker, and Martin Sheen. 


Next month, Episode I looks at the first month of 2015. 

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