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For Your Entertainment: New movies ripe for the picking hit theatres just in time for holidays

November 21, 2014

Fresh in time for the holiday season when we have more free time, the movie industry has its latest and greatest pictures for us to consider. Netflix has carved out quite a niche but for those who enjoy the experience of sitting back in a cushy chair, the smell of popcorn saturating the air and watching new and familiar faces on a giant silver screen, here is a list of movies coming this holiday season.

Mockingjay, Part 1: It’s been hard to ignore the hilarious powerhouse known as Jennifer Lawrence, and with great likeability comes great blockbusters like Mockingjay, Part 1, in theaters today. A second sequel to The Hunger Games and based on the novels by Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay finds Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) as the face of the newly revived revolution in the fictional nation of Panem. The film picks up from the end of Catching Fire, when Katniss was rescued from the Hunger Games death arena by an undercover resistance group. With big explosions and a stellar cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Natalie Dormer and the final performance of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the film is sure to chill bones and whet appetites for the big finale, Mockingjay Part 2, slated for next November.

Horrible Bosses 2: The trend of sequels filling our slates continues with a sequel to the 2011 unexpected comedy hit. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Anniston and Kevin Spacey reprise their roles and are joined by some new faces like Christoph Waltz. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 14 percent and the plot looks about as stupid as the first one’s, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another hit comedy. I know I didn’t expect the first to be as “horribly” funny, and going off of the previews, plus the retention of the original cast, it looks like the brand of stupid humor (largely perfected by Day but Sudeikis and Bateman pull their own) could just pull off another box office surprise. It rolls into theaters on Nov. 26.

Wild – Based on Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir, “Wild” has Reese Witherspoon play Strayed, who solo-hiked the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail with just a backpack after her marriage dissolved and the death of her mother (played by Laura Dern). The screenplay was adapted from the novel by Nick Hornby, an author himself who is adapting his novel “About a Boy” into a television series of the same name, and director Jean-Marc Vallée is the same man who brought the Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club to the big screen. Witherspoon has kept slightly under the radar in recent years but has dug into meatier roles than her famous romantic comedy roles like “Legally Blonde,” so it should be worth a look to see how she portrays Strayed, who had no outdoor experience prior to her hike. “Wild” comes on Dec. 5.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies: The list wouldn’t be complete without Peter Jackson’s final installment in this prequel to his famous Lord of the Rings movies. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and company (including Orlando Bloom reprising his breakout role of Legolas from the “Rings” series released 15 years ago) must go to war against the terrifying dragon, Smaug, while good-ole reliable bad guy Sauron sends legions of Orcs to attack the Lonely Mountain. Freeman brings a certain charm to his role as Bilbo and his chemistry with the rest of the cast, including the unshakeable Ian McKellen, carried the first two films even when the incredibly lengthy installments dragged. Jackson stated that this film is his favorite Hobbit movie and it shows, with a run time of well over two hours. This last foray comes into theaters on Dec. 17.

Into the Woods – This quirky musical adapted from Stephen Sondheim’s critically acclaimed Broadway play stars multiple-Oscar winning actress Meryl Streep as a witch who curses a baker and his wife while teaching lessons to familiar characters from Grimm fairytales. Rob Marshall directs this Tim Burton-esque flick and Streep is joined by well-known faces like Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, Chirs Pine as Cinderella’s Prince, Johnny Depp as The Wolf (in his second Sondheim adaptation after 2007’s “Sweeney Todd”) and Christine Baranski as Cinderella’s Stepmother. Anyone who is down for fairytales, musicals or Streep and Depp should count this as a must-see. It breezes into cinemas on Christmas Day.

Cassie Burton
Courier Editor in Chief

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