Our Holiday Box-Office Preview Has Heavy Hitters

There is a little bit of something for everyone coming out in December.  Hororr, comedies, sci-fi and dramas. Check out our newly updated list of holiday films along with a hype grade for each.

 

 

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Release Date: December 18, 2015

Synopsis: Thirty years after defeating the Galactic Empire, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his allies face a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his army of Stormtroopers.

With tons of buzz generated around the new JJ Abraham’s installment of the classic franchise it appears it will certainly live up to the hype. I am most excited by the fact they returned to practical effects and a style that mimics the original franchise.

Hype Grade: A+

 


 

THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Release Date: December 25, 2015

Synopsis: While racing toward the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) encounter another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and a man who claims to be a sheriff. Hoping to find shelter from a blizzard, the group travels to a stagecoach stopover located on a mountain pass. Greeted there by four strangers, the eight travelers soon learn that they may not make it to their destination after all.

This will mark the return of Kurt Russell in a major film role. He had brief cameo type appearances in recent films like Furious 7 but was not the featured player. I’ve been a huge fan of Russell and his classic roles in The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China and Escape From New York. To say I’m excited to see him back on top is an understatement.

Hype Grade: B+

 


 

SISTERS
Release Date: December 18, 2015

Synopsis: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reunite for Sisters, a new film from Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore about two disconnected sisters summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates, which turns into the cathartic rager that a bunch of ground-down adults really need.

Hype Grade: B

 


 

LEGEND
Release Date: December 11, 2015

Synopsis: From Academy Award® winner Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) comes the true story of the rise and fall of London’s most notorious gangsters, Reggie and Ron Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in an amazing double performance. Legend is a classic crime thriller taking us into the secret history of the 1960s and the extraordinary events that secured the infamy of the Kray twins.

Hype Grade: B

 

 


 

THE REVENANT
Release Date: December 25, 2015

Synopsis: While exploring the uncharted wilderness in the 1800s, legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) sustains injuries from a brutal bear attack. When his hunting team leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back home to his beloved family. Grief-stricken and fueled by vengeance, Glass treks through the wintry terrain to track down John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the former confidant who betrayed and abandoned him.

There has been several behind-the-scene stories about the making of this film that sound bat-shit crazy. It could add to the lore surrounding the film all the way to the Oscars. This is the follow-up film for Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Hype Grade: A

 


 

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA
Release Date: December 11, 2015

Synopsis: Oscar winner Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) directs the action adventure “In the Heart of the Sea,” based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling book about the dramatic true journey of the Essex.

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story.

“In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

“In the Heart of the Sea” stars Chris Hemsworth (“The Avengers,” “Rush”) as the vessel’s veteran first mate Owen Chase; Benjamin Walker (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”) as its inexperienced Captain, George Pollard; Cillian Murphy (“The Dark Knight Rises”) as second mate Matthew Joy; and Ben Whishaw (“Skyfall”) as novelist Herman Melville, whose inquiries into the event 30 years later helped bring the story to light.

Tom Holland (“The Impossible”) also stars as young seaman Tom Nickerson, and Brendan Gleeson (“Edge of Tomorrow”) as the same man, 30 years later. Spanish actor Jordi Mollà (“Riddick”) is the captain of another ship, the Archimedes, who tries to warn the Essex of what may lie ahead.

Howard directed from a screenplay by Charles Leavitt (“Blood Diamond”), story by Charles Leavitt and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”), based on the book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick, winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Hype Grade: C

 


 

 

THE BIG SHORT
Release Date:
December 21, 2015

Synopsis: When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything. Based on the true story and best-selling book by Michael Lewis (The Blind Side, Moneyball), and directed by Adam Mckay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) The Big Short stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.

Hype Grade: B+

 

 


 

KRAMPUS
Release Date:
December 21, 2015

Synopsis: Legendary Pictures’ Krampus, a darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul, reveals an irreverently twisted side to the holiday. When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers.

All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

The horror-comedy also stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Stefania Lavie Owen and Krista Stadler.

Hype Grade: B+

 


 

 

POINT BREAK (2015)
Release Date:
December 25, 2015

Synopsis: In Alcon Entertainment’s fast-paced, high-adrenaline action thriller “Point Break,” a young FBI agent, Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), infiltrates a cunning team of thrill-seeking elite athletes – led by the charismatic Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez). The athletes are suspected of carrying out a spate of crimes in extremely unusual ways.

Deep undercover, and with his life in imminent danger, Utah strives to prove they are the architects of this string of inconceivable crimes.

Hype Grade: C

 


 

JOY
Release Date:
December 25, 2015

Synopsis: Acclaimed filmmaker and grade A asshole David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle”) re-teams with Jennifer Lawrence in JOY.  Inspired by a true story, the film captures the emotionally compelling journey of a woman who is fiercely determined to keep her eccentric and dysfunctional family together in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.  Driven by necessity, ingenuity anda lifelong dream, Joy ultimately triumphs as the founder and matriarch of a billion dollar empire, transforming her life and that of her family.

Hype Grade: B+


 

CONCUSSION
Release Date:
December 25, 2015

Synopsis: Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world.

Hype Grade: C-

 

 


 

DADDY’S HOME
Release Date:
December 25, 2015

Synopsis: A mild-mannered radio executive strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children, but complications ensue when their freewheeling and freeloading real father arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids.

Hype Grade: B

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