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Upcoming Movies
by Jacob Oller

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
J.R.R Tolkien’s works exist in a complicated and expansive fictional world that can be hard to dive into.
The Lord of the Rings films held our hands throughout, gave us a nice mix of action and story, and focused on the trials of recognizable characters.
Not so for The Hobbit trilogy.
Director Peter Jackson’s conclusion to this saga will continue to be filled with interchangeable dwarves, booming noises, tons of CGI fighting, and one grumpy dragon.
Release: December 17, 2014
Rated: PG-13

Exodus: Gods and Kings
Director Ridley Scott does things BIG such as Gladiator, Blackhawk Down and Alien. What happens when someone with this pedigree gets ahold of a biblical epic?
When Moses rises up against Ramses to free his people, the plagues should be rendered exciting and glorious on the big screen.
Interesting how none of the starring actors look even slightly Egyptian, but I’m sure they’ll fix that with CGI, right? Biblical cinema has never been big on accuracy to source material.
At worst, mindless fun with a full budget spent to illustrate God’s wrath.
Release Date: December 12, 2014
Rated: PG-13

Into the Woods
A star-studded Disney fairy tale? Sounds like the perfect feel-good Christmas movie.
With a witch, the big bad wolf, Rapunzel, and Cinderella all making appearances, this has all the makings of a family adventure with characters recognizable enough for kids – played by actors recognizable enough for adults.
Adapting these Brothers Grimm tales into a musical format is the director/choreographer for Chicago, Rob Marshall.
Paired with the veritable singing chops of stars Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick, Marshall should make Into the Woods’s music stirring – if not quite as infectious as Frozen’s “Let it Go.”
Release Date: December 25, 2014
Rated: PG

Unbroken
Directed by Angelina Jolie, written by the Coen brothers, and based on a novel authored by the writer of Seabiscuit, Unbroken is the true story of an Olympic athlete captured by Japanese forces during World War II.
Gunning for a gritty tale of struggle, overcoming obstacles and the human spirit, the movie’s heavy drama will be aiming for an Oscar.
Serious and intensely inspirational, Unbroken will provide a different kind of Christmas movie than the typical sweetness found in theaters. If you’re burned out on Disney’s treacly warmth, this may be the motivational movie for you.
Release Date: December 25, 2014
Rating: PG-13

Annie
This one’s a toss-up. On one hand, it’s a remake of one of the most beloved modern musicals.
On the other hand, the previews have given us non-jokes and cringe-inducing acting.
On a third, imaginary hand, there’s a lot of talent behind this film. There’s a chance that Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis could pull it out of the quality tailspin that affects most remakes.
Maybe Annie will overcome her hard knock life and make this a hit.
Release Date: December 19, 2014
Rating: PG

Top Five
Chris Rock’s contemplative comedy about success looks to be an entertaining entry into the comic’s collection of works.
Rock has always been an analyzer. He’ll pick apart racial politics, war, economy, childhood and now his own fictionalized life.
When someone this sharp takes on a classic story of “money not buying happiness,” something good ought to come from it.
Be on the lookout for raunchy adult humor, probably one of a few final offerings this year.
Release Date: December 12, 2014
Rating: R

Mortdecai
Johnny Depp takes a turn as a clueless mustachioed fop, taking a page from the Pink Panther series and using his witless debonair charm to solve a crime.
But how played out is this premise?
The list of characters that outmaneuver criminals through sheer lack of brain power goes on and on and on.
Does Depp really bring something to the character that can separate this from the pack?
If he brings any of his Captain Jack Sparrow charm to the role and is prepared to get a little silly, then I’d say yes.
Release Date: January 23, 2015
Rating: Likely PG-13

Taken 3
Liam Neeson is back, and like always, he’s leveraging his grumpiness into shooting bad guys.
Neeson’s fatherly pathos separates him from most action stars, and gives him built-in motivation: keep his family safe.
This time around, he’s being hunted by both sides of the law.
Being framed will do that to a guy.
The film maintains the original writer and the director of the last film, so expect to enjoy this iteration if you’ve enjoyed the series. Nothing will be shaken up too severely.
Release Date: January 9, 2015
Rating: Likely PG-13

Inherent Vice
As a sprawling 1970’s detective tale, Inherent Vice’s pulpy story will likely blend elements of dark humor with darker plot elements.
Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson looks to bring some of the same verve and free-spiritedness that he used to make Boogie Nights a three-time Oscar nominee.
Star Joaquin Phoenix once again interacts with human co-stars after his role in the robo-romance, Her.
The fact that it’s based on a typically dense Thomas Pynchon novel means this psychedelic noir may be a bit overwhelming for some, but for others the complex story and interesting cast of characters may be just what the doctor ordered.
Release Date: January 9, 2015
Rating: R

Wild
Wild is the true story of one woman’s catastrophe-driven 1,100-mile solo hike up the Pacific coast.
The director of Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club helms this adaptation of the Oprah-loved memoir, with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role.
Empowerment, loss and self-discovery are the order of the day, as Witherspoon’s mostly one-woman show seeks to move us along with her journey.
This one will tug at your heartstrings and set a fire beneath you – maybe inspiring some new goals for the upcoming year. After a thousand-mile hike, pretty much anything seems possible.
Release Date: December 5, 2014
Rating: R

Jacob Oller is an Oklahoma City-based film critic and blogger. Read more on his blog ShouldIWatchReviews.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobOller

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