Weekend Movies: Dear Oscar…

The only new movie opening nationwide this weekend is a holiday horror flick. That should leave a lot of room for several limited releases to take the stage, including a few awards hopefuls.

We’re all aware of what happens to the naughty and the nice on Christmas, but do you know what happens when you lose your holiday cheer entirely? In ‘Krampus‘, a dysfunctional family (which consists of Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman and others) loses the Christmas spirit and unknowingly invites Krampus, the demonic anti-Santa, upon their snow-covered household. Although the trailers make it out to be quite dark, the film’s PG-13 rating and comedic elements are said to be more fun and mainstream (like ‘Gremins’) rather than a full-blown freaking horror thriller.

Freestyle Releasing, the small distributor that saw great success last year with ‘God’s Not Dead’, is opening the Mother Teresa bio-pic ‘The Letters‘. Juliet Stevenson plays the humanitarian nun in a PG-rated drama that focuses on her life and penned friendship with her most-trusted adviser. Rutger Hauer and Max von Sydow co-star. Although Mother Teresa’s life story is worthy of being adapted for cinema, word has it that this version doesn’t do it justice.

After a string of flops, Spike Lee is back at it with a fresh joint. ‘Chi-Raq‘ adapts the ancient Greek play ‘Lysistrata’ into modern-day, gang-riddled Chicago. The drama tells the socially relevant story of a suburb plagued with violence as well as racial and gender inequality. When a child falls victim to a gang shooting, a group of strong women start a movement to spark change. Nick Cannon plays the title character with Teyonah Parris playing the Lysistrata character. Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Jennifer Hudson, D.B. Sweeney and Dave Chappelle co-star. Roadside Attractions is releasing the film at 305 locations.

Shakespeare’s work returns to the silver screen with a new, bloody adaptation of ‘Macbeth‘. As if his Oscar-worthy role in ‘Steve Jobs’ wasn’t enough for this year’s consideration, Michael Fassbender leads the film as the prominent Scot plagued by a prophesy delivered by three witches. Attempting to change his fate, Macbeth and his wife (Marion Cotillard) plot a murderous plan to make the future work out in their favor. The Weinstein Company kicks off the film’s theatrical run on five screens.

This Must Be the Place‘ director Paolo Sorrentino is back this with the already-acclaimed drama ‘Youth‘. Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel lead this coming-of-old-age picture about two old friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps . While together, they reflect on their personal lives, their successes and failures, their families and their careers – which are about to come to climactic closes. Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda co-star in this promising Oscar hopeful. Fox Searchlight debuts ‘Youth’ at four locations.

Music video director turned filmmaker Anton Corbijn’s ‘Life‘ hits 12 North American screens. The bio-pic tells the story of a Life magazine photographer who’s given the assignment to shoot the up-and-coming young actor James Dean. Robert Pattinson stars with Dean DeHaan playing James Dean. ‘Life’ will play on 12 screens this weekend.

Can’t wait until April to see Jon Snow again (assuming that the ‘Game of Thrones’ character isn’t gone for good)? ‘MI-5‘ – not to be mistaken as the fifth ‘Mission: Impossible’ entry – stars Kit Harrington in an adaptation of the British television series of the same name. His character has to partner with a “disavowed” agent in order to foil a major terrorist plot planned to rip apart London.

The final limited release of note is the holiday ensemble comedy ‘Christmas Eve‘. The PG-rated family flick tells the story of six groups of strangers stranded in powerless elevators on the night before Christmas. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, they begin to form friendships with one another. The cast includes Patrick Stewart, Jon Heder, Cheryl Hines and Gary Cole.


  1. EM

    Patrick Stewart stuck in the elevator? Oh, yeah, I remember that one, where he’s got the three kids with him. I didn’t know Captain Picard Day fell on December 24! As I recall, there are also a childbirth (with permission!) and a benign decapitation.

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