Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 2015 Movie Preview

            After lugging through a lackluster fall, this December will hopefully provide movie-goers a film or two to remember. So far Ridley Scott’s The Martian has provided the only thing close to a memorable or entertaining film experience. The rest of the landscape has been littered with franchises lumbering toward their conclusion (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part Two), bizarre retellings of well worn stories (Victor Frankenstein), or overly nostalgic remembrances  of Cold Wars gone past (Bridge of Spies). With all this in mind, let’s see what December has to offer.

In the Heart of the Sea (Dec. 11): Based on the bestselling book by Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea recounts the fate of the Essex, a Nantucket based whaling ship. During a whaling voyage in the Pacific Ocean, the Essex was rammed and then sunk by an enraged whale. The crew, forced to abandon the doomed vessel, were exposed to the ravages of the Pacific Ocean in whaling boats. Some of the sailors resorted to cannibalism before their rescue by passing ships. The story of the Essex became the basis for Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick.

That's a big whale. 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dec. 18): In case you hadn’t heard or somehow missed the commercials, toys, and product integrations, there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out next week. Every day pop culture websites drool over every little bit of information that comes out. Look a new poster! A TV spot with 1 second of new footage! It’s been ten years since the conclusion of George Lucas’s underwhelming prequel trilogy. Interviews and leaked footage provided by new director J.J. Abrams have stoked fans’ hopes that the series has returned to its space adventure roots rather than the emotionally draining slog of Episodes II and III.

The Hateful Eight (Dec. 25): The latest venture from Quentin Tarantino revolves around the story of a group of bounty hunters seeking shelter in the middle of a blizzard. In true Tarantino, i.e. hyper-violent, fashion there will be betrayals, back-stories, and a lot of colorful language. The film’s running time of 182 minutes suggests that in his older age, Tarantino has given up on editing his films down to something that an audience might actually want to sit through.

Point Break (Dec. 25): A totally unnecessary remake of the early 1990s film starring Keanu Reeves as ex-college quarterback turned FBI agent Johnny Utah. Instead of chasing a group of bank robbing surfers, now Utah (played by someone else) will be tracking down a group of extreme sports athletes, who it turns out in their spare time enjoy engaging in corporate espionage. Pass.

Concussion (Dec. 25): This Will Smith vehicle about a doctor who helped expose the NFL’s concussion crisis reeks of Oscar bait. Well known actor in need of a starring role? Check. Contemporary hot button issue? Check. The chance for a lot of moral grandstanding? Check. A good movie? We’ll see.

The Revenant (Dec. 25): Leonard DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, a frontiersman out for revenge against the men who left him for dead after being mauled by a bear. There’s something undeniably awesome about that description. Let’s hope the film can live up to that awesomeness.   

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