Cross-posted on and commissioned by Film.com
Well folks, this is it. The last month of 2011. In which we are bombarded with dozens of movies and told each one is the best of the year. So which of the vast variety of films being released in December should make it on to your radar and which should you leave behind? Take a look at our preview below.
A Break From Oscar Madness
A Warrior's Heart (Dec 2nd)
I don't even want to tell you, I just want you watch the trailer. Is that mean? Okay, fine. This is a film about a kid acting out cause his dad died in war, so he gets sent to Lacrosse camp. It stars Kellan Lutz as the slightly normally named Conor, Ashley Greene as the slightly ridiculously named Brooklyn, and Chord Overstreet as the okay-who-wrote-this-named Dupree. The quote ON the official apple trailers page is "Twi-hards out there are going to love this!" from PEREZ HILTON. Oh and the movie is rated PG. Gold. It's all gold.
Am I seeing it? Under no circumstances.
New Year's Eve (Dec 9th)
It's like Valentine's Day, but on New Year's Eve! And somehow, even knowing what Valentine's Day was and being fully aware of its (lack of) quality, 137,000 major stars still signed on. Some folks even RETURNED, like Jessica Biel and Ashton Kutcher. This time around though we get some Seth Meyers and some strange Zac Efron/Michelle Pfeiffer May/December action, so all is not lost. Oh wait, I forgot Lea Michele is in this. Yeah. All is lost.
Am I seeing it? Let's be honest. I saw Valentines Day opening weekend. So. Yes.
The Sitter (Dec 9th)
Inspired by the 1987 classic Adventures in Babysitting, but with a hard R edge, this comedy follows Jonah Hill on a wild night of babysitting. It's also the last film Hill shot before beginning his journey towards massive weight lost, so enjoy it while you can, folks. I love Pineapple Express, but am still pretty burnt from Your Highness, so I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this latest offering from David Gordon Green.
Am I seeing it? I've been terrible about seeing raunchy comedies this year, so probably not in theaters, but I wouldn't be against a rental down the line.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (Dec 16th)
These just keep happening, don't they? I haven't seen one yet and I probably never will (although The Chipmunk Adventure from 1987 is awesome), but man do kids LOVE these. In this, the third in the new Chipmunks series, the Chipmunks and Chipettes get stranded on a desert island and inevitably, wackiness ensues.
Am I seeing it? Why no, I am not.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Dec 9th)
British espionage thriller set during the Cold War, based on the novel by John le Carré, which was also the source material for the 1979 mini series starring Alec Guinness. It stars a collection of fantastic actors featuring Gary Oldman being awesome in the leading role, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, and more. Oh and the director is Tomas Alfredson aka the genius behind Let The Right One In.
Am I seeing it? Oh yes, loves me a good spy movie
More after the jump
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Dec 16th)
A sequel to Sherlock Holmes! Yay? The first one was just fine, so….sure! But in all honesty, I think this is some of Jude Law's best work, getting to kind of dork out, Downey is always fun to watch, and Jared Harris RULES. He's a great pick for Moriarty. Should be a great deal of fun in any event.
Am I seeing it? Sure! Just not necessarily opening weekend.
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (Dec 21st)
The fourth mission impossible movie with a stellar cast including Tom Cruise refreshingly not being stupid, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and Josh Holloway. In this installment, the IMF is shut down, so Ethan Hunt and his posse go rogue to restore honor to their organization. Mmm. I love the word rogue. The trailer is increda-balls, but watching it once was enough. I'm convinced I want to see it, but don't want the chance to watch it again and accidentally start figuring out plot twists.
Am I seeing it? Date night!
The Darkest Hour (Dec 25th)
In this action/horror/sci fi flick inexplicably coming out in December, a bunch of twenty somethings try to survive after an alien invasion hits Russia. The young cast includes Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor and Max Minghella and not gonna lie, the film actually looks pretty scary and much better than Skyline, the film to which many critics are drawing comparisons based on the trailers.
Am I seeing it? I'm interested, but whether or not I bother to see it in theaters will depend on what I hear about the 3D.
Shame (Dec 2nd)
Steve McQueen's follow up to 2009's Hunger, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan in this harrowing tale about the tolls sex addiction can take on a person's life. A difficult but beautiful film which such subtly magnificent performances, I fear they, along with McQueen's direction, will be all too ignored come Oscar time. A must see.
Am I seeing it? Already did and loved it
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Dec 2nd)
Tilda Swinton stars as a mother living her worst nightmare in this brilliantly acted and directed film. According to an interview conducted by Movies.com's David Ehrlich, director Lynne Ramsay has said if We Need to Talk About Kevin were named as Shame was named, it would be called Guilt or Pride. And that is all I think I want you to take with you when you see this movie for yourself. Because you simply MUST see this movie as soon as possible.
Am I seeing it? I've seen it, it's one of the best of the year, and I can't wait to see it again
Young Adult (Dec 9th)
Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody's latest about a writer who goes back to her small hometown after her divorce, and sets her eyes on her now married high school sweetheart, starring Charlize Theron in what seems to me, the role she was born to play. I'm normally very "meh" when it comes to Theron, but I love everything she's doing in the trailer and film itself seems like a hoot.
Am I seeing it? As soon as I can.
I Melt With You (Dec 9th)
Four friends meet up for their yearly debauchery, but an incident forces them to think about the lives they've led and who they've become, starring Rob Lowe, Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven and Christian McKay. But hey, it's mostly four guys talking and doing drugs, so it's probably fascinating from an acting point of view.
Am I seeing it? Let's just say, something major was spoiled for me that turns me off 100% from the film so….no. I'm not really interested in a bunch of men going through a mid-life crisis anyway.
Carnage (Dec 16th)
Roman Polanski's adaptation of the Tony winning play God of Carnage, about two sets of parents who meet up to talk after their kids get into an altercation at school. featuring an all star cast of Oscar nominated actors, three of them previous winners - Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C Riley. I've heard mixed things about the film, as it's a story about rather unlikeable people and those kinds of movies aren't for everyone, but if you have an interest in watching great actors work their craft, this is the film for you.
Am I seeing it? Not rushing out to or anything, but yes
Albert Nobbs (Dec 21st)
Glenn Close dresses like a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland in this film based on true events, also starring Aaron Johnson, Mia Wasikowska and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. It appears as though Wasikowska's character is involved in a love triangle with Close and Johnson which is all kinds of I've Gotta See This. Plus, Close is a shoe-in for an Oscar nod.
Am I seeing it? Between the great acting and Aaron Johnson playing a 19th century playboy? Of course!
The Iron Lady (Dec 30th)
The Margaret Thatcher biopic we've all been waiting for! Yes, that was sarcastic, but there's some truth hidden in all sarcasm, right? Frankly any opportunity to get to see Meryl Streep act her face off is one I will jump at, especially when she is portraying the only female Prime Minister in UK history. Plus, Tony Head is in it! Hashtag Buffy alums!
Am I seeing it? But of course! Love Meryl. Yeah. I call her Meryl.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dec 21st)
Based on the Swedish novel by the same name, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, directed by David Fincher, this was my "the Oscars just ended and I hate everything" prediction to win the big prize this year. Yes, I was laughed at, and yes, I was probably wrong, but a part of me wants this movie to be so brilliant, that Fincher gets nominated two years in a row and stupid Tom Hooper can just sit around and feel stupid with his stupid Oscar and everyone can think about how stupid The King's Speech is. Erm. Point is. I love David Fincher and I can't wait for this movie.
Am I seeing it? Yesssssss
Pina (Dec 21st)
This 3D documentary from Win Wenders chronicling the art of Pina Bausch is a majesty to behold. It's stunning, innovative, stirring, sad, joyous and wonderful. It moved me, someone who has no interest in dance whatsoever, so I have every confidence that it will move others as well. It's on the Documentary short list for the Oscars, and I hate to think it wouldn't get a nomination. Please go see it when it opens in limited release - unless you own a 3D television, this is *not* one you want to wait and see on DVD.
Am I seeing it? I already did and I adored it.
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Dec 21st)
What happens when Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Joe Cornish and Edgar Wright team up? Nothing short of magic. This huge leap for both 3D and motion capture is the best kind of head trip, fun, if not a bit frenetic, from start to finish. Kids will eat it up, but there is plenty in there for adults as well. Could an animation Oscar be in Tintin's future?
Am I seeing? Already did, but absolutely want to see it again
We Bought a Zoo (Dec 23rd)
The return of Cameron Crowe! Huzzah! This drama is an adaptation of Benjamin Mee's memoir about a family who moves into an old zoo, starring Matt Damon, Thomas Haden Church, Scarlett Johansson, Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning and more. There's lots of googley eyes and wild animals and Matt Damon looks fanTASTIC. The buzz has been pretty mixed, but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless.
Am I seeing it? Yesss, I want to see it nowwww, tigers and lionssss!!!
War Horse (Dec 25th)
Based on the children's novel of the same name, which the Tony winning play was also based on, and Spielberg's second movie of 2011. Ultimately it's a war movie about the bond between a young man and his horse. And Tom Hiddleston is in it! And Emily Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch, but the horse is clearly the star. Looks like a classic Spielberg epic that is going to be gorgeous and awesome and make us cry. Oh and SCORE BY JOHN WILLIAMS duh.
Am I seeing it? YES. And in theaters. On a giant, pretty screen.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Dec 25th)
A story about dealing with grief from overrated director Stephen Daldry, who always gets nominated for an Oscar. Always. Like literally, he is 3 for 3. This is a 9-11 movie starring a little kid and based on an acclaimed novel, so expect major water works and lots of Oscar prognosticators having a grand ol time debating whether or not this will the first year Daldry doesn't get a directing nod. Remember when I said expect waterworks? The trailer just made me cry. Starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock playing an age appropriate role and newcomer Thomas Horn, who won Teen Jeopardy in 2009. Fact.
Am I seeing it? Yes. With tissues.
A Separation (Dec 30th)
The Foreign Language Oscar submission from Iran that I have heard nothing but wonderful things about. I missed the screening at AFI, but am eagerly awaiting the next opportunity to catch this film about a married couple who have to make a very difficult decision.
Am I seeing it? Definitely.
Other December Options:
The Lady (Dec 2nd)
W.E. (Dec 9th) (Oscar qualifying run)
Corman's World's: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (Dec 16th)