Into the Woods
- Release date: Dec. 25, 2014
- The stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood are intertwined with the Baker and his wife in this dark fairy tale.
- Director: Rob Marshall (“Chicago”)
- Why this movie: Actually, I should start with a warning. Do not see this movie if you do not want your movie experience to be sing-along time. Disney’s “Into the Woods” is the film adaptation of the original Broadway musical written by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. The show won three Tony Awards during its first run. Marshall has gathered an amazing cast: Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine. This is a must see movie, one in which I am trying not to create too of high expectations.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
- Release date: Dec. 19, 2014
- Museum security guard (Ben Stiller) heads to the British Museum in London for the third “Night at the Museum” installment.
- Director: Shawn Levy
- Why this movie: I never saw the sequel, so I cannot say if the series went downhill. The real reason for this recommendation: this is one of the last films featuring the great Robin Williams.
- Release date: Dec. 25, 2014 (limited release), Jan. 9, 2015 (full release)
- The story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership during the tumultuous time of the voting right marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
- Director: Ava DuVernay
- Why this movie: The film was recently screened at AFI Fest in Los Angeles, where it received rave reviews and a standing ovation. Critics say this movie has changed the Oscar race.
A Most Violent Year
- Release date: Dec. 31, 2014
- A businessman must balance his family and the perils of greed in this drama. It takes place in the winter of 1981 in New York City, the year with the highest violent crime rate in the city’s history.
- Director: J.C. Chandor
- Why this movie: This isn’t exactly a Christmas movie that is expected to warm your heart. This movie brings into question the American Dream of wealth and success during a holiday season when all Americans do is want more.
- Release date: Dec. 5, 2014
- “Wild” is based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir of the same title. Reese Witherspoon portrays the author on her 1,100 mile solo journey through America’s northwest. Strayed goes on this trek after a devastating tragedy in her life and turns to sex and heroin to numb the pain.
- Director: Jean-Marc Vallée (“Dallas Buyers Club”)
- Why this movie: Another film by 2014 Oscar nominee, Jean-Marc Vallée, is exciting and after seeing Witherspoon in “Mud,” there is no question that she can play the part.