As the holiday season continues, December is turning into a busy month for theaters. While the impending awards season may be the cause for a rush of quality film, audiences can be confident that any trip to the theater over the next several weeks will be well worth the time. Although each weekend is rife with buzzworthy films, here is a preview of six in particular that range in content, genre and audience anticipation. From the next David O. Russell film to a news broadcaster sequel to a movie with Hollywood female superstars Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, December has plenty to offer for any holiday moviegoer.
Dallas Buyers Club
In theaters now
Upon learning about his diagnosis with HIV, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof is determined to find a way to survive the disease. When he learns about the development of AZT in Mexico, still under testing by the Federal Drug Administration, he abandons his rock ’n’ roll lifestyle to sneak the medicine back into the United States. His attempts are not only to save himself, but also others unable to find medical support as the government continues research without providing any results. As Woodroof brings others into the scheme, they must determine how much they’re willing to push the law in order to save others. Based on a true story set in Dallas in 1985, the film stars a very slim Matthew McConaughey (“Mud”) as Ron and Jennifer Garner (“The Odd Life of Timothy Green”) as his doctor.
In theaters Dec. 13
Following great critical success in the last couple years, director David O. Russell brings together a couple former collaborators for “American Hustle,” the story of an FBI operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s that targeted criminals trafficking stolen property. This new flick stars Russell collaborators Christian Bale and Amy Adams from “The Fighter” and “Silver Lining Playbook’s” Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (who won an Academy Award for her performance in that film). Also in the cast is Jeremy Renner (“The Bourne Legacy”). With an all-star cast, exciting costumes and a great soundtrack, “Hustle” is a strong contender in the awards season.
Saving Mr. Banks
In theaters Dec. 13
Emma Thompson (“Brave”) plays English author P.L. Travers, whose success with her story about a nanny with a flying umbrella called “Mary Poppins” attracts the attention of renowned children’s story enthusiast and filmmaker Walt Disney. Played by Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips”), Disney wants to adapt the magic of Mary Poppins much to the disinterest of Travers. As their collaboration continues, Disney starts to realize how the story of Mary Poppins parallels Travers’ past. The film also stars Colin Farrell (“Seven Psychopaths”), Paul Giamatti (“12 Years a Slave”) and B.J. Novak (“The Office”). From director John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side”), this film seeks to share the story behind the story of a forever childhood classic.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
In theaters Dec. 20
It’s been nine years since the first “Anchorman” film. But Ron Burgundy, played by Will Ferrell (“The Campaign”), is back in his maroon suede suit, ready to tackle a 24-hours news station in New York City after the success of their news station in San Diego comes to an end. Steve Carell (“The Way, Way Back”), Paul Rudd (“Admission”) and David Koechner (“The Office”) also come back to join Burgundy’s news team. Many other popular Hollywood stars show up in cameos to engage in this “classy” film about American journalism. Given the time it’s taken to develop the sequel, audiences will most likely be in for a treat. It’s the perfect film to see over the holiday season with family.
Inside Llewyn Davis
In theaters Dec. 20
The latest film from directing/screenwriting duo Joel and Ethan Coen (“True Grit”), “Inside Llewyn Davis” looks at a week in the life of Llewyn Davis, played by Oscar Isaac (“The Bourne Legacy”) as he attempts to navigate the Greenwich Village folk music scene in 1961. “Davis” won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival this summer — one of the renowned festival’s most prestigious awards. The Coen brothers describe this film as not really having a plot, but as it continues to receive more and more critical acclaim, one can only assume the lack of a traditional plot is effectively pulled off. The cast also includes Carey Mulligan (“The Great Gatsby”), John Goodman (“Flight”) and Justin Timberlake (“Bad Teacher”).
August: Osage County
In theaters Dec. 25
A story about unusual familial relations, “August: Osage County” is based on the play of the same name, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony Award for Best Play. After a crisis brings its family members back to Oklahoma, the relatives start to take a look at their individual lives as well as their relationships with those around them. The film boasts strong female characters played by strong, renowned actresses: Meryl Streep (“Hope Springs”) and Julia Roberts (“Mirror, Mirror”). The film also stars Benedict Cumberbatch (“12 Years a Slave”), Abigail Breslin (“The Call”) and Ewan McGregor (“The Impossible”). With a successful debut in festivals this fall, this film looks to be a strong contender in the upcoming awards season.