Reel Talk: Winter Preview

Posted by Sean van der Heijden

A ton of great films have already been released this year, from Gravity to 12 Years a Slave to the recent Hunger Games sequel, but there are still a bunch more to come. Here's a preview of a few of the films I'm most looking forward to as winter approaches:

1. American Hustle: dir. David O. Russell, starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner.

Set in the 1970s, this film is a fictional account of a conman (Bale) forced to work for an FBI agent (Cooper) in order to bring down the corrupt New Jersey government. David O. Russell is essentially combing the casts of his two previous movies, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, but there's honestly nothing bad about that. It looks like a fantastic setup-part comedy, part crime-drama, all amazing actors and actresses. American Hustle comes out on Dec. 18.

2. The Wolf of Wall Street: dir. Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, and Kyle Chandler.

Based on a true story, this chronicles the immense success of a wealthy stockbroker (DiCaprio) who succumbs to corruption and crime during the 1990s. It's sort of a black comedy, but it looks insane: full of outrageous, witty characters and wild parties, but also investment fraud and the federal government. This marks the fifth collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio, and it promises to be one heck of a film. The Wolf of Wall Street lands in theaters on Christmas Day.

3. Her: dir. Spike Jonze, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and the voice of Scarlett Johansson.

My personal favorite, Her is the story of a lonely writer (Phoenix) who buys an advanced operating system (queue Scarlett Johansson) to help organize his life, but ends up falling in love with it. The film sounds strange, quirky, and inventive, but also emotionally poignant and bitingly current. Featuring a score by Arcade Fire and original music by Karen O., it appears Jonze is going for a slightly surreal atmosphere here, while nevertheless connecting the film back to raw human emotions. Her opens in wide release on Jan. 10.

Also coming out this season are The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13), the highly-anticipated comedy sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Dec. 20), Ben Stiller's surreal adventure story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Dec. 27), and family saga August: Osage County (Dec. 27) staring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. 

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