The 2013 Film Release Calendar: December

The Film Release Calendar is something I do each year to preview the upcoming year’s slate of films. It started as both a way for me to start paying attention to what was coming out (since I was really slacking around the time I started the blog) and to be able to see how well I know myself and how much I know exactly what I’m gonna think about a movie before I even see it.

What I do is, I go through the list of films scheduled to come out in a given year (using my go-to article, Wikipedia’s year in film article), month by month. I write down what they’re about, who’s in them, and generally what my thoughts are on what I see. And then I guess what I think I’m gonna rate it when I see it. Because at this point — I’ve seen so many movies — I know what a movie is gonna be. I’m running about a 70% correct percentage on guessing stuff in January. Plus, that aside, it also gives me a chance to see what movies, come the end of the year, surpassed (or fell way below) my expectations (or everyone’s). So it’s not all just a chance for me to talk about how awesome I am (since, believe me… I’m gonna do that anyway).

Today, we’re looking at all the films that are currently scheduled to come out in December:


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

What does one do here? We all saw that first movie and the disaster that was.

Granted, I still enjoyed that disaster, but it was a disaster nonetheless. So, do we figure Peter Jackson is gonna go in and tighten up his story a bit and not go crazy with the editing? Or do we think they don’t give a shit because they’re gonna make assloads of money anyway and just keep doing what they were doing?

Either way, we have to stick with 4 stars. I’m still gonna like it even if it is horrible. My hope is that it doesn’t get the mercy 4 and actually goes up a bit, so that way we go, “All right, hey fucked up and then they made up for it with the next one.” But I don’t know. I’m worried they’re all gonna be like that first one. You shouldn’t have a dinner party scene that lasts as long as an actual dinner party.

A Madea Christmas

Oh yeah, this is happening.

Happy holidays, everybody!

2 stars, won’t see it. You know the drill.

(But I got that, “Ugh, God,” reaction out of you when you saw it, didn’t I?)

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Can I courteously abstain from this one?

I’m gonna be honest — I don’t like Anchorman. I never did. I enjoyed being able to quote some of the lines,  but otherwise, I’m not really a fan of the movie. (Kind of like Spinal Tap — I like quoting it, but I don’t really like the movie all that much.) So this movie fills me with ridiculous amounts of dread. Because I know what everyone else is gonna do with this, and that’s gonna make me act a certain way, and there’s really no way around it —

3 stars. I have to. I can’t do anything else. We’ll leave it at that and just move on.

Saving Mr. Banks

This is about the author of “Mary Poppins” coming to Hollywood and adapting her book for Disney.

Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney and Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers, the author. Colin Farrell, I’m guessing, the inspiration for the Dick Van Dyke character. And then Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak and Kathy Baker are also in it. Stacked cast.

The dude who directed The Blind Side is directing it.

Honestly — 4 stars. How could it be anything but? I’m marginally excited for this to be good. Hopefully it’s not another We Bought a Zoo.

Last Vegas

This is the kind of movie I go for up front that almost never turns out that good in the end.

Four best friends in their late-60’s decide to escape retirement and throw a Las Vegas bachelor party for the only one of them who has remained single.

Look, it could be good, it could be another Stand Up Guys, where the only real enjoyment is seeing the leads act together.

Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline. Mary Steenburgen is in it, Romany Malco, Jerry Ferrara — your usual cameos by recognizable faces.

I — it’s gonna be 3 stars or 3.5 stars. My heart wants me to go 3.5 stars, my head is saying, “You know it’s gonna be 3 stars.” So I guess 3 stars. I want it to be higher, though. I really do.

Monuments Men

In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them.

Co-written and directed by George Clooney. Starring Clooney, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, John Goodman, John Dujardin, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban (at the moment).

What more do you need?

5 stars.

Walking with Dinosaurs 3D

Two brothers looking to follow in their father’s footsteps leads to a showdown with dinosaurs in the Arctic North.

No idea what this is. But I like dinosaurs.

3.5 stars.

47 Ronin

Boy, this has a nice little history, doesn’t it?

Originally scheduled at this time last year, then they pushed it, and reports came of the director not knowing what the fuck he was doing, them beefing up Keanu’s role, because he was basically part of an ensemble (you know, like the actual 47 Ronin story), and now there’s a big CGI demon fight, and all this other stuff.

I tried (and still am, to an extent) to be positive about the film, since TokyoRemix is a big Japan guy and, when he heard about it, was just waiting to shit all over the movie. It’s one of those things where, I know he’s going in predestined to hate it and he won’t find anything redeemable about the movie at all. Which makes me want to be the person who finds everything redeemable about it. That’s just how I am. My attitudes work both ways. People like something, I have to find all the reasons why it’s not that good. People hate something, I have to defend it, even though I’m aware the movie is not that good. That’s just my nature.

(I’ll also admit — his problem with the movie is that it’s gonna bastardize the original story by making it about white people, since Keanu is not Japanese. My side of the argument was — once you introduce CGI demons, you’re already away from the story, so that’s not really an angle to take for hating it. Even though I know his mind is already made up regardless.)

That said — there’s a lot of evidence to suggest this is gonna be a huge disaster. Which — all right.

But, I’ve been in a place of defending this for so long that I almost have to keep positive about the whole thing just to keep everything from snowballing into unnecessary proportions.

So — 3 stars. I might not be doing this if the circumstances were different, but — shit happens.

Jack Ryan

I like that they gave it the Jack Reacher spot. Reacher was a solid movie.

Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.

What a surprise. It sounds like every other Jack Ryan movie.

Chris Pine is Jack Ryan, and Keira Knightley is his wife. Kevin Costner plays the James Earl Jones role, and Kenneth Branagh is both directing and the villain.

I’m excited.

3.5 stars. I expect this to be borderline 4 stars. I hope it’s great.

Also — more Kenneth Branagh in things. Where has he been the last decade?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

A timid magazine photo manager who lives life vicariously through daydreams embarks on a true-life adventure when a negative goes missing.

This worries me.

The original was a Danny Kaye movie from 1947. I saw it when I did my Top Tens of the 1940s over the summer. It was okay. I heard they’ve been trying to remake this for years. Finally they got it made because Ben Stiller is directing it himself.

What worries me is that it’s gonna be a big budget family Christmas movie, like Night at the Museum. And me not being the biggest Ben Stiller fan — I’m worried how this is gonna turn out. (That picture up there isn’t helping.)

I assume 3 stars is a baseline for this, and I figure it has a lot of potential to be a 3.5 star movie. But I just don’t know how stupid and kiddie it’s going to be. I really don’t like Ben Stiller’s stuff most of the time. He’s one of those guys that will feature an animal biting his crotch and a closeup of him screaming in pain and him trying to shake it off and expect people to find that funny. It’s just, that shit, that makes me think this could suck.

But it’s him, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott apparently Shirley MacLaine as his mother, Patton Oswalt, Kathryn Hahn, IMDB says Sean Penn has a cameo (which… I’ll believe that when I see it). I honestly dont’ know what to make of it.

I’ll stick with 3 stars and wait for it to impress me.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow I get into all the shit that’s basically done but hasn’t come out yet and probably will in 2013. The Films Without Release dates, for those familiar with how I do things.

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