The holidays are a magical time, bringing loved ones together to help them remember why they didn’t see one another for an entire year. If you’d rather hide in a dark room than deal with the mess, why not head to the multiplex and check out one of these five flicks.
Zero Dark Thirty
What It Is: A thriller about the decade-long mission to take out Osama bin Laden.
Why You Need to See It: Zero Dark Thirty, which is a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, reunites Hurt Locker director-writer team Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, two people who are a teensy bit familiar with elite military missions. In fact, that crazy Internet is already freaking out which VIPs Boal used as sources for the script. It’s got Hot Ginger of the Moment Jessica Chastain in the lead, as well as terrific people like Kyle Chandler, Joel Edgerton, and Chris Pratt playing various intelligence officers and soldiers.
When It’s Out: December 19th, in limited release; expands January 11th
What It Is: An adaptation of the Lee Child books that follows a loose canon homicide detective (Tom Cruise) investigating a random shooting.
Why You Need to See It: And you thought Tom Cruise was totally nuts offscreen! Not only is Cruise a reliable action star, but the last time he played someone this unhinged was in Collateral, which was so sweet that Hollywood spent the next five years convinced Jamie Foxx was surefire box office gold.
When It’s Out: December 21st
Not Fade Away
What It Is: A coming of age tale about three suburban teens trying to make it as a rock band in the ‘60s.
Why You Need to See It: Not only is it the big screen debut of David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, but it’s the first thing he’s has done since the show went off the air, period. He even got James Gandolfini to come along for the ride as
a surly, modern-day Jersey mob boss one of the boys' fathers! Just expect more Stones than Journey.
When It’s Out: December 21st, in limited release
What It Is: A freed slave (Jamie Foxx) teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington).
Why You Need to See It: Because Jamie Foxx is box office gold!! Also, it’s a Quentin Tarantino Spaghetti Western, which means the blood will flow like marinara, and the plot will move faster than an Italian trying to sleep with your woman. Like every movie ever, it has Samuel L. Jackson, but unlike every movie ever, also has All-Around Tortured Serious Actor© Leonardo DiCaprio as a cartoonish villain. Plus, the soundtrack for the trailer segues from Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave” to James Brown’s “The Big Payback”.
When It’s Out: December 25th
West of Memphis
What It Is: A documentary on the trial, conviction, and eventual release of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin, a.k.a., the West Memphis Three.
Why You Need to See It: It’s a story of murder, legal proceedings, and wrongful imprisonment, which Law & Order has proven are America’s three favorite topics. Plus, you won’t have to try to take Chris Meloni seriously after watching him talk to a can of food about fellating himself in Wet Hot American Summer. Critics at Sundance and Toronto were practically tripping over their artsy loafers to praise it, but even if you’re not a big fan of documentaries, you should find plenty to like.
When It’s Out: December 25th, in limited release