Holiday treats to look forward to

By on October 1, 2014

Reel Reviews

This is a slow time of year for movies. Summer has ended. The kids are back in school and all the summer blockbusters have had their run. The holiday season is approaching, but until then we are stuck with all the movies distributors knew couldn’t cut it.

Taking the box office over the weekend was Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer” and the stop-motion animated “Boxtrolls.” The next couple weeks do not look promising, so here is a look ahead to the holidays and what may be a record setting season.

We’ll see if there is still magic between Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey when “Dumb and Dumber To” hits screens on Nov. 14. How long is too long to wait to make a sequel? Twenty years? Maybe. This time, the 40-something dimwits are off in search of their long lost children. Sidesplitting or stupid, “Dumb and Dumber To” will go one way or the other.

The next weekend, Nov. 21, theaters will surely be packed as “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” debuts. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as the world’s favorite heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Arrows will fly and characters will die, but many are anxious to see how the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman may change the story of co-conspirator Plutarch Heavensbee. This is the beginning of the end for the franchise as part two is already in post-production and slated for a Thanksgiving 2015 release.

On Nov. 28, the inner child in me will jump at the chance to take my kids to see two movies: “Paddington” and “Penguins of Madagascar.” Paddington was the bear I carried around when just a little one and I loved the books; however, no matter how often I try I can’t stand marmalade. The penguins are the funniest part of the “Madagascar” franchise; I’m stoked they’ve been given their own film. The movie will introduce us to Agent Classified, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Kids of all ages will flock to see “Paddington,” when the adventures of everyone’s favorite displaced bear opens on Nov. 28. (Photo courtesy of

Kids of all ages will flock to see “Paddington,” when the adventures of everyone’s favorite displaced bear opens on Nov. 28. (Photo courtesy of

“Exodus: Gods and Kings,” a 3D retelling of the story of Moses (Christian Bale) will try and topple “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” from its top spot at the box office on December 12. Even if successful, the stay will be short-lived as “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” opens early on Dec. 17. This is the final installment of The Hobbit and I have to wonder what Peter Jackson will do next (other than his beloved Tin Tin movies). Word is he is looking to direct an episode of BBC’s “Doctor Who.” Kind of anticlimactic is you ask me.

Dec. 19, starts the battle of the family films. It’s “Annie” versus “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.” The museum franchise’s third installment will surely tug at our collective heart-strings when we see Robin Williams return as Teddy Roosevelt. I’m a fan of these movies, so, I hope it does well.

“Annie” is a little tricky to predict. I’m sure this remake of the 1982 classic will be loathed by many (as it probably is already) and I’m not sure enough people are willing to envision Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan against the Golden Globe-nominated performance by Carol Burnett. On the upside, the screen will once again be graced by Quvenzhané Wallis (as Annie) who should have won an Oscar for her performance in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Christmas falls on a Thursday this year and brings with it many gifts for moviegoers. The talented Amy Adams is painter Margaret Keane in “Big Eyes.” An all-star cast (Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep) assembles to bring the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical “Into the Woods” to the screen. And then there is “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” which will be destroyed at the box office by another comedy, “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

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