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The reign of The Hobbit looks to end on Christmas Day with the release of two highly anticipated new films in Django Unchained and the adaptation of the stage musical Les Misérables.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Directed and Written by Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
Distributor: The Weinstein Co.
Theater Count: 3,010
What’s it about? Tarantino brings his expert genre touch to the Western, yet this one is set in the South. A slave named Django (Foxx) agrees to assist a bounty hunter (Waltz) in going after plantation owner Calvin Candie (DiCaprio), who bought his wife.
Early reaction: Tarantino appears to have struck again with this one, which earned several Golden Globe nominations already. This one delivers all the blood, humor and most likely Mexican standoffs that you could ask for.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
What to watch for: A villainous turn from Leonardo DiCaprio. We haven't seen the terrific yet never-awarded actor tackle anything this outside his comfort zone, so regardless of your feelings about Tarantino, he's worth keeping an eye on.
Directed by Tom Hooper
Written by William Nicholson (screenplay), Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil (musical book), Victor Hugo (novel)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried
Theater Count: 2,808
What’s it about? One of the most decorated and longest-running musicals of all time, Les Misérables tells a story set during the French Revolution about a former prison named Jean Valjean (Jackman) who violates his parole to help a dying woman (Hathaway) and her daughter.
Early reaction: Opinions vary on the sound (namely Hooper's choice to film the singing on set as opposed to in a studio prior to filming and having the actors lip sync) and on Hooper's direction, but the acting looks as though it stands to benefit.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
What to watch for: Depth of the performances. If Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" from the trailer is any indication, then there's a whole lot to be excited about.
Directed by Andy Fickman
Written by Lisa Addario, Joe Syracus
Starring: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei
Theater Count: 3,358
What’s it about? Grandparents come face to face with the changes of modern parenting when they agree to watch their grandkids — whom they rarely see — when their parents go out of town.
Early reaction: No love for these aging stars who haven't been on screen for a long time for a reason. The film is being called predictabe (if you can't tell from the trailer).
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
What to watch for: Can Billy Crystal be funny enough to entertain seniors and parents? That would be the film's only saving grace.
Promised Land – The director and star of Good Will Hunting reunite in this small-town story about a corporate salesman who looks to buy up the town's natural gas but meets a lot of resistance. The script comes from Matt Damon and John Krasinski, who also stars. (Metacritic: 52, Rotten Tomatoes: 67%) – Paramount
West of Memphis – The Hobbit isn't the only thing Peter Jackson has in theaters. He helped to produce this documentary about the West Memphis Three, one of the most egregious failures of the justice system, for director Amy Berg. (Metacritic: 83, Rotten Tomatoes: 95%) – Sony Pictures Classics