Final Take: December Movie Releases

John Michael Simko

Instead of the conventional format, this month’s recommendations look a little different to include the numerous new releases that are coming out in December just in times for the awards season.

The five best films to look into include:

1) “Black Swan” (Dec. 1, limited release)

2) “The Fighter” (Dec. 10, limited release)

3) ”Casino Jack” (Dec. 17, limited release)

4)  “How Do You Know” (Dec. 17)

5)  “Somewhere” (Dec. 22)

All five shine as award contenders. Oscar winner James Brooks brought another scintillating film to the big screen starring Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and movie icon Jack Nicholson in “How Do You Know.”

“Somewhere” contains a studio embargo, which means critics can’t publicize, promote or push details until 12/17, but after seeing it at a screening, I can say it’s definitely worth watching.

Other noteworthy films include:

Dec. 3

December kicks off with “I Love You, Philip Morris,” the highly anticipated and much delayed film starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor in limited release.

Dec. 10

Take a grim look as corporate America struggles with layoffs in “The Company Men” starring Academy Award winners Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones. See Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie star in the suspense flick “The Tourist,” or watch “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”

Dec. 17

Halle Berry’s performance in “Frankie & Alice” flickers as an 11th hour possibility for Best Actress nomination, John Cameron Mitchell formulated another flabbergasting film “Rabbit Hole” starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart (limited release), the highly-anticipated sequel “Tron: Legacy” or watch the dubious “Yogi Bear” film adaptation with Dan Aykroyd voicing the titular character and Justin Timberlake imitating Boo Boo.

Dec. 22

The Coen Brothers’ “True Grit” remake possesses the makings of a fabulous film starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper (limited release), Gwyneth Paltrow strives to rebound from early award buzz as a country singer in “Country Song” (limited release),  “Little Fockers” with Greg “Gaylord” Focker (Ben Stiller) and grandpa Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) tread into trouble during the holidays and Jack Black stars in the classic re-telling of “Gulliver’s Travels.”

Dec. 29

Finally, give the once-over to Javier Bardem’s award winning performance in “Biutiful” (limited release).