It’s that time of year again. The holidays are almost upon us, and movie theaters are about to be flooded with uplifting family fare and end-of-the-year award-bait. Surely some of these films will be worth a watch, and I’m sure there will be all sorts of moving, intricately crafted emotional journeys. However, if you’re an avid reader of this site, I would be willing to bet that your tastes run in a slightly different direction.
If you, like me, enjoy movies where things explode, that feature monsters and gore and ample gunfire, and that are generally badass in nature, here is a running list of films that just might help you avoid wasting two hours on a boring snooze fest period piece. You could put that time to good use, like napping, or watching something rad. There’s some action, sci-fi, horror, and weird little creatures on this list, with some revenge thrown in for good measure.
I won’t claim a 100% success rate. Every time I make a list like this, at least one film turns out to be a complete and total turd (like “Skyline” a couple years ago). Most of these, however, should prove to be just what you need to wash away the tedium of holiday specials, generic coming-of-age dramas, and in-laws.
“Skyfall”—opens November 9
Of course the latest James Bond has to be on any list of high-octane adventure films. Sure the last installment, “Quantum of Solace”, was bland and forgettable, but “Casino Royale” was the best Bond movie in many years. So think of this as Daniel Craig’s rubber match with the iconic super spy. It doesn’t hurt matters that “Skyfall” has all of the elements that make Bond great, and tells the most personal story since “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.
“Citadel”—opens November 9
Not just the best movie I saw at the Seattle International Film Festival this year, Ciaran Foy’s “Citadel” is one of the best, most effective horror films I’ve seen in a long, long time. Atmospheric, clever, and straight up terrifying, “Citadel” is sure to add some much needed darkness to your holiday viewing.
“Red Dawn”—opens November 21
No, I don’t actually expect this film to be any good, but the original “Red Dawn” had such a huge, formative impact on my childhood, that I am obligated to watch this. Somehow I doubt that an invading horde from North Korea will strike the same chord as the Russians did in 1984. But after languishing on the shelf for years (“Red Dawn” was filmed before star Chris Hemsworth was even cast as Thor), it’s nice that this unnecessary remake will finally see the light of day. And who knows, maybe there will be some decent action and teens yelling “Wolverines!” That’s enough for me.
“The Collection”—opens November 30
When you hear phrases like “bloodbath” and “ferociously over-the-top” in conjunction with a horror movie, you know you’re on the right track. A little of this sort of mayhem can brighten your holidays right up. “The Collection” is the sequel to 2009’s “The Collector”, and follows the hero from the first film. There are booby traps, commandos, and whole lot of splatter. Good thing Christmas decorations are largely red, that way the blood on the walls won’t show as much.
“Killing Them Softly”—opens November 30
Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominic, the team behind “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”, return with the crime thriller “Killing Them Softly”. An adaptation of George V. Higgins’ novel, “Cogan’s Trade”, the story centers around an enforcer sent after a pair of low-level hoods who rip off a mob-protected card game. With a top-notch cast, and a tough, grim story, the potential for “Killing Them Softly” is through the roof. This looks badass, but of a quiet, more reflective sort.
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