“Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning”—opens November 30 (already available on-demand)
2009’s “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” was a better direct-to-video action offering than any of us expected it to be, and kicked much ass. After the success of that film, and of “The Expendables 2” this summer, of course Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren were going to make another. Adding Scott Adkins into the fray only ups the ante. In addition to looking like a solid actioner, “Day of Reckoning” appears more than a little insane. JCVD as a villain in weird clown makeup doing his best Colonel Kurtz impression? Sign me up.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”—opens December 14
Peter Jackson and company are going to split this adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy adventure into as many films as humanly possible, and this December we get the first of forty-plus installments. As annoying as it may be to watch a chapter every holiday season from now until the day you die, this return to Middle Earth is still pretty damn exciting. Wizards and dwarves and orcs and dragons and, of course, hobbits, add up to one epic adventure. That, right there, spells holiday fun.
“Jack Reacher”—opens December 21
Tom Cruise as a mysterious ex-military investigator that kicks a lot of ass? Happy holidays indeed. Action, mystery, Werner Herzog, what else to you want? How about car chases, skull cracking, and a clever story from writer/director Christopher McQuarrie? “Jack Reacher” should be a fun adventure with a brutal mean streak. And I have a special place in my heart for Cruise playing a stone cold badass.
“Django Unchained”—opens December 25
Much like “Skyfall”, you know any list of upcoming badass cinema is going to include the latest Quentin Tarantino flick. That should be a given. “Django Unchained” is vintage QT. The slavery revenge fantasy is an ideal blend of fast, funny, and violent, everything you hoped it would be. And Franco Nero, the original Django, has a cameo, so you can’t go wrong.
“Zero Dark Thirty”—originally scheduled for December 19, this has been pushed back until January 11, 2013
There’s no better way to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus (or ring in the New Year) than by watching a bunch of Navy SEALs take down the most hated man in American history, Osama bin Laden. Hot on the heels of her Oscar winning turn helming “The Hurt Locker”, “Point Break” director Kathryn Bigelow returns with this tense manhunt drama. Jessica Chastain still seems out of place in every clip and trailer, but that’s hardly a detriment. A great cast, combined with a topical story that everyone wants to see, and this should be a damn fine time.
Honorable mentions to this list include Rza’s directorial debut, “The Man With the Iron Fists”—not because it isn’t badass enough, it just opens too early—and “John Dies at the End”. Don Coscarelli’s new film doesn’t get a theatrical release until late January, so hopefully you’ll already be fully recovered from the end of year festivities by then.
What movies are you excited about this holiday season?
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