Welcome to December, a.k.a. awards season, when the movie studios release their best and brightest and Benedictiest into the wild (including, ahem, Wild) and onto cineplex screens across the country. Here's what to head to the theater for this month, from likely blockbusters and breakthroughs to indies and what might be the scariest movie of all time.
Based on a true and twisted story, Foxcatcher follows unstable millionaire wrestling enthusiast John du Pont (Steve Carrell) as he coaches a pair of Olympic-level wrestler brothers, Dave and Mark Schultz (played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo), on a private wrestling team named for and housed at his Foxcatcher estate.
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While, yeah, you could easily Wikipedia the overarching story, seeing Carrell take on such a fascinating and frightening character (and prosthetic nose) seems well worth a couple hours and a few bucks. Of course, there's also Tatum, who famously does it for lots of ladies and also did some serious actorly things by way of smashing himself up for this film. If you're more swayed by accolades, note that Bennett Miller took home the best director award at Cannes for the film, which opens at Harkins Camelview 5 on Friday, December 5.
Adapted by Nick Hornby from Cheryl Strayed's bestselling memoir Wild, the film of the same name follows Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, on a challenging, 1,100-mile solo trek along the Pacific Crest Trail, as she copes with addiction and the death of her mother. Based on the busted-up toe nail and adorable fox featured in the trailer, the adventure drama, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club), may or may not inspire you to never go hiking. Wild opens Friday, December 5.
The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch takes on Alan Turing in Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game. Centered on the early computer scientist's efforts to crack the seemingly impenetrable Enigma Code, employed by Nazi Germany during World War II, the film shakes off Cumberbatch's fangirl-friendly Sherlock Holmes as it delves into the mind and life of Turing, whose homosexuality was considered criminal. This Britain-set thriller, opening December 12, wades through the genius' sad, but impactful, life.
If the prospect of hanging out with your family over the holidays has you running scared, take solace in the fact that you are not being stalked by a super-creepy shadowy monster from a super-creepy children's pop-up book. Such is the case with the mother-son duo in The Babadook, which sounds disturbingly like the imaginary character that Kevin is afraid of on The League, but proves far more sinister. Prepare for a fright through partially covered eyes when Jennifer Kent's lauded horror film opens at FilmBar on Friday, December 12.
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Jim Jarmusch's 1995 art Western follows a pre-pirate Johnny Depp as he seeks work in a frontier town, takes up with a woman, and takes another man's life. With an original soundtrack by Neil Young and a cast that includes Billy Bob Thornton, Gabriel Byrne, and Crispin Glover, Depp's Blake becomes a wanted man and travels farther west with a Native American company who goes by the name Nobody. It's all very postmodern in black and white.Dead Man screens as part of Phoenix Art Museum's Another Western Series, and in conjunction with exhibition "The West Select," at 1 p.m. December 14. Admission is $10.