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Holiday movies will be all over the map

By Staff | Oct 30, 2013

Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Make way for the return of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen for “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” which boots the Thanksgiving/Christmas 2013 cinema season into hyper-byte mode. Expected to gobble a billion worldwide, Katniss conveys a warrior mentality not an Amazon goddess flouting super powers.

Katniss stands as a self-determining “provider,” who makes tough decisions, which have nothing to do with gender.

Director Francis Lawrence (“Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides,” “Snow White and the Huntsman”) will helm the second installment of series, where the young adults weave seeds of freedom against a dictatorial society.

Thor: The Dark World

A week before the devouring hunger surge, Marvel presents “Thor: The Dark World.” Several A-list critics who have watched early previews tout that the film “delivers the pop candy goods,” – action, grandiosity, heart, humor, fun and lightness of touch. A small minority criticize it as “made by committee” – haphazard and unsatisfying. You be the judge starting Nov. 8.

The Hobbit:

The Desolation of Smaug

Arriving in mid-December, “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” sends the dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf on a Peter Jackson directed journey to snatch gold from a dragon.

Out of the Furnace and

American Hustle

Fans of former “Dark Knight” Christian Bale, find him fighting to escape a life of crime after growing up in a rust belt city with his younger brother in “Out of the Furnace”. It debuts alongside “Catching Fire” at the Rome Film Festival.

Bale then again shows up on an ambiguous side of the law as a con man forced into assisting the FBI in a 70s true crime thriller directed by David O. Russell. Politics, the feds and the mafia collide in this film, which also stars Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Grudge Match

Warner Bros. enters the holiday competition with an upbeat boxing “Grudge Match.” The studio which paired college football’s inspiring “We Are Marshall” against a “Rocky” sequel has snatched Sly Stallone himself and paired him with Robert DeNiro (also onscreen in “Last Vegas”) for a comedic “Grudge Match.”

Jack Ryan:?Shadow Recruit

Coming up, Tom Clancy’s spy character Jack Ryan will have a second re-boot, of sorts when Chris Pine takes over as the CIA operative, previously played by Alec Baldwin (“The Hunt for Red October”), Harrison Ford (“The Patriot Games”, “Clear and Present Danger”) and Ben Affleck (“The Sum of All Fears”). Set in Moscow, the CIA analyst fights to prevent a terrorist attack on the U.S. economy.

About Time

So-called “shameless tear-jerking sentimentality” (according to The Hollywood Reporter) or not, “About Time” has been called a thought-provoking time-traveling romantic comedy. The film, directed by Richard Curtis, is about 21-year-old Tim (Domhnall Gleason) who figures the best way to use his “gift” and make the world a better place is to find a girlfriend. But what impact will time-hopping have on a relationship? Rachel McAdams also stars.

More traditional Christmas fare includes a “Best Man Holiday,” “Anchorman: The Legend Continues,” and “A Madea Christmas.” Family-friendly flicks allow you to go “Walking With Dinousaurs,” and climb a “Frozen” Mount Everest. Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney during the making of “Mary Poppins” in “Saving Mr. Banks.”