2014 Holiday Movies: Drama


This is the time of the year for all of the dramas since it is Oscar season. Interstellar and The Theory of Everything have already come out. Other Oscar-contenders on the horizon are the Jon Stewart directed Rosewater, Steve Carell playing super creepy in Foxcatcher, Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, Reese Witherspoon playing the hiking woman in Wild, and Angelina Jolie’s second directorial film, Unbroken.

Is it another planet or Iceland? Probably Iceland.


Release date: November 7, 2014

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine

Director: Christopher Nolan

Life on Earth is coming to an end so astronauts search for new places to live beyond our galaxy.

My TakeI love Christopher Nolan movies so of course I want to watch it. It doesn’t look as exciting as his previous films though. 

Grade: Watch

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne
Little white lights make everything more romantic.

The Theory of Everything

Release Date: November 7, 2014

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis

Director: James Marsh

Biopic about Stephen Hawking right when he learned he had ALS around the time he was falling in love with his future wife.

My Take: It looks like a super sweet story and there is much I don’t know about Hawking from his younger years.

My Grade: Watch

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne
People were so dirty in olden times.

The Better Angels

Release Date: November 7, 2014

Cast: Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger, Brit Marling, Wes Bentley, Braydon Denney

Director: A.J. Edwards

Covers three years of Lincoln’s childhood years and the two women who raised him into the man he became.

My Take: It looks pretty but also boring.

Grade: Skip

Gael Garcia Bernal
What camera? This camera? Um…uh…


Release Date: November 14, 2014

Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Kim Bodnia, Lauk Bilginer

Director: Jon Stewart

A journalist goes to Iran to cover an election, but after he sends footage of riots back to BBC, he is arrested, interrogated and tortured for months.

My Take: It’s an important story, but not one I am inclined to want to watch.

Grade: Skip

Steve Carell and Channing Tatum
Come live with me to train. It won’t be creepy at all, I swear.


Release Date: November 14, 2014

Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall, Guy Boyd, Dave “Doc” Bennett

Director: Bennett Miller

Based on a true story of an eccentric millionaire who wants to train athletes to be Olympic champions, but things go very wrong.

My Take: Steve Carell is super creepy and that makes me want to watch it.

Grade: Watch

Beck Bennett and Reid Scott
Yes, we are all laughing at your Movember mustache.

Besides Still Waters

Release Date: November 14, 2014

Cast: Ryan Eggold, Beck Bennett, Will Brill, Brett Dalton, Erin Darke, Jessy Hodges

Director: Chris Lowell

A guy invites his childhood friends up to his parents lake house because he’s nostalgic for old times, even though they are not. Then things get awkward when his ex-girlfriend shows up with her new fiance.

My Take: I love stories like this, but none of these characters seemed relatable enough to make me want to watch them.

Grade: Skip

Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank
We couldn’t have made this trip in the spring?

The Homesman

Release Date: November 14, 2014

Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep

Director: Tommy Lee Jones

On the American frontier a woman has volunteered to transport three women who have gone mad from pioneer life back home to Iowa across Nebraska in the winter. She enlists the help of a drifter to get the job done.

My Take: Interesting-looking journey with a good cast.

Grade: Watch

Benedict Cumberbatch
Mr. Cumberbatch, for your own safety from your own fans, we need to remove you from this area immediately.

The Imitation Game

Release Date: November 21, 2014

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley

Director: Morten Tyldum


Follows Alan Turing as he cracked the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII and then went on to develop the first computer.

My Take: It makes the subject matter look quite exciting and has a fabulous cast.

Grade: Watch

Kevin Connolly and Tom Berenger
I’ve realized this itchy scarf was a poor choice.

Reach Me

Release Date: November 21, 2014

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Kevin Connolly, Kyra Sedgwick, Nelly, Kelsey Grammer, Cary Elwes, Terry Crews, Ryan Kwanten, Tom Sizemore

Director: John Herzfeld

A motivational book reaches a bunch of different people that manage to cross paths throughout this movie while seeking out the author.

My Take: So much sappiness! I can’t even take it. Do they expect us to take this seriously?

Grade: Skip

Shawn Christensen and Fatima Ptacek
Thanks for bringing a kid to the bar.

Before I Disappear

Release Date: November 28, 2014

Cast: Shawn Christensen, Fatima Ptacek, Emmy Rossum, Paul Wesley, Ron Perlman

Director: Shawn Christensen

A guy who has given up is about to commit suicide when his sister calls and asks him to watch his niece for her. They go on an all night adventure through Manhattan.

My Take: I didn’t like the guy at the beginning of the trailer, but watching him with the little girl changed my opinion of him and the movie.

Grade: Watch

Reese Witherspoon
Do I really need to bring all this stuff with me?


Release Date: December 5, 2014

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Gaby Hoffman, Kevin Rankin, Michiel Huisman

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée

Based on the memoir of a woman who decided after years of reckless behavior and a collapsing marriage that she would walk over 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself, even though she had no hiking experience.

My Take: I heard about the novel, but never read it. Reese Witherspoon makes me want to watch this film.

Grade: Watch

Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix
We both have amazing hair.

Inherent Vice

Release Date: December 12, 2014

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

During the end of the ’60s, a private eye takes on a case from his ex-girlfriend about her current billionaire boyfriend who has a problem with his wife and her boyfriend trying to throw him in the looney bin.

My Take: It looks like Paul Thomas Anderson doing a Quentin Tarantino movie from a Elmore Leonard novel, even though it’s from a Thomas Pynchon novel. It has enough weirdness in it that I want to see it.

Grade: Watch

Timothy Spall
I am thinking this painting is missing some happy little trees.

Mr. Turner

Release Date: December 19, 2014

Cast: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Lesley Manville, Martin Savage, Joshua McGuire, Ruth Sheen, David Horovitch, Karl Johnson

Director: Mike Leigh

Biopic about an eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner from the 19th century.

My Take: I’m not sure the subject matter would keep me interested during an entire film.

Grade: Skip


Mark Wahlberg and Brie Larson
Say hi to your mother for me.

The Gambler

Release Date: December 19, 2014

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Sonya Walger

Director: Rupert Wyatt

An English professor who is also a high-stakes gambler is falling for one of his students while also borrowing money from a loan shark to try to pay back a gangster.

My Take: I like the cast, but it looks shallow.

Grade: Skip

Tessa Thompson, Colman Domingo, David Oyelowo, Corey Reynolds, Lorraine Toussaint
We really don’t want to get our suits dirty, so we’ll stay standing.


Release Date: December 25, 2014

Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Andre Holland, Omar J. Dorsey, Tessa Thompson

Director: Ava DuVernay

Follows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he led a march to convince President Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

My Take: Some of the scenes in the movie look eerily similar to images from Ferguson.

Grade: Watch

Jack O'Connell
I didn’t ask for a salute.


Release Date: December 25, 2014

Cast: Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Miyavi, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock

Director: Angelina Jolie

True story about a troubled kid who becomes a Olympian before going off to fight in WWII, gets stranded at sea for over 40 days before being captured and imprisoned in a POW camp.

My Take: This guy’s life was all about extremes!

Grade: Watch

Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams
I’m just taking credit for your paintings. What’s the big deal?

Big Eyes

Release Date: December 25, 2014

Cast: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Danny Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp

Director: Tim Burton


A painter marries a man who becomes famous passing off her artwork as his own in the 1950s and 60s.

My Take: I had forgotten that Tim Burton could make movies that aren’t over the top fantasy.

Grade: Watch

Bradley Cooper
This is only slightly stressful.

American Sniper

Release Date: December 25, 2014

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman, Luke Grimes, Navid Negahan, Keir O’Donnell

Director: Clint Eastwood

A talented sniper became not just famous with his own troops, but also enemy troops knew him so well that they placed a price on his head.

My Take: I do like tense war dramas.

Grade: Watch

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