New movies this week feature A-List stars like Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Lawrence. Wow – what a way to end the year! Let’s take a closer look at new movies in theaters this week.
PG-13 for thematic material, including some disturbing images, and language | In Theaters 12/25 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Columbia/Sony | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | Concussion
This film is based on the David vs. Goliath story of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), the forensic neuropathologist who discovered the first football-related brain trauma in a pro player and fought to bring awareness to the public.
In his search for the truth behind the devastating malady, Omalu’s quest humanizes the price paid by professional athletes in impact sports, but also by people who challenge the status quo as it exposes the political, cultural and corporate interests that fuel the business of sports.
Directed by Peter Landesman, this drama also stars Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Arliss Howard, Paul Reiser, David Morse and Albert Brooks.
PG-13 for violence, thematic material involving perilous activity, some sexuality, language and drug material | In Theaters 12/25 (2D, 3D) | Ok for Kids 14+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Point Break
This remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 film starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves follows a young FBI agent, Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), who infiltrates a team of thrill-seeking elite athletes led by the charismatic Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez).
The athletes are suspected of carrying out a spate of crimes in extremely unusual ways. Now deep undercover and with his life in danger, Utah strives to prove they are the architects of a string of inconceivable crimes. The amazing stunts are performed by elite athletes representing the world’s best in big-wave surfing, wingsuit flying, sheer-face snowboarding, free rock climbing, and high-speed motorcycling.
Teresa Palmer, Delroy Lindo and Ray Winstone also star in this film, directed by Ericson Core.
PG-13 for thematic elements, crude and suggestive content, and for language | In Theaters 12/25 | Ok for Kids 14+ | Paramount | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels | Daddy’s Home
Sean Anders directs “Daddy’s Home,” a comedy about a mild-mannered radio executive (Will Ferrell) who strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children. But complications ensue when their freewheeling and freeloading real father (Mark Wahlberg) arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids. Also stars Linda Cardellini, Thomas Haden Church and Hannibal Buress.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
R for strong bloody violence, a scene of violent sexual content, language and some graphic nudity | In Theaters 12/25 | Ok for Kids 18+ | Weinstein | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | The Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” is set shortly after the Civil War. As a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape, its passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth will bring Domergue to justice.
Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new sheriff. Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass.
When they arrive, they’re greeted by four unfamiliar faces: Bob (Demian Bichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, “Hangman” Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, the travelers learn whether they’re going to make it to Red Rock or not.
R for strong frontier combat and violence, including gory images, a sexual assault, language and brief nudity | In Theaters 12/25 | Ok for Kids 18+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels | The Revenant
Inspired by true events, “The Revenant” follows one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition across the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.
In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief, as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.
Directed and co-written by renowned filmmaker, Oscar winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“Birdman,” “Babel”), “The Revenant” also stars Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter.
PG-13 for brief strong language | In Theaters 12/25 | Ok for Kids 13+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels | Joy
Directed by David O. Russell, “Joy” tells the story of a family across four generations, centering on a girl who ends up founding a business dynasty. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce.
Jennifer Lawrence stars alongside Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rossellini, Diane Ladd, and Virginia Madsen.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.