IMDb Picks: December

by IMDb-Editors | created - 16 Nov 2015 | updated - 01 Dec 2015 | Public
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1. The Revenant (2015)

R | 156 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

76 Metascore

A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson

Votes: 613,415 | Gross: $183.64M

The Revenant's trailer was one of the year's best, and it's remarkable to see Alejandro González Iñárritu back in Oscar contention with his follow-up to Birdman. The movie's arduous shoot will be forever remembered by Hollywood history, and I get the sense that the movie could become one of Iñárritu's finest. The shallow part of me just feels like a revenge tale that pits Leonardo DiCaprio against Tom Hardy sounds rather ... hot. — Arno

Release Info: Opens in limited release in theaters on Friday, Dec. 25; expands nationwide on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016.

2. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

81 Metascore

Three decades after the Empire's defeat, a new threat arises in the militant First Order. Defected stormtrooper Finn and the scavenger Rey are caught up in the Resistance's search for the missing Luke Skywalker.

Director: J.J. Abrams | Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson

Votes: 778,900 | Gross: $936.66M

It's safe to say JJ AbramsStar Wars: The Force Awakens is one of the most anticipated releases for 2015. I mean, ticket presales alone broke the Internet! The Force Awakens picks up 30 years after Return of the Jedi, reuniting stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher. Even though I'm ecstatic to see the dream team together again on the big screen, I'm equally excited to see how the story will unfold with The Force Awakens' new leading characters, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega). — Akimi

Release Info: In theaters on Friday, Dec. 18.

3. Chi-Raq (2015)

R | 127 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

77 Metascore

A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago, Illinois.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett

Votes: 8,044 | Gross: $2.65M

Spike Lee's latest film a modern day adaptation of Aristophanes’ satirical play "Lysistrata" about a group of women who withhold sex in order to negotiate peace between warring factions. Chi-Raq is set in gangland Chicago and serves to open up a greater dialogue about issues that the current national media typically passes over. The film's themes hit especially hard for star Jennifer Hudson, who lost three family members to gun violence in 2008.

Chi-Raq also marks the return of the great Dave Chappelle, albeit in a small, but notable role. (You'll remember we last saw him on the small screen nine years ago in 2006, on "Chappelle's Show.")

— Chako

Release info: In theaters on Friday, Dec. 4.

4. Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce (2014–2018)

TV-14 | 60 min | Comedy, Drama

Follows a best-selling author of a self-help book series who hides her recent separation as she starts to navigate her life as a single woman in her 40s in Los Angeles.

Stars: Lisa Edelstein, Beau Garrett, Necar Zadegan, Alanna Ubach

Votes: 3,333

Abby McCarthy's family life and her writing career cratered at the beginning of "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce" and what ensued was one of the most underrated first seasons of TV from the past year. Lisa Edelstein, who plays Abby, is surrounded by a letter-perfect cast for Marti Noxon's best writing since "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I binged on the first half of season 1 and then opted to savor the rest of the episodes in order to sync up with season 2 (which starts Dec. 1 on Bravo). If you enjoy it when adults are messy and their children pretty much keep it together as they bare witness to their parents' mistakes and indiscretions, then you've found one of your new favorite shows. — Arno

Season 2 Premieres: Tuesday, Dec. 1

5. The Wiz Live! (2015 TV Movie)

TV-G | 111 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

A live production of the 1975 Broadway musical, "The Wiz," which put a modern spin on the classic "Wizard of Oz" tale with a cast of African-American actors.

Directors: Matthew Diamond, Kenny Leon | Stars: Common, Amber Riley, Uzo Aduba, Stephanie Mills

Votes: 2,026

NBC's annual live musical can be appreciated on multiple levels. There's the production itself, and there's the suspense of whether something will go wrong. There's a high probability that "The Wiz Live!" will be legitimately good, thanks to a strong cast including Queen Latifah, Uzo Aduba, and Mary J. Blige, and Common. The production will also feature new songs and Cirque de Soleil's production wizardry. — Sara

Airs Live on NBC: Thursday, Dec. 3

6. Youth (I) (2015)

R | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

64 Metascore

A retired orchestra conductor is on vacation with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip's birthday.

Director: Paolo Sorrentino | Stars: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda

Votes: 63,949 | Gross: $2.70M

Here's a charming buddy movie, framed around two seventysomethings and filmed in the lush Swiss Alps, that takes a wistful spin at career, friendship, family, legacy, and growing old. Michael Caine stars as a retired composer summoned to perform for the Queen, and Harvey Keitel plays his best friend, a film director attempting to put the finishing touches on a screenplay for what will be his last great film. This opus, which has already been well-received in Europe, is the second English-language movie for award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino. — Bret

Release Info: Opens in limited release in theaters on Friday, Dec. 4.

7. Life (I) (2015)

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama

59 Metascore

A photographer for LIFE Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.

Director: Anton Corbijn | Stars: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Peter Lucas, Lauren Gallagher

Votes: 6,533

This biographical drama chronicles the story behind the 1955 LIFE magazine photo shoot by Dennis Stock of then-rising star, James Dean. This flick gives us an inside look at some of Hollywood's most iconic images and into the life of a gifted, yet troubled-actor's life. It follows the friendship between Dean, who is played by Dane DeHaan and Stock who is portrayed by Robert Pattinson. For Pattinson, this might just be the flick that will finally make everyone forget about Twilight (even though it will always have a special place in my heart)! — Shara

Release Info: Opens in limited release in theaters on Friday, Dec. 4.

8. In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

PG-13 | 122 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

47 Metascore

A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw

Votes: 107,647 | Gross: $25.02M

Ron Howard's latest film serves up the familiar conflict between man and nature or, in this case, man and enraged sperm whale, chronicling the tale of the sinking of a whaling ship that ultimately inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick. There's much about Howard's effort here to draw in viewers: the epic scope of the storytelling, the arresting and majestic visual effects, and a strong ensemble cast led by Chris Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy. — Bret

Release Info: In theaters on Friday, Dec. 11.

9. Sisters (III) (2015)

R | 118 min | Comedy

58 Metascore

Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.

Director: Jason Moore | Stars: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz

Votes: 58,520 | Gross: $87.04M

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are having a party, and we’re all invited! Director Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) will help us relive the glory days with the two sisters (played by Fey and Poehler) as they throw one final party before their parents sell the family home. Personally, these two funny ladies are one of my favorite comedy duos. — Akimi

Release Info: In theaters on Friday, Dec. 18.

10. The Big Short (2015)

R | 130 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

81 Metascore

In 2006-7 a group of investors bet against the US mortgage market. In their research they discover how flawed and corrupt the market is.

Director: Adam McKay | Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt

Votes: 305,910 | Gross: $70.26M

There was nothing funny about the 2008 collapse of the American mortgage market, but in the hands of Anchorman director Adam McKay, it's the foundation for a dark, smart comedy. An all-star cast including Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, and Steve Carell portray the real-life Chicken Littles who realized that the crisis was coming, and figured out how to use it to make themselves rich. First it will make you laugh, then it will make you angry. Carell's insane toupee alone is worth the price of admission. — Sara

Release Info: Opens in limited release in theaters on Friday, Dec. 11; expands nationwide on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

11. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (2010– )

TV-14 | 44 min | Reality-TV

A reality series that follows some of the most affluent women in the country as they enjoy the lavish lifestyle that only Beverly Hills can provide.

Stars: Kyle Richards, Adrienne Maloof, Camille Grammer, Lisa Vanderpump

Votes: 4,070

Mark your calendars because on Tuesday, December 1st the ladies of Beverly Hills are back with some familiar - and not so familiar - faces. Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards, Yolanda Foster, Lisa Rinna, and Eileen Davidson will all be returning while newcomers Erika Girardi (also known as Erika Jayne) and former model Kathryn Edwards will be joining the gals on their journey for endless drama and cat-fights. Taylor Armstrong, Camille Grammer, and Brandi Glanville are just a few of the former Housewives slated to make appearances this season, not to mention a few fun celeb cameos (Joe Jonas anyone?!). I, for one, will be glued to the small screen and can't wait to see the action unfold. — Shara

12. 45 Years (2015)

R | 91 min | Drama, Romance

94 Metascore

A married couple preparing to celebrate their wedding anniversary receives shattering news that promises to forever change the course of their lives.

Director: Andrew Haigh | Stars: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells

Votes: 27,693 | Gross: $4.25M

Love that Andrew Haigh follows up his Weekend with another relationship drama, and I understand 45 Years begins with a gun shot and then rewinds the narrative as long-married couple's history unravels when an incident from one of their pasts resurfaces. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay were awarded Best Actress/Best Actor trophies at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, and both performers have been tipped for potential Oscar nominations. — Arno

Release Info: Opens in limited release in theaters on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

13. Point Break (2015)

PG-13 | 114 min | Action, Crime, Sport

34 Metascore

A young FBI agent infiltrates an extraordinary team of extreme sports athletes he suspects of masterminding a string of unprecedented, sophisticated corporate heists.

Director: Ericson Core | Stars: Edgar Ramírez, Luke Bracey, Ray Winstone, Teresa Palmer

Votes: 53,413 | Gross: $28.78M

When I first heard they were remaking Point Break, I echoed the screams of "Why??????" I have seen the original so many times I could do a puppet show. But after watching the trailer I was surprisingly intrigued and can see that cinematographer turned director Ericson Core has taken the action to another level. I just hope he keeps one of my favorite quotes: “Little hand says it’s time to rock and roll.” — Michelle

Release info: In theaters on Friday, Dec. 25.

14. Daddy's Home (2015)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy

42 Metascore

Brad Whitaker is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when their biological father, Dusty Mayron, returns.

Director: Sean Anders | Stars: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Thomas Haden Church

Votes: 95,885 | Gross: $150.36M

December is all about enjoying silly movies with the fambam. This is going to be a great one for an afternoon out — especially if you need to cool down hot heads and smooth over tiffs during a big family trip. No holiday is complete without a little Will Ferrell and some slapstick! — Chako

Release info: In theaters on Friday, Dec. 25

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