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The Christmas Movie Stocking Is Stuffed With Goodies

By Stan Washington | 12/6/2013, 10:55 a.m.
Idris Elba is a force portraying the late South African freedom fighting icon Nelson Mandela.

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47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves.

The Holiday Movie season which in the next few years will probably start Halloween week (They keep pushing it up.) is in full swing and that means only one thing: You are already behind – so try and keep up.

No longer are the end of the year holiday period reserved for family Christmas movies. The studios discovered that people are interested in a variety of stories beyond the typical Christmas fare. The 2013 holiday season is packed with movies for every demographic and every taste. Here’s an abbreviated list to check off. Find more information and trailers on our website.

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First things, raise your hand if you have seen “12 Years A Slave,” “Gravity”, “Captain Phillips”, “Best Man Holiday”, “Thor: The Dark World”? Only a few hands went up. That is ridiculous for someone who claims to love movies. These award caliber films came out before the holiday season started and are still in the theaters. Also in theaters are “Delivery Man” (PG-13), “Philomena” (R), “Frozen” (PG) and “Homefront” starring butt-kicking Jason Statham and James Francis. See how far behind you are?

There were more diversity in African American films this year. There is history, drama, comedy and with the opening last week of “Black Nativity” – a musical. (See interview with director Kasi Lemmons in the Nov. 28 issue.) Although, the wide release date hasn’t been set, be on the look-out for “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” starring Idris Elba. Early reviews have been positive. It went into limited release Nov. 29.

Arch nemesis Spike Lee and Tyler Perry will go at it again – but this time at the box office. So far, Lee is losing in the first round of this bout. His film which is the remake of the 2008 South Korean cult hit film “Old Boy” starring Josh Brolin opened only in 583 theaters nationwide and barely pulled in enough to pay one month’s mortgage payment on Perry’s Buckhead mansion. The movie which is not a Lee Joint has received mixed reviews. The PR agency handling publicity for the movie was attempting to set up a screener and a Q&A with Lee but the studio nixed that and there were no press screenings before the opening. Not a good sign.

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Tyler Perry's Madea Christmas.

Perry’s biggest star Madea returns to the screen Dec. 13 in “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Christmas”. Whether this becomes a holiday tradition only time will tell. The film also stars Anna Marie Horsford who was recently honored at the Bronze Film Festival in Atlanta. No plot description needed. It’s Madea, okay?

Dec. 6.

Inside Llewyn Davis – Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Carey Mulligan star in this Cohen Brothers’ ode to the 1960s folk scene in New York City. This film has received a lot of positive buzz during its festival run. (Rated R)

Out of the Furnace – This is a gritty drama with a fine cast directed by Scott Copper. A Rust Belt ex-con must choose between escaping a life of poverty and rescuing his brother from a life of crime in this drama from Crazy Heart writer/director Scott Cooper. With the dream of a better life always just out of reach, Russell (Christian Bale) and his younger brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) find their futures taking a grim turn when Russell ends up in jail. The film also stars Woody Harrison as one mean mutha, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard. Rated R.