Movie News: What to Watch in December 2013 – January 2014

We round up the most awaited movies to end and begin your year with.

SLASH BASH. Adopting Japanese folklore of samurais without masters, the directorial debut of Carl Rinsch, 47 Ronin, blends historical events with fantasy in a theatrical narration. The movie, which is due to premiere this Christmas, taps Keanu Reeves as the leading role. He plays Kai, an outcast who joins a group of ronin. Together they seek revenge for their master’s death and embark on a journey to kill Lord Kira (Tananobu Asano). The Japanese cast ensemble also includes rising starlet Rinko Kikuchi and controversial model Rick Genest, whose appearances are increasingly popular in both fashion and movie industries. If you’re an action movie buff, “47 Ronin” packs intense sword slashing with stunning 3D tricks.


DO THE HUSTLE. American Hustle boasts not only star-studded cast but also an unpredictable plot set in late 1970s and early 1980s. It narrates the life of an adroit conman named Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) who gets recruited to work for an FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), in a scandalous operation that investigates a stolen property. Working alongside Rosenfeld is his seductive partner and lover, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). As the story unfolds, they find themselves embroiled in the world of powerbrokers and mafia, with an unexpected end brought by Rosenfeld’s wife, Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Jennifer Lawrence). One of the film’s highlights is none other than Christian Bale’s immersive transformation into a ‘70s jackal.


IN THE ZONE. True stories from political spheres seem to be an ideal inspiration for recent Hollywood movies. After “Argo” snagged an Academy Award for Best Picture in 2012, now Lone Survivor attempts to recreate the tension in a war zone based on real events as portrayed in the book “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10” by Marcus Luttrell. Taking place in Afghanistan, the story tells a failed mission involving American soldiers who plan to kill a notorious Taliban leader and later battle Taliban forces in the area. Mark Wahlberg secures the spot as Luttrell, the American soldier protagonist who survives the operation, while Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana, Ben Foster and Alexander Ludwig are on board as his teammates.


OLD HOBBIT DIES HARD. A prequel to the wildly successful “Lord of the Rings,” The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug follows the journey of hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) with wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen dwarfs to reclaim their home, Erebor. In this second installment of the trilogy, they face more dangers and threats, passing through Mirkwood Forest and Lake-town—all the while seeking the Secret Door that leads them to the dragon, Smaug. Fortunately, they are not on their own as elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom) comes to their aid. Shot in 3D at 48 frames per second, this Peter Jackson’s production costs half a billion dollar, making it a must-watch to close the year 2013.


MONSTER ON A MISSION. Frankenstein in its original tale falls unfavorably into the category of social misfit, an awkward byproduct of scientific failure. But in I, Frankenstein, the monstrous creature gets to become the good guy. This dark thriller flick follows a Frankenstein-like being named Adam (Aaron Eckhart) who encounters a war between two immortal clans in an ancient city. Crafted by the same screenwriter who brought “Underworld,” the similarity of cinematic ambience and storyline is quite obvious. Expect some dramatic actions and gothic nuances, with astonishing visual treats that mark the departure of the story from the classic, same old-same old Frankenstein to an exhilarating blockbuster.