Holiday Movies 2013: Big Films With Vintage Flair

We talk with top film critics about this holiday season’s gusher of new movies, from Disney’s “Frozen,’ to “The Wolf of Wall Street” to “American Hustle.”

Stills from the upcoming films "American Hustle," "Frozen," "The Best Man Holiday" and "The Wolf of Wall Street." (Clockwise from top left, courtesy Sony Pictures, Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures)

Stills from the upcoming films “American Hustle,” “Frozen,” “The Best Man Holiday” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” (Clockwise from top left, courtesy Sony Pictures, Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures)

We’ve got screens all over these days and maybe the best television ever.  But still, when it gets a little colder, darker, when the holidays roll around, there’s something about a movie theater that calls out.  Hollywood knows that very well.  The holiday films are rolling out.  More “Hobbit.”  More “Hunger Games.”  Now “Her,” with Scarlett Johansson as Siri.  The 70s are back with “American Hustle.”  The 60s with “Inside Llewyn Davis.”  “Black Nativity.”  “Oldboy.” “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  This hour On Point:  A.O. Scott and Carrie Rickey on the season’s haul of holiday films.

-Tom Ashbrook


A.O. Scott, chief film critic for the New York Times. (@aoscott)

Carrie Rickey, longtime film critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer. (@CarrieRickey)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: The Big Picture Strikes Back — “Maybe the failure of so many overblown, mediocre movies would inspire the flowering of smaller, better ones. Maybe the audience, fed a steady summer diet of sequels, merchandising tie-ins and animated family fun, was finally saying ‘enough.’ Maybe a lesson could be drawn from the success of the previous year’s crop of Oscar movies, and the future would belong to the Argos and Djangos and Lincolns rather than the Avengers and Transformers.”

The Daily Beast: Holiday Movie Preview: ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,’ ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ And More — “It’s been a pretty dismal summer movie-wise. Remember ‘The Internship’? ‘After Earth’? We hardly do, either. The fall brought some welcome relief in the form of ‘Gravity’ and ’12 Years a Slave’, but now, we’re getting into the real bread-and-butter: awards season. The next six weeks will see a bevy of awards-bait films—and grand blockbuster entertainments—hit theaters, including ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,’ Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ and much more. ”

The Wall Street Journal: Hollywood’s Gift List: Holiday Film Preview — “The film calendar is always heavily backloaded with Oscar contenders, in part so the films are fresh in the minds of Academy members when they are voting. But this year, studios seem to be conceding that they have packed far too many films into too few weekends. Some are pulling movies out of the fray. One big film was delayed until late December and five more have already been pushed into 2014, even if it means deferring Oscar aspirations until the 2015 ceremonies.”

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