This Holiday Season: Top 5 Most Anticipated Movies

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The second of three epic fantasy adventure films directed, co-written and produced by Peter Jackson and based on J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel of the same name. The plot picks up just as the Dwarfs, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully crossed over the misty mountains. Bilbo has in his possession the one ring, but now the group must continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
November 8th, 2013

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This Holiday Season's Top 5 Most Anticipated Movies

It's that time of the year again when theaters are filled with new movies, and people flock to the cinemas expecting to see much-awaited films, blockbusters, and awards contenders. The holiday movie season is undoubtedly an exciting period that many moviegoers anticipate. Last year was teeming with critically acclaimed movies such as "Django Unchained," "The Master," and "Zero Dark Thirty." This year is definitely just as promising, with more than a dozen outstanding movies on the queue. Listed below are five of the most popular and most talked-about movies moviegoers have to look forward to this holiday season.

1. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (November 22)
Last year, the first movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins' bestselling teen fiction trilogy "The Hunger Games" was a phenomenal success that exceeded many people's expectations. It became the third-highest-grossing movie of the year, domestically surpassing both "Skyfall" and "Breaking Dawn – Part 2." The bar has now been set higher, and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is expected to gross even more than the first movie. Director Frances Lawrence apparently did such a great job with the movie that the studio actually signed him to direct "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1" and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2." Avid fans of the popular series expect to see fiery performances from Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and actors Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. What's particularly appealing about this blazing trilogy is the idea of pitting teenagers against one another in a dystopian setting. The series certainly attracts a huge teenage audience just as the "Twilight" series hoarded a large fan base. It's one of the top must-see movies this year for youngsters and adults alike.

2. "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (December 13)
Although some fans may have noted that the first Hobbit film wasn't quite up to par with the "Lord of the Rings" series, it was entertaining overall. The upcoming sequel has stirred much interest as people await the continuation of Bilbo's adventure in Middle Earth. Martin Freeman delivered a satisfying performance as Bilbo, and Ian McKell was still the same awe-inspiring Gandalf. The movie picks up where the previous one left off—Bilbo, Thorin, and the rest of the Dwarf party continue to embark on a journey to meet the nefarious, formidable dragon and to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor. Interestingly, Benedict Cumberbatch of "Star Trek Into Darkness" not only voices the dragon but also performs as the beast with the aid of advanced motion capture technology.

3. "Oldboy" (November 27)
"Oldboy" is a remake of the 2003 South Korean movie directed by Park Chan-wook. The original movie was an astounding masterpiece, winning the Grand Prix award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. With so much praise bestowed on the original movie, many people are looking forward to this remake. Much of the attention focuses on how director Spike Lee will measure up to Park Chan-wook's exceptional work. The movie stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, and Samuel L. Jackson. The plot of "Oldboy" mainly revolves around the theme of revenge and obsession, wherein a man who was imprisoned for two decades without knowing the reason suddenly gets released by his perpetrator. The trailer divulges noticeable alterations to the plot-line and a glimpse of compelling performances by the actors.

4. "Thor: The Dark World" (November 8)
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is one of the most well-liked characters in the Avengers, and now he returns to the screen to battle alongside his vicious brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and gorgeous love interest Jane (Natalie Portman). What's interesting about the film is the tenuous alliance formed between Thor and Loki, who no longer stands as the main antagonist, having played as the major villain twice in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In lieu of Kenneth Branagh, TV veteran Alan Taylor, who handled several episodes of "Game of Thrones," directed the movie. "Thor: The Dark World" will surely entertain viewers with its action-packed scenes, interesting character development, and stunning effects.

5. "The Wolf of Wall Street" (December 25)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese team up once again in a movie that will hit theaters on Christmas day. Originally, "The Wolf of Wall Street" was scheduled to be released on November 15. This true-to-life, biographical movie narrates the life of Jordan Belfort. Belfort skyrocketed into wealth and affluence as a successful stockbroker and spiraled downwards as he immersed himself in greed, corruption, and crime. Critics predict that "The Wolf of Wall Street" will be DiCaprio's second shot for an Oscar this year, alongside his performance in "The Great Gatsby." This is the fifth collaboration of DiCaprio and Scorsese, and they're joined by a strong supporting crew that includes Oscar-winning actor Jean Dujardin, Matthew McConaughey, and Jonah Hill.