THE WEEKEND WARRIOR
Box Office, Awards, Festivals and More

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Happy New Year! January is often the Weekend Warrior's favorite time of year because it's the time to brush off the cobwebs, finally set aside any attempts to see the movies of the year before and start fresh with new movies that will be released on a weekly basis. Some will be good, some will be bad, some will be great, but like everyone, there are movies that I'm so excited to see this year that I feel the need to share them with all of you so you can tell me, "You're nuts" or "I'm with you" or whatever you want to say.

2014 feels like it's going to be a transitional year for sure. Last year started out fairly weakly and then by September we were slammed with quality movies one after the another, many of which we never saw coming. Of course, at this point in the year, we're really looking at some of the bigger summer tentpoles and holiday releases, sequels and such, but there are a couple smaller movies on my radar that I hope will deliver as well.

It's the first weekend of the New Year and as has been the case many times over the past few years, we're getting the very first horror movie of the year, although this one is somewhat of an anomaly, not being either a remake or an original horror film as much as being a spin-off of an already proven franchise that's been both popular and profitable. In this case, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount) branches away from the first four movies, released between 2009 and 2013, to focus on new Latino characters that are dealing with their own supernatural incidents.

It's that time of year again when I list the opposite to my annual Top 25 movies list, what I found to be the 25 most horrendous movie offerings of the year.

Just a reminder that I don't differentiate between bad movies that are produced and released by a major studio and those that are financed and released independently. I also had the luxury this year of actually avoiding a number of movies that I knew were going to be bad like Grown Ups 2 and Movie 43 and a few others. Also, a few noticeable omissions from this list I might just not have found bad enough to be considered part of this year's Terrible 25.

It's that time of year again--or rather, it's quite a bit later than that time of year again--but the Oscar Warrior is hellbent on continuing to cover this year's Oscar race even if I'm not going as crazy with the posts as the full-time Oscar bloggers tend to do. The Golden Globes have announced their nominations, as have the Screen Actors Guild and Broadcast Film Critics, a number of critics groups and the National Board of Review have announced their top movies and performances of the year, and we can slowly start weeding out the frontrunners from the also-rans with a few potential surprises possible when Oscar nominations are announced the morning of January 16, 2014.

I'm going to do this a little differently and take this update on a movie-by-movie basis and I'm going to go through them in alphabetical order. I've picked 19 movies that I still think are very much in the mix when it comes to possible Oscar nominations and sometime in January I'll post a list of my final predictions, although they're also archived on GoldDerby if you don't feel like waiting that long.

And now, it's officially Christmas and the last official movie release weekend of the year and often how movies fare often depend on what day of the week Christmas itself lands on. This year, it lands on Wednesday and we can expect the seven days that follow Christmas to act like seven successive Saturdays with theaters doing enormous business both for new and returning movies from the past few weeks. Of course, with so many movies released in the last few weeks--joined by five more this week--some of the November movies might be getting bumped, but we can expect some bigger than usual numbers this weekend, starting on Christmas Day.

While Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (New Line/WB) should still bring in a lot of business with many people waiting to see it with their families and Will Ferrell's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount) could possibly get some word-of-mouth and repeat business, there's quite a few strong new movies being released and how they fare will depend solely on how many of them can sustain that business through the weekend.

This week's "CHOSEN ONE" is Peter Berg's adaptation of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's stirring autobiographical novel Lone Survivor (Universal).

This will be the first and only time that I'll ever make any sort of list like this and the only reason I'm doing it is because 2013 has brought me some interesting perspectives about hospitals and doctors and medical procedures that was almost impossible to ignore as I watched movies that invariably either got it right or horribly, horribly wrong.

So yeah, this might not be that interesting to most of you but I guarantee that it will be the only time you see a list like this, at least on this site, anytime soon. I hope no one reading this ever has to go through what I've gone through this past year, but at least when you watch movies, you should know what's possible and what's just being made up for artistic license.

ComingSoon.net gets on the phone with John Goodman, one of the actors who has helped to define the career of Joel and Ethan Coen, appearing in six of their films going back to 1987's Raising Arizona. He plays a rather striking role in their latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, as Roland Turner, a crotchety jazz musician who encounters the film's hero and gives him a ride to Chicago, bending his ear all the way.

The best way to describe the year 2013 in movies is that it was an "abundance of riches." Just when I thought I'd seen the best that filmmakers and actors had to offer this year, something else would come along that simply blew me away even more. The year certainly started off slow and the summer was as hit or miss as always, but by September and festival season, the surprising number of enjoyable, quality movies exploded. This made it even harder than usual to put together this annual list because I didn't want to ignore the quality movies released earlier in the year for the shiny, new movies, which is really easy to do around this time of year.

You can check out my Top 25 films of the year and my thoughts on each of them in the gallery after the jump, and then afterwards, go to Page 2 for a couple "Honorable Mentions" as well as my list of Top 12 (actually 13) documentaries of 2013.

This is going to be a weird weekend, but that would be nothing new since the weekend before Christmas is always a little weird. Lots of potentially big holiday movies with big stars have opened in this frame to less than spectacular openings but went on to do huge business over the holidays with most people being out of school and off work for the week of Christmas and New Year's. In fact, it's not uncommon for movies that open this time of year to end up grossing 5 to 7 times their opening weekend, so a movie isn't dead if it doesn't deliver opening weekend.

This week's offerings in wide release include Will Ferrell's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount), David O. Russell's American Hustle (Sony), Saving Mr. Banks (Disney), starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, and the 3D animated Walking with Dinosaurs (20th Century Fox).

The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA)--of which ComingSoon.net's Edward Douglas is a member--have announced the nominations for the 19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards, which will air on The CW Network on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8pm Eastern/Pacific, hosted by Aisha Tyler ("Whose Line is it Anyway?" "The Talk").

As with the Golden Globe nominations last week, Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave and David O. Russell's American Hustle led the pack with thirteen nominations each. Unlike the Globes, they'll be competing in many of the same categories including Best Picture and Best Director as well as in three of the four acting categories.

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