Since being away from my family at Arizona State, I am always ecstatic to come back home and be reacquainted with home cooking, my own bed, reminding my older brother about how much taller I am than him, and holiday traditions.

One of those traditions is concluding Christmas Day by going to see a movie.

If your family is anything like mine, then it takes at least two hours to decide which movie to go see. Well, don’t worry because I am here to give you some options and preview six of the biggest December film releases to help narrow down that decision and be the film aficionado to your family.

Exodus: Gods and Kings (12/12/14)

A biblical epic directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale as Moses has me intrigued. Scott has directed some of my favorite films of all time, with movies such as Blade Runner, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down to name a few. Pairing Scott with Bale and a talented ensemble cast consisting of Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, and Sir Ben Kingsley gives the film the potential to be one of the most successful biblical films since The Passion of the Christ made over $370 million back in 2004.

Inherent Vice (12/12/14)

Whenever Paul Thomas Anderson directs a movie, there’s a good chance an actor in that film will put on an Academy Award nomination-worthy performance. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the film’s star Joaquin Phoenix gets an Oscar nomination for Best Actor or if Josh Brolin scores one for Best Supporting Actor in Anderson’s latest movie, Inherent Vice.

Inherent Vice is set in 1970s-Los Angeles and has Phoenix playing a “pothead” private investigator who gets in over his head when investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. To me, it looks like a mix between Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Big Lebowski, and Serpico and could make for a really entertaining film.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (12/17/14)

The culmination of The Hobbit trilogy, written and directed by Peter Jackson, looks to be the biggest and most adventurous film of the series yet. The Tolkien universe has been one of the most successful film franchises in history, both critically and commercially, so could this truly be the end of Middle Earth on the screen? Doubtful.

I personally have not seen any of The Hobbit trilogy and cannot tell you more than you could find on a quick Google search, but if you’re a fan of the genre and of other Tolkien-based movies, I’m sure this one will be as entertaining as the others.

Unbroken (12/25/14)

And now come the three big Christmas Day releases of 2014. The Oscar-bait, the Disney musical, and the newest comedy from Seth Rogen and James Franco. The question is, which one will your family choose to go see?

Unbroken is directed by Angelina Jolie and written by the Coen brothers (True Grit, No Country for Old Men, and Fargo). It is the incredible true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who went on to serve during World War II.

For those of you not acquainted with the story of Louis Zamperini, it is almost built to be made into a Hollywood movie. Not only does he run for the United States in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but he goes on to serve his country against the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Ocean theater of war during World War II. If you have read his biography or seen the trailer, you know that his plane crashes into the ocean and he survives weeks adrift only to be picked up by a Japanese warship and sent to prisoner of war camps for more than two and a half years. His triumphant survival story is being played by one of the rising stars in the industry in Jack O’Connell and looks to be a very impactful, emotional film.

Expect this one to be a huge player come award season.

Into the Woods (12/25/14)

This one appears to be the front-runner for the Ferguson family to go see on Christmas, especially considering my brother and I made our unsuspecting mother go see Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street the previous two holiday seasons.

The film adaptation of James Lupine and Stephen Sondheim’s hugely successful, Tony-award winning musical is directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Nine) and has an ensemble cast that is absolutely stacked including Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick and James Corden.

The story is set around an interwoven plot of several Grimm fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella that interconnect setting the stage for a hilarious and emotional tale that is destined to be box office gold.

The Interview (12/25/14)

Finally, we get to the film that could potentially start a war with North Korea.

Probably not, but wouldn’t it be strange to see James Franco and Seth Rogen’s name in the history books of future generations for that reason?

The Interview stars Franco and Rogen as a talk show host and his producer who have found success in covering celebrities and Hollywood gossip but want to chart a new path into the world of hard-hitting journalism. When they find that the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, is a fan of Franco’s character and wishes to do an interview, they jump at the chance to change their public perception as tabloid reporters. The only problem is that the CIA has different plans and instructs Franco and Rogen’s characters that their new mission will be to carry out the assassination of the hermit kingdom’s leader.

If you liked This is the End or Pineapple Express, then you’ll most likely enjoy this one. The plot is going to be unbelievable and some jokes may miss, but there’s no denying that Franco and Rogen have a comedic chemistry that usually strikes gold.

About The Author

Blane Ferguson
Associate Editor/Senior Staff Writer

Blane can trace his MMA roots, like many others, to the finale of the first Ultimate Fighter season between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin. After watching that incredible fight and cleaning the local Blockbuster of any recorded UFC pay-per-views they had, Blane was hooked on watching the sport and he carried that passion with him to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Blane is a four-year broadcasting veteran of ASU's campus radio including a founder and co-host of the station's combat sports show, The Final Round.