With a Michigan winter inevitably comes freezing temperatures, blizzards and lots of gloomy days, leading many Michiganders to opt to stay inside. But being cooped up at home induces cabin fever and plunging temperatures leaves outdoor activities less than desirable. What other options do you have? For many residents, the answer is simple – go see a movie.
Jeannie Deibis, programming coordinator for Celebration! Cinema agrees that winter is the perfect time for watching movies, as increases in business suggest.
"When the weather's beautiful in Michigan people don't come to the movies," Deibis said. "So we're very fortunate come November."
As a mother, Deibis says she often goes to see family movies, and cites Saving Mr. Banks and Disney's Frozen as a couple of her most anticipated films of the season. She also likes to follow the latest Oscar contenders, and is looking forward to those as well.
Nicholas Hartman, film program manager at UICA, also follows the Oscar contenders, and is planning to bring back their series highlighting all Oscar-nominated animated shorts.
While searching for other selections to play during winter months, Hartman has his own philosophy.
"I want to create a strong dichotomy with selected films," Hartman said. "Overall, I'd like to have films that fit the winter season, films that are cold and dark and can really set the feeling of winter. But also, I'd like to have a selection of films that are warming and generally speaking, make you feel good. The kind of films that once you step back out into the cold, you still feel warm."
Celebration! Cinema, also boasts diversity in its lineup, and is sure to have something of interest for even the most picky moviegoer.
"We've got the big-event movies coming, and the Oscar contenders, as well as some limited family fare," Deibis said.
Whether you're interested in action-packed blockbusters, thought-provoking dramas or anything in between, take a look at our list of some of the most notable releases to help you plan your winter viewing schedule.
Opening December 6
Inside Llewyn Davis
The latest endeavor from the Coen Brothers focuses on fictional folk musician Llewyn Davis (played by Oscar Isaac) as he navigates his way through New York's music scene in the 1960s. T Bone Burnett produced the soundtrack for the film, which includes live recordings of original and traditional folk songs performed by Isaac and other members of the cast, including Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan.
Out of the Furnace
Christian Bale and Casey Affleck costar in this gritty thriller that explores the strength of family bonds in the blue-collar world. After being released from prison, Russell Blaze (Bale) discovers that his brother Rodney (Affleck) has become involved in a violent crime ring, and his life is at stake. Russell must choose to pursue either his own freedom, or to help his younger brother. In addition to Bale and Affleck, the film features a star-studded cast of Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe and Forest Whitaker.
Opening December 13
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The second Installment of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy finds Bilbo and Gandalf where we last left them fighting their way from the Misty Mountains closer to the lair of the gold-hoarding dragon named Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Opening December 18
The Monument's Men
George Clooney's latest film, The Monument's Men, is nothing short of a testament to his hands-on approach to filmmaking. Clooney directs, produces, co-writes and co-stars alongside an already impressive cast including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett. The Monument's Men follows the story of the often-overlooked Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program, a group of civilians and service members who worked to protect historical and culturally relevant monuments and works of art from sure destruction during World War II.
Written and directed by Spike Jonze, Her is an absurd and heartwarming sci-fi romance that centers on the relationship formed between Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) and his computerized operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Twombly makes a career out of writing heartfelt letters for others. Upon initiating a newly designed operating system named Samantha, he slowly falls in love with it, and soon his feelings are reciprocated by the program, beginning an unconventional romance.
Opening December 20
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Will Ferrell once again dons blazer and mustache to deliver the news in the way he only can. He'll once again be joined by his team of misfits (Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner), as well as countless notable cameos including Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey and Yeezus himself, Kanye West. This time around, Burgundy will be vying for the top spot at New York's first-ever 24-hour news station, no doubt spurting out the same quote-worthy comedy gold as in the film's predecessor.
Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks focuses on P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the Australian author of Mary Poppins. The film follows Travers as she meets with a charming Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), who is determined to negotiate rights for a film version of her book and bring the magic of her characters to life.
Opening December 25
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Incorporating elements from James Thurber's short story of the same name, as well as the 1947 film adaptation, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty follows title character Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller) as he loses himself in outrageous and adventurous daydreams as a means to escape his drab day-to-day life in the office.
Opening January 24
Following in the footsteps of Van Helsing and the Underworld trilogy, I, Frankenstein is an action-packed supernatural sci-fi thriller that incorporates all the things that really matter in a movie: explosions, innovative weaponry, intense fight scenes and plenty of monsters. Aaron Eckhart plays Adam Frankenstein, a reanimated man who becomes involved in ancient battle between two immortal clans.
Opening February 7
Filmed partially in Detroit, the latest reboot of of the famed franchise takes place in the near future and follows Alex Murphy (Joel Kinniman) as a critically injured police officer who is used to test a new form of cybernetic body armor designed to kick the asses of bad guys everywhere, including a mohawked Samuel L. Jackson.
Opening February 21
Paul W.S. Anderson, known for his involvement in the Resident Evil films, as well as the Alien Vs. Predator franchise, has taken a step back from the sci-fi/horror genre to direct the action drama Pompeii. The film follows slave Milo (Kit Harrington) as he travels home to Pompeii to save his love interest, Cassia (Emily Browning), and his gladiator friend. Spoiler Alert: Mount Vesuvius erupts.