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Judging the Oscar-worthy versus the failures

Whether it is musicals, magical battles or crime dramas you seek there is something for everyone this winter break.

With the upcoming Oscar season, it isn’t too hard to consider which films will be in the running. There were several major films that have recently come out that stand a good chance for award nominations.

Despite box office stats and reviews, “The Giver” proved to be an insightful and thought-provoking film. Directed by Phillip Noyce, the film starts off with the fundamental idea that there is order for everything and a lack of feelings.

Memories are a thing of the past and only one person of the community is gifted with the task of being the Receiver of Memory.

Switching gears and jumping head first into history and the supernatural is “Dracula Untold.” The film, directed by Gary Shore, was set in 15th Century Transylvania and based off the story of Vlad Tepes played by Luke Evans. Although he is most identified with his more colorful moniker, Vlad the Impaler. The story shows the background of how Vlad came to be Count Dracula.

The desperation of the Transylvanian Prince to protect his people prompts him to turn into a vampire to help give him the strength to protect his people from Turkish soldiers. He is warned that if he consumes human blood then he will be cursed with vampirism for eternity.

With Winter Break quickly approaching, there will be plenty of must-see films out to view after the caroling and candied yams. The movies due to come out are sure to finish the year off with a bang. Among them are “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “The Gambler” and “Into the Woods.”

From “The Lord of the Rings” series to “The Hobbit,” once again filmmakers have gifted us with yet another chapter to this unforgettable story. “An Unexpected Journey” and “The Desolation of Smaug” exceeded expectations and kept viewers at the edge of their seats. The hope is that “The Battle of Five Armies” will follow suit and answer all doubts or questions the others have left.

The film, directed and written for the screen by Peter Jackson, will be the third and final part of “The Hobbit” trilogy. Some of the same cast from previous films as well as from “The Lord of the Rings” will return and also a few new members will be introduced. Jackson intends to make use of the appendices written in the book to expand on the story.

This final installment will be an epic conclusion of the Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves journey. Don’t miss out on the final magical film of “The Hobbit” trilogy set to premiere Dec. 17.

“The Gambler,” starring Mark Wahlberg, follows a literature college professor as he navigates between gambling, loan sharks and an affair with a student. This American crime drama, directed by Rupert Wyatt, is based off of the 1974 version of the film.

Jim Bennett played by Wahlberg is drowning from gambling debts and impulses. After realizing he has a week to pay back $240,000 to avoid trouble, Wahlberg decides his best option is to “Borrow from Peter to pay Paul.” This film displays a man’s ability to squander any handouts and continuously dig a bigger ditch for himself. Need a gambling adrenaline rush? Be on the look out for this film that is set to premiere Dec. 19.

John Goodman may be nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “The Gambler” as well.

Every holiday season needs a good musical to lighten the mood. “Into the Woods,” a musical fantasy film, is based off of the plots from various Grimm fairytales. Meryl Streep plays a witch who shows each character the consequences of their wishes. Among the main fairytales are “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella.”

The cast includes major actors and actresses including Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and Billy Magnussen. The story begins with “The Baker and his Wife” and how they must go into the woods to break the spell. The film is then tied between the original story and the other Grimm fairytales.

Even though this film has yet to come out it already has a shot at Best Picture, Best Actress for Blunt, Best Supporting Actress for Streep, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director. The film premieres in theaters on Dec. 25.

“Unbroken,” directed by Angelina Jolie, will also come out the same day at “Into The Woods.”

“Unbroken” stars Jack O’ Connell as Louis Zamperini who is an Olympic athlete that joined the army during World War II. He was taken as a prisoner of war to a Japanese prison camp after his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean. It’s a powerful story about not only the courage to stand up, but the will to keep going.

This movie will also be up for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for O’ Connell, Best Supporting Actor for Miyavi and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Other highly anticipated movies that will be coming out over Winter Break are “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as Reality TV Stars who get a mission to kill Kim Jung Un. Also, A Most Violent Year, starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, is about an immigrant who fights to protect his family and business in 1981.

Then to kick off the New Year, “The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death” will be out on Jan. 2, 2015. Starring Helen McCrory, this film centers on a group of children during World War II who are sent to the Eel Marsh House to avoid the bombings happening in London. However, they run into their own trouble in this house haunted by a vengeful spirit.

While, not every movie can win an Oscar, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t great works of art. However, it is safe to say that this will be a highly competitive season.

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