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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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47 Ronin

47 RONIN In the early 18th century, 47 samurai were left without a master after their feudal lord committed seppuku in the wake of a disgraceful confrontation with another noble. After plotting for years, the ronin avenged their lord’s honor by killing his transgressor, then killing themselves. Keanu Reeves—trying to regain his own honor after a series of flops—stars in this big-budget Hollywood adaptation. Banking on some residual Matrix kung fu mojo, Reeves does battle with a shapeshifting sorceress, a big orange troll, and a samurai that explodes. Opens Dec. 25

GRUDGE MATCH The last few years have seen a slew of old-guy action movies, but Grudge Match seems to buck the convention. Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro play boxing rivals of yore. When a disastrous run-in at the motion capture session for a boxing video game reminds them that the aggression betwixt them is still roiling, a big-money offer comes in for a televised rematch. Their aged bodies gone soft, the washed-up boxers decide to harden up and give it another go. More in the vein of The Wrestler than the Rocky reboot, Grudge Match should be better than its hokey premise suggests. Opens Dec. 25

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Ben Stiller directs and stars in this film about a schlubby employee of LIFE magazine who fantasizes about living the life depicted in the photographs he helps publish, based on a James Thurber short story that appeared in The New Yorker in 1939. Some movies contain a dream sequence; Walter Mitty is a dream sequence that contains a movie—Mitty’s frequent “space outs” show him doing incredible and heroic things. When he loses the photograph that is to be the cover of the final issue of LIFE, Mitty sets out on a real-life adventure to track down the photographer who took it, played by a hairy Sean Penn. Opens Dec. 25

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET The perennially slicked-back coiffure-sporting Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this Martin Scorsese epic about the life of a skeezy stockbroker on Wall Street in the ’80s. Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, the Wolf starts his own trading firm and, with the help of a charming sleezeball played by Jonah Hill, builds a financial dynasty. When the greed catches the eyes of the authorities, Belfort takes to some extralegal tactics to keep his fortune. DiCaprio said that for this role he tried to get into the mindset of a Roman Caesar during the fall of the empire, an appropriate headspace for this era of hedonistic financial excesses and long falls from grace. Opens Dec. 25

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