The holiday season is a great time for movies, with people clamoring to fill up free time with mindless entertainments. But for whatever reason, there’s only one new film opening nationally: a horror thing called “The Pyramid” that the studio is definitely but definitely not screening for critics. It will be cold and/or rainy this weekend, so if you want to curl up with something big and possibly stupid, here’s some options:
‘Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow’
The latest super-sized Tom Cruise actioner has been called a bomb, which it wasn’t: it made just under $100 million in North America. (Seriously: It made $99.9 million.) A sloppy title snafu doesn’t help either; the tagline — "Live Die Repeat" — was much catchier than the snooze of a title, and since it underperformed, it's been rebranded as a combination of both, which is definitely not confusing. But as you may have heard from those who braved it, this is by far the single most entertaining Hollywood monstrosity of the year — a “Groundhog Day” with aliens, in which Cruise’s war propagandist-turned-bumbling-soldier mysteriously winds up living the same two days over and over, forcing him to train himself into a super-soldier and defeat some belligerent extraterrestrials. It’s as much a comedy as an action film, and terrific at both, and even the disappointing third act at least has the decency to be fun. Spread the word. (The only catch is that it plays on XFINITY in the wrong aspect ratio. Best to go buy the Blu-ray/DVD. You're bound to give it future spins.)
‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’
The first half of “Mockingjay” is burning up the box office, but let’s be honest: It’s not the “Hunger Games” you came to see. (It is, however, very intelligent, and it’s perversely awesome that everyone’s going to see a dark film about the frustrations of waging revolution.) If it's the action and the Ken Russell-esque flamboyance of the series you seek, head online, where the second part still streams.
‘Marvel’s The Avengers’
It’s pretty weird that there’s not presently a Marvel film in theaters. You can always dig through the most super-sized of the bunch, in which all the big superheroes (and a few smaller, lesser ones) banded together to fight…was it aliens? Which baddie is being battled and why are never important with these things, though all you really need to know is this is the one where Hulk beats up Loki and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow comes off as the badassest of the bunch.
Every now and then Netflix teases subscribers with 007 films, some of which suddenly wind up on their servers then disappear as quickly as they arrived. So right now you can watch “Goldfinger,” “From Russia With Love,” “For Your Eyes Only,” “The Living Daylights” and a few more. You can even watch the Connery-starring almost-Bond entry “Never Say Never Again,” as well as “Skyfall,” which lives, it seems, permanently on the streaming giant.
Are you feeling ever so slightly adventurous? Now may be time to dial up this South Korean version of a blockbuster, albeit one starring Captain America himself. Chris Evans leads a revolution inside a train rolling around a dystopian Earth, and it’s the kind of thriller that’s both an angry political polemic and a goofy comedy, with some serious yuks coming from Tilda Swinton in granny classes and giant teeth.
Netflix Instant and iTunes
If you’re feeling really, really adventurous, you can tuck into Lars Von Trier’s porn epic, which may be his last; the provocateur did announce that he can’t make movies sober. If this is the end, it’s a good one to leave on, one that’s actually funnier than it is sex-drenched. It’s that too, especially in the 5 ½-hour X-rated cut you can now buy on iTunes.