It's no secret that Hollywood saves many of the year's best films for the holiday season, when those attending family gatherings need a good excuse to get out of the house and Oscar voters are considering their favorites. But we can't recall a better crop of films opening on pre-Christmas weekend than the one happening right now.
Starting their official runs today in New Orleans are three films that have already (and deservedly) won multiple best-of-year honors from critics' associations across the country. American Hustle, David O. Russell's wildly entertaining tale of small-time con artists hoping to outsmart the FBI, is the real crowd-pleaser of the three (read our full review here). Inside Llewyn Davis is darker but gets under your skin in a way that's unique to the always-fascinating Coen Brothers (full review here). Nebraska, Alexander Payne's warped valentine to the American heartland, is also not to be missed.
Nebraska is screening exclusively at the Elmwood Palace, and Inside Llewyn Davis can only be found at Canal Place. American Hustle is showing all over town. These films may have their runs extended (or return to local screens if they've already gone) after the Oscar nominations are announced on January 16, but the best advice is to see all three of them on the big screen while you can.