Screen gems: What’s ahead in movies and on TV for the week of Dec. 22

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: Leonardo DiCaprio stars.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: Leonardo DiCaprio stars.

Big screen

Opening Wednesday

47 Ronin (PG-13): Carl Rinsch makes his directorial debut with this spectacular adventure about a warrior (Keanu Reeves) who helps a group of 47 samurai avenge the murder of their leader. One ominous sign: The film is not being screened for critics in several major markets. Uh-oh.

Grudge Match (PG-13): Aside from the inexplicable success of The Expendables series, Sylvester Stallone has been having a rough time drawing much of an audience. But this comedy about two retired boxers (Stallone and Robert DeNiro) who step into the ring to settle a longstanding grudge has the feel of a crowd-pleasing hit.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (PG-13): Idris Elba ( The Wire, Prometheus) stars in this biopic of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, recounting his life from his rural childhood to his ascencion to the presidency.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (PG-13): James Thurber’s beloved 1939 short story about a mild-mannered dreamer gets a second film adaptation. The first, made in 1947, was a musical starring Danny Kaye. But director Ben Stiller, who also stars, has opted to go the fantasy route, using sensational special effects and remote locations overseas to portray a milquetoast’s gradual embrace of life and all its risks and pleasures. Kristen Wiig co-stars as the woman who unwittingly inspires him to break out of his humdrum shell.

The Wolf of Wall Street (R): Director Martin Scorsese cuts loose and turns Jordan Belfort’s tell-all account of his wild and crazy life as a corrupt Wall Street investor into an over-the-top, three-hour, outrageously debauched comedy. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the crooked moneyman, while Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin and Margot Robbie play some of the hangers-on and collaborators in his crazy circus of white-collar crime.

Justin Bieber’s Believe (PG) The first behind-the-scenes documentary that followed the teen pop star on and off-stage (2011’s Never Say Never) grossed $100 million. Naturally, they’ve made another one. But with all the negative publicity Bieber has created for himself lately, have his 15 minutes elapsed?

Rene Rodriguez

Small screen

Meet Me In St. Louis (8 p.m. Monday, Turner Classic Movies): Most people think of Vincente Minelli’s 1944 film starring his wife Judy Garland as a witty musical comedy set at the 1903 world’s fair. But the single most most powerful moment is Garland’s heartbreaking rendition of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas as her family is about to be torn up from its roots.

It’s A Wonderful Life (8 p.m. Tuesday, NBC): Come on, admit it -- boring little Bedford Falls looks a lot more fun when it turns into Pottersville during the fantasy sequence, jumping with strippers and floozies and jive bars! Go ahead, watch it for the 40th time and see if I’m not right.

A Christmas Story (10 p.m. Tuesday, TBS): Actually, you can watch this classic 1983 film one almost any time you want, because TBS is airing it 12 consecutive times in a 24-hour marathon that starts at 8 p.m. Christmas Eve. Watch ‘em all and organize an office pool on how many times you and little Ralphie will hear the ominous warning: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Yule Log. (6 a.m. Wednesday, WSFL-CW 39): Four hours of a crackling fire. That's it! No characters. No dialogue. Not even any Smokey the Bear public-service ads. In short, a TV critic's dream.

Glenn Garvin

Read more Glenn Garvin: On TV stories from the Miami Herald

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