Well, weve made it this far.
Nearly 10 and a half months into the Trump presidency, one marked by scandals, snafus, and snide tweets, and in the midst of a long-overdue celebrity creep purge, comes a unique holiday movie season. Tis a season devoid of Harvey Weinsteins cloying Oscar bait and one with precious little tolerance for petty bullshit. And there are plenty of must-see movies, too.
If epic blockbusters are your thing, youve got Rian Johnsons supercharged Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which hopes to be the Empire of the new trilogy. In the mood for an expertly crafted prestige picture? Phantom Thread, the Paul Thomas Anderson-Daniel Day-Lewis collaboration about a 1950s couture designer, is just the ticket. And if its mindless laughs youre after, the Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart vehicle Jumanji should do the trick.
So without further ado, here are the most anticipated movies hitting theaters this holiday season.
THE DISASTER ARTIST (Dec. 1)
The Room, Tommy Wiseaus 2003 passion project, is widely regarded as one of the best-worst movies ever made; a tone-deaf disasterpiece of hilarious proportions, but this film chronicling the making-of is the best comedy of the year, anchored by a cheeky, committed turn from James Franco (who also directed) as Wiseau. More so than last years tap-dancing La La Land, here is a tender ode to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem.
THE SHAPE OF WATER (Dec. 1)
Guillermo del Toro (Pans Labyrinth) has essentially fashioned his own genre of cinema: gothic science fiction. A master of fantastical creatures inhabiting dark, phantasmagorical worlds, his latest is his sweetest film yet. Its a 1960s-set fairy tale love story between a mute cleaning lady (Sally Hawkins, wonderful) and a creature from the deep. Throw in Michael Shannon as a sadistic government agent, Richard Jenkins closeted artist, Michael Stuhlbarg as a compassionate scientist, and a scene-stealing Octavia Spencer, and youve got a recipe for greatness.
WONDER WHEEL (Dec. 1)
Vittorio Storaros lensing and Kate Winslet are exquisite in this Woody Allen fable, about a jaded wife (Winslet) in 1950s Coney Island who finds herself involved in a love triangle with a handsome young lifeguard (Justin Timberlake) and her stepdaughter (Juno Temple). But the film also, at times, seems to function as justification for Allens romance with his own much-younger stepdaughter, Soon-Yiin addition to, you know, the disturbing Dylan Farrow controversy.
I, TONYA (Dec. 8)
There are some serious tonal deficiencies in I, Tonya, which my colleague Kevin Fallon did a great job of summing up here, but Margot Robbie is absolute dynamite as embattled figure skater Tonya Harding, capturing her fears and idiosyncrasies with expert precision. She is matched step-for-step by Allison Janney as her chain-smoking terror of a mother. This would be a good double-bill with the excellent Lady Bird, showing two very different mother-daughter relationships.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Dec. 15)
No members of the press have seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet, but really, what do you need to know? Its a freakin Star Wars movie that brings back the surviving cast of The Force Awakensincluding the legendary Carrie Fisher, in her final film performancealong with newcomers Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, and Kelly Marie Tran. Oh, and Princes Harry and William cameo as stormtroopers. And its directed by the talented Rian Johnson, the man behind Brick and Looper. Who are you kidding? Youre gonna see this.
THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR (Dec. 15)
A powerfuland vitaldocumentary by filmmaker Nancy Buirsky that captures the story of Recy Taylor, a black woman who in 1944 was kidnapped while leaving church and gang-raped by six white men. The men were never indicted, a tragic miscarriage of justice which brought shame to the nation. The incident served as a precursor to the Montgomery bus boycott that occurred nearly a decade later. Taylor, by the way, is still alive at 97, and paid a visit to the White House in 2011, where she was greeted by the first black president.
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (Dec. 20)
Bill Condon knows a thing or two about movie-musicals, having helmed Chicago, Dreamgirls, and the recent Beauty and the Beast, and here hes back with a sweeping musical inspired by P.T. Barnum and the renowned Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Hugh Jackman plays Barnum, and hes joined by Zac Efron (Hairspray), Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya. Expect plenty of fireworks and high-wire activity.
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Dec. 20)
This sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams flick is set 20 years after the events of the first film, only now, the swashbuckling board game has somehow transformed into a video game, and somehow sucks in four teenagers who then play the game as their avatarscoming in the form of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black. Pop star Nick Jonas also pops up as a supporting player, as does Bobby Cannavale as the Big Bad.
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (Dec. 22)
Theres quite a bit of curiosity surrounding Ridley Scotts latest because, when the sexual misconduct revelations came to light against star Kevin Spacey, the filmmaker took it upon himself to recut the film in a matter of weeks, replacing Spacey with Christopher Plummer. The film, meanwhile, dramatizes the real-life abduction of heir John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and his father John Paul Gettys (Plummer) refusal to pay his ransom. The film also stars Michelle Williams as the kidnapped boys desperate mother, and Mark Wahlberg as a former CIA agent tasked with finding the boy.
DOWNSIZING (Dec. 22)
Every film by Alexander Payne is worth your time. After all, hes the man behind modern American classics like Election and Sideways. Here, he takes his first step into the realm of science fiction, envisioning a future world where environmentally conscious (and cost-efficient)humans choose to shrink themselves down and live in miniature communities in order to create less wasteand live in the lap of luxury. Unfortunately, when Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to get downsized, she backs out of the procedure at the last-minute, leaving him to navigate the world of little people alone.
FATHER FIGURES (Dec. 22)
This looks like a very silly holiday comedy, but hey, laughs are in short supply these days. It centers on two wacky brothers (Owen Wilson and Ed Helms) who, after realizing their mother (Glenn Close) lied about their fathers death, go on a cross-country trip to track down moms ex-suitors and discover who their real dad is. The suspects are played by the likes of J.K. Simmons, Christopher Walken, and Terry Bradshaw, and the cast is rounded out by Ving Rhames, Katt Williams, Harry Shearer, and Katie Aselton.
PITCH PERFECT 3 (Dec. 22)
The second Pitch Perfect was not nearly as good as the first, but for those who need some pitch-slappin cheer, the third and final installment in the a capella franchise sees the Bellasnow struggling looking for jobs post-collegeembark on a USO reunion tour. Plenty of hijinks, of course, ensure. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and the gals all return, and are joined by newcomers John Lithgow, Ruby Rose, and the inimitable DJ Khaled.
HAPPY END (Dec. 22)
Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke is responsible for some of the finest films of the past 20 years, including Amour, The White Ribbon, and Cache. Hes reunited with his frequent collaborators Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant for a bourgeoisie-skewering satire touching on issues ranging from familial dysfunction to the refugee crisis. And with Haneke at the helm, you can expect this one to cut deep.
HOSTILES (Dec. 22)
Filmmaker Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) has joined forces once more with his Out of the Furnace star Christian Bale for this period Western that traces the journey of a U.S. Army captain (Bale) in 1892 America who reluctantly agrees to escort Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), a dying Cheyenne chief, and his family back to their tribal lands in rural Montana. The $55 million film also stars Rosamund Pike, Jesse Plemons, Adam Beach, Ben Foster, and It boy Timothee Chalamet, of Call Me by Your Name fame.
THE POST (Dec. 22)
Directed by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay co-written by Spotlight scribe Josh Singer, this timely political thriller casts journalists as real-life superheroes in telling the true story of The Washington Posts publication of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the Johnson administrations various lies concerning the Vietnam War. The Oscar bait flick features the incomparable Meryl Streep as Post publisher Kay Graham and Tom Hanks as Post editor Ben Bradlee, alongside Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Carrie Coon, Bruce Greenwood, and Matthew Rhys as famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.
MOLLYS GAME (Dec. 25)
Marking the directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind The Social Network and the TV series The West Wing, it tells the real-life story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), an entrepreneur who set up a high-stakes private underground poker game for A-list celebrities, including Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck, only to eventually have her game raided by the FBI due to its Russian mob ties. The film, boasting plenty of Sorkin-y monologues, also stars Idris Elba as Blooms attorney, Kevin Costner as her father, and Michael Cera as Player X, aka Tobey Maguire.
PHANTOM THREAD (Dec. 25)
Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) may be the finest American filmmaker right now, and his latest may serve as the swan song for star Daniel Day-Lewis, who has claimed it is his final acting role. Day-Lewis is Reynolds Woodcock, a coveted couture designer in 1950s London whose exquisite dresses contour the bodies of the rich and famous. His precision and exacting nature, however, torments those in his inner orbit: sister Cyril (Lesley Manville, never better) and romantic partner Alma (Vicky Krieps, subtly magnificent). With direction, acting, and a score as fine as Woodcocks divine frocks, its truly a sight to behold.
IN THE FADE (Dec. 27)
One of the biggest surprises out of this years Cannes Film Festival was this gut-wrenching German drama by Fatih Akin (The Edge of Heaven). After losing her Kurdish husbanda former drug traffickerand their daughter in a bombing attack, Katja (Diane Kruger) slides into despair and decides to take her own life before changing her mind and pursuing justice, convinced that the authorities have it wrong when it comes to those who murdered her family. Kruger was awarded Best Actress at Cannes, and Akins film was selected as Germanys entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.
FILM STARS DONT DIE IN LIVERPOOL (Dec. 29)
The always wonderful Annette Bening stars as screen siren Gloria Grahame, who in the final years of her life engages in a passionate affair with a young Liverpudlian fellow named Peter Turner, played by Jamie Bell. Its a charming, lovingly crafted period piece, boosted by supporting turns from Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters, and Stephen Graham.
Robert De Niro Says ‘The Irishman’ Set for the Big Screen
“The Irishman is set for the big screen next year when it is released by Netflix, star Robert De Niro said Sunday while speaking at the Marrakech Film Festival.
The pic is the actor’s latest collaboration with Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese, which also stars Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, and is set in the crime world.
“We’ve talked about it with Netflix. They are going to do a presentation of our film the way it should be, in a theater, in certain venues, the best theatrical venues there can be,” De Niro said, hinting that there have been ongoing discussions with the streaming platform surrounding the release.
“How they resolve it is, in the beginning, they will show it on the big screen — we’re talking about big venues where it would play, where it should play — and what happens after that, I’m not sure,” he said, guessing that it would be released online at a later date.
It marks the second big film Netflix will release, following in the footsteps of Alfonso Curaon’s Oscar contender Roma in a limited theatrical run for awards season. Netflix has also taken on Guillermo del Toro’s dark Pinocchio, which is another potential awards contender and the next project after his Oscar wins for The Shape of Water…………………………………………..”
Golden Globe nominations to kick off Hollywood’s award season
“Nominations for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual ceremony, which honors achievement in film and television, were announced Thursday. Big film hits “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” will compete for best drama against the critically acclaimed “BlacKkKlansman” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” directed by Spike Lee and Barry Jenkins, respectively, who directed the Oscar-winning “Moonlight.”
Below is the full list of nominees.
See the rest of the nominations here: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/06/entertainment/golden-globe-nominations/index.html
Who will host the Oscars now that Kevin Hart has stepped down?
“Now Kevin Hart has stepped down from hosting the Oscars, one question remains: who will replace him?
The 39-year-old comedian was confirmed as the Academy Awards host for 2019 just three days ago.
However, he found himself in deep water this week when fans started sharing unearthed tweets from 2010 which show him using the word ‘gay’ as a slur. as well as labelling people ‘f**s’.
Hart announced his decision to step down as host of the Oscars on Thursday night. Hosting the Oscars is one of the biggest gigs a presenter can land and it’s got to go to the right person. So WHO will the Academy ask to replace Kevin?
Ellen DeGeneres is the bookies’ runaway favourite to host February’s awards show, with Betfair offering odds of 6/4. If the bookies are correct, it will be the third time she’s hosted the prestigious awards, having done so in 2007 and 2014. Her 2014 run saw her taking the infamous Oscars selfie, featuring the likes of Bradley Cooper……………………………………….”
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