The year in movies that was 2017 is almost behind us. Still, these final months have brought all kinds of cinematic goodies for moviegoers of all tastes. From the high-energy spectacle of Thor: Ragnarok to the universally beloved character drama of Lady Bird, November brought many noteworthy films to the forefront. Perhaps the most talked-about release remains Justice League, with its theatrical cut perpetuating rumors of what footage was left on the cutting room floor. Then, of course, there was Disney and Pixar’s latest epic, Coco, which made headlines not only for its heartfelt story but the much-maligned Frozen “short” film attached to it.
So it’s easy to say that December has its work cut out for it, as far as ramping up the conversation among casual moviegoers and cinephiles alike. But with several awards contenders and the insanely anticipated return to the “galaxy far, far away” entering the fray, we’re confident that we’ll have plenty to discuss and analyze in the weeks ahead.
Without further delay, let’s jump right into the 10 films we’re looking forward to in December 2017:
The Disaster Artist, The Shape of Water and I, Tonya (this page)
The Room is rightfully heralded as one of the best bad movies ever made. In the years since its 2003 release, writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau’s bananas “drama” about how personal betrayal tears apart the life of an ordinary man has gained cult status and inspired co-star Greg Sestero to chronicle its bizarre behind-the-scenes story in a popular book a decade later.
Now James Franco has brought the titular book to life in The Disaster Artist, which hits theaters this month. The film stars Franco as Wiseau and Dave Franco as Sestero, following the two of them as their friendship and collaboration brings The Room to life. Following its premiere at South by Southwest, the film has steadily gained buzz for its delicate, Ed Wood-esque handling of Wiseau and Franco’s performance. For both fans of The Room and newcomers, this is a must-see.
Check out the latest trailer for The Disaster Artist.
Check out any of director Guillermo del Toro’s previous films, and one thing becomes crystal clear: the man really loves his monsters. Whether it’s an adaptation like Hellboy or an original creation like Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro’s passion for practical creature effects is palpable. The Shape of Water promises to be no exception, as it uses the connection between a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) and a sea creature (del Toro regular Doug Jones) as an allegory for forbidden love.
Early on in its festival run, The Shape of Water was proclaimed to be del Toro’s best film in years, thanks in large part to standout performances from Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins. In the midst of awards season, the film’s prospects are only growing, with many predicting it could be the first del Toro release to break into the Best Picture and Best Director categories.
Check out the latest trailer for The Shape of Water.
To be fair, Margot Robbie’s career has been steadily inching forward since her breakthrough role in The Wolf of Wall Street. However, her committed performance as fan-favorite Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad is perhaps the one she’s best known for, as it propelled the Australian actress into the mainstream. With I, Tonya, Robbie positions herself as one of the most gifted young stars of her generation.
Hitting limited release this month, the film delves deep into the real-life story of figure skater Tonya Harding and the scandal involving an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) transforms this bizarre tale into a compelling character-based dark comedy without sacrificing the emotion behind it all. Robbie and co-star Allison Janney also have earned some of the best reviews of their careers for their work here.
Check out the latest trailer for I, Tonya.
Page 2: Star Wars, Jumanji & More
What is there to say about Star Wars: The Last Jedi that we haven’t already covered? This sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, of course, serves as the middle chapter of this current trilogy and promises some significant development for both Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Writer/director Rian Johnson (Looper) apparently impressed Lucasfilm executives so much that he earned the chance to spearhead a trilogy of his own set in the universe.
All of this bodes well for The Last Jedi, but the film still has a lot to accomplish. In addition to a satisfying return for Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, Johnson’s release is tasked with providing closure for Leia, as it represents the final screen appearance for the late Carrie Fisher. With so many unanswered questions (Rey’s parentage, Snoke’s backstory, etc.), The Last Jedi needs to deliver the answers fan crave and sidestep the original trilogy comparisons that plagued The Force Awakens. At least we’re finally close to discovering if Porgs are worth all the pre-release hubbub.
Check out the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The last time Hugh Jackman indulged in a full-scale musical, the result was a powerful Oscar-nominated performance in 2012 release Les Misérables. The Greatest Showman promises to be a bit more uplifting than that dour adaptation, telling the story of how P.T. Barnum created show business and specifically the circus that bore his name.
Michael Gracey makes his directorial debut with the film, which boasts music written by Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land). The Greatest Showman isn’t expected to make quite the splash of that film, but with a Tony-winning star in Jackman and an ensemble cast that includes Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson, we wouldn’t count it out just yet.
Check out the latest trailer for The Greatest Showman.
When news of a Jumanji sequel/reboot first broke, many fans of the 1995 Robin Williams vehicles cried foul, declaring that the film would besmirch the legacy of one of their childhood favorites. Whether that ire was worthwhile remains to be seen, but in any case, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is descending on theaters just in time for the holidays.
The film — directed by Jake Kasdan (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) — updates the original’s premise, depicting the eponymous game as a video game rather than a board game this time around. Four teens wind up trapped in its jungle setting as the avatars they selected when gameplay, opening the doors for all manner of body-switch comedy. Central Intelligence stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart reunite for this one alongside Jack Black and Karen Gillan as the four leads. Here’s hoping this new Jumanji delivers on its promise to honor Williams’ memory within the story.
Check out the latest trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World was all set for a December release earlier this year, but when the Kevin Spacey scandal hit, the filmmaker and his team opted to remove the actor from the film entirely. That meant that Christoper Plummer was brought in to play the key role of J. Paul Getty, and reshoots began less than two months before the film’s release date. Remarkably, Scott pulled it off, and the film is hitting theaters just before Christmas.
When her son is kidnapped, Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) sets out on a quest to convince his grandfather and oil tycoon Getty to pay the desired ransom, ultimately teaming up with a former CIA operative (Mark Wahlberg) to secure her son’s safe return. We were already intrigued to see Scott’s take on this real-life story, but the recent behind-the-scenes developments only make us more interested in the final product.
Check out the latest trailer for All the Money in the World.
Whenever Alexander Payne releases a new film, he tends to earn a fair share of praise. Nebraska, The Descendants and Sideways all contended for Oscars, and more offbeat fare like Citizen Ruth and Election similarly became critical darlings back in the 1990s. But Downsizing is a different animal. Payne has rarely delved into the fantastical, preferring to work within more grounded territory.
The director’s latest takes place in a world wherein people can choose to be irreversibly shrunk in order to start a new life and centers on one couple (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) in particular who undergo the procedure. Its premise has a ton of thematic subtext involving changing one’s perspective on life, and we’re hoping that Payne can translate this material into a satisfying dramedy that emotionally resonates with audiences.
Check out the latest trailer for Downsizing.
At this point, we’re betting you’re either invested in the Pitch Perfect franchise or not. The original 2012 film proved to be a sleeper hit, and its 2015 sequel was an even bigger financial success. So, with its two predecessors earning a combined worldwide total of more than $400 million, Pitch Perfect 3 was inevitable.
Billed as the final installment in the franchise, the film reunites Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and the rest of the former Bardem Bellas for one last musical adventure. After facing the difficulty of the outside world, the ladies set off on an overseas USO tour. Trish Sie (Step Up: All In) takes the director’s chair this time around. We’re betting that the series’ broad appeal will translate to another winner.
Check out the latest trailer for Pitch Perfect 3.
Few filmmakers and actors are as critically lauded as Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, respectively. Considering that their last collaboration was 2007 Oscar winner There Will Be Blood — widely considered among the best films of the 2000s — hopes are high that Phantom Thread will come anywhere close to the cultural impact of that film.
Moreover, Phantom Thread — which stars Day-Lewis as a 1950s dressmaker with a complicated love life — reportedly marks the actor’s final film before his announced retirement. With three Oscars to his name, this second film with Anderson could be his last chance to become the male star with the most all-time Oscars, tying him with Katharine Hepburn’s record. We’ll find out soon enough if Phantom Thread will be a highlight for both its writer/director and its star.
Check out the latest trailer for Phantom Thread.
From sci-fi adventure to period drama, December is easily one of the most jam-packed months of the year. This stands to reason, since studios consider the holiday season a prime time to unleash their most family-friendly releases. Naturally, all eyes will be on Star Wars: The Last Jedi this month (Can it outperform The Force Awakens? How does it key up Rian Johnson’s newly announced trilogy?), but this final batch of 2017 releases also raises a number of other questions. Will offbeat awards contenders like The Disaster Artist and The Shape of Water make it to the Oscar shortlist? Can Daniel Day-Lewis claim a fourth statuette for his presumed final film? How many childhoods will Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle “ruin”? Expect all these answers and more as December goes on.
Once again, here are the 10 films to check out in December:
December 1: The Disaster Artist, The Shape of Water
December 8: I, Tonya
December 15: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
December 20: The Greatest Showman, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
December 22: All the Money in the World, Downsizing, Pitch Perfect 3
December 25: Phantom Thread
Let us know in the comments section which ones you’re most excited to see!
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