2017 December Movies
- -Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Plot details are being kept under wraps for now, but The Last Jedi is the sequel to 2015’s The Force Awakens and picks up moments after Episode VII. Rey has travelled to Ahch-to with Chewbacca and R2-D2 to find the exiled Luke Skywalker and begin her formal Force training. However, the Luke Rey meets is not necessarily what she imagined, as Skywalker believes it is time for the Jedi to end. Meanwhile, the war between the Resistance and First Order rages on, with both sides looking for whatever upper hand they can get. General Leia Organa regroups with trusted allies Poe Dameron and Finn, while Supreme Leader Snoke looks to complete Kylo Ren’s training.
The Last Jedi is the eighth episode of the famous Skywalker saga that began with the original Star Wars film in 1977 and serves as the middle chapter of the sequel trilogy. It is arriving in theaters in time to commemorate the franchise’s 40th anniversary and promises to be more ominous in tone when compared to its predecessor. In addition to the returning characters from The Force Awakens, Last Jedi introduces the likes of Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose, Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo, and Benicio del Toro’s DJ
Star Wars: Episode IX, the followup to Last Jedi, has been scheduled for a December 2019 premiere. At this point, Lucasfilm is unsure if the saga will continue beyond that point or end with director J.J. Abrams’ film.
Want to know more about Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
- -Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
In a brand new Jumanji adventure, the tables are turned as four teenagers are sucked into Jumanji’s world – pitted against rhinos, black mambas and an endless variety of jungle traps and puzzles. To survive, they’ll play as characters from the game: meek Spencer becomes a stupid and girl crazy jock (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge becomes a tiny Einstein (Kevin Hart); It-girl Bethany becomes a bookworm professor (Jack Black); and unathletic Martha becomes an amazonian warrior (Karen Gillan). To beat the game and return to the Planet Earth with their lives, they’ll have to start seeing things in an entirely different way.
While first believed to be a reboot of the property, it has been confirmed this is in fact a sequel to the 1995 film starring Robin Williams, with the cast and crew considering it a tribute to the late actor. Whereas the original film was based around a board game, the followup transports its characters into the world of a retro video game they discover. Early reactions to the movie have been very positive, with critics praising the tone and chemistry of the cast. Welcome to the Jungle is the latest in a growing line of “legacy sequels” that looks to capitalize on nostalgia for a well-known brand. The first Jumanji was a big box office hit, grossing $100.4 million at the domestic box office during its run.
Want to know more about Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle?
- -Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.
This marks del Toro’s return to small-scale filmmaking, following bigger, genre offerings such as the Hellboy films and Pacific Rim. It has been compared by many to his earlier fantasy movie, Pan’s Labyrinth in regards to tone and drew much inspiration from the classic monster flick The Creature from the Black Lagoon. In interviews, del Toro has made clear his intention to turn typical conventions on their head by having the female lead fall in love with the monster. Originally, del Toro had envisioned making The Shape of Water in black and white as a means of keeping the budget down, but the film is presented in color.
The Shape of Water toured the fall festival circuit in 2017, making stops at Venice (where it won the Golden Lion) and Toronto. It received widespread acclaim, with many critics praising del Toro’s eye for stunning visuals and a heartfelt, emotional story. Sally Hawkins also earned raves for her performance as Elisa, a mute janitor. Despite being a fantasy film, many are predicting The Shape of Water will be one of the top contenders at the Oscars due to its various merits.
Want to know more about The Shape of Water?
- -Genre: Crime, Fantasy
Set in a world where mystical creatures live side by side with humans. A human cop is forced to work with an Orc to find a weapon everyone is prepared to kill for.
This is a Netflix original film that has been described as a modern cop thriller/drama, only with fantastical elements to give it an interesting genre element. Director David Ayer is very familiar with this genre, as his previous works include Training Day and End of Watch, which were both praised for their gritty portrayal of law enforcement. Bright marks something of a return to the filmmaker’s roots, following his dive into big-budget productions with the DCEU installment, Suicide Squad.
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- -Genre: Comedy
When Greg Sestero, an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.
This film is based on the book of the same name by Sestero, which chronicles the making of Wiseau’s infamous film The Room, which is widely considered to be the “Citizen Kane of bad movies.” The Disaster Artist was a passion project for James Franco, who viewed the piece as a combination of Boogie Nights and The Master. Initially, Wiseau had hoped Johnny Depp would portray him in the film, but he later agreed to Franco. The Disaster Artist is the first time James has worked with his brother, Dave, on a film, after the younger Franco intentionally took roles in other projects in an effort to make a name for himself. A24, the indie studio best known for Oscar-winning movies Room and Moonlight is distributing domestically.
A work-in-progress cut of The Disaster Artist premiered in March 2017 at the SXSW festival to much praise. Franco’s turn as Wiseau in particular was seen as a standout, with many impressed by the way he transformed into his role. Critics have remarked how The Disaster Artist is sincere and poignant in its approach, elevating beyond the many jokes people have made about The Room and spinning it into a story about fulfilling dreams and realizing career aspirations. Due to the positive buzz, Disaster Artist is a possible dark horse on the awards circuit, especially for Franco and the adapted screenplay.
Want to know more about The Disaster Artist?
- -Genre: Drama
The true story-based drama chronicles the 1973 kidnapping in Rome of Paul Getty’s 16-year-old grandson and its resulting turmoil, during which Getty bristled at the prospect of paying a ransom, while the boy’s mother desperately tried to retrieve him and even allied with an ex-CIA agent to do so.
This is the second film directed by Ridley Scott to be released in 2017, following Alien: Covenant from that summer. All the Money in the World made numerous headlines when the filmmaker made the decision to cut Kevin Spacey (who had portrayed J. Paul Getty) from the final product after allegations of sexual harassment against Spacey were brought to light in November 2017. Christopher Plummer, Scott’s original choice for the role, was brought in to reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes, with the crew moving swiftly through the process to maintain the project’s December 2017 release date. The film was completed on schedule, earning three Golden Globe nominations (including one for Plummer).
Want to know more about All the Money in the World?
- -Genre: Drama, History
Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post, a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers – and their very freedom – to help bring long-buried truths to light.
The Post was fast-tracked into production once Spielberg got a hold of the script, believing it was very relevant to today’s social and political climate, where President Donald Trump frequently criticizes negative news coverage of his actions and policies. This film is based on a true story that happened in the 1970s, when the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers, documents that exposed government lies about involvement in the Vietnam War. The event was a precursor to the Watergate scandal, which the Post also broke during the Nixon presidency.
The film is expected to be one of 2017’s top awards contenders, being named film of the year by the National Board of Review and ranking on the American Film Institute’s best movies of the year list. Hanks and Streep have received praise for their performances, and Spielberg is considered a possibility for Best Director.
Want to know more about The Post?
- -Genre: Comedy, Musical
After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.
This is the third and final installment of the Pitch Perfect trilogy, which started in 2012. The original film was a modest hit, earning $65 million domestically while earning mostly positive reviews. While critics felt some of the plot beats were rather formulaic, they did enjoy the performances of the cast and music. Because the first movie was such a success, a sequel, Pitch Perfect 2, was released in 2015. Though the critical reception was more lukewarm than its predecessor, the followup proved to be a much bigger commercial hit, raking in $184.2 million in the United States.
It is unknown if there will be future installments in the franchise, but considering the tagline is “Last Call Pitches,” it seems the plan is to end the main story here.
Want to know more about Pitch Perfect 3?
- -Genre: Musical
Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
The Greatest Showman has long been a passion project for star Hugh Jackman, who was first announced to play Barnum back in 2009. Director Michael Gracey was hired for the job in 2011, but the film did not pick up any forward momentum until much later, as principal photography began in November 2016 with stars like Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Michelle Williams also cast. Jackman believed studios were hesitant to green light a new musical, fearful that it would not connect with audiences. It’s possible the overwhelming success of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, which earned 14 Oscar nominations and grossed $151.1 million domestically, influenced Fox to forge ahead. Coincidentally, the lyricists of La La Land also wrote the songs for this film.
Want to know more about The Greatest Showman?
- -Genre: Biography, Drama
MOLLY’S GAME is the true story of Molly Bloom a smart, young, Olympic- class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.
Producer Mark Gordon bought the rights to Bloom’s book about her life in 2014, and the film has been in development since then. It marks the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who is best known for works such as A Few Good Men, The Social Network, and Steve Jobs. He said the opportunity to work with stars Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba was “any filmmaker’s dream come true,” and critics have praised the performances of both. Molly’s Game premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, where it started to generate positive buzz. It earned two Golden Globe nominations: Best Screenplay and Best Actress – Drama.
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- -Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Based on the unbelievable but true events, I, TONYA is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan.
- -Genre: Drama, History
Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.
- -Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to over-population, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community – a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.
This is the latest film from writer/director Alexander Payne, a longtime critical darling behind Oscar-winning hits like Sideways and The Descendants. Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor spent years working on the script, but production on The Descendants and Nebraska prevented them from starting production. In 2014, the two finally decided to make it their next film. Since Downsizing has been in development for so long, the cast underwent numerous changes before principal photography commenced. Originally, Reese Witherspoon, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Paul Giamatti were set to star, but they were all replaced.
Downsizing premiered at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, where it received generally positive reviews. Critics found the concept to be unique and creative, but felt the story was not executed in the best manner. Though not as much of a player on the awards circuit as Payne’s other films, the film has received some noteworthy accolades. It was named one of the 10 best films of the year by the National Board of Review, and Hong Chau has received multiple Supporting Actress nominations for her performance – including the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes.
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- -Genre: Drama
On Coney Island in the 1950s, a lifeguard tells the story of a middle-aged carousel operator and his beleaguered wife.
- -Genre: Action, Comedy
Morgan Freeman stars as DUKE DIVER, the freewheeling manager of the luxury Palm Springs resort, the Villa Capri. DIVER may have a mysterious past, but he’s a pro at making sure that life for the high-spirited residents is one big, non-stop party. But the status quo is challenged when ex-military charmer LEO (Tommy Lee Jones) checks in, triggering a competition between Duke and Leo for the top spot of Alpha male, as well as for the affections of the newly-arrived SUZIE (Rene Russo). When Duke’s past suddenly catches up with him, the rivals put aside their differences and the two men reluctantly team up to stop whoever is trying to kill Duke, and also save the Villa Capri.