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- -Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by the Man of Steel’s selfless act in Batman V Superman, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Evil forces have set their sights on our world, tasking the malevolent Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons with bringing Earth under the control of Darkseid, ruler of the planet Apokolips. In response, Batman and Wonder Woman unite a team of metahuman heroes including The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman to protect humanity as the Justice League.
The Justice League first appeared in March 1960 in issue #28 of The Brave and the Bold. In the fifty years since the heroes first united, the team has welcomed various members of DC comic book canon: Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Shazam, among others. Recently rebooted as part of DC Rebirth, the current comic iteration of the team includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, two Green Lanterns (Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz), Aquaman, Barry Allen, as well as Cyborg.
It remains to be seen which new heroes might join the DCEU – especially now that a solo Flash movie, based on the Flashpoint comic story, could drastically alter the course of Warner Bros.’ DC movie universe.
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- -Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.
Based on Norse mythology, Thor first appeared in Marvel Comics’ Journey to Mystery #83 in August 1962 and was co-created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Steve Ditko. He has starred in several comics series of his own and is a founding member of The Avengers. Eric Allan Kramer played the God of Thunder in live-action for the TV movie The Incredible Hulk Returns. Chris Hemsworth was cast in the role for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and debuted in 2011’s Thor. He has since made several appearances in the franchise, including The Avengers and his solo sequel Thor: The Dark World. Thor’s standalone movie series has arguably spawned the MCU’s most memorable villain – Loki, God of Mischief and Thor’s adopted brother.
Thor will return in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel.
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- -Genre: Action, Adventure, War
Star Wars Battlefront II takes place in the 30 years between the destruction of Death Star II and through the rise of the First Order, briding the gap between the original trilogy and The Force Awakens with an in-canon single-player story campaign featuring Iden Versio, the leader of Inferno Squad, an elite special forces unit of the Galactic Empire. Players will also encounter and play as other iconic Star Wars heroes and villains like Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. Multiplayer adds progression to playable heroes (which now include Yoda and Darth Maul) and spans all Star Wars eras while also introducing dogfights in space. DICE, EA Motive (story), and Criterion (vehicle gameplay) are all working together on the sequel.
This is the sequel to 2015’s Star Wars Battlefront, which was a relaunch of the popular video game that saw two earlier installments released in 2004 and 2005, respectively. The game was criticized for its lack of a story mode and was admittedly rushed out to stores to coincide with the theatrical premiere of The Force Awakens. Taking the feedback in stride, EA has made significant improvements, creating a game that is three times as larger as its predecessor and no season pass required to access all of the title’s features.
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- -Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family
Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. Character actress Renée Victor also joins the cast as Abuelita, Miguel’s grandmother.
Coco is the 19th film released by Pixar Animation Studios, and the company’s first original offering since The Good Dinosaur in 2015. It is noteworthy for its portrayal of Mexico’s Day of the Dead holiday, with director Lee Unkrich taking great care to make sure the material was handled in a tasteful, respectful manner, bringing in consultants to assist on the project when it generated controversy. The Land of the Dead environment has drawn comparisons to Monsters, Inc.‘s Monstropolis, promising to be another immersive, awe-inspiring world for audiences to explore when the film opens over the holiday season. Disney has also designed a VR experience for the film as a means of promotion.
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- -Genre: Mystery
A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
This story was famously adapted to film in 1974 by director Sidney Lumet, winning the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Ingrid Bergman), and receiving Academy Award nominations in five other categories, including Best Actor (Albert Finney) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation looks to rival its predecessor in terms of star power, with big names like Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, and Branagh himself leading the charge. During production, the film made headlines for viral videos Gad posted of himself pestering Ridley for spoilers about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This version of Murder makes some noticeable differences from the source material as a means of updating the tale for the 21st century. Branagh has stated he would be interested in making sequels should this movie prove to be a financial and/or critical success.
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- -Genre: Horror
Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade. Or has an apprentice picked up the mantle of Jigsaw, perhaps even someone inside the investigation?
- -Genre: Drama, Thriller
Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action. Colin Farrell costars as the monied, cutthroat lawyer who recruits Roman to his firm.
This is the second film from director Dan Gilroy, who helmed the critically-acclaimed drama Nightcrawler – the film that earned Jake Gyllenhaal much praise in 2014. Roman J. Israel, Esq. is based on Gilroy’s original screenplay (initially titled Inner City) and is hoping to garner similar results to Nightcrawler. The film premiered on the festival circuit before its theatrical premiere, and feedback from those screenings was taking into consideration during substantial re-edits. Gilroy wanted to show the early cut before locking final picture so he knew what to change.
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- -Genre: Action, War
Call of Duty: WWII takes the franchise back to its roots in a bold cinematic experience that captures the unforgettable heroism of the soldiers who fought together in a war that changed the world forever. Activision’s gripping new title is an honest portrayal of World War II from the perspective of the famed 1st Infantry Division, with an ensemble cast of global and diverse characters. Through stunning visuals and intense audio, players storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, march across France to liberate Paris and ultimately push forward into Germany in some of the most monumental battles of all-time.
- -Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller
A dark comedy/drama set in the quiet family town of Suburbicon, where the best and worst of humanity is hilariously reflected through the deeds of seemingly ordinary people.
- -Genre: Comedy
Brad and Dusty must deal with their intrusive fathers during the holidays.
This is the sequel to the 2015 comedy hit Daddy’s Home, which overcame a lukewarm critical reception to earn $150.3 million at the domestic box office. The film ups the star power, with Mel Gibson and John Lithgow joining the cast alongside Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell.
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- -Genre: Drama
After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, commissioning three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.
This is the latest film from writer/director Martin McDonagh, best known for idiosyncratic works like In Bruges (for which he earned an Oscar nomination) and Seven Psychopaths. Critics consider this to be arguably his best offering, praising the emotional story and strong performances from its veteran cast. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell in particular are seen as the standouts, with many feeling their turns are awards-worthy. The film itself is expected to do very well on the Oscars circuit, riding waves of positive buzz from its various festival showings. In addition to being a legitimate Best Picture contender, McDonagh is a favorite in Best Original Screenplay, while McDormand is a threat to collect her second Best Actress trophy.
Want to know more about Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri?
- -Genre: Drama, War
An adaptation of David Finkel’s non-fiction book of the same name, Thank You for Your Service explores the experiences of members of the 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Iraq, after they return home.
- -Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Within days of becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must face his most turbulent and defining trial: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation.
This is the latest film from director Joe Wright, who previously helmed dramas such as Atonement and Pride & Prejudice. Darkest Hour has been seen as a companion piece to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (which was released earlier in 2017), as it covers similar subject matter during the outset of World War II. The movie screened at several festivals in the fall, with Oldman’s transformative performance as Churchill earning much acclaim. Darkest Hour is viewed as one of the year’s strongest Oscar contenders, with many predicting nominations in major categories such as Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Oldman (who is the odds-on favorite to win).
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- -Genre: Action, Adventure
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is an all-new, epic adventure and sequel to the smash hit, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. This original branching storyline, co-written by award-winning comics writer Kurt Busiek, transports players into a cosmic battle across a myriad of Marvel locations ripped from time and space into the incredible Open Hub World of Chronopolis. Packed with signature LEGO humor for fans of all ages, gamers will go head-to-head with the time-travelling Kang the Conqueror in this fun-filled journey spanning the Marvel Universe.
- -Genre: Drama
Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.
The book, which was written by Raquel Jaramillo (using the pseudonym R.J. Palacio), was inspired by a real-life incident Jaramillo experienced as a mother. Her son noticed a girl with a facial deformity at an ice cream shop, and Jaramillo attempted to remove her son from the situation, but only made matters worse. She realized it could be a valuable teaching tool for others, and wrote the novel that served as the basis for this film. Wonder was a popular title, and a spinoff titled 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts later came out. Auggie and Me, a companion piece that tells the events of Wonder through different perspectives was also published.
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- -Genre: Comedy
A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS follows our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas. And if creating a more perfect holiday for their families wasn’t hard enough, they have to do all of that while hosting and entertaining their own mothers. By the end of the journey, our moms will redefine how to make the holidays special for all and discover a closer relationship with their mothers.
This is the sequel to the 2016 comedy hit Bad Moms, which earned $113.2 million at the domestic box office. It received credit for eschewing genre norms by placing a group of women at the forefront, and became something of a fun fantasy for stressed-out moms to experience. The followup increases the star power by casting the moms of the titular bad moms, serving up extra holiday hijinks.
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- -Genre: Drama, Romance
Summer of 1983, Northern Italy. An American-Italian is enamored by an American student who comes to study and live with his family. Together they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them.
This film is based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman and serves as the final installment of director Luca Guadagnino’s thematic Desire trilogy, which also includes I Am Love and A Bigger Splash. Call Me By Your Name premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and earned widespread critical acclaim, with many praising it for its poignant portrayal of first love. In particular, Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet’s performances have received high marks, with the former being seen as one of the frontrunners in the Best Supporting Actor race at the Oscars. The film itself is in the running for other key nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
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- -Genre: Comedy, Drama
A California high school student plans to escape from her family and small town by going to college in New York.
This is the solo directorial debut of filmmaker/actress Greta Gerwig, who is best known for her previous collaborations with Noah Baumbach, including Greenberg and Frances Ha (which earned her a Golden Globes nomination). Lady Bird has been described as semi-autobiographical, but Gerwig made sure to clarify that nothing depicted in the film is taken verbatim from her life. It is merely based in in a core truth of what she knows. One of her goals with the film was to create a female companion piece to Richard Linklater’s 2014 drama, Boyhood.
Lady Bird premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September 2017, earning widespread critical acclaim for its captivating performances and brutally honest portrayal of adolescence. It has emerged as one of the favorites on the awards circuit, with Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf in particular generating Oscar buzz. Lady Bird is also expected to be a contender in the Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay categories at the Academy Awards, signaling Gerwig’s arrival as a talented director with a unique voice and vision.
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- -Genre: Biopic, Drama
The Man Who Invented Christmas tells of the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from “A Christmas Carol.” The film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.
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- -Genre: Comedy, Drama
In 2003, 30 years after they served together in the Vietnam War, former Navy Corps medic Richard “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) re-unites with ex-Marines Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Mueller (Laurence Fishburne) on a different type of mission: to bury Doc’s son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
This film is based on Darryl Ponicsan’s novel of the same name, which was a sequel to his 1970 book, The Last Detail. As a result, many have seen this adaptation as an unofficial followup to the Last Detail movie (which came out in 1973), with different actors in the lead roles. For instance, Bryan Cranston’s character was played by Jack Nicholson in the first film.
Last Flag Flying had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival in September 2017 and is seen by some as a fringe Oscars contender. Many critics praised the collective performances of the primary ensemble, which includes Cranston, Steve Carrell, and Laurence Fishburne.
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- -Genre: Drama, History
Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
This film, directed by Dee Rees, is based on the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan. It originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017 and was later released as a Netflix Original Movie in November of that year. Mudbound also received a limited theatrical release in order to qualify for Oscars. Some believe the film has a shot at earning key nominations due to its emotional story and strong filmmaking on the part of Rees. Her screenplay, as well as several of the performances, were also heavily praised, most notably Jason Mitchell and Mary J. Blige.
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- -Genre: Drama, Horror
A prominent surgeon forms a mysterious bond with a young man, which soon turns tragic as the boy seemingly curses his new acquaintance’s family with paralysis.
- -Genre: Animation, Family
A small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas.
An original concept by Tom Sheridan, The Star is another retelling of the famous Nativity story (which details the birth of Jesus), only told from the perspective of the various animals that were present for that event. The film is perhaps most noteworthy for its all-star voice cast, which includes the likes of Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Morgan, Christopher Plummer, Keegan Michael-Key, and more. Despite the A-list talent, The Star received mixed reviews from critics, though most have said it makes for fun holiday viewing thanks to its offbeat approach that never loses track of its original message.
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