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Five for Friday: Winter movie preview

A look at five major films that will be released from now to the end of the year
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The Christmas season is filled with all kinds of events involving family, friends, work, school, etc. But this is also a great time to head out to the theatre, as film studios often release noteworthy films during the holiday season. This week, we are highlighting five films you might want to check out within the next month.

Knives Out (Nov. 27)

Knives Out is already generating serious buzz. Given its large and impressive cast, along with director Rian Johnson, that is hardly surprising. This murder mystery is supposed to be a lot of fun, with several interesting plot twists and subversive elements. Also, it will no doubt be refreshing seeing Chris Evans play someone other than Captain America. 

The film stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer. It is now in theatres.

Jumanji: The Next Level (Dec. 13)

This is a sequel to 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which was a massive box success. That film had a bunch of teenagers magically sucked into a video game where they had to survive and finish a quest. This time, one kid’s grandfather and his elderly friend also get sucked into the game. Much hilarity ensues…presumably.

Like the last film, this will probably be a big hit with the holiday crowd. Hopefully, with new characters portraying the game’s avatars, this film will present some fresh ideas, rather than just a cash-grab retread of the previous installment. 

The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Rhys Darby, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, and Danny Glover.

Cats (Dec. 20)

The long-running Broadway hit from Andrew Lloyd Weber is headed to the big screen. Will it too prove to a runaway hit? That depends on who you ask.

When the first trailer was released, online reaction focused on the CG appearance of the cats. Some found the “digital fur technology” and the overall design of the characters to be, well, creepy. In fact, director Tom Hooper revealed that some of the characters have even received some slight alterations in design since the trailed dropped. There is some precedent for this — the Sonic the Hedgehog film was pushed back from a November release to February after online backlash to Sonic’s look led to filmmakers re-designing the character. Hey, sometimes, the internet mob can make good things happen.

Regardless of the look of the characters, Cats has a number of singers in the cast, including pop stars like Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift. Here’s hoping their acting chops hold up alongside Dame Judi Dench.

If you’re a fan of the musical, you might want to check this out.

The film stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellan, Taylor Swift, and Rebel Wilson.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Dec. 19)

Once again, another Star Wars film is set for release. Thanks to Disney, that will probably be true from now until…whenever they stop being profitable. It likely won’t happen any time soon.

This is the final film in the current trilogy, which began with The Force Awakens in 2015 and continued with The Last Jedi in 2017. This iteration is directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed The Force Awakens. The story centres on the Resistance clashing with The First Order once again. Apparently, Ian McDiarmid will reprise his role as Palpatine/Darth Sidious and, through movie magic, the late Carrie Fisher will make some sort of appearance.

If you are not into Star Wars, none of this will make you want to run out and see it. If you are a Star Wars fan, it will be priority viewing— even though you will likely still prefer the original trilogy. One way or another, it should make lots of money for the House of Mouse.

The film stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, and Ian McDiarmid.

Little Women (Dec. 25)

This is the first major adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel since the 1994 film that starred Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and Susan Sarandon. This new release is directed by Greta Gerwig, who previously helmed the critically acclaimed Lady Bird

The film has a great cast and will prove to be a welcome distraction from the other effects-driven films that will be in theatres over the next month or so. So far, it has lots of buzz and it may even fetch an Oscar nod or two. 

The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothee Chalamet, Florench Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Bob Odenkirk, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper.

Other Major Releases

The other releases this season include a war film from director Sam Mendes, a film about Roger Ailes and Fox News, a Netflix release from Michael Bay, and a Clint Eastwood flick about Richard Jewell, a security guard who saved lives during the Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Olympics, only to be later accused of being responsible for the attack.

  • Two Popes (Nov. 27). Starring Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins, Juan Minujin, Sidney Cole, Thomas D. Williams, and Federico Torre.
  • Queen and Slim (Nov. 27). Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson, and Indya Moore. 
  • Bombshell (Dec. 13) Starring Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Jennifer Morrison, Allison Janney, Nicole Kidman, Mark Duplass, Alive Eve, Tricia Helfer, and John Lithgow.
  • 6 Underground (premieres on Netflix on Dec. 13) Starring Ryan Reynolds, Adria Arjona, Melanie Laurent, Ben Hardy, Dave Franco, Sebastien Roche, Corey Hawkins, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.
  • Richard Jewell (Dec. 13). Starring Olivia Wilde, Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Jon Hamm, Kathy Bates, Nina Arianda, and Ian Gomez.
  • Black Christmas (Dec. 13). Remake. Starring Imogen Poots, Cary Elwes, Lily Donoghue, and Brittany O’Grady.
  • Spies in Disguise (Dec. 25). Animated. Starring the voices of Will Smith, Karen Gillan, Ben Mendelsohn, Tom Holland, and Rashida Jones.
  • 1917 (Dec. 25). Starring Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Mark Strong, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth, and George MacKay.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.