In November I went to see Doctor Strange, and it was everything I didn't know how to hope it would be! A wonderful surprise, and a fun and original origin film from Marvel. And then in an unexpected turn of events, I also went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with some friends. And I thoroughly enjoyed it, in spite of a handful of less-than-great aspects. I said in November that I didn't want to invest in a new long series, but I'm afraid I might have done accidentally.
And now -- December. The end of 2016! So tell me, what is your favorite film of the year so far? And are there any movies releasing in December that you think might displace it?
Here's what's interesting me...
La La Land
Dec 8th; PG-13
Honestly, all I need to know concerning this film is that it's from Damien Chazelle, the writer and director of Whiplash. And, equally as honestly, if I didn't know it was from him, and watched this trailer, then THAT would be all I need to know. So, at this point, I already know too much. I even know that it stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I have a lot of questions, like is it a legit musical, or is the "musical" moments just fantasy? Or daydreams? Cause you know -- La La Land. And there's some weird stuff going on in the trailer, but I kinda want it all to be real. But anyway, that doesn't really effect that fact that I want to see this movie! It looks so beautiful, in every sense of the word. I seriously doubt this could be anything but excellent.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Dec 15th; PG-13
It's hard to put my finger on what exactly excites me about this movie. First, it's Star Wars, so I have to see it. There's no way I won't. But also, it's a smaller scale story. It's not about the Jedi, with their chosen ones and prophesies and such, it's just average people caught up in the rebellion. It's a neat opportunity to be different. Like, they go undercover in the Death Star, so is it going to be more of a spy film? A Mission: Impossible kind of thing? And then there's the cast. I've always liked Felicity Jones, so I'm ready to love her character, and I can already feel a little crush developing on Diego Luna's character, just from the trailer. (I just realized I've seen him before, in Elysium! He was the dude with the pigtails. No wonder I like him.) There's also Mads Mikkelsen, and Forest Whitaker, and Alan Tudyk voicing the robot! And then, there's the look of it. I mean, good grief, you could play the trailer, pause it anywhere randomly, have it printed and it'd be the most gorgeous piece of art. If the entire movie looks like that, I might be so distracted that I don't even notice the story. And that seems like that is the only thing that's up in the air right now. But seriously, if Episode 7 could be so fantastic just by copying Episode 4's plot, there's not much to be worried about. All they have to do is come up with something original that fits inside the preexisting narrative, and I'm there. Well, I'm there anyway, but there you go.
Dec 20th; PG-13
NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION! Ahem. So, I'm not a big video game person, and the only reason I even knew about this movie is because everyone else does. My brother has lots to say on the subject of this movie, but for me, it boils down to this: It's an action movie, so is the story there, and, are the visuals there? From the trailer the story is ambiguous. That could be a good thing, if they're just trying to not reveal too much, or it could simply mean the story is not there. Same thing with the visuals. It seems to promise good things, but if what we see here is the very best they have, the movie won't be able to stand on visuals alone. Personally, I'd really like it to end up on the positive side. I like Michael Fassbender, he can handle action well, and the sci-fi side of it is interesting to me. But honestly, it'd be the bigger surprise if it wound up being truly good.
Dec 20th; PG-13
From the moment I saw that Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence were going to star in a space sci-fi movie together I was on board. And, well, I still am, but my expectations have slowly been diminishing since the original announcement. Like, I'm all for a little romance with my sci-fi, but this is more "a little sci-fi with the romance." The only news I've seen concerning the film is about the sex scene. Not a great sign, even if it is PG-13. And something I'd opt to cut out completely -- I like the actors too much. Maybe it'll surprise me and wind up being a great sci-fi story as well after all, but I'm not confident. The premise is very neat, and the look of it is great -- just my kind of thing. I love how as the trailer goes on they slowly morph from clean and pristine to panicked and dirty. It one of those times where I'll just have to wait and see, but man, I'm really hoping here.
Dec 20th; PG
This animated movie as about a singing competition with animals, and is stuffed full of big names. Too full, I think. I saw a couple different trailers for this, and the one I have here made me pretty interested to see the movie, but the other one tried very hard to cancel that out. The first trailer gave the impression that the movie was focusing mainly on one story -- that of the kid gorilla voiced by Taron Egerton -- and letting all the other characters be more in the background. But it's clear now that all the characters will be basically equal. It's a kid's version of Love Actually with animals! So now I bet that a lot less than average effort is going to be put into each story. It's a kid's movie, so for them that hardly matters, but for me the only appeal left is hearing the actors sing. And we don't even get to see them sing.
Dec 22nd; R
The latest from Martin Scorsese is based on a novel, and about two missionaries -- Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver -- who go dangerously and illegally into Japan in search of one of their own, Liam Neeson. It's getting a bit of Oscar talk, and looks serious and intense but also highly artistic, and I just hope that it isn't only existing to be Oscar bait, but actually existing to tell its story. It's definitely a different story that we haven't seen before, and I'd love to see it find success if it's as good as it looks even without the help of the Academy.
A Monster Calls
Dec 22nd; PG-13
A fantasy coming of age story that has Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver surrounding the newcomer in the lead. From the trailer, this doesn't look super interesting to me, though it does look neat and uniquely dark for a movie where the lead is twelve years old. The critics seem to think it's worth our time, so I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it.
Dec 27th; R
Just this trailer leaves me feeling so relaxed and happy. I love the tone. And it's got Adam Driver in it, and that's pretty much all I need to know! Definitely need to see this one. It's limited release only leaves the question of "when?"