I had a very productive Movie-November, watching Thor: Ragnarok, which was entertaining but far too shallow and irreverent (review here). Then Murder on the Orient Express, which was a lovely and well-performed production (review here). And then Justice League which wasn't the worst movie ever but sure did feel like it after all that promise and hype (review here).
Then I caught up on some other 2017 movies I missed in theaters -- Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which was better than expected and the most scifi fun I've had all year (review here); and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which was worse than expected with low expectations, and really quite sad. I doubt I'll get around to reviewing it.
Also I forgot to mention it in November, but I also watched Netflix's Punisher, and it was fantastic. Frank Castle in all his jarringly violent glory. I just finished it last night, and it may be the most thoroughly great thing Marvel-Netflix has done. Review on that probably coming soon!
December looks to be slowing down a bit, mainly because I don't have much interest for Oscar-grab season. There's only one must-see for me -- Star Wars, of course, but plenty of others to keep a close eye on too. Are you excited for Star Wars 8? And is there anything else on your radar this month?
The Shape of Water
Dec 1st(limited); R
Sally Hawkins is great, Michael Shannon is great, Guillermo Del Toro is great, and his style of fantasy is great. The trailer is beautiful and unusual, and it looks like the kind of dark and serious fantasy I'd probably love. I won't be seeing it in theaters, but probably will someday. And reviews are saying it's great, so whenever I do see it, it will be with high expectations.
Dec 8th(limited); PG-13
Oh, I thought that after Baby Driver, Ansel Elgort would stick to grown-up movies. This movie screams teen movie that wants to be grown up so that's kinda awkward. It looks like it deals with serious issues, but then teen movies deal with serious issues they rarely do a good job. Based on a YA novel of the same name, which isn't necessarily a bad thing since novels are more likely to have cohesive plots than movies generally, so there is that. Still, I doubt this will be anywhere as good as it apparently wants to be. Also, it has the word "November" in it's title, yet is coming out in December...?
Dec 8th(limited); R
Haha, this looks like the kind of movie I'd enjoy no matter how bad it is. Adrien Brody is always a plus. And there's also Antonio Banderas and John Malkovich... and some kind of monster that looks like a large zombie dog or something. Nice.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Dec 15th; PG-13
(Why no "Episode VIII" in the title??) Who needs any other movies this month -- we have Star Wars!! I'm very excited for this of course but also a bit nervous. I think because after Ep 7 we now have expectations about this trilogy so the stakes have been raised. From the beginning I was most excited at the prospect of Ep 8, because I expected it would take a darker turn like Ep 5 did (though hopefully it will be less similar plot-wise than 7 was to 4) and because I have loved all of Rian Johnson's movie's so far. He has excellent storytelling instincts I think, and always puts emotional umph into his films, while still making them super enjoyable and entertaining. But directors like him have been stifled by big studios before. Star Wars is only part his baby now, and he can't possibly have full control. But it may very well work out perfectly, so here's to that! The trailer looks gorgeous and intriguing... all the great new characters are here... the hype is hyping... I'm ready!
Dec 15th(limited); R
This month's obligatory non-mainstream scifi movie apparently is this -- starring Frank Grillo. Apparently a sequel, or just set in the same universe as another movie I guess. It actually looks like a bigger film than most I mention, with some creative and well-animated aliens. Plus Frank Grillo does the tough-guy action hero very well. It probably won't be great, but it does look like pretty solid entertainment, and not the sort of thing that only a scifi-obsessed person would be interested to see. However, it is hard for me to tell, because I'm definitely scifi-obsessed.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Dec 20th; PG-13
And this is basically the same idea as the above movie: Probably some solid entertainment, and not much more. The only difference is that this is a big mainstream release, which will make all its shortcomings all the more disappointing. I do like the idea -- how they updated it -- but beyond that, it doesn't promise to be much like the Jumanji we know, or very worthwhile on the whole. The Rock, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart star.
The Greatest Showman
Dec 20th; PG
More light entertainment, but I guess it's more appropriate here, being a musical loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum, who was... a showman. In the movie, Hugh Jackman plays him, and creates a circus, and it all looks very razzle-dazzle. He's got a supporting cast of Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Rebecca Ferguson, and some original songs. If nothing else, it is sure to be entertaining show.
All the Money in the World
Dec 22nd, R
When I went to see Murder on the Orient Express, they played the trailer that had Kevin Spacey in it. This trailer was published two days ago... and now it's Christopher Plummer. I'm kinda wondering why Spacey was cast in the first place, because they had to use makeup to make him look old. Anyway, most of my interest in this movie is because of the last-minute tossing out and replacing, but ignoring that, the movie looks like a good movie. How much of a good movie, I don't know, but I doubt the change-up could have seriously effected the quality. It's not exactly the sort of movie I'd be eager to see unless it has a happy ending, but I certainly am curious. Michelle Williams stars, with Mark Wahlberg.
Dec 22nd(limited); PG-13
And what would December be without an Oscar-grab movie? Sure, others might also be Oscar-grabs, but this movie is literally nothing else. It ticks the right political boxes, teams up Meryl Streep with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, and is so try-hard it's making me uncomfortable for it. I like Spielberg, but boy, not like this. I'll wait for Ready Player One.