The end of the calendar year brings three things from Hollywood: lame holiday-themed movies, attempts at blockbusters to fill the seats during holiday downtime and (hopefully) quality film making to stack the Oscar race. Our intrepid critics discuss the late films we’re anticipating
The films I most want to see have already been released in other markets, but may come to Flagstaff if nominated for Oscars. The first is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Frances McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a mother who rents billboard space to attack the local sheriff for not finding her daughter’s murderer. Martin McDonagh, who excels at incredibly dark comedies both on stage and on screen, wrote and directed. Moving from Missouri to Sweden, The Square, starring Elisabeth Moss, is a satire set in the snobbish world of art museums. Director/screenwriter Ruben Östlund also did the cringe-worthy Force Majeure (2014) so, like McDonagh, any of his stuff is worth watching.
As expected, I am eagerly awaiting the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Dec. 15. Disney has built strong momentum with their first two Star Wars releases, and I feel like The Last Jedi could be the film that solidifies my faith in their ability to manage the franchise. Aside from that, Downsizing, out Dec. 22, has me curious. An out-of-sorts man agrees to be shrunken to consume fewer resources and live a simpler lifestyle. Dystopian future can make for a good time, and with Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz and Kristen Wiig starring, Downsizing could be a noteworthy release.
When every film critic raves about one movie, I want to see it. Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig, is the film this year. This coming-of-age story about a young woman (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother (Laurie Metcalf) sounds delightful, and I want to see it NOW. There’s another movie I want to see about a young woman, but this gal isn’t as sweet and charming as Lady Bird. Margot Robbie plays ice-skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, out Dec. 8. Robbie and Allison Janney, playing Harding’s mother, look fantastic in this take on the strangest scandal to hit the ice-skating world.
Director Guillermo del Toro pretty much had me with The Devil’s Backbone (2001) and Hellboy (2004), but Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) sealed the deal. His new film, The Shape of Water, Dec. 8, looks like it may have that same mix of fairy-tale wonder and dark undertones along with a nice nod to the Universal Monsters. I’m a little less confident, but still curious, about The Disaster Artist, also out Dec. 8. James Franco, whom I sometimes tire of, directs himself and his pals in the movie based on the book of the same name about that legendarily, infamously bad film The Room (2003).