With December making its way onto the cinema scene, that means awards season is just around the corner. December serves as the cut off point for any and all films with Oscar aspirations (specifically December 31st) to get in just before the deadline for Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, etc. consideration. So, with that in mind, December 2016 is going to be chock full of all sorts of top of the line films, from the latest Star Wars flick to two Oscar favorites (La La Land and Silence), the Holiday season is going to be plump with reasons to get away from your family and hide out in a movie theater. It’s also the one month of the year where the usual release dates don’t matter come the latter part of the month (thanks to that greedy jolly fat man in red). Here are 8 releases dropping in December that are well worth skipping out on some figgy pudding and heading down to the multiplex.
La La Land
One of, if not the favorites for Best Picture at this upcoming year’s Oscars, La La Land is a Hollywood musical about Hollywood, music, and movies. Written and directed by Whiplash writer and director Damien Chazelle, La La Land touts the most glamorous cast of any December film, with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone starring as the two star crossed lovers in their own woebegone version (but not that devastating) of Hollywood. Add John Legend and JK Simmons, and you’ve got yourself a delightful musical movie, and you best bet, this one is a virtual lock for (at the very least) best original score, soundtrack, and anything and everything music related this coming awards season.
So, if La La Land is the favorite for (at the very least) best of all things music this upcoming awards season, then Jackie – the Jackie Kennedy biopic – is the front-runner for Best Lead Actress, with Natalie Portman in the leading role.eems one of about two or three reliable best actress nominees (the other would probably be Emma Stone or Amy Adams, whichever redhead wins over the voting Academy members). Anyway, Portman has already started her campaign, talking about how she almost quick acting to become a lawyer under the urging of her father (gasp). The film follows some of Jackie O’s life before during and following her famous husband’s assassination.
Office Christmas Party
In case you don’t give two flying flips about the Oscars (and really, who does, except for Hollywood and entertainment journalists?), then Office Christmas Party should come as a welcomed non-Oscar option. Without even the slightest bit of pretense, Office Christmas Party looks like it’ll be pretty damn funny, if TJ Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, and Kate McKinnon have any say in the matter. Likely to be a Christmas version of The Hangover.
The movie which needs no real introduction or justification or convincing to get people to go and see it, the jury is still out on whether or not Rogue One will be good or not (but if fanboys and nostalgia jerkoffs have their way, it won’t matter either way), but it will make a metric ton of money at the box office. If you’re not crazy about a new Star Wars film, you should still go just to witness the excellence of Ben Mendelsohn as a villain and Donnie Yen doing his martial arts magic in a movie about stealing the blue prints for the Death Star.
Sexy people lost in space! Sci-fi quirky romance! Danger, danger, danger (but not too much)! Passengers is the year end sci-fi film with massive names over the marquee – Chris Pratt (male Jennifer Lawrence) and Jennifer Lawrence (female Chris Pratt). The premise is a bit foggy – guy wakes up from cryo-sleep too soon, wakes up a sleeping beauty (who just happens to be named “Aurora”) and romance and disaster ensue.
If sexy people in space isn’t your thing, why not try for something a little more Earthbound, but still as sci-fi as ever. Assassin’s Creed stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, with Fassbender serving as the titular assassin. Those familiar with the title will know that the video game’s storyline has been altered to some degree in order for the non-video gaming community to grok movie’s plot. The movie will likely do well enough to garner a sequel, but that won’t necessarily mean the movie is good, per se.
Here’s the second of the two Best Picture leaders, Martin Scorsese’s near-thirty year passion project, which has amassed a more than $50 million budget over that time span, but man does that movie look good. The film is based on the 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo of the same name, which follows two 17th century Jesuit priests – played by Andrew Garfield (Oscar alert) and Adam Driver – when they travel to locate their mentor (Liam Neeson). The story takes place during the time of the Kakure Kirishitan (The Hidden Christians) in 17th Century Japan. This movie already has its unique Oscar campaign story rolling along and ready to go, as its been announced that Scorsese will not only screen the film in the Vatican City for the Catholic church’s highest level Cardinals, but Scorsese will also screen the film for none other than the Pope Francis, himself a Jesuit. How many other films can say that?
It seems like every other year, there’s some sort of secret Hollywood agreement that says there will be a bi-annual Denzel Washington prestige picture that makes its way on the Oscar scene before its all said and done (and that’s definitely not a bad thing). This year’s version is none other than Washington’s portrayal of a former Negro League player working as a garbage collector in 1950s Pittsburg. Based on the play of the same name, by August Wilson, Fences is a dialogue driven drama that sees Washington’s Troy Maxson struggle with an unfortunate series of events within his life, and how it strains his relationships.