Folks, it’s now December. Can you believe it? I know I can’t. We’ve reached the final month of 2017 already. Absolutely crazy how the time flew by, right? Well, with this end of the year comes the end of new releases, but Hollywood tends to save the best for last. As such, this rundown is as strong as it has ever been. From Academy Award contenders to blockbusters in the making, it’s all here. Oscar will almost certainly take notice when it comes to most of these, so you should as well. Much like last month, even the honorable mentions are superb, so don’t sleep on ones that didn’t make my ten. Now though, I present the cream of the movie crop…
Here are the very best cinematic bets for December:
10. All the Money in the World – Much of the interest around this one has to do with controversy. We’ve now seen Christopher Plummer in ads, having replaced Kevin Spacey, and that will dominate the conversation about Ridley Scott’s latest. Scott is really hit or miss, so while The Martian was one of his best, his work varies wildly from film to film. Consider it a definite curiosity though, that’s for sure.
9. Downsizing – The rare Alexander Payne misfire, at least in my eyes. It starts out with promise, but this comedy centered on Matt Damon shrinking himself in the hopes of a better life runs out of steam very quickly. This movie is incredibly disappointing, and that’s a shame. Your mileage may vary, so make of that what you will…
8. Wonder Wheel – Auteur Woody Allen returns to Brooklyn for this period piece that closed the 2017 New York Film Festival (which I previously discussed). Kate Winslet gives one of her best performances here in a slightly uneven movie from Allen. Fans of his will be on board for sure, but this doesn’t seem like a crossover hit. The cinematography is one of the year’s best, however. It really pops, so if you see it, make sure to take notice of that!
7. Molly’s Game – Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut with this biopic of Molly Bloom. Teamed with Jessica Chastain, he gives her some amazing dialogue and she knocks it out of the park. She’s rarely been better, while Sorkin shows that he has a future behind the camera. Its Oscar prospects are hard to figure out, but it’s definitely a contender in Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, that’s for sure.
6. The Shape of Water – Earlier this week I wrote about Guillermo del Toro’s latest outing, so all of that remains true. This is a peculiar yet always compelling romantic fantasy that will make many a cinephile swoon. Sally Hawkins seems like a solid Best Actress player, while del Toro should crack the Best Director lineup, with Best Picture along for the ride. Stay tuned there to see if I’m right, but it seems like a pretty safe bet right now.
5. Phantom Thread – I’ve seen this heavily embargoed new collaboration between Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, but won’t be able to write about it for a little less than a week or so. As such, it’s hard to give you much right now. Just know that when the embargo lifts (it might be on the 6th, but I’m not 100% certain) I’ll have a ton to say about the flick…
4. The Post – Another currently somewhat embargoed title, look for a piece on it in a few days. In the meantime, I’ll just put here what I was allowed to post on social media earlier in the week: “Steven Spielberg targets Donald Trump with his version of Spotlight. Very much in the Bridge of Spies wheelhouse, it has a really strong Tom Hanks turn and performance by Meryl Streep that gets better as it goes along. By the end, she’s doing something really great. Look for Oscar to nominate it here and there, though I’m skeptical about any wins.”
3. I, Tonya – One of the year’s very best movies is this biopic of figure skater and controversial figure Tonya Harding. Margot Robbie gives one of the year’s very best performances in the title role, while Allison Janney is a force of nature as her mother, putting her in big time contention for Best Supporting Actress. This is an absolute must see.
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – C’mon, it’s Star Wars! A new Star Wars! Rian Johnson helms this next episode of the main saga, which should be one of the biggest box office hits of all time. I see it in a week and a half, so once that happens, expect a big time write up of it. Until then…sit tight. Oh, and of course, May the Force Be With You!
1. The Disaster Artist – My favorite film of the year so far. I wrote about it earlier in the week, but it bears repeating…this is a comedy triumph and very special. James Franco has achieved something Oscar worthy. He’s looking likely for a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Tommy Wiseau, while the movie should be up for Best Adapted Screenplay as well. One of the worst pieces of cinema ever has generated one of 2017’s crowning achievements. Go figure…
Honorable Mentions: Ferdinand, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Greatest Showman, Happy End, Hostiles, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Pitch Perfect 3
Be sure to check out these various films all throughout the month of December!