Fall Movie Preview – Dec. 15th Releases

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The Eagle’s Weekly Movie Preview

They’ll be nearly 130 films opening between now and the end of the year. These weekly previews don’t cover all of them – instead, I’ll cut the fat and just talk about the flick that stand the best chance of NOT stinking up the multiplex with the best chance of not stinking up the multiplex. Of course, I’m almost sure that that nothing will make more money – and be more fun to watch – than Stars Wars: The Last Jedi. But until that one comes out, here’s what’s worth your weekly movie money!

As a weekly movie-goer, I’ve decided to cut the list up into sections, and post a week-by-week preview of what’s out, what’s hot and what’s…well…not so hot.

— This past week, I saw “Three Billboards” and “Lady Bird”…both are worthy Oscar contenders! I also saw “Justice League” which is great (maybe not an Oscar movie, but tons of fun!).  See the reviews below.

Out This Weekend (Dec. 15th):


Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘ (Dec. 15th)

It’s FINALLY here!  I bought my tickets 3 weeks ago.  Remember Rey handing Luke Skywalker his lost lightsaber at the end of 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Want to find out what happens next? Duh! That alone would make The Last Jedi unbeatable for crowdpleasing fun and box office glory. But there’s also tremendous curiosity to see how indie director Ryan Johnson (Looper) does at the control of a behemoth; how reformed Stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) will show his heroism on the casino metropolis of Canto Bright; how the franchise will say goodbye to Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa (sniff, sniff); and how to interpret what the hell Luke meant when he said, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” Call me crazy…but I’m gona go out on a limb and say that THIS flick is gonna be the #1 at the box office this weekend.


‘Downsizing’ (Dec. 22nd)

I refuse to review this movie on the grounds that it’s actually a repeat of “Honey, I Shrunk…” but ti’s trying to be a heartwarming “Think Piece”. It’s not, it’s just silly, and Hollywood needs to STOP this!

In Theaters Now:

All the Money in the World‘ (Dec. 8th)

This -WAS- gonna be a movie about the time Super-Wealthy Tycoon J. Paul Getty refused to pay the ransom demanded by the kidnappers of his teen grandson.  It was subsequently left to the boy’s mother and an ex-CIA agent to work out a deal. BUT…the movie stars Kevin Spacey.  And he might as well have leprosy at this point. Don’t look for it in theaters any time soon.  Maybe it’ll show up on PPV.


I, Tonya‘ (Dec. 8th)

This might actually be great! Margot Robbie takes on Tonya Harding, the ice queen of the ice rink who broke records, became an Olympian and later became mired in a scandal involving her bodyguard, her rival Nancy Kerrigan and a tabloid-ready tale of assault. Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) salts this biopic on the athlete with a pinch of camp and true-crime salaciousness, but never loses sight of his subject’s long, hard road to her early victories and later infamy. Robbie and Sebastian Stan make for a good Harding and Jeff Gillooly, respectively, but it’s Allison Janney’s fearsome mother LaVona Golden who’ll drop audience jaws.


The Shape of Water‘ (Dec. 8th)

*I was WRONG!  There’s much more to this than a horror/thriller by Guillermo del Torro!  I was fooled by advance press, and took a wild guess. But this one has depth and is actually a multi-faceted movie that Movie People will love! I’m admitting that I made a mistake on my original review. Go!  Enjoy!  Get the popcorn, even.

The Disaster Artist‘ (Dec. 1st)

Amarillo probably won’t get this film.  At least, not right away.  If the public response is decent, we may get it as an ‘Indie’ at the Westgate Cinema. Basically, the plot goes something like this (no spoilers here) – Tommy Wiseau is a Polish-American actor/filmmaker who won his place in Midnight Movie with Golden Raspberry-Winning “The Room” in 2003.  But, like…nobody SETS OUT to make a stinker, right?  And James Franco directs and stars in this flick that will remind us of Ed Wood.  Franco is responsible for some bombs of his own, right?  Remember “Why Him”? Don’t make me start a list here.

Wonder Wheel‘ (Dec. 1st)

Dear Woody:  Too soon.

And that’s too bad, because I understand “Wonder Wheel” might be one of Woody’s best.  And I’m a fan.  But this just is…er…a ‘Bad Climate’ for a new Woody Allen movie.  Maybe should’ve slipped this one in with all the Summer Schlock, when we’re all starved for something with some substance.


Mudbound‘ (Nov. 17th)

(Netflix) This tale of racial disparity, set in the Mississippi Delta before during, and after World War II, will go right to your Feeler Bone.  Take a pocketful of tissues. The story focuses on the interaction between a white couple, the McAllans (Carey Mulligan and Jason Clarke), and a family of black sharecroppers led by Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan. Director Dee Rees is a true artist behind the camera, especially the way she handles the PTSD that afflicts soldiers on both sides of the race line. This is the kind of movie that is the REASON we go see movies!  And I suppose, since it’s Netflix, it will be competing for an Emmy instead of an Oscar.  That’s a shame, because this is the sort of film that Oscar loves! American filmmaking at its best.

Justice League‘ (Nov. 17th)

Wonder Woman is even more amazing when you know that Gal Gadot was VERY pregnant while filming her parts for “Justice League” – they used a ‘Green Belly’ and CGI’d her obvious pregnancy out.  Look for much less Internal Angst from Batman, plus expanded roles for Flash (Ezra Miller) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Director Zack Snyder gets it.  We didn’t really care for The Caped Crusader as a goth, dark figure…so he’s eased up on that.  I’m looking forward to this one!


Lady Bird‘ (Nov. 10th)

Could it be that the Breakthrough Director of 2017 is…NOT a dude? You betcha!  Her name is Greta Gerwig. Greta is out with this post-card beautiful story of a Sacramento high school senior named Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson who wants to go to college in New York. Even thought Gerwig is from Northern California, she gets the details right, from sharply funny dialogue and not-a-false–note direction to knockout performances from Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts as Lady Bird’s parents, as well as Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet as the complicated boys in her life. Gerwig is writer & director here. It’s a dream of a debut.

Murder on the Orient Express‘ (Nov. 10th)

I hate to say “Don’t Bother” or “Just go back in watch the 1974 Sidney Lumet version“…but that -IS- what I’m gonna say here. That 70s version starred Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Perkins, Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman (who won an Oscar for it). Now, in the 2017 version, Kenneth Branagh is the director and wears the Poirot mustache. The over-sized, ridiculous mustache is as over-blown as the movie. Branagh tries to put his own spin on the classic whodunit. Among those looking guilty as hell on this express ride to homicide: Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe and Dame Judi Dench. Choose your poison. Stay home and watch the original and save your money for “Justice League” next week!


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘ (Nov. 10th)

If you’re like me, and you believe Frances McDormand can do anything, here’s more proof. Irish playwright-turned-filmmaker Martin McDonagh wrote the lead role expressly for the Oscar-winning actress, who plays Mildred Hayes, the  mother of a murdered teen daughter who takes action against the lazy police in her hometown. How, you ask? By using three billboards to advertise the local law-enforcement officers’ incompetence. Think “Investigation Discovery” meets Death Wish”. Expect fireworks!


Thor: Ragnarok‘ (Nov. 3rd)

 This is the one I want to see with The Fam this weekend.  But it’s not my turn to pick… soooo.  Are you tired of the long blond hair and that damn hammer? You’ll be pleased to know that star Chris Hemsworth has cut both from his repertoire in the third stand-alone Thor feature. This time, the mission is to put the fun back into the franchise with the Asgardian’s fellow Avenger The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) back in the mix, along with bad guy/occasional ally/Thor’s brother Loki. Their mission? Stop the new villain, Hela the Goddess of Death, from destroying the galaxy. With two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett in the role, they’re going to have their hands full!  Maybe I’ll sneak off and see this by myself this coming week.


(Johnny Black for “1009TheEagle.com”)

Additional info: RollingStone.com