Holiday movie guide

The winter holiday season is one of the busiest times of year at the cinemas. Last-minute award-season contenders and huge franchise releases dominate the box office, giving audiences a ton of choices.

Even if you’re still pushing through exams, a few hours at the movies can be a great break from studying. If you’re one of many waiting on the newest addition to the Star Wars series, Cineplex has you covered. Its Yonge-Dundas theatre will be showing the film in standard VIP, IMAX, IMAX 3D, and 4DX, so you could technically see it four different ways.

If you’re on a budget, you can make plans for Tuesday shows, when most cinemas offer discounted movie tickets. Cineplex is a great choice for intense film experiences with its IMAX or 4DX movie experiences (the closest is at 10 Dundas St. E.).

Here are some of the most anticipated films coming out this holiday season:

Premiering December 1st

The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Romance

Synopsis: From master storyteller Guillermo del Toro comes The Shape of Water – an otherworldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. (Rotten Tomatoes)

How to see it: The Shape of Water features more of del Toro’s beautiful monster creation, but doesn’t seem like it needs anything fancier than a standard showing to really get the full experience. It’s being pitched as a romance, so if you and your boo are into monsters and a critique of humanity, this is probably for you.

The Disaster Artist

Director: James Franco

Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco

Genre: Comedy

Synopsis: The real life story of writer/director Tommy Wiseau, the man behind what is often referred to as “The Citizen Kane of Bad Movies,” The Room, is brought to life, chronicling the odd film’s troubled development and eventual cult success. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Is it for you? This is a standard comedy, so no special effects are needed to really ‘get it.’ Go with your friends who love bad movies that are so good, or take your movie-buff friends who’ve never seen The Room and you’ll have the bonus entertainment of watching them react to this adaptation of its making.

 

Premiering December 8

I, Tonya

Director: Craig Gillespie

Starring: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney

Genre: Drama

Synopsis: Based on the unbelievable, but on true events, I, Tonya is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, a mustachioed Sebastian Stan as her impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, a tour-de-force performance from Allison Janney as her acid-tongued mother, LaVona Golden, and an original screenplay by Steven Rogers, Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya is an absurd, irreverent, and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career in all of its unchecked–and checkered–glory. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Is it for you? The Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal happened in 1994, so while your parents might remember it you probably have no idea what it is. This is a drama set in the world of Olympic-level figure skating, so check it out if you’re a sports enthusiast.

 

Premiering December 15

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action

Synopsis: In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Is it for you? If you’re a fan of the Star Wars series already, go to an early showing if you can. Most theatres will be opening this on Thursday, Dec. 14, and it’ll probably be one of the most responsive and enthusiastic theatre experiences of the year. Go with a group of action and sci-fi fans, and get ready for someone to cry when the late Carrie Fisher comes on screen for her last appearance in the franchise.

 

Premiering December 20

The Greatest Showman

Director: Michael Gracey

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya

Genre: Musical, Drama

Synopsis: Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Is it for you? This will probably only be shown in standard format, which will be enough to take it in. It’s the story of the first three-ring circus, which seems to imply it’ll be a visual spectacle. The musical theatre fan in me wishes it was being shown in IMAX, but it’ll be nice to see how this fares in theatres following the success of other musical films like La La Land – especially since this film is full of actors who can actually sing.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Director: Jake Kasdan

Starring: Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Jack Black

Genre: Action & Adventure

Synopsis: When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of — Jumanji — they are immediately drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) “the top two feet of his body” and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji — you must survive it… (Rotten Tomatoes).

Is it for you? This movie will be shown in 3D and standard, and which you choose to see should really be up to you. The original Jumanji was already leaps and bounds ahead in terms of special effects, especially given its 1995 release, so it’ll be interesting to see how the 2017 adaptation looks and feels in comparison. If you have kid cousins or siblings you have to entertain over the break, this is probably your safest bet (unless they still haven’t seen Disney-Pixar’s Coco).

 

Premiering December 22

Pitch Perfect 3

Director: Trish Sie

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld

Genre: Musical, Comedy

Synopsis: Now graduated from college and out in the real world where it takes more than a cappella to get by, the Bellas return in Pitch Perfect 3, the next chapter in the beloved series that has taken in more than $400 million at the global box office. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Is it for you? This is another acappella-based movie about friendship and growing up, so get a group of your favourite people together to see it. It’ll probably be full of jokes that kind of land and songs that were really popular at the end of 2016, but it’s a pretty diverse cast of women and will have some sweet message about growing up and loving your friends. This is probably a good outlet for all that holiday sentiment.

 

Premiering December 25

Molly’s Game

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner

Genre: Drama

Synopsis: Molly’s Game is based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defence lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Is it for you? Based on trailers and early reviews, Molly’s Game looks like it’ll be a contender for awards seasons. It’s based on a true story and it seems Chastain is the driving force behind the film. If you like watching powerful women manipulate people and make a lot of money, or if you just like looking at Jessica Chastain and/or Idris Elba, check it out.

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