Well, here we are, the final month of 2018. It’s insane to think about, as I feel 2018 has flown by. December promises to send 2018 off in style, with a number of exciting movies coming out to cap off the year. This list easily could have included ten titles, but I was forced to keep it to five, so my apologies to the ones I left off, particularly Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, which looks great. Here are my picks for the most exciting movies coming out in December.
5 – AQUAMAN (James Wan, December 21)
The DCEU, or whatever this cinematic universe goes by, is not exactly my favorite. In fact, out of all the movies in this cinematic universe, Wonder Woman is the only good film (and it’s not just good, it’s great). So why am I excited for their latest entry? Because this movie looks absolutely bonkers. James Wan isn’t pulling any punches with this one, showcasing the insane underwater world inhabited by war creatures and underwater royalty. Jason Mamoa is fine as Aquaman, but maybe a full movie will make me like him more. I also can’t wait to see Nicole Kidman wield a trident and kick some serious ass. Could this be a disaster? Absolutely. But I’m tempering my expectations for this to be a delirious, under-water bananza.
4 – THE MULE (Clint Eastwood, December 14)
I’m always excited for a new Clint Eastwood movie. At a ripe 88 years, Eastwood just keep churning out movies, some good (American Sniper, Sully), some bad (15:17 to Paris), but all interesting. The Mule is even more special because it brings Eastwood back in front of the camera for his first performance since Gran Torino, which is one of his absolute best. Eastwood plays a World War II veteran who smuggles $3 million dollars worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel. The film looks dark, moody, and emotional, and co-stars Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, and Andy Garcia along with Eastwood. Could this be Eastwood’s swan-song as an actor? Could it be a late-in-the-game awards player? Could it be both? We’ll find out soon enough.
3 – MARY POPPINS RETURNS (Rob Marshall, December 19)
Mary Poppins Returns sounds like Hollywood at its absolute worst. A sequel/soft-remake of a beloved classic from over fifty years ago feels like a reach even for Disney, who seem to be remaking everything. But there is something special about Mary Poppins Returns. First and foremost, Emily Blunt is now donning the magical umbrella, which might be the only person who can fill Julie Andrews’ shoes. And beyond Blunt, the film features Lin-Manuel Miranda, Colin Firth, Ben Whishaw, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, and the legendary Dick Van Dyke to round out the cast. Director Rob Marshall, who’s a pretty good Musical director, having directed the electric Oscar-winner, Chicago, is at the helm, which shows a steady hand behind the camera. And the trailers have done a great job of giving us glimpses of the magic that is to unfold, but never showing too much. I really can’t wait to see what awaits here, as it could truly be Disney magic.
2 – VICE (Adam McKay, December 25)
Director Adam McKay made a name for himself as one of the best comedy director of the 2000’s, with hits such as Anchorman, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. In 2015, McKay became more than a comedy director with The Big Short, which still offered plenty of laughs, but showed the horror and insanity of 2008 housing crises. The film won McKay an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and even earned him a Best Director nomination. Vice is McKay’s follow-up to his Oscar success and it looks even wilder than The Big Short. Vice looks at the controversial reign of Dick Cheney as George W. Bush’s Vice President, where he became arguably the most powerful Vice President in American history. Christian Bale is all but guaranteed an Oscar nomination for his transformative performance as Cheney, and Amy Adams, Steve Carrell, Tyler Perry, and Sam Rockwell round out the rest of this extraordinary cast. I’m excited to see how McKay’s visual style and story-telling abilities lend itself to this incredible story.
1 – ROMA (Alfonso Cuarón, December 7)
Here’s the thing with Roma: it’s a Netflix film, so you will be able to see it on Netflix, which is great and all, since foreign films don’t get nearly the releases they deserve. But I beg you, beg, beg, beg you to see this movie in theaters. I already had the pleasure of seeing Roma on the big screen and it is a truly magical experience. Writer/director Alfonso Cuarón has created a completely immersive film, bringing you into this small city in Mexico and making you hear, see, and feel every inch of the screen. With its beautiful black and white pallet, impeccable sound design, authentic performances, and raw, masterful direction from Cuarón, Roma is a spectacular achievement. It is one of 2018’s very best movies and a sure-fire Oscar contender. You have no excuse to not see this movie since it will be on Netflix, but if you want to see what the true art of cinema, see Roma on the biggest screen possible. You won’t regret it.
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