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15 Films to See in December

Written by on November 30, 2017 


The various year-end lists from different groups might make you think 2017 is over, but look at the calendar and, lo, there’s an entire month left in which films will be released. Arriving in December is our most-anticipated picture of the year, sci-fi tales from both Lucasfilm and Alexander Payne, a movie about making the worst movie, and much more.

Matinees to See: Voyeur (12/1), The New Radical (12/1), The Pirates of Somalia (12/8), The Ballad of Lefty Brown (12/15), and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (12/29)

15. Downsizing (Alexander Payne; Dec. 22)


Synopsis: A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.


Why You Should See It: It might be his least-well-received film thus far, but the prospect of Alexander Payne taking on a high-concept sci-fi film is enough to pique interest. Of course, Valerian this is not. Rather, the story finds Payne returning to more human-focused drama. We said in our review, “So dense is this film with ideas and wonderful sight gags (as an admirer of Buster Keaton, Payne has always had an eye for physical comedy) that the roving plotline can run away from one at times.”

14. Hostiles (Scott Cooper; Dec. 22)


Synopsis: In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.


Why You Should See ItHostiles finds Scott Cooper re-teaming with his Out of the Furnace star Christian Bale and heading out west. Premiering to a strong response, it was then picked up by the fledgling Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures and it’ll arrive in time for an awards campaign with a December release. With gorgeous cinematography from Masanobu Takayanagi (who worked on Cooper’s last two films as well as Spotlight and The Grey), it also stars Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Ben Foster, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, and Q’orianka Kilcher.

13. Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin; Dec. 25)


Synopsis: The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.


Why You Should See It: There are only a few writers in Hollywood one can recognize within a single scene. Aaron Sorkin certainly falls under that category, and after winning Oscars and Emmys for his work, ranging from The Social Network to The West Wing, he’s made his directorial debut. Featuring strong performances from the entire cast — including Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Chris O’Dowd, and Bill Camp — Christopher Schobert nails it his review, saying, “Molly’s Game is slick, flashy, highly entertaining, and hugely forgettable.”

12. Quest (Jonathan Olshefski; Dec. 8)


Synopsis: An intimate documentary that captures eight years in the life of an African- American family living in North Philadelphia.


Why You Should See It: A documentary highlight at this year’s Sundance. We said in our review, “A portrait of one working class family living in north Philly over the course of nearly a decade, Jonathan Olshefski’s debut, Queststrives to demonstrate the power and inner workings of an engaged community through the perspective of the Rainey family, but the documentary’s framing device is both its greatest success and biggest failure, giving the film a scattershot focus despite its ambitions. Quest couldn’t be more relevant to national conversations about poverty and gun violence in its empathy for marginalized communities, and boots-on-the-ground understanding of the effects of shootings, but as a whole, it lacks the context to be able to effectively communicate the scope of these problems beyond a personal level.”

11. All the Money in the World (Ridley Scott; Dec. 22)


Synopsis: The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother to convince his billionaire grandfather Jean Paul Getty to pay the ransom.


Why You Should See It: Judging by the new trailer, it seems as though Ridley Scott and crew are humming along as they put the finishing touches on their new vision of All the Money in the World, now featuring 100% more Christopher Plummer, and will still make its release in just a few weeks. Controversy aside, we’ve been hoping Scott would narrow his scope after a few mega-sized epics, and this true story looks to have the dramatic weight to make an impression, particularly thanks to the talents of the always-great Michelle Williams.

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