Movies Coming This Holiday Season

By: Carter Caldwell

This holiday break is promising to be a worthy close to a successful year for the film industry.  On 16 December, Rogue One, Collateral Beauty, Fences, and Solace are set to premiere.  Rogue One, the much-anticipated Star Wars anthology film, will likely be number one at the box office that weekend, and could potentially break records.  Collateral Beauty, on the other hand, a drama film headlined by Will Smith and Edward Norton, focuses on a suffering businessman who finds the meaning of life by writing letters to Love, Death, and Time.  Fences, based on August Wilson’s 1983 play with which it shares its name, stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, with Denzel playing Troy Maxson, a former baseball player now working as a waste collector, as he attempts to provide for his family.  The fourth film premiering on 16 December is Solace, which was originally envisioned as a sequel to Se7en, follows a doctor who works in tandem with the FBI to find a psychic serial killer.

On 21 December, another four films will premiere.  For those familiar with video games, Michael Fassbender’s Assassin’s Creed is among those four.  In the film, Callum Lynch, a criminal, is saved from execution by Abstergo Industries, who make him a participant in the Animus Project, causing him to experience his ancestor, assassin Aguilar de Nerha.  For younger audiences, Illumination Entertainment’s Sing also comes out that day.  Sing follows Buster Moon, a struggling theater owner who loves show-business.  In effort to save his theater, Buster puts on a singing competition, which results in an incredible show.  Additionally, science-fiction romance film Passengers stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as two people sent on a 120-year-journey to Homestead II.  Conflict arises when Pratt and Lawrence’s characters, who are awakened 90 years prematurely, attempt to find the origin of the malfunction that woke them up and discover that something much bigger is afoot, all the while falling in love.  Finally, Patriot’s Day, a biopic centering on Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis as he tracks the terrorists responsible for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.  The film’s wide release will be on 13 January 2017.

December 23 brings a comedy (Why Him?) and two dramas (A Monster Calls and Silence).  From 21 Laps Entertainment (the studio responsible for Stranger Things on Netflix), Why Him? is about a father who disapproves of his daughters flamboyant boyfriend, who only seeks his approval.  For those who prefer drama, A Monster Calls is about a boy trying to deal with his mother’s terminal cancer and bullying at school.  In the night, the boy is visited by a humanoid yew tree, the monster, who tells him stories.  For those looking for a more realistic film, Martin Scorsese brings Silence, the story of two Jesuit priests who evade persecution on their journey to Japan in search of their mentor.  Scorsese described the film as a ‘passion project.’

Lastly, on Christmas Day, along with many presents, four dramas will premiere.  Gold, a crime adventure film featuring a businessman and geologist who attempt to find gold in Indonesia, is one of these films, but its holiday release is limited.  Wide release will be on 27 January 2017.  20th Century Women, a comedy drama, also gets a limited release on Christmas.  It will not have a wide release.  Another film getting a limited release will be Live by Night, Ben Affleck’s 1920s-1930s crime film, follows a Florida gangster and bootlegger.  The last film to be released this year will be Hidden Figures, a biographical film about Katherine Johnson, who calculated flight trajectories for NASA’s Project Mercury and Apollo 11.  Starring Taraji P. Henson, the film also features a portrayal of the late John Glenn.

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