December will be magic ag-a-heh-hah-hain! Well, maybe. I was excited to post the breakdown, but I missed last week, which is fine since nothing really opened anyway. Very odd. Anyhoo, here’s a look at THE FINAL RELEASES OF THE DECADE.
1. STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – Dec. 20, IMAX3D. Well, here we are. The end of a forty-two year long tale. It can’t possibly live up to the hype, but here’s hoping it’s a satisfying conclusion we can all be proud of.
2. UNCUT GEMS – Dec. 13, limited. When Adam Sandler is challenged, he delivers in spades. Here the Safdie Brothers have Sandler playing a bigger-than-life jeweler working on a major hustle that will either make him rich or dead. Word is it’s One Of The Year’s Best Films, and it looks kinetic as hell.
3. LITTLE WOMEN – Dec. 25. Greta Gerwig follows up LADY BUG with this incredible take on the classic tale, featuring some of the best actresses working today. Saorise Rionan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, and Token Male Timothee Chalamet absolutely kill it in what is (checks notes) One Of The Year’s Best Films.
4. 1917 – Dec. 25. I’ve always felt that World War I doesn’t get enough respect theatrically, so Sam Mendes (SKYFALL) decided to shut me up by telling a brutal story through a single tracking shot. Can two British privates stop 1,600 men from falling into a deadly trap? If you haven’t got your British Actor dose for the year, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Scott (Moriarty!), Mark Strong, and Colin Firth are here too.
5. A HIDDEN LIFE – Dec. 13, limited. A new Terrence Malick film is always cause for celebration, though reviews for this one are a bit dismissive. Even wondered what happened to conscientious objectors in Nazi Germany? It ain’t pretty, but Malick will sure try to make it look pretty.
6. BOMBSHELL – Dec. 13. It should have been the story that ended Fox News, instead it just killed Roger Ailes. Charlize Theron disappears playing Megan Kelly, Nicole Kidman tries her damnedest to pull off Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie plays, um, another Fox blonde. Director Jay Roach has gone from AUSTIN POWERS to a political dramatist, but this one doesn’t go far enough for critics.
7. JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL – Dec. 13, RealD3D, IMAX3D. A direct sequel to the surprisingly successful franchise rebootquel. Hey, it’s a fun cast and they’re clearly having a blast. Plus The Rock is channelling Danny Devito while Kevin Hart does Danny Glover, so that’s different.
8. JUST MERCY – Dec. 25, limited. I feel bad for well made courtroom race dramas these days, they have important stories and great performances, but they just can’t make a buck. Here we have Michael B. Jordan defending death row inmate Jamie Foxx in a corrupt, racist system, from the director of SHORT TERM 12 (who’s making Marvel’s SHANG CHI next), but it’s gonna have a rough time getting ad space in the middle of the holiday assault, and unless it gets some Best-Of awards soon it’s going to get swamped by something like…
9. CATS – Dec. 25. Oh lawd he comin’! Look, I want to give them credit for trying something different, but this shouldn’t have made it out of the demo phase. Just stick with the traditional makeup or go fully animated, just, no, don’t do this. Please, just take it off the schedule and try again. And based on leaked info it cost nearly $100 million. I mean, god, no, what? No.
10. BLACK CHRISTMAS – Dec. 13. Now this is counterprogramming! A loose remake of Bob Clark’s legendary slasher film, this time the woman are taking control of the situation. Good for them. They also scaled the rating back so younger girls could be empowered by the message of, um, revenge murder. It’s also the only horror film out this month, so there it is.
11. SPIES IN DISGUISE – Dec. 25, RealD3D. What if Will Smith finally got to play James Bond, but he got turned into a pigeon ten minutes in? And it’s written by the guy who wrote YOGI BEAR and WILD HOGS? Sign me up!
12. RICHARD JEWELL – Dec. 13. Clint Eastwood’s latest tries to work both sides of ‘merica. Support the underdog against an unfeeling, myopic justice system? No problem! Chronicle the fake news media smearing a good right-wing man? We gotchoo fam! Let’s all come together and ignore the bits we don’t like!
13. PLAYMOBIL: THE MOVIE – Dec. 6. THE LEGO MOVIE it ain’t. This movie was so bad they discounted tickets to $5 and still couldn’t get families out.
And that’s 2019! Shut it down! Shut it all down! Nothing else to see here! Actually, 2020 is honestly pretty light in blockbusters, it’ll likely be one of the worst years in decades for box office numbers. Could be the beginning of the end for Hollywood as we know it. I’d expect at least one of the majors to be out of the film business by 2021. But don’t worry, I’m sure Hollywood will be just fine. Juuuuuust fine.