As most movie fans know Tim Burton came up with the idea for The Nightmare Before Christmas while doing some shopping as Halloween decorations were quickly replaced with their yuletide counterparts, resulting in a momentary mishmash of the two.
With that in mind, it isn’t too crazy to start talking about This Holiday Season’s Must See Movies, right? Sure it’s only August but let’s face it: our anticipation for Star Wars Episode IX started building back in 2012 when Disney snatched up Lucasfilm for $4 billion space credits. (Or really, even further back when George Lucas himself was still talking about a proposed sequel trilogy that would finish his saga post-prequels.)
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker will take us back to that galaxy far, far away to wrap up the Skywalker family story with at least some degree of finality, even as a whole universe’s worth of Disney+ streaming shows and spin-off trilogies await in the wings.
Moviegoers will travel to a very different theater of war with Oscar bait historical drama 1917. December also ushers in Greta Gerwig’s take on Little Women; the computer-animated Spies in Disguise; Untitled Charles Randolph Project, about various female Fox News employees and their unsavory encounters with the late Roger Ailes; the Blumhouse remake of Black Christmas; and the Jumanji sequel, among others.
Wondering how exactly you’re supposed to be able to afford to see all of this fine holiday fare while still making room for holdovers like It: Chapter 2, Doctor Sleep, and Terminator: Dark Fate? The answer is, of course, Movie Club at Cinemark.
A Movie Club at Cinemark membership gets you a movie ticket, 20 percent off concessions, and the chance to grab two tickets per transaction at the Movie Club price of $8.99 or $9.99, without any online fees. Movie Club members enjoy these special prices all month long. Plus, if you don’t use your first ticket during that month (which seems crazy, but hey, things happen!), the ticket rolls over to the next month.
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Movie Club will make catching everything on our list of This Holiday Season’s Must See Movies easy to do while keeping some of your pocket book filled with holiday cheer. You can catch everything on our list of This Holiday Season’s Must See Movies.
Brahms: The Boy II (Dec 06)
The Boy made nearly $70 million around the world against a $10 million budget back in 2016. Its sequel was originally scheduled for July of this year before it was pushed back to December. The premise (and big reveal, which we won’t spoil) of the first film was pretty cool so it’ll be interesting to see what the filmmakers come up with for this one, particularly considering that both director William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) and screenwriter Stacey Menear returned. Brahms: The Boy II stars Katie Holmes and young actor Christopher Convery, most recently seen in Kinky Boots on Broadway.
Jumanji: The Next Level (Dec 13)
Is this Jumanji 2 or 3? Or wait, is it part 4? We can’t forget Zathura: A Space Adventure!
However you see this sequel to the reboot-ish/sequel-ish to the surprise smash Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Next Level certainly looks like fun. The Next Level boasts returning cast members Dwayne Johnson (fresh off of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, one of our August Must See Movies), Karen Gillan (so great in her most recent turn as Marvel’s Nebula in Avengers: Endgame), Kevin Hart, JBack Black, Nick Jonas, Se’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, and Alex Wolff alongside newcomers Awkwafina, Danny Glover, and Danny DeVito. Welcome to the Jungle grabbed trophies at the Kids Choice and Teen Choice Awards. The Next Level is likely to do the same.
A Hidden Life (Dec 13)
American audiences will finally get to see this historical drama which already earned two awards at Cannes (and was nominated for the Palme d’Or) earlier this year. A Hidden Life is about a real-life conscientious objector who executed by the Nazis in World War II. The latest from acclaimed filmmaker Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line) stars August Diehl as the Austrian farmer at the center of the story, Franz Jägerstätter.
Black Christmas (Dec 13)
The studio behind last year’s successful Halloween relaunch is also responsible for this second remake of the 1974 slasher that most horror fans will tell you was a big influence on John Carpenter’s original Halloween. Sophia Takal becomes the first female director to helm a Blumhouse theatrical release, from a screenplay she cowrote with film critic and filmmaker April Wolfe. This version of Black Christmas (unconnected to the ill-fated 2006 remake released by Dimension Films) centers around a group of women with more fighting spirit, strength and determination than the slasher bait sorority sisters of the original. It stars Imogen Poots (Green Room), Aleyse Shannon, Brittany O’Grady, Lily Donoghue, Caleb Eberthardt and opens on Friday the 13th.
Uncut Gems (Dec 13)
A VICE headline promised Uncut Gems “will be the Best Movie of 2019” six months ahead of its limited opening so to say anticipation runs high for the brotherly director duo of Benny and Josh Safdie’s followup to Good Time would be an understatement.
A crime dramedy set in New York City’s Diamond District, Uncut Gems stars Adam Sandler (in a role that first belonged to Jonah Hill), Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Judd Hirsch, Eric Bogosian, and Pom Klementieff (aka Marvel’s Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). Uncut Gems also boasts the acting debut of Abel Tesfaye, aka Grammy Award winning singer The Weeknd. 2017’s Good Time was nominated for the Palme D’Or and the brothers are reportedly teed up to helm a remake of 48 Hours.
Toronto International Film Festival creative director Cameron Bailey told IndieWire that Uncut Gems delivers the best Adam Sandler performance since Punch Drunk Love.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Dec 20)
We don’t know too much about the plot of The Rise of Skywalker because JJ Abrams likes to protect his mystery boxes like Jedi holocrons. We do know it’s been heralded as the grand finale to the previous seven saga entries. It’s full of familiar faces from the new trilogy like Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Kelly Marie Tran, Domnhall Gleeson, and Lupita Nyong’o. Billy Dee Williams is back as Lando Calrissian.
We’ll also see the late Carrie Fisher as the legendary General Leia Organa thanks to previously unseen footage shot during The Force Awakens (and most likely) The Last Jedi. Anthony Daniels is back as C-3PO and Joonas Sutomo will returns as Chewbacca, the role originated by the great Peter Mayhew, who passed away in April.
Newcomers to the cast include Richard E. Grant (Logan), Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth), Dominic Monaghan (who worked with Abrams on Lost) and Keri Russell, who earned three Emmy nominations for her starring role on TV’s The Americans, which ended its acclaimed run last year. Russell first rose to fame as the title character on TV’s Felicity, which was created by J.J. Abrams with Matt Reeves and aired from 1999 to 2002.
Despite their onscreen deaths in previous saga entries, both Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine are expected to return in Episode IX. The boy dreamer turned Jedi will likely be a Force ghost, like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda before him. The means by which Darth Sidious will return remain a mystery (the dark side clouds everything).
Cats (Dec 20)
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award winning musical Cats ran from 1982 till 2000, one of the longest runs for a Broadway musical ever with close to 7500 performances. The big screen adaptation, which mixes live action and CGI, stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKelle, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, and English ballerina Francesca Hayward, in her feature-length film debut. Cats was executive produced by Stephen Spielberg and directed by Tom Hooper, whose Les Misérables was nominated for eight Academy Awards (and won three of them).
Superintelligence (Dec 20)
Melissa McCarthy stars as an everyday person confronted by the world’s first artificial “super intelligence.” The Late Late Show host James Corden voices the villainous A.I. in this action comedy. It’s the fourth collaboration between McCarthy and her director husband, Ben Falcone, following Life of the Party (2018), The Boss (2016), and Tammy (2014). Like The Boss, Superintelligence was written by actor Steve Mallory.
Untitled Roger Ailes Project (Dec 20)
It’s certainly not unprecedented for two projects about the same historical figure to arrive at the same time. Just ask Kurt Russell or Kevin Costner, who played Old West lawman Wyatt Earp in Tombstone (December 1993) and Wyatt Earp (June 1994), respectively.
Showtime’s The Loudest Voice limited series beat the Untitled Roger Ailes Project to the punch by about six months, with Russell Crowe as Fox News founder Roger Ailes and Naomi Watts as Gretchen Carlson. The TV series goes all the way back to the late Ailes’ 90s plans to launch a conservative-leaning cable channel. Lionsgate’s movie, however, is more focused on the sexual misconduct allegations that clouded him.
Written by Oscar winning screenwriter Charles Randolph (The Big Short) and directed by Jay Roach (Trumbo), the likely award season contender stars Charlize Theron as Carlson, Nicole Kidman as Megny Kelly, and Margot Robbie as a fictitious producer. John Lithgow plays Ailes with Malcolm McDowell as News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch. The cast also includes Allision Janney, Mark Duplass, Alice Eve, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Liv Hewson, Kate McKinnon, Elisabeth Röhm, and Alanna Ubach.
Little Women (Dec 25)
American novelist and poet Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” was a hit when it was published in the late 1860s and its stayed in print ever since. Not to be confused with last year’s “modern retelling,” this Little Women returns the story to its original Civil War era Boston setting. It also reunites Saoirse Ronan and writer/director Greta Gerwig, the celebrated duo from the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird. Academy Award staple Meryl Streep also stars, alongside Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Bob Odenkirk, Chris Cooper, and Abby Quinn. While Lady Bird was very personal for Gerwig, she no less connected to Little Women. “This feels like autobiography,” she told Vanity Fair earlier this year. “When you live through a book, it almost becomes the landscape of your inner life.”
1917 (Dec 25)
This World War I drama from Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes stars George MacKay, who received a Trophée Chopard for Male Revelation of the Year 2017 at the Cannes Film Festival, and Dean-Charles Chapman, best known to American audiences as Tommen Baratheon in Game of Thrones seasons 4-6. The rest of the cast includes Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth, and Marvel’s Doctor Stephen Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. Mendes co-wrote 1917 with rising screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, a staff writer on Penny Dreadful who collaborated with Edgar Wright on his forthcoming Last Night in Soho.
Spies in Disguise (Dec 25)
Spies in Disguise began at 21st Century Fox and their Blue Sky Studios, which was responsible for similarly computer animated movies like the Ice Age franchise and Rio. (Disney scooped up Blue Sky as part of its acquisition of Fox earlier this year.) In this action comedy, Will Smith voices a super spy who is accidentally turned into a pigeon by some technology invested by his “Q” type gadget-making colleague, voiced by Tom Holland. Spies in Disguise features two of Holland’s MCU cohorts in Karen Gillan (Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers movies) and Ben Mendelsohn (Captain Marvel), alongside Rashida Jones, Masi Oka, and musician DJ Khaled.
Just Mercy (Dec 25)
Michael B. Jordan stars in this adaptation of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” the memoir by public interest attorney and activist Bryan Stevenson. The cast includes Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Rob Morgan, Rafe Spall, and Tim Blake Nelson. (It will first premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.)
Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative has gained reversals and relief for 135 death row inmates. He holds 35 honorary doctorates and opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. Earlier this year, he was the subject of the HBO documentary True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality.
In addition to the connections to Black Panther and Captain Marvel via Jordan and Larson, Just Mercy has another tie to the MCU: director Destin Daniel Cretton is developing the Phase 4 film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, set for 2021.
Let’s not forget November movie holdovers like Logan director James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari, starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon (Nov 15); the first Charlie’s Angels movie in over 15 years, with a new cast directed by Elizabeth Banks (Nov 15); Disney’s hotly (coldly?) anticipated Frozen II (Nov 22); the Mr. Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks (Nov 22); and Rian Jonhson’s all-star ensemble neo-noir black comedy Knives Out (Nov 29); all of which will still be in theaters.
Movie Club at Cinemark is the best way to get all of these blockbusters, Oscar bait period pieces, and cartoons crossed off your checklist. Get onboard with that FREE one month trial membership and see as many movies as you like at low prices. Do it!