Alibi V.27 No.47 • Nov 22-28, 2018 

Feature: Film Guide

Holiday Film Guide 2018

Superheroes, zombies, queens, jungle boys, drug mules, magical nannies, robots, detectives and Supreme Court Justices!

Paramount Pictures
The Thanksgiving-to-Christmas movie season is a brief but intense one, stuffing stockings full-to-bursting with big budget sequels, musicals, sci-fi epics, Oscar-bait dramas and the occasional cheapjack horror flick. Unlike the Memorial-Day-to-Labor-Day run of summer films, you’ve got barely a month in which to race to movie theaters and absorb the holiday season’s would-be hits. So what should you be spending your hard-earned ticket money on this year? Let’s take a look.
Note: All dates are subject to change.
Nov. 30

The Possession of Hannah Grace
This low-budget horror thriller purports to tell the story of what happens after the closing credits of your typical exorcist drama. A cop just out of rehab (Stana Katic from “Castle”) takes the night sift at the city morgue, only to face a series of bizarre incidents after the dead body of a reputedly possessed young girl shows up in a body bag.
Anna and the Apocalypse
A zombie apocalypse threatens the small town of Little Haven, forcing Hannah and her friends to fight the undead. At Christmas. … Also, this is a musical.
Dec. 7

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
Famed motion-capture actor Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, Planet of the Apes) directs this adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s famed fable about a human child raised by wolves.
Vox Lux
Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Willem Dafoe star in this odd musical drama about a pair of teenage sisters who survive a violent school shooting and compose a pop song about it that catapults them to fame. Years later, the younger sister (Portman) tries to revive her fame as a pop diva following a career fraught with scandal a troubled teenage daughter of her own and another terrifying act of violence.
Dec. 12

Once Upon a Deadpool
Raunchy superhero parody Deadpool 2 returns to theaters for one night only with a family-friendly PG-13 recut. (Yes, you heard that right.) Also, there’s a new wraparound segment in which Deadpool narrates the story of the movie to Fred Savage. (Yes, that’s a Princess Bride joke.)
Dec. 14

The Favourite
Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) directs this historical biopic about Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and her close, often romantic relationship with her best friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz). But when a new servant (Emma Stone) arrives in the palace, the Queen’s attention wanders.
If Beale Street Could Talk
James Baldwin’s acclaimed 1974 novel about a woman in Harlem scrambling to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime while pregnant with their first child comes to the big screen courtesy of filmmaker Barry Jenkins (Moonlight).
Mortal Engines
Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) produced and co-wrote this sci-fi fantasy based on the YA novel by Philip Reeve. In the post-apocalyptic future, cities (like London) are towering machines on wheels, motoring around the wasteland and doing battle with one another.
The Mule
Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this crime drama about a 90-year-old man who gets caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel. Believe it or not, it’s based on a true story.
The latest intimate epic from writer-director Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá Tamién, Children of Men, Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early ’70s. Do we smell autobiography?
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This animated spin-off of the Spider-Man films is a deep-dive for even longtime Spider-fans. Seems that the multiverse has suffered a fracture causing spider-based heroes of all kinds (from original flavor Spider-Man Peter Parker to Ultimates Universe Spider-Man Miles Morales to Spider-Gwen to Spider-Man Noir to Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham) to unite. Nicolas Cage, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Liev Schreiber, Lily Tomlin and Jake Johnson are among the voice cast.
Dec. 19

Mary Poppins Returns
Disney’s 1964 live-action/animated musical fantasy (based on the book series by P.L. Travers) gets a very belated sequel starring Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) as the magical British nanny.
Dec. 21

Jason Momoa (“Game of Thrones”) gets his own superhero franchise as the ocean-protecting half-Atlantean known as Aquaman, battling a war-loving usurper to the Atlantean throne (Ocean Master) and an armored villain (Black Manta).
Bird Box
Sandra Bullock headlines the cast of this horror thriller about a woman trying to protect her two children in a post-apocalyptic world filled with unknown creatures who will drive humans to suicidal madness if they are so much as glimpsed. The only solution: Stay blindfolded and hope for the best.
This spinoff of the Transformers movie series heads back to 1987, where a teenage girl (Hailee Steinfeld) discovers a battle-scarred robot that can turn into a battered Volkswagon Beetle.
Holmes & Watson
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly star in this humorous take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous crime-solving duo.
Second Act
Jennifer Lopez stars in this romantic comedy about a big box store worker who gets mistaken for an accomplished Wall Street consultant and is hired by a private finance firm to handle a major business deal.
Welcome to Marwen
Based loosely on the 2010 documentary Marwencol, this dramatic fantasy tells the story of an outsider artist (Steve Carell) who becomes the victim of a violent assault. He eventually finds escape and healing in creating and photographing an elaborate, miniature World War II village. The plastic inhabitants to the village are brought to life via CGI.
Dec. 25

A very de-glammed Nicole Kidman stars in this crime thriller as a LAPD detective unwittingly reconnecting with dangerous gang members from an undercover assignment in her distant past. Karyn Kusama (The Invitation, Jennifer’s Body, Girlfight) directs.
On the Basis of Sex
Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) takes on the role of young Ruth Bader Gisnsberg and the struggles she overcame to become a US Supreme Court Justice.
Controversial former Vice President Dick Cheney is the subject of this biopic starring a surprisingly transformed Christian Bale. Sam Rockwell is George W. Bush. Steve Carell is Donald Rumsfeld. Amy Adams is Lynne Cheney.
Jan. 4

Escape Room
Six strangers (Deborah Ann Woll and Tyler Labine among them) find themselves trapped in a deadly room and must use their wits to survive. … Heck, the Saw films inspired the rise in escape rooms, so it’s only fair that escape rooms would inspire yet another Saw-like film.
Jan. 11

A Dog’s Way Home
A puppy travels 400 miles in search of her owner in this animal-loving, live-action adventure. A chirpy Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World) voices the dog’s inner monologue. It’s based on the “novel” of the same name—by the guy who wrote the similarly sappy book-turned-movie A Dog’s Purpose.
Stan & Ollie
In addition to his duo work on Holmes & Watson, John C. Reilly co-stars as Oliver Hardy (alongside Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel) in this biopic about the famed comedy duo embarking on a swan song tour of post-war Britain.
The Upside
Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart star in this tearjerking comedy (based on the French film Les Intouchables) about the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and the homeless ex-con he hires to look after him.
Jan. 18

M. Night Shyamalan’s secret superhero movie Unbreakable and his secret supervillain movie Split (spoiler alert!) combine forces, allowing superpowered security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) to hunt down superpowered psycho Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy).