Monday, November 30, 2020

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In December (2020)

 According to: Cat

We keep hearing that theaters are going to reopen and then finding out there’s been another postponement. (Wear your damn masks!) We’re going to be optimistic and keep to our original format for the Top 20. We’re considering all films coming out – whether digital, straight to DVD, or in theaters – as eligible for this list. However, we felt the need to still include a disclaimer. (Once theaters are fully opened, this disclaimer will no longer be used.)

There are certain states that meet all the requirements to reopen, and are doing well. In those states, we absolutely support people going to the movies, as long as they remain cautious, and the theaters are following all safety precautions.
However, a lot of states in the USA are opening before medical experts believe they should.
If you live in one of those states, especially those with rising COVID-19 cases, we urge you to stay home. There are a lot of great movies that continue to be released digitally, and we hope you stick with those. We understand that cabin fever is setting in with everyone right now, we’re not immune to it, but put your health and safety – and the health and safety of your family – first.
That said, all the release dates mentioned are tentative. Revisit this article throughout the month, we'll post small updates about postponed films as we are alerted to the delays.
Thank you for sticking with us through these strange times

The world is a scary, surreal, and strange place right now. COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and some European countries are locking down again. While nothing has been announced regarding unilateral nation-wide changes in the U.S., some states are changing phases and beginning to scale back in the hopes of curbing this second wave.
As a result, this has caused some prospects for movie releasing to remain uncertain. Unfortunately, the movies Free Guy and Death on the Nile, both under Disney control, have become the latest high-profile victims of these schedule-shuffling changes. Rather than scheduling another future date in the hopes that theaters will be open; it seems that, as of early November industry reporting, these two films are on indefinite hold.
While we don’t have a lot of details as to why Free Guy has fallen into this category specifically, it seems that merger stipulations between Disney and Fox are impacting Death on the Nile; as it's been reported the agreement requires that they pursue a theatrical release.
We were really looking forward to these productions releasing in December, and likely would have listed them within our Top 10. Alas, we can only give them Honorable Mention until their fate is sorted out at a later time. 

20 - The Santa Squad (12/8)

Production/Distribution: CME Autum Productions, Champlain Media, Reel One Entertainment, Reel One International
Director: John Bradshaw
Writer: Mark Valenti
Actors: Armando Alera, Aaron Ashmore, Rebecca Dalton, Jayne Eastwood, John Flanagan, James Kall, Hattie Kragten, Molly Lewis, Chris Sandiford, Michael Therriault, Paniz Zade
Genre: Romance, Holiday
Rated: Unrated
Length: 91 minutes
IMDb Blurb: An unemployed art teacher accepts a job with the Santa Squad to help lift the spirits of a wealthy widower Gordon (Aaron Ashmore) and his two adorable daughters. As she helps the broken family rediscover the magic of Christmas, she finds something she didn't expect: True love.
As I was putting my movie list together this month, I had to pause and re-evaluate for a moment. I realized that I didn’t have a single Christmas movie on the list! While I understand not everyone celebrates the holiday, it’s always been one of my very favorites. I couldn’t justify to myself making a list of movies for December that didn’t include at least one. Thus, here it is.

Santa’s Squad certainly isn’t the only Christmas movie available this month. There were even a couple mentioned on November’s list. This is just the movie I am most likely to go out of my way to watch among the titles premiering in December. It’s not often that a Lifetime Channel movie makes the official Top 20 – but this one looked cute enough that it squeaked by in making the cut.
I expect it to be entirely predictable as it follows the holiday romance recipe. In fact, I anticipate that the trailer outlines most of the plot already. Be that as it may, it still looks cute and like it will be a lot of fun. I also enjoy the art teacher element of the story. Who knows, I might get some crafty ideas!  I like the cast, as well. I don’t believe this title is available On-Demand or on DVD at this time, so if you’re interested, be sure to set your DVR!

19 - Wild Mountain Thyme (12/11)

Production/Distribution: Amasia Entertainment, Aperture Media Partners, Likely Story, Mar-Key Pictures, Port Pictures, Sea Around Us, GEM Entertainment, Bleecker Street Media, Elevation Pictures, Lionsgate UK, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Madman Entertainment
Director: John Patrick Shanley
Writer: John Patrick Shanley
Actors: Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm, Christopher Walken, Jon Tenney, Danielle Ryan, Lydia McGuinness, Dearbhla Molloy, Darragh O'Kane, Abigail Coburn, Martin F Ward
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 102 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A pair of star-crossed lovers in Ireland get caught up in their family's land dispute.

With the world a bit crazy and off-kilter at the moment, I’ve found that I’ve been less interested in heavy dramas. You’ll find the majority of this month’s list are productions geared towards good old-fashioned escapism.
In the case of Wild Mountain Thyme, it’s a romance – but the trailer promises a lot more than just that. There’s wit and heart, and let’s not forget the Irish setting. That’s a big sell for me, really. I’m a sucker for an Irish-set film. I don’t even care that the Irish press has been calling the movie out for the horrible Irish accents that some of the cast use.
A genuine Irish accent is something of beauty. I could listen to the lilting burr of it all day – even if someone was reading a phone book. I can forgive faulty accent attempts, however, considering the caliber of the cast in general. I’d probably watch anything with Christopher Walken (Seven Psychopaths, Father Figures, The War with Grandpa) in it. It’s going to be amusing listening to his line-delivery with or without the accent. Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, A Quiet Place, Mary Poppins Returns) and John Hamm (Bad Times at the El Royale, Good Omens, Richard Jewell) are also impressive additions to the film – though, I don’t believe Hamm’s role calls for him to try to pass for Irish.
Another point in this movie’s favor is that it allows Jamie Dornan (Anthropoid, A Private War, Synchronic) to explore another aspect of his range. This isn’t a big action film, nor is it requiring him to be a sex symbol. He gets to be a bit of a doofus here. We shouldn’t have any problems with his accent, though, as he is decidedly Irish.  
I’m really looking forward to the warm-fuzzies and laughs this movie should bring.

18 - Sister of the Groom (12/18)

Production/Distribution: Mandorla Productions, Saban Films, Premiere Entertainment Group, Signature Entertainment
Director: Amy Miller Gross
Writer: Amy Miller Gross
Actors: Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Mathilde Ollivier, Mark Blum, Abigail Marlowe, Julie Engelbrecht, Charlie Bewley, Jake Hoffman, Ronald Guttman, Noah Silver, Jamie Choi, Michael Bernardi, Guyviaud Joseph, Adam Griffith, Kenneth Maharaj, Nicole Tio, Richaud Valls, Tony Costa, Adrienne Ellis, Jean-François Ogoubiyi, Lee Reitelman, Claudja Bicalho, Deeva Green
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 92 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Liam is set to wed a younger French girl, Clemence, in the Hamptons. His sister, Audrey, and her husband, Ethan, drive to attend, yet Audrey's motives are likely to stop the wedding. Audrey and Clemence do not get along, as Clemence, a perfect gorgeous French woman, reminds Audrey of her own imperfections. Feelings of jealousy due to her own lost opportunities, uncertainty of herself and 40 years of lifetime choices could explode and scorch her new sister-in-law.

This is the first of 2 wedding-themed movies on this month’s list. What I love about both is that they’re comedies, and not just steeped in romance.
If the trailer is a good indication, Sister of the Groom is giving off a lot of vibes similar to The Hangover (2009) but without the lost-friend mystery element. I found it hilarious, and I sincerely hope that the bits contained in the trailer aren’t the only good ones in the movie. The note I wrote as I watched the teaser was ‘wedding shenanigans.’ I’m always down for that.
Another of the main points attracting me to this film is the cast. Alicia Silverstone (King Cobra, Book Club, The Lodge) is perfect for this sort of comedy, and Tom Everett Scott (Mars Needs Moms, La La Land, 13 Reasons Why) won me over back in the 90s with his performances in American Werewolf in Paris (1997) and Dead Man on Campus (1998).
I’m really anticipating comedic gold here, and can’t wait to watch.
17 - Love, Weddings & Other Disasters (12/4)

Production/Distribution: Align, Construction Film, Convergent Media, Fortitude International, GEM Entertainment, Just Film Distribution, Saban Films
Director: Dennis Dugan
Writers: Eileen Conn, Dennis Dugan, Larry Miller
Actors: Maggie Grace, Diane Keaton, Jeremy Irons, Andrew Bachelor, Todd Stashwick, Diego Boneta, Jesse McCartney, Dennis Dugan, Chandra West, Richard Kline, Veronica Ferres, Caroline Portu, Melinda Hill, Ava Gaudet, Levon Panek, William Xifaras, Andy Goldenberg, Rob Norton, Dennis Staroselsky, Gail Bennington, Sally Meehan, Abbey Dubin, Tarek Moussa, Natalia K. Grace, Jonathan De Azevedo, Jaison Hunter, Rachel Wirtz, Mark Lainer, Becky Bass, Paul Melendy, Kevin Wiles Jr., Pesach            Pesach
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 90 minutes
IMDb Blurb: It is a multi-story romantic comedy about the people who work on weddings to create the perfect day for a loving couple - while their own relationships are outlandish, odd, crazy and far from perfect.

As I mentioned before, this is the 2nd wedding-related movie on my list this month. Not only is this a rom-com with couples spanning multiple generations, it looks like there’s going to be a diverse range of comedic offerings as well – from wit to physical comedy.
This is also another movie where I’m smitten with the cast. I have long been a fan of Jeremy Irons (Assassin's Creed, Justice League, Watchmen) and Diane Keaton (Finding Dory, Poms, Green Eggs and Ham). I’ve also really come to appreciate the work of Maggie Grace (The Choice, The Hurricane Heist, Fear the Walking Dead), Diego Boneta (Rock of Ages, Before I Fall, Terminator: Dark Fate), and Andrew Bachelor (The Babysitter, Rim of the World, Holidate) in the last decade. Each has something special to bring to the table, and I think they’ll really shine here. 

16 – Parallel (12/11)

Production/Distribution: BRON Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, The Realm Films, Vertical Entertainment, Entermode, Front Row Filmed Entertainment
Director: Isaac Ezban
Writer: Scott Blaszak
Actors: Georgia King, Kathleen Quinlan, Alyssa Diaz, Martin Wallström, Mark O'Brien, Shannon Chan-Kent, Aml Ameen, Carmel Amit, Carrie Genzel, Eileen Pedde, Josh Blacker, Jana Berengel, Samantha Hodhod, Izabel Pearce, Cassidy Alexa
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated
Length: 104 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A group of friends stumble upon a mirror that serves as a portal to a "multiverse", but soon discover that importing knowledge from the other side in order to better their lives brings increasingly dangerous consequences.

Unlike most of the other movies on this list, this film doesn’t include any particular cast members that draw me into this production. This time, it’s the story that has me captivated.
Science is currently exploring the possibility of parallel universes or worlds, though I doubt that any sort of reality ties such research to a mirror portal. All the same, it’s an interesting concept that takes the ‘through the looking glass’ idea quite literally.
Sci-Fi fans are generally well versed in the hazards of time travel due to paradox. We don’t, however, have a guide as to the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of multiverse travel. I’m intrigued by the premise of this film and my curiosity is piqued to find out what hazards await the friends that loot the other dimensions for their own gain.
I’m excited about the number of science fiction offerings hitting screens this month. This movie is just the tip of the iceberg.

15 - Greenland (12/18)

Production/Distribution: STX Films, Anton, Thunder Road Pictures, G-BASE, Riverstone Pictures, Film & TV House, GEM Entertainment, CatchPlay, Cinépolis Distribución, Diamond Films, Elevation Pictures, Golden Village Pictures, Impuls Pictures, Joyncontents Group, Kinomania, Metropolitan Filmexport, Roadshow Film Distributors, Roadshow Films, STX International, Spentzos Films, Square Box Pictures, TGV Pictures, TOBIS Film, The Searchers, Top Film, Vertical Entertainment, Amazon Prime Video, Cinemundo, Encore Films, Home Box Office, JL Vision Film, The Filmbridge
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Chris Sparling
Actors: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd, Scott Glenn, Randal Gonzalez, Scott Poythress, Claire Bronson, Madison Johnson, Gary Weeks, Tracey Bonner, Merrin Dungey, Mike Senior, Hope Davis, David Denman, Andrew Bachelor, Joshua Mikel, James Logan, Randall Archer, Suehyla El-Attar, Al Mitchell, Marc Gowan, Carlos Lopez
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 119 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A family struggles for survival in the face of a cataclysmic natural disaster.

If you look at this title and feel a little déjà vu, you’re not wrong. We don’t generally repeat a listing once it’s already appeared on a Top 20, but 2020 has been crazy enough that this film deserves another mention. We originally listed Greenland in our September article; however, due to the pandemic, the release date for the film has been changed several times.

Finally, the distribution has settled on skipping theaters in the U.S. all-together and sending the movie direct to On-Demand streaming. This film will be available for $19.99 for a 48 hour rental during its initial release period, then will become available to HBOMax subscribers in 2021.
There’s quite a bit to like about Greenland, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating its release for months now. I absolutely adore Gerard Butler (Den of Thieves, Geostorm, London Has Fallen) and Morena Baccarin (V, Deadpool, Homeland) so it’s exciting to see them share the screen. In addition to the cast, the action and effects seem to be really well done. I’m a sucker for a good disaster movie. I don’t mind at all if they’re generally predictable. This one promises to be an outstanding addition to the genre.

14 - The Midnight Sky (12/23)

Production/Distribution: Anonymous Content, Netflix, Smokehouse Pictures, Syndicate Entertainment, Truenorth Productions, The Searchers, Netflix
Director: George Clooney
Writers: Lily Brooks-Dalton, Mark L. Smith
Actors: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, Sophie Rundle, Kyle Chandler, Ethan Peck, David Oyelowo, Demián Bichir, Tim Russ, Miriam Shor, Tiffany Boone, Edan Hayhurst, Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir, Grant Crookes, Caoilinn Springall, Atli Oskar Fjalarsson, Natasha Jenssen, Bharat Mistri, Tia Bannon, Kishore Bhatt, Jill Buchanan, Olivia Noyce
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 122 minutes
IMDb Blurb: This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love a good disaster movie. Pair that with my adoration of Sci-Fi and space; and then toss in a measure of Felicity Jones (Inferno, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, On the Basis of Sex) and George Clooney (The Monuments Men, Hail Caesar!, Money Monster), and you’ve got a recipe for something special.
Clooney has been said to compare The Midnight Sky to a mashup of Gravity (2013) and The Revenant (2015). Based on the trailer, I can see where he’s coming from. That sort of combination is intriguing and I’m definitely interested in exploring the comparison in more detail.
Even without that bit of trivia, the trailer piqued my curiosity on several levels. What has happened to Earth that Clooney’s character needs to warn the ship in space about? Why is there an elementary-school-aged little girl in residence at a remote arctic observatory?
Between the cast, the story, and the stunning visuals – The Midnight Sky is a must-watch for me.

13 – Monsters of Man (12/8)

Production/Distribution: MRT Films Pty Ltd, Hanuman Films, 11:11 Entertainment
Director: Mark Toia
Writer: Mark Toia
Actors: Neal McDonough, Brett Tutor, Jose Rosete, David Haverty, Paul Haapaniemi, Ryan Hough, Ly Ty, Ma Rynet, Kayli Tran, Jessica Blackmore, Jordy Tulleners, Tatjana Marjanovic, Conrad K. Pratt, David Samartin, Trong Kam, Taylor Leigh Edwards
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated
Length: 131 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A robotics company teams up with a corrupt CIA agent undergoing an illegal, unsanctioned military operation. Dropping four prototype robots into a suspected drug manufacturing camp in the Golden triangle that no one will miss. The mission is to prove the robotics company is worthy of winning a lucrative military contract. Six doctors on a good cause witness the brutal slaughter of an innocent village and are forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse as they become the new targets.

The trailer for Monsters of Man caught my attention when it first appeared on my YouTube homepage as a suggested video. I remember getting chills the first time I watched it. Situations become scarier when they’re remotely plausible. With the advances in robotics and AI in the real world today, something along the lines of this movie’s premise isn’t really too far-fetched. There are definitely shady enough people and organizations out there grasping for the almighty dollar that wouldn’t be above stooping to similar tactics.
While I don’t feel that I recognize most of the cast, one person stands out that was an absolute deciding factor in placing this movie on the list - Neal McDonough (1922, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Yellowstone). McDonough has played both good and bad guys over the years, along with plenty that skate through that gray area in the middle. In this case, it’s a pretty sure bet that his character decidedly falls on the ‘bad’ end of the spectrum. Those are, quite frankly, the types of roles that he excels in. It’s actually quite scary when he turns on that cold ruthless confidence.

Of course, the cool robotics effects that remind me a bit of the shock troops in Code 8 (2019) are an excellent bonus for viewers. I can’t wait to see how this one plays out.

12 - Skylines (12/18)

Production/Distribution: Mirabelle Pictures Productions, Artbox, Fasten Films, Media Finance Capital, Blue Swan Entertainment
Director: Liam O'Donnell
Writer: Matthew E. Chausse, Joshua Cordes, Liam O'Donnell
Actors: Lindsey Morgan, Rhona Mitra, James Cosmo, Alexander Siddig, Daniel Bernhardt, Yayan Ruhian, Jonathan Howard, Ieva Andrejevaite, Samantha Jean, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Cha-Lee Yoon, Giedre Mockeliunaite, Phong Giang, Naomi Tankel
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: R
Length: 110 minutes
IMDb Blurb: When a virus threatens to turn the now earth-dwelling friendly alien hybrids against humans, Captain Rose Corley must lead a team of elite mercenaries on a mission to the alien world in order to save what's left of humanity.

I have been geeking out since I saw Skylines announced some time ago. I am a huge fan of the Skyline (2010) movies, so it’s a no-brainer that I am eagerly anticipating the last installment of this trilogy. At least, I’m under the impression that this is a trilogy. Depending on how this particular film ends, I’m curious if there’s room for more. That being said, pushing a franchise to stretch the content is not always the best play. I’ve seen Skylines billed as the end-cap of the trilogy so that’s what we’ll run with here.
Aside from a story that I’m already invested in, there’s another big draw to this movie for me is cast. Even if I’m unsure about a production, if there’s a cast member I recognize and follow, I’ll likely give it a shot just based on their involvement. In this case, I’m super excited that Lindsey Morgan (General Hospital, ETXR, The 100) and Alexander Siddig (Submergence, Gotham, 21 Bridges) are on board with this movie.
Morgan has proved to be a real badass in her work on The CW series The 100 (2014-2020) and so I’m really jazzed that she’s getting more attention in a big screen Sci-Fi feature. Of course, most everyone has seen something that Siddig has been a part of, if you’re a fan of Sci-Fi or even fantasy. I’ve enjoyed his work dating back to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999). He’s definitely one of those ‘hey, I know that guy!’ actors that pop up now and again and slays whatever part he’s inhabiting at the moment.
My fangirling aside, I can’t wait to see how this story arc concludes.

11 - Hunter Hunter (12/18)

Production/Distribution: Julijette, MarVista Entertainment, Particular Crowd, IFC Midnight
Director: Shawn Linden
Writer: Shawn Linden
Actors: Camille Sullivan, Summer H. Howell, Devon Sawa, Nick Stahl, Gabriel Daniels, Lauren Cochrane, Jade Michael, Erik Athavale, Karl Thordarson, Blake Taylor
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 94 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Joseph and his family live in the remote wilderness as fur trappers, but their tranquility is threatened when they think they are being hunted by the return of a rogue wolf, and Joseph leaves them behind to track it.

I like the play on words in the title of Hunter Hunter. It’s clever and gives you a clear idea of the movie’s plot without having to read a synopsis. A hunter is clearly hunting another hunter – or is being hunted by one.
Once upon a time, I was a real outdoorsy person. I loved camping and the like. Honestly, I still do – it just doesn’t love me back anymore with some of my physical limitations. Having a cabin in the woods sounds like an idyllic way of life. I always enjoy watching productions that have off-grid living situations because I get a slice of living vicariously through that on-screen experience. That’s one of the draws of this movie for me.
Of course, the cast is another. Devon Sawa (Nikita, Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2, The Fanatic) and Camille Sullivan (Dead Rising: Endgame, The Man in the High Castle, A Dog's Way Home) are solid and both have a lot of experience with the horror and thriller genres. I’m also looking forward to seeing Summer H. Howell (The Midnight Man, Cult of Chucky, Channel Zero) in this film. While young, her resume thus far already includes multiple horror titles. Most of those projects could be considered relatively B-movie camp, however, so I’m interested in seeing how she does with a story that has real teeth (couldn't resist).
I’m also curious as to how this story plays out. I plan on streaming this one as soon as I’m able.

10 - The Comeback Trail (12/18)

Production/Distribution: StoryBoard Media, Alla Prima Productions, Don Kee Productions, Ingenious Media, Living the Dream Films, Lucky 13 Productions, March On Productions, Rapid Farms Productions, Scoring Berlin, Sprockefeller Pictures, Cloudburst Entertainment, Dutch FilmWorks, Eagle Films, NOS Audiovisuais, Originals Factory, VVS Films
Director: George Gallo
Writers: George Gallo, Josh Posner, Harry Hurwitz
Actors: Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, Emile Hirsch, Zach Braff, Patrick Muldoon, Malcolm Barrett, Natalie Burn, Eddie Griffin, Kate Katzman, Vincent Spano, Ekaterina Baker, Leslie Stratton, Nick Vallelonga, Michelle Maylene, Julie Lott, Josefine Lindegaard, Chris Mullinax, Joel Michaely, Blerim Destani, Jermaine ashington, Melissa Greenspan, Jake Hunter, Paul Witten, Bill Luckett, Danno Hanks, Desiree Geraldine, Aighleann McKiernan, Erik Sahlein, Leonard Waldner, Kiersten Dolbec, Bob Knowlton
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 104 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Two movie producers who owe money to the mob set up their aging movie star for an insurance scam to try and save themselves. But they wind up getting more than they ever imagined.

There are three reasons I am fairly chomping at the bit to see this movie.
The first is, obviously, the cast. I’ll watch just about anything with Robert De Niro (The Intern, Joy, The Irishman) and Morgan Freeman (Lucy, Going in Style, Angel Has Fallen) in it. Freeman’s in that category of those I could just listen to all day, even if he was reading the driest and boring dissertation on earth. I digress… In addition to those two cinema powerhouses, you’ve also got Tommy Lee Jones (Hope Springs, The Homesman, Ad Astra) playing this wild over-the-hill stuntman that seems to have a death-wish that the film’s main character desperately wants to grant.  When you add the comedic elements from the likes of Eddie Griffin (How Sweet it Is, American Hero, A Star is Born) and Zach Braff (Scrubs, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Disaster Artist) there are going to be some guaranteed laughs – and some awkward moments.
Beyond the cast, the story itself is interesting and looks like it will be a lot of fun. Jones’ character reminds me of a song I learned ages ago at camp about ‘the cat came back the very next day’ after ‘they thought he was a goner.’ The premise is odd, a bit dark, but absolutely hilarious. The trailer had me in stitches.
Finally, I am curious as to how many precarious situations Jones’ character will be put in and how everything ultimately works out. Will the aged stunt-man actually die in one of the rigged incidents or will he defy all expectations and survive? Will the gangsters come after De Niro’s character or will something work out in a clutch moment? My curiosity is killing me, and I’m happy that the journey to the answers looks to be an enjoyable one.

9 - Songbird (12/11)

Production/Distribution: STX Films, Invisible Narratives, Platinum Dunes, Catchlight Films, Leonine Distribution
Director: Adam Mason
Writers: Adam Mason, Simon Boyes
Actors: K.J. Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Alexandra Daddario, Peter Stormare, Paul Walter Hauser, Demi Moore, Jenna Ortega, Lia McHugh, Michole Briana White, Burak Agan, Paul Sloan, Carol Abney, Ethan Josh Lee
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: In 2022 a pandemic ravages the world and its cities. Centering on a handful of people as they navigate the obstacles currently hindering society: disease, martial law, quarantine, and vigilantes.

I debated for quite a while as to whether or not to include this movie on my list. The story here hits a little too close to home. While the world is reeling from the current COVID-19 pandemic, this film depicts a dystopian and near post-apocalyptic future where a COVID-23 virus has turned the world on its head. It’s a worst-case scenario nightmare-scape in a fast-forward from where we are right now.
Things are always scarier when they could plausibly be real.
I felt anxiety rising just watching the trailer for Songbird. My heart was in my throat in a few moments.
Even so, I don’t think enough people are taking the current virus seriously. Perhaps a look at what ‘could be’ might scare more people into more careful precautions. I’m not really advocating this film as a soapbox, though.
The story looks good, if dark and likely sad. The cast is also well-chosen. I instantly believed the on-screen chemistry between K.J. Apa (The Hate U Give, Dead Reckoning, Riverdale) and Sofia Carson (Descendants, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, Feel the Beat). I’m already invested and want to see how things turn out for their characters.
Then, of course, you have Peter Stormare (John Wick: Chapter 2, The Poison Rose, American Gods). Some of the characters he’s played over the years have given me chills because of his intensity playing these psychotic and homicidal characters. He performs with such style that sometimes he can get you laughing even when you’re outright terrified of him. 

8 - Godmothered (12/4)

Production/Distribution: The Montecito Picture Company, Walt Disney Pictures, Disney+
Director: Sharon Maguire
Writers: Kari Granlund, Melissa Stack
Actors: Isla Fisher, Jillian Bell, Santiago Cabrera, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, June Squibb, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jane Curtin, Stephnie Weir, Artemis Pebdani, Jillian Shea Spaeder, Janelle Feigley, Rafael Silva, Willa Skye, Olga Merediz, Nelson Ascencio, Kayla Rose Petruccelli, Erica Parks, Kevin Daigneault, Ken Kansky, Robert Najarian
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Rated: PG
Length: 110 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A young and unskilled fairy godmother that ventures out on her own to prove her worth by tracking down a young girl whose request for help was ignored.

There are a lot of dark movies coming out this December. For that reason, I wanted to have some balance with more light-hearted films as well. This is certainly one of them.
Who wouldn’t want a visit from a fairy godmother? Of course, it would help if they were competent. The fact that the one in this tale is a little off and quirky is just icing on the cake. I loved the trailer and can’t wait to see what sort of hilarious shenanigans happen as the bumbling fairy tries to help her adult charge.
I’m excited that Godmothered is releasing directly to Disney+ without any additional cost to subscribers.  You can bet I’ll be watching this with my family the same day. 

7 - Breach (12/18)

Production/Distribution: 308 Ent, Almost Never Films Inc., Aloe Entertainment, Film Mode Entertainment, Dutch FilmWorks, Saban Films, Signature Entertainment, Storm Pictures Korea
Director: John Suits
Writer: Edward Drake, Corey Large
Actors: Cody Kearsley, Bruce Willis, Rachel Nichols, Kassandra Clementi, Johnny Messner, Corey Large, Callan Mulvey, Timothy V. Murphy, Johann Urb, Ralf Moeller, Thomas Jane, Angie Pack, Swen Temmel, Elicia Davies, Alexander Kane, Robert Laenen, Adam Huel Potter, Mitchell Baker
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rated: R
Length: 89 minutes
IMDb Blurb: On the cusp of fatherhood, a junior mechanic aboard an interstellar ark to New Earth must outwit a malevolent cosmic terror intent on using the spaceship as a weapon.

The trailer for Breach gave me a vibe that this movie will be something like a mash-up between Alien (1979) and the TV series Helix (2014-2015).
I love Sci-Fi, space operas, action, and creature features. It looks like Breach is going to check all those boxes – and it also has Bruce Willis (Glass, Trauma Center, Hard Kill).
This one falls into that ‘shut up and take my money’ category. It probably won’t be an award contender but it looks like one hell of a ride.

6 - News of the World (12/25)

Production/Distribution: Perfect World Pictures, Playtone, Pretty Pictures, Universal Pictures, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures International
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Paul Greengrass, Luke Davies, Paulette Jiles
Actors: Tom Hanks, Ray McKinnon, Elizabeth Marvel, Mare Winningham, Helena Zengel, Michael Angelo Covino, Neil Sandilands, Chukwudi Iwuji, Thomas Francis Murphy, Christopher Hagen, Stafford Douglas, Fred Hechinger, Winsome Brown
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home.

As I watched the trailer for News of the World, I got a rather distinct nostalgic feeling that reminded me a lot of Dances With Wolves (1990), and also The Postman (1997) at the same time. Of course, this is not tied to either and features Tom Hanks (A Hologram for the King, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Greyhound) in his first western role.
Hanks is a national treasure – and for that reason alone, this movie is worth watching. However, the plot does look interesting. I want to know if the little girl makes it to her family in one piece or not.
Though, this film certainly isn’t helping the meme lore that is circling the internet -- it is dangerous to travel with Tom Hanks. 

5 - Wonder Woman 1984 (12/25)

Production/Distribution: Atlas Entertainment, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, The Stone Quarry, Warner Bros., Karo Premiere, Kinomania, Vertical Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, HBO Max, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writers: Geoff Johns, Patty Jenkins, Dave Callaham, William Moulton Marston
Actors: Pedro Pascal, Gal Gadot, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Gabriella Wilde, Kristoffer Polaha, Lyon Beckwith, Ravi Patel, Kelvin Yu, Natasha Rothwell, Lilly Aspell, Ed Birch, Oakley Bull, Tessa Bonham Jones, Jonathan Ajayi, Pedro Leandro, Lucian Perez, Danny Morgan, Becki Hayes, Sarah Barlondo, Derek Larthey, Orlando James, Mike D. Anderson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 151 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Fast forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman's next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.

Do I really need to give a reason for this movie on the list? It’s a comic book superhero movie in the DC universe. It’s a must-see.
The only reason it hasn’t landed higher on this list for December is that I’ve been waiting so long for this movie to release that I almost don’t trust that it will actually finally be available to stream. It’s also got some stiff competition for my attention.
Rest assured, however, that it’s been officially announced that Wonder Woman 1984 will be available to HBOMax subscribers the very same day that it opens in theaters.  

4 - Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (12/18)

Production/Distribution: Netflix
Director: George C. Wolfe
Writers: Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson
Actors: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Glynn Turman, Jeremy Shamos, Colman Domingo, Taylour Paige, Jonny Coyne, Michael Potts, Dusan Brown
Genre: Drama, Music
Rated: R
Length: 94 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable "Mother of the Blues". Based on Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson's play.

There’s only one reason I need to want to watch this movie: Chadwick Boseman’s (Get On Up, Black Panther, 21 Bridges) final performance.
I started getting misty-eyed as I watched the trailer.
If you need another incentive to watch, for some odd reason, then consider Viola Davis (Lila & Eve, Fences, Troop Zero) is playing the title character. The combination of these two icons is going to be something to behold. I am going to have to steel myself before pulling it up on Netflix, though. I’m not going to lie. I still get weepy now and again over Boseman’s passing.

3 - Archenemy (12/11)

Production/Distribution: SpectreVision, ead Gear Films, Legion M, Metrol Technology, 3:59, Almost Never Films Inc., RLJE Films, Altitude Films, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Voltage Pictures
Director: Adam Egypt Mortimer
Writers: Adam Egypt Mortimer, Luke Passmore
Actors: Joe Manganiello, Luis Kelly-Duarte, Skylan Brooks, Zolee Griggs, Paul Scheer, Mac Brandt, Kieran Gallagher, Amy Seimetz, Joseph D. Reitman, Glenn Howerton, Amje Elharden, Christopher Guyton
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rated: Unrated
Length: 90 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Max Fist, who claims to be a hero from another dimension who fell through time and space to earth, where he has no powers.No one believes his stories except for a local teen named Hamster.

Finally! For those, like me, that are impatiently waiting to see Joe Manganiello (Rampage, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, The Sleepover) bring a comic hero (or anti-hero) to life – this is your movie. Sure, he’s announced as the actor to play Deathstroke in the upcoming DC universe movies – but that feels like it’s going to take forever to get here, especially with pandemic delays.
This should be a fun action movie with heart. I’m hoping that it lives up to my expectations; though, if the trailer wasn’t misleading, this should be pretty good.

2 - Soul (12/25)

Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, Disney+, Forum Hungary, Kinomania, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Directors: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers
Writers: Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers
Actors: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Quest Love, Angela Bassett, Cora Champommier, Margo Hall, Daveed Diggs, Rhodessa Jones, Wes Studi, Sakina Jaffrey, Fortune Feimster, Calum Grant, Laura Mooney, Peggy Flood, Zenobia Shroff, June Squibb, Ochuwa Oghie, Jeannie Tirado, Cathy Cavadini, Dorian Lockett, Doris Burke, Ronnie Del Carmen, Esther Chae, Elisapie Isaac, Marcus Shelby, Jason Pace, Avery Kidd Waddell, John Ratzenberger
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 100 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself.

Some of the best news I’ve heard recently is that Soul is going to be released directly to Disney+ on Christmas Day. This would be the perfect movie to gather the family around and enjoy the day together while staying home.
What’s better? Unlike Mulan (2020), there will not be any additional charge for subscribers to stream this film.
If you don’t already have a subscription, now would be the time to get it. Who would want to miss Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained, Baby Driver, Project Power) and Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Saturday Night Live) in a Disney Pixar animated movie?!

1 - Monster Hunter (12/25)

Production/Distribution: Constantin Film, Impact Pictures, Capcom Company, Tencent Pictures, Toho Company, China Film Group Corporation, Constantin Film Verleih, Constantin-Film, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Releasing Argentina, Sony Pictures Releasing, Towa Pictures, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures International
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writers: Paul W.S. Anderson, Kaname Fujioka
Actors: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, T.I., Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman,             Jin Au-Yeung, Ron Perlman, Jannik Schümann, Hirona Yamazaki, Nic Rasenti, Nanda Costa, Aaron Beelner, Schelaine Bennett, Adrián Muñoz
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 99 minutes
IMDb Blurb: When Lt. Artemis and her loyal soldiers are transported to a new world, they engage in a desperate battle for survival against enormous enemies with incredible powers. Feature film based on the video game by Capcom.

The trailer for Monster Hunter absolutely blew me away. I’ve been excitedly anticipating this video game adaptation since its announcement – especially with names such as Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Future World, Hellboy) and Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim, The Big Ugly) attached.
The graphics shown in the trailer were absolutely breathtaking.
This is going to be one hell of an action movie full of both Sci-Fi and fantasy elements. I can’t wait. I wouldn’t mind paying for a rental as soon as it’s available on streaming. I’d buy a ticket to watch it on the big screen if I could – alas, the pandemic prevents me.
I’ll be over here bouncing in my seat waiting to hit the ‘order’ button On-Demand.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina
Parallel .20
Godmothered .19
Farewell Amor .18
The Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud .17
I'm Your Woman .16
Minari .15
Hunter Hunter .14
Monsters of Man .13
Mank .12
News of the World .11
One Night in Miami .10
The Comeback Trail .9
Archenemy .8
Promising Young Woman .7
Songbird .6
Greenland .5
Soul .4
Monster Hunter .3
Wonder Woman 1984 .2
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom .1


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