Friday, December 1, 2023

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In December (2023)

According to: Selina
 
 
20 – Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever (12/8)
 
 
Director: Luke Cormican
Writer: Jeff Kinney, Kathleen Shugrue
Actors: Erica Cerra, Wesley Kimmel, Hunter Dillon, Gracen Newton, Spencer Howell, Sil van der Zwan
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 35min
 
IMDb Blurb: For Greg the winter vacations are going a little rough, after getting stuck with his family in the snow and worrying about getting the new console.
 
I know precious little about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I’m also a little put off by the animation style. That said, I can’t deny its popularity. There are books everywhere, films, spinoffs, and even a musical. It’s won, or been nominated for, 10 Kids Choice awards. That’s insane. Obviously, there’s something here that kids adore, and that can’t be ignored.
 
I hope it lives up to the fans’ expectations.
 
19 – May December (11/17)
 

Director: Todd Haynes
Writer: Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik
Actors: Natalie Portman, Chris Tenzis, Charles Melton, Julianne Moore, Andrea Frankle, Gabriel Chung, Mikenzie Taylor
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 1h 57min
 
IMDb Blurb: Twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, a married couple buckles under pressure when an actress arrives to do research for a film about their past.
 
There’s a bit of a disconnect between the trailer for May December and its labeled genres.
 
The trailer for May December is dark and dramatic. There’s a touch of thriller in there that would lead me to believe it leans in a frightening direction. The labels for it, however, claim it’s a comedy drama. So, either the labels are way off, or it’s being marketed abysmally. It makes me a bit nervous about recommending it. Even with the insane casting and creative team.
 
18 – Eileen (12/1)
 

Director: William Oldroyd
Writer: Luke Goebel, Ottessa Moshfegh
Actors: Thomasin McKenzie, Shea Whigham, Sam Nivola, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Tonye Patano, Anne Hathaway
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 1h 37min
 
IMDb Blurb: A woman's friendship with a new co-worker at the prison facility where she works takes a sinister turn.
 
Every time I watch this trailer, it looks amazing. Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises, Dark Waters) and Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit, Leave No Trace, Last Night in Soho) are intense, the tension is palpable, and the overall feel of it is different. Of course, the problem is that I have to keep watching the damn thing.
 
For some reason that I cannot pinpoint, I can’t keep Eileen in my brain. It was originally much higher on my list, but every time I had to rewatch the trailer to try and remember it, I moved it lower. I don’t know what’s off about it that is keeping it from leaving an impression, but I trust my instincts.
 
It looks great, but something is just… off.
 
17 – Waitress: The Musical (12/7)
 

Director: Diane Paulus, Brett Sullivan
Writer: Jessie Nelson, Adrienne Shelly
Actors: Sara Bareilles, Drew Gehling, Charity Dawson, Dakin Matthews, Christopher Fitzgerald, Eric Anderson, Anastacia McCleskey
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical
Rated: Unrated
Length: 2h 24min
 
IMDb Blurb: The hit Broadway musical about a small-town pie baker with big dreams gets the silver screen treatment.
 
I’ve heard about this musical, but never really given it much thought. I couldn’t really picture what it would be about unless it was somewhat parody-esk. The trailer changed my mind very quickly.
 
I believe Waitress: The Musical is going to be packed with emotional scenes. I’m hoping for a feel-good style to the ending, which is not normally my thing, but I’m guessing there will be many tears before that comes to pass.
 
Sara Bareilles (Little Voice, Battle of the Sexes, She’s Out of My League) has an enchanting voice. At the very least, it should be full of earworms.
 
16 – The Color Purple (12/25)
 

Director: Blitz Bazawule
Writer: Marcus Gardley, Alice Walker, Marsha Norman
Actors: Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Halle Bailey, Ciara, H.E.R., David Alan Grier, Deon Cole
Genre: Drama, Musical
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown
 
IMDb Blurb: A decades-spanning tale of love and resilience and of one woman's journey to independence. Celie faces many hardships in her life, but ultimately finds extraordinary strength and hope in the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.
 
I simply cannot picture The Color Purple as a musical. Which makes sense because following the adaptation line of this story actively gave me a headache.
 
Let me see if I got this straight. This musical is based on a book by Marsha Norman, which was based on the 1985 film adaptation, which was based on the 1982 novel by Alice Walker. Is that right? Don’t quote me, I could have that wrong. I’ve never seen such a convoluted path from original work to final product before. So, is this based on the original Alice Walker novel or not?
 
I had this movie way higher on my list until I saw that ridiculous family tree of previous works. Now I don’t know what to think.
 
My familiarity with The Color Purple comes from reading the original novel by Walker. I read it in college, and it fucked me right up. I cannot picture a musical coming out of it. Now that I know there’s about 4 degrees of separation, I’m wondering how much it could possibly honor the original story. It’s like a creative game of telephone.  
 
I’m confused, but still curious enough to put The Color Purple on my list.
 
15 – The Family Plan (12/15)
 

Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Writer: David Coggeshall
Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Ciarán Hinds, Maggie Q, Zoe Margaret Colletti, Felicia Pearson
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 58min
 
IMDb Blurb: A former top assassin living incognito as a suburban dad must take his unsuspecting family on the run when his past catches up to him.
 
I enjoy action flicks like this, but they are becoming a dime a dozen. It already wasn’t a new idea before, but everyone in Hollywood seems to be involved in another one every month after the success of John Wick (2014). I’m still in that place where I’m having fun with the idea, but you’ll notice they are falling lower and lower on my list each time.
 
The Family Plan has the added benefit of being a comedy. Straight action is what most creative teams have been going for. Of course, Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter, Father Stu, In Treatment) is in it, and I’m not so much a fan of him these days, so it’s equals out.
 
14 – Silent Night (12/1)
 

Director: John Woo
Writer: Robert Archer Lynn
Actors: Joel Kinnaman, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Kid Cudi, Harold Torres, Vinny O’Brien, Yoko Hamamura, Anthony Giulietti, John Pollack
Genre: Action
Rated: R
Length: 1h 44min
 
IMDb Blurb: A grieving father enacts his long-awaited revenge against a ruthless gang on Christmas Eve.
 
Holiday films are not my favorite – unless there’s blood. When you combine the joy and colorful nature of the season with horror or action, it opens the door for a great many plot lines that are just not open otherwise. If not plot, then at least you get strange/unique kills.
 
In this case, you’ve also got John Woo (Face/Off, Red Cliff, Hostage). That’s a hell of a get.
 
Silent Night is clearly going to be some bad-ass turn-your-brain-off-fun.
 
13 – Candy Cane Lane (12/1)
 

Director: Reginald Hudlin
Writer: Kelly Younger
Actors: Eddie Murphy, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jillian Bell, Genneya Walton, Thaddeus J. Mixson, Madison Thomas, Nick Offerman, Chris Redd, Robin Thede, David Alan Grier, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 57min
 
IMDb Blurb: A man is determined to win the neighborhood's annual Christmas decorating contest. He makes a pact with an elf to help him win--and the elf casts a spell that brings the 12 days of Christmas to life, which brings unexpected chaos to town.
 
I have a deep love for holiday horrors. Technically, Candy Cane Lane is a fantasy, not a horror, but it follows the well-known ‘be careful what you wish for’ trope. Which means it dips a toe into the latter. Especially since the result of the magic could have the main character turn into a doll for the rest of eternity. That’s horrific if you lend it much thought.
 
I’m also still a fan of Eddie Murphy (Coming to America, Dolemite is My Name, Shrek). He was the comedy GOAT growing up, and I get a smack of nostalgia whenever I see him in a modern comedy film.
 
12 – Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (12/22)
 
 
Director: James Wan
Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Jason Momoa, Thomas Pa’a Sibbett, Mort Weisinger, Paul Norris
Actors: Jason Momoa, Ben Affleck, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Dolph Lundgren, Temuera Morrison, Nicole Kidman, Jani Zhao
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 55min
 
IMDb Blurb: Aquaman balances his duties as king and as a member of the Justice League, all while planning a wedding. Black Manta is on the hunt for Atlantean tech to help rebuild his armor. Orm plots to escape his Atlantean prison.
 
I went back and forth about adding Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom at all. That whole thing with Amber Heard was a fucking side-show of epic proportions and I don’t want anything to do with anything she does. That said, she’s been cut out of this film as much as possible, maybe even completely. As a result, I’ve decided to go with it.
 
The first Aquaman (2018) was a whole lot of fun. One of the better films DC has churned out in the past few years, if a bit more forgettable than I thought it would be. At the very least, Jason Momoa (Slumberland, Peacemaker, Dune) is a great choice for the title character.
 
The trailer for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom looks like even more fun than the first one. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s been done with it.
 
11 – Concrete Utopia (12/15)
 

Director: Tae-hwa Eom
Writer: Tae-hwa Eom, Lee Shin-ji
Actors: Park Seo-joon, Lee Byung-hun, Park Bo-young, Kim Sun-young, Park Ji-hu, Na Chul, Do-yoon Kim
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 2h 10min
 
IMDb Blurb: Survivors from a massive earthquake struggle for a new life in Seoul.
 
There’s something about a good disaster film. When you put it together with Korean cinema, I’m 100% in. I tend to jump headfirst into both.
 
Concrete Utopia is unique in the way that it does give that small oasis of normalcy to the characters – in the form of an unfelled apartment complex. Really, the idea reminds me of a show I started watching called Sweet Home (2020 -) – of course that’s more monster-y than natural.
 
The cast is a great one, too. Park Seo-joon (Parasite, Midnight Runners, Jinny’s Kitchen) and Lee Byung-hun (I Saw the Devil, A Bittersweet Life, Our Blues) stand out the most to me, personally, but there are many other popular actors alongside them.
 

10 – The Shift (12/1)
 

Director: Brock Heasley
Writer: Brock Heasley
Actors: Neal McDonough, Kristoffer Polaha, Sean Astin, Elizabeth Tabish, Jason Marsden, Emily Rose, Rose Reid
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 55min
 
IMDb Blurb: After meeting a mysterious stranger, a man must escape a " dystopian " world to return to his wife.
 
There’s something about alternate reality stories that just do it for me. Our world, just slightly off. Or a film featuring the same people that have made different choices. I think it comes from my own ‘what ifs.’ They make me wonder who I’d be in the worlds of those other choices I could have made. But I digress.
 
The Shift shows an alternate reality story that I absolutely see myself getting sucked into. There’s action and intrigue and romance… it checks all the boxes for me. On top of that, there’s the added bonus of Neal McDonough (Project Blue Book, Minority Report, Boomtown) and Sean Astin’s (Stranger Things, The Lord of the Rings, No Good Nick) inclusion.
 
I think The Shift will be a solid sci-fi offering.
 
9 – Freud’s Last Session (12/22)
 

Director: Matt Brown
Writer: Matt Brown, Mark St. Germain
Actors: Matthew Goode, Anthony Hopkins, Jodi Balfour, Orla Brady, Stephen Campbell Moore, Liv Lisa Fries, Rhys Mannion, Tarek Bishara
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1h 48min
 
IMDb Blurb: The movie's story sees Freud invite iconic author C.S. Lewis to debate the existence of God. And his unique relationship with his daughter, and Lewis' unconventional relationship with his best friend's mother.
 
The idea of being a fly on the wall during a conversation between C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud is outstanding. It’s a philosophical heavyweight match. I would have wanted to see Freud’s Last Session just based on that description alone.
 
Then you add in the outstanding Anthony Hopkins (The Son, The Silence of the Lambs, King Lear) as Freud with Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, The King’s Man, Silent Night) playing across from him? How could anyone pass up this film?
 
I don’t know anything about the writers, Matt Brown (The Man Who Knew Infinity, London Town, Ropewalk) and Mark St. Germain (Duma, The Wright Verdicts, Lifestories), but I feel like this is the kind of film that could catapult them to something even bigger than what they already have – provided it’s done right.
 
8 – Poor Things (12/8)
 

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer: Tony McNamara, Alasdair Gray
Actors: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Vicki Pepperdine, Ramy Youssef, Mark Ruffalo
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi
Rated: R
Length: 2h 21min
 
IMDb Blurb: The incredible tale about the fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter.
 
A star-studded fever dream of a Frankenstein adaptation. That’s the only thing I can think of when I watch the trailer for Poor Things. What else could you expect from director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Dogtooth), though? He may not be a household name, but when it comes to this kind of unique, almost experimental, direction he is well-known among film-lover. Everything I’ve seen of his has been insanely out of pocket and impossible to look away from.
 
Just from his track record, I’d be into Poor Things. The trailer was just the cherry on top.
 
7 – Godzilla Minus One (12/1)
 

Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Writer: Takashi Yamazaki
Actors: Minami Hamabe, Sakura Ando, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Yuki Yamada, Munetaka Aoki, Kuranosuke Sasaki
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 5min
 
IMDb Blurb: Post war Japan is at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, baptized in the horrific power of the atomic bomb.
 
A new Japanese Godzilla movie is so fucking exciting. It feels like the titular monster is heading home.
 
Spearheaded by phenomenal writer/director Takashi Yamazaki (Parasyte: Part 1, The Fighter Pilot, The Great War of Archimedes), Godzilla is going to get the best treatment it’s had since the original came out in 1954. When I saw this trailer, I practically jumped out of my chair I was so here for it.
 
6 – Migration (12/22)
 

Director: Benjamin Renner, Guylo Homsy
Writer: Benjamin Renner, Mike White
Actors: Elizabeth Banks, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, Carol Kane, Keegan-Michael Key, Kumail Nanjiani, David Mitchell, Jimmy Donaldson
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 22min
 
IMDb Blurb: A family of ducks try to convince their overprotective father to go on the vacation of a lifetime.
 
This is a bit off subject, but I’m a little tired of all Illumination’s trailers starting off looking like a new Minions (2015) flick. Just show the title screen and movie on, FFS.
 
They do make a good animated film, though, don’t they?
 
Migration looks uplifting, heartwarming, and flawlessly designed. I am absolutely looking forward to going on a quest to the city with a little family of cartoon ducks. I bet my daughter will be excited too. It should be fun for the whole family.
 
5 – Anyone But You (12/15)
 

Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Will Gluck, Ilana Wolpert
Actors: Sydney Sweeney, Glen Powell, Alexandra Shipp, Darren Barnet, Bryan Brown, Joe Davidson, Gata, Rachel Griffiths, Dermot Mulroney, Michelle Hurd, Hadley Robinson
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: Unrated
Length: 1h 40min
 
IMDb Blurb: After an amazing first date, Bea and Ben's fiery attraction turns ice cold - until they find themselves unexpectedly reunited at a destination wedding in Australia. So they do what any two mature adults would do: pretend to be a couple.
 
I had a whole piece written about Anyone But You, and then I found out there are two very different trailers – both made by Sony.
 
The one I’ve included above is the one I originally saw. It’s goofy, and yet still shows plenty of romance. The emphasis is definitely more on the Comedy part of this rom-com. Then there’s the other one.
 
The second trailer is hot. Its emphasis is fully on the Romance aspect and the chemistry shown throughout the 1-minute runtime will leave you weak in the knees. It’s almost hard to imagine these are both the same film.
 
I’ve never seen such a perfect example of how much marketing matters in a film.
 
If you’ve read the earlier entries in this article, then you know that I don’t love it when a movie is marketed in a way that makes me question the genre. This might be the exception, though. It’s not showing comedy and claiming to be a single-genre romance, or vice-versa. Instead, it’s a rom-com and each trailer seems to be specifically geared toward one half of what it claims to be. That makes me more curious than annoyed.
 
Is Anyone But You going to lean hard into the goofiness? Is it going to steam the glass of my windows? Or is it going to be some perfect balance of the two? I’m more likely to watch it now that I have those questions.
 
4 – The Archies (12/7)
 

Director: Zoya Akhtar, Ryan Brophy
Writer: Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, Ayesha DeVitre, John L. Goldwater, Reema Kagti, Bob Montana
Actors: Agastya Nanda, Khushi Kapoor, Suhana Khan, Vedang Raina, Mihir Ahuja, Dot, Yuvraj Menda
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical
Rated: Unrated
Length: 2h 21min
 
IMDb Blurb: Set in 1960s India, Archie and the gang navigate romance, friendship and the future of Riverdale as developers threaten to destroy a beloved park.
 
I grew up with The Archies. My mom and I used to read the comics together. When Riverdale (2017-2023) came out, I was super excited, though I fell off it after a couple of seasons. It’s edgier-than-thou aura didn’t really capture the feel of Archie and the gang. This movie, however, seems to be a much closer adaptation of my beloved childhood comics.
 
The period is reflected well, and I can pretty much pick out each of the characters in the trailer, even though it’s translated into a whole other culture. I’m really looking forward to it.
 
3 – The Iron Claw (12/22)
 

Director: Sean Durkin
Writer: Sean Durkin
Actors: Grady Wilson, Valentine Newcomer, Holt McCallany, Zac Efron, Harris Dickinson, Jeremy Allen White, Lily James, Stanley Simons, Maura Tierney
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Rated: Unrated
Length: 2h 10min
 
IMDb Blurb: The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s.
 
This was a movie that came out of nowhere for me. I hadn’t heard anything about it. That should make sense, because of the strikes, but even with those it’s been impossible to stay away from most news regarding Jeremy Allen White (The Bear, The Rental, Fremont).
 
As a fan of Shameless (2011-2021), I saw his popularity coming from a mile away. But I digress.
 
The Iron Claw looks like a family drama masquerading as a sick wrestling-centric sport film. The trailer is done exceptionally well. I originally had it lower on the list, but a second look changed my mind.
 
I thought it would be a good idea to get some insight from someone more into wrestling than I am. Obviously, I checked in with our friends, the Basement Bookers.
 
Basement Jer put it perfectly: “Bro. I can’t wait to see this fucking movie.” Succinctly put.
 
2 – Rebel Moon Part 1: A Child of Fire (12/22)
 

Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Shay Hatten, Kurt Johnstad, Zack Snyder
Actors: Jena Malone, Sofia Boutella, Ed Skrein, Charlie Hunnam, Sisse Marie, Cary Elwes, Anthony Hopkins, Michiel Huisman, Cleopatra Coleman, Djimon Hounsou
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 2h 13min
 
IMDb Blurb: When a peaceful settlement on the edge of a distant moon finds itself threatened by the armies of a tyrannical ruling force, a mysterious stranger living among its villagers becomes their best hope for survival.
 
Most other months, Rebel Moon Part 1: A Child of Fire would have been any easy #1. Heavy sci-fi, dystopian feel, glorious fight choreography, directed by Zack Snyder (300, Justice League, Snow Steam Iron) and with a cast that includes: Jena Malone (Contact, The Hunter Games: Catching Fire, Goliath), Sofia Boutella (Hotel Artemis, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Star Trek Beyond), Ed Skrein (Deadpool, Midway, Alita: Battle Angel), Anthony Hopkins, Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones, The Age of Adaline, The Haunting of Hill House), Cary Elwes (BlackBerry, The Princess Bride, The Story of Luke), Charlie Hunnam (The Gentlemen, Sons of Anarchy, Children of Men) and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Gran Turismo, The King’s Man)? There is not a single flaw in this flick on paper.
 
I can’t wait to see what it does on screen.
 
1 – Wonka (12/15)
 
 
Director: Paul King
Writer: Simon Farnaby, Paul King, Roald Dahl
Actors: Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Paterson Joseph, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Keegan-Michael Key, Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Matt Lucas, Jim Carter
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 1h 52min
 
IMDb Blurb: Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, "Wonka" tells the wondrous story of how the world's greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.
 
It’s impossible to not be excited for a prequel to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). It looks every bit as whimsical and fun as the first one. I feel like Timothée Chalamet (Dune, Call Me by Your Name, Little Women) is the perfect person to play a young Willy Wonka, and the idea of Hugh Grant (Glass Onion, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Paddington 2) as an Oompa-Loompa is just fantastic.
 
Wonka is everything I need to finish off this disaster of a year. A sweet childhood fantasy to take me out of the gloom and into a rainbow of sugar.
 
I just cannot wait for Wonka.
 
 
Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat
 
Anyone But You .20
The Color Purple .19
Spy X Family Code: White .18
Finestkind .17
Mr. Monk’s Last Case: A Monk Movie .16
How the Gringo Stole Christmas .15
Ruthless .14
In the Land of Saints and Sinners .13
The Portrait .12
American Fiction .11
The Bikeriders .10
Teddy’s Christmas .9
Poor Things .8
The Family Plan .7
Godzilla Minus One .6
Candy Cane Lane .5
Silent Night .4
Migration .3
Rebel Moon Part 1: A Child of Fire .2
Wonka .1
 
FAQ:
          What makes a movie eligible for Trust the Dice’s Top 20?




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