Colin Vanden Berg
Associate Copy Editor
For the last several years, holiday season has been the only season of movies to rival the genre-diversity and spectacle of the summer. From streaming-only dramas and family films to prime Oscar-contenders to franchise blockbusters, the remainder of the 2019 film calendar features something for just about everyone.
This categorized preview will break down the stand-out films yet to be released with what’s currently known about these highly-anticipated features.
In Theaters Now:
Warner Brother’s “Joker” is a gritty, stylized take on the origin of the classic Batman villain that, due to its low budget and billion-dollar worldwide gross, is the most profitable film based on a comic book to date. It’s therefore likely to stay in theaters for most of awards-season and potentially make a splash in categories like Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and maybe Best Picture. However, “Joker” may have to compete with the acclaimed Christian Bale/Matt Damon car-centered drama “Ford V Ferrari.”
Other notable recently-released films include the Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot of “Charlies Angels” which bombed opening weekend despite a strong audience-rating, the “The Shining” sequel “Doctor Sleep,” and the World-War II film “Midway.”
Also, the Christmas rom-com and Emelia Clarke vehicle “Last Christmas” is wooing audiences but frustrating critics, which is to a lesser degree also the case for the Ana Kendrick Christmas comedy “Noelle,” which debuted on the new streaming service Disney+.
Finally, “Marriage Story” debuted on Netflix Nov 6 and stars Adam Driver and Scarlet Johansson as married couple struggling through a divorce.
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving weekend offer several high-profile films. Opening this weekend at Penn Cinema, “Jojo Rabbit” is a historical dramedy directed by “Thor: Ragnarock” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s’” Taika Waititi. It follows a WWII-era Hitler youth whose mother is hiding a Jewish Girl in his attic. The boy also happens to have an imaginary friend version of Adolph Hitler (played by Waititi).
This weekend features several heavy-hitters. “Frozen 2” explores ice-queen Elsa’s origins in the sequel to the 2013 animated phenomenon “Frozen.” Tom Hanks stars as Fred Rogers in the bio-pic “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
On Netflix, acclaimed director Martin Scorsese brings to life a tale of the famed union leader Jimmy Hoffa’s 1971 disappearance. It stars a digitally de-aged Robert DeNiro alongside Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
Thanksgiving weekend sees the release of “Knives Out” from Rhian Johnson, the director of “Looper” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” This star-studded whodunit has already impressed critics and will surely make a splash come awards season and possibly at the box office.
The Holiday Film of the Year:
Speaking of “Star Wars” and box office numbers, the final big movie of the year is also the end of a 42-year cinematic journey in “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.” To wrap up the stories of three separate film trilogies, Director J.J Abrams is resurrecting Emperor Palpatine in some unknown fashion. Most pundits had this film only behind “Avengers: Endgame” as the can’t-miss movie of the year, and for good reason.
Hopefully this break-down will provide some insight into where to spend your movie-watching dollar as the calendar winds down on the year and the decade.