Holmes & Watson (Out Christmas Day) – For a long time we comedy fans have been waiting for a follow up to Stepbrothers or Talladega Nights just to get Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly on screen again as some of our favorite characters. So instead we get them playing versions of the greatest detectives of all time Sherlock Holmes and John Watson? Yes, it’s quite confusing to me as well as I don’t think anyone really wanted a more absurd and slapstick version of Without A Clue but here we are. I want to have even the slightest hope for this movie but the trailer is just god awful. I don’t even think I cracked a smile.
Vice (Out Christmas Day) – Let me start this one out by saying that if Christian Bale doesn’t get every award for best actor this coming awards season then it is all a sham. His portrayal of Dick Cheney is so chameleon-like that it’s hard to believe this is a scripted film. Don’t let my praise of Bale’s work sell anyone else short as the entire cast is brilliant in their respective roles, the finest ensemble of 2018. Written and directed by Adam McKay, the anger and frustration of nearly twenty years of political exhaustion is felt in every frame of this movie and it is glorious. The narrative chances this movie takes pay off in every way and makes this your must-see movie to end the year. (Not opening in Hamilton or Kamloops)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Out Christmas Day) – This is the long-anticipated film from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins adapted from the novel by James Baldwin. The story follows Tish Rivers, a twenty-year-old black woman living in 1970s Harlem who must fight to get her wrongly accused fiance out of jail, all while pregnant with their child. The performances in this film are beautiful and understated, the two main leads Stephan James and KiKi Layne putting themselves on the fast track to critical acclaim. The notable performance here is Regina King as Tish’s mother, who makes it a personal crusade to free the father of her grandchild. Jenkins shows his knowledgeable command of making pure and driven cinema with the most gorgeous of shot framing. It’s hard to believe that this is just his third feature film. Barry Jenkins is a very special filmmaker who deserves to be celebrated and this might be his year. (Only opening in Toronto and Vancouver)
White Boy Rick – This true story from the mid 80s stars Matthew McConaughey sporting a pretty solid mullet. Playing Richard Wershe Sr., a gun enthusiast who makes his living in the resale market, this film is predominantly about his son, Ricky Jr., a teen who let his ambition curtail his life as he started selling the guns to local Detroit gangs. Soon the FBI would nab him and push him deeper into the life by having him sell crack cocaine. It would be something that would set up the biggest downfall of his life. The film is great for those who like these “Blow” and “Donnie Brasco” type movies but I felt it was missing a little something.
A Twelve-Year Night – A foreign film that comes to Netflix from Uruguay, this is a political biopic thriller about three men jailed in 1973 who, even incarcerated, defied the government who put them there in any way they could. They were put into solitary confinement where they started to be a representation of the downtrodden people of the country, raising their message and political clout. This looks fascinating from the trailer and could be a hidden gem.
You: Season 1 – A brand new Netflix produced thriller series from popular television creator Greg Berlanti and the minds behind Riverdale, this show has Gossip Girl actor Penn Badgley as a bookstore owner who manipulates the woman of his dreams into falling in love with him.
Avengers: Infinity War – It’s almost like Netflix wanted to thank their subscribers and give back by adding the greatest blockbuster moment of the year to their catalogue with this culmination of ten years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanos is the man in control of this film that indelibly changes the whole trajectory of the stories to follow with some of our favorite superheroes. Heck, after this move we don’t even know where any of the individual franchises lie anymore although we do know there are some being filmed right now. In any case, relive this one over and over again.
Room – Looking to let loose some of those leftover tears from 2018 before the end of it? Well, Lenny Abrahamson has what ails you and through participation from Netflix, we can now watch the emotional story of Ma and Jack, a mother and son trapped in a shed with only a sliver of a window to let the light in from the outside world. Captured by a kidnapper while pregnant, Ma knows that there is an escape in the world beyond but to Jack, it’s all he’s ever known and his entire reality is just in that small room. Brie Larson won Best Actress for this movie and young Jacob Tremblay got robbed of a supporting nod but it’s no better time than now to watch this for the first time or to get acclimated with it. It’s truly unforgettable.
Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski – Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, this is the fascinating story of a long lost Polish artist whose work was progressive, striking and unlike anyone else. With most of his work destroyed, lost or hoarded by the artist himself, many thought the pieces were gone but he actually lived in Los Angeles, California the whole time. The film goes through archives of videotape with Stanislav Szukalski to explore his art, his ego and his effect on the world. This trailer is fascinating and I bet the documentary is too.