The winter films worth watching

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The winter films worth watching

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By Mohit Puvvala, Lifestyle Columnist

While 2017 may not have the best box office run of recent years, there’s no denying there were some gems across various genres. Superhero fans loved “Wonder Woman,” while horror enthusiasts were terrified by “IT.”  History buffs marveled at “Dunkirk,” while Disney devotees fell in love with “Beauty and the Beast.” Though the year experienced a dip in box office performance so far, with around a 5 percent loss from last year, there are still plenty of awesome movies to look forward to in the coming winter months.

Thor: Ragnarok (Nov. 3)

If you asked me a year ago, I would have said that I wasn’t too excited for “Thor: Ragnarok.”  The first Thor was pretty good, but the second one just felt bland and inconsequential. Then, I saw the trailer. The hype is real. Marvel’s been having a pretty great year so far with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man Homecoming,” which both received tremendous praise from critics and audiences. However, I think “Thor: Ragnarok” will best the two aforementioned movies just because of how insane it looks. I mean, Thor fights the Hulk in a gladiator match. Moreover, Marvel went all out on casting. Aside from the return of Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo and Idris Elba, the film also features Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban and Jeff Goldblum. It looks like Marvel just gave the film to director Taika Waititi and said, “Here, take this, and go crazy with it.” Waititi, known for his critically acclaimed indie films “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” is sure to dazzle audiences with a colorful taste of sci-fi action this month.

Murder on the Orient Express (Nov. 10)

Kenneth Branagh is no stranger to film adaptations based on famous works of literature, having previously directed “Hamlet” and “Henry V.” He received two Oscar nominations for the latter. This take on the classic Agatha Christie novel looks mysteriously captivating. The film is about a detective who tries to solve a murder on a train and has thirteen suspects to choose from. I’ve read the book, but I’m excited to see what Branagh and the other actors involved bring to the table. The all-star ensemble cast includes Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley among others, so I’m expecting some great performances.

Justice League (Nov. 17)

Yup, this long-awaited superhero team-up is finally happening. Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg and possibly Superman are all coming together in one movie. Aside from the fangasms this movie will cause when it hits theaters, it actually looks better than director Zack Snyder’s previous attempts with the DC Extended Universe. This film seems to be taking a more lighthearted and hopeful route than the dark broodiness of “Batman v Superman.” I just hope it doesn’t try to force the lightheartedness as we saw with “Suicide Squad.” However, Wonder Woman proved to us earlier in the year that DC movies can exemplify the best aspects of being a hero, and I hope Justice League does that as well. It’s also interesting to note Joss Whedon’s involvement with the film since he took over directing duty recently after Snyder exited following personal matters. Whedon helmed both the “Avengers” films, so he definitely knows what to do with a big-budget superhero film. Despite the idea that the DCEU is in a mess, I think Justice League looks amazing.

Coco – (Nov. 22)

It’s Pixar I don’t need to say much else. Expect to get really emotional this November as the creative team that brought you so many beloved movies such as “Finding Nemo,” “Inside Out,” and “The Incredibles” tries to make up for the misfire that was “Cars 3.” “Coco” follows Miguel, a boy who dreams of making music despite his family’s ban on the art, as he embarks on a quest to find his family history. If the trailers are any indication, the film looks extraordinary. I can’t be the only one who finds allusions in the plot to Hayao Miyazaki’s monumental “Spirited Away,” which is arguably one of the best animated movies of all time.

The Disaster Artist (Dec. 1)

“The Room” is commonly regarded as the “Citizen Kane” of bad films. Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed, produced and starred in a film which follows a man named Johnny whose future wife is cheating on him with his best friend. “The Disaster Artist” is about the making of this movie. The film stars James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson and many more. While the trailer highlights the wacky aspects of “The Room,” it’s also focused on a core, central theme of friendship and perseverance. In this regard, I think this movie will be extremely heartfelt. James Franco both directed the film and acted as Tommy Wiseau on the set of “The Disaster Artist,” which I feel will add a genuine touch. The film is getting some serious Oscar buzz, and it’s being distributed by A24, which won best picture for “Moonlight” last year. If this gets nominated for Best Picture at next year’s Academy Awards, it would be one of the most ironic things to happen in Hollywood.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Dec. 15)
Even if someone from the future told me this movie sucked, I would still watch it opening night. The film picks up where “The Force Awakens” left off with Han Solo gone and the Resistance finally having a fighting chance against the First Order. Supposedly centered around Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Mark Hamill’s iconic Luke Skywalker, the story is set to feature the return of fan favorites Leia, Chewbacca, Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren and will contain new characters that are sure to amaze long-time enthusiasts. No one really knows what “The Last Jedi” is about, and I like that the trailer didn’t give much away. I just know that I will be there at the earliest possible screening I can attend, and that I will probably spend a lot of money re-watching this in the theaters. I can’t wait to see what director Rian Johnson brings to this galaxy far, far away in December.

Pitch Perfect 3 (Dec. 22)

Everyone’s favorite a cappella group is back for one last time. I loved the first two films in the series for their self-acknowledging sense of humor, clever writing and hilarious acting from the great cast. My worry with this movie is the same worry I have with all third films in a franchise: is this a blatant cash-grab riding off of the success of the first two or an actually good movie? If the trailer, which hinted at a final performance from the Bellas, is any indication, fans will probably love this one as much as the other two.