The New Year is practically here, and if you’re looking for a way to fill in some extra time off work, why not see a good movie or two? This week there is a plethora of big releases, most of which have already been released in select cities and are seeing additional expansions. Here are some notables to check out…
Ben Affleck’s new Prohibition-era gangster drama is now playing, but initial reviews and audience reactions have not been good. Personally I’m not a big Ben Affleck fan, but the rest of the supporting cast, including Elle Fanning and Brendan Gleason. That said, Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams both star in a new movie called Manchester by the Sea from writer/director Kenneth Lonergan, so maybe see that one instead.
The true story of a team of African-American mathematicians, all women by the way, who provided NASA with the data necessary to launch mankind into space, is definitely worth checking out. Oscar-winners Octavia Spencer and Kevin Kostner lead the cast in the film, which is bound to draw some Oscar nominations for the rest of the cast, and director Theodore Melfi.
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis lead the cast of a new drama called Fences, directed by Washington, himself. The film is based on a play by August Wilson, who adapted the script for the big screen about an African-American man dealing with fatherhood, race issues, and his own personal demons amid the Civil Rights era of the 1950s. Anything with Denzel Washington is usually worth giving some time to, and reviews have Fences lined up for several Oscar nominations, so check this one out if you get a chance.
This new film from director Stephan Gaghan places Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez as a desperate pair seeking to reclaim their fortunes by finding gold in late 1980s Indonesia. The movie is inspired by true events, and both actors are said to be at their best, with McConaughey still fresh off his hot-streak with films like Interstellar and Dallas Buyers Club and Ramirez returning for another holiday-season Oscar-potential after last year’s Joy with Jennifer Lawrence.
In addition to these selections, the independent film circuit also has a number of releases now playing in theaters. Among them is a new film called Paterson from writer/director Jim Jarmusch about a small-town bus driver (Adam Driver) who explores the trials and tribulations of life from the perspective of his personal notebook of poems. Also playing is a new drama starring 4x Oscar-nominee Annette Bening called 20th Century Women which follows several characters transgressing life and love in 1970s Southern California. Finally, director Maren Ade’s new drama Toni Erdmann is a Mrs. Doubtfire for the modern age, as it follows a father who creates a bizarre alter ego in order to spend more time with his work-obsessed daughter. Definitely strange, but worth checking out if showing in your area!