It’s a big holiday weekend, folks. Hanukkah and Christmas will bring together a lot of families over the weekend and Kwanzaa begins on Monday (if you’re an ancient Roman, you’ll be recovering from Saturnalia, as well). Those of us here at Halfstack wish you a wonderful, relaxing, safe, and simply great holiday weekend. If your holiday traditions involve a communal trip to the movies, you’re covered, with five wide releases to choose from. Let’s see what’s in store for you.
|Photo credit: Assassin's Creed Movie/Facebook|
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writers: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons
Based on the popular video game series, the cinematic version of Assassin’s Creed changes things up a little bit by creating a framing device in which a modern-day man (Michael Fassbender) is saved from being executed for a crime so a shadowy organization can use some science fiction gizmos to send his consciousness back in time, into the body of one of his long-dead ancestors (who happened to wear a nifty-looking hood and killed people). This means you get to see Michael Fassbender jump across (and off) roofs, accompanied by another of the world’s best actors, Marion Cotillard. It looks like it could run the gamut from “mindless” to “mindless fun.” If you’re stuffed from holiday food and a couple drinks, it probably won’t matter.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Jon Spaihts
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt play a pair of people in the far future who awake from cryogenic sleep aboard a spaceship, decades before they are supposed to. They must find a way out of this predicament, to live with each other, and apparently to make kissy faces at one another. They also swim inside of cool bubble-looking orbs. That looks cool. Director Morten Tyldum did 2014’s The Imitation Game, which was, well, fine. I’m not sure how that prepared him for a sci-fi epic romance, but we’ll just have to see!
Director: Denzel Washington
Writer: August Wilson
Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo
Denzel Washington directs his first movie in almost a decade with an adaptation of August Wilson’s family drama (Wilson wrote the screenplay, too). Washington and his wife, played by Viola Davis, are soon-to-be empty nesters with their son (Jovan Adepo) off to college on a football scholarship. The trailer hints at some major familial issues and plenty of hard-hitting stuff about respect and love and sacrifice. It might be a difficult one to watch if you’re in a jovial mood, but it looks like it’s worth it.
Directors: Christophe Lourdelet, Garth Jennings
Writer: Garth Jennings
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane
For those of you with younger kids, this is almost certainly the choice for you. A group of musically-inclined urban animals with human voices compete on a reality show for a televised concert. It looks like they overcome stage fright, learn to love themselves, etc. It appears that this is a jukebox musical (only real-life pop songs rather than songs written for the movie), which is a bummer. I personally would love to hear more songs about elephants.
Director: John Hamburg
Writers: John Hamburg, Ian Helfer, Jonah Hill
Starring: Zoey Deutch, James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Megan Mullally
If you’ve ever dealt with your significant other’s disapproving family, perhaps Why Him? will help you understand their qualms. In the movie, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) star as the parents of Everybody Wants Some!!’s Zoey Deutch, who is dating world-renowned weird person James Franco, who wishes to get their approval before he proposes to their daughter. Franco’s character is a rich Silicon Valley type who has an enormous estate somewhere sunny and fancy, so he invites the whole family for a weekend of fun and maybe publicity, too. Hijinks ensue as the family patriarch won’t approve of the goofy man who wants to become his son-in-law.