Oscar Favorite The Shape of Water and Jumanji lead Film Releases week of december 22

Call it a romantic musical wrapped in a fantasy. The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro, from his story and screenplay written with Vanessa Taylor, is all of that, and audiences familiar with the filmmaker’s work will recall del Toro’s penchant for melding genres as evidenced by his war-fantasy-drama, 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth.

Del Toro seems to relish placing his stories against the backdrop of epic historical proportions rife with conflict. Pan’s Labyrinth took place during the latter days of World War II and centers on a young girl, the stepdaughter of a heartless Army officer. She escapes into a rich fantasy world which erases the pain of her life in the real world.

This latest outing, like Pan’s Labyrinth, is heavy on the fantasy side in a story set in 1962 against the dangers and paranoia of the Cold War. The protagonist is a mute young woman, Elisa, a humble cleaning lady who works in a top secret government laboratory. There she comes across an amphibian man who looks for all the world like a combination of a human and a fish. Elisa and this creature become enchanted with each other — neither of them fits in with their surroundings — and a love story blossoms. Elisa navigates a hearing world she is not part of. The amphibian man is far removed from the ocean depths from which he came. Danger lurks just ahead of them, and Elisa is forced to take matters into her own hands in spite of the peril to herself.

The heroine of the story is played by the British actress Sally Hawkins, who was nominated for best-supporting actress opposite Cate Blanchett in the 2013 film, Blue Jasmine. According to the Fox Searchlight studio production notes, Hawkins threw herself into the role so thoroughly that she studied both dance and American Sign Language prior to the start of filming. It was Hawkins’ intention, as best she could, to become fluent in ASL to lend credibility to the role as well as to allow for changes in the script that might have come along.

Co-starring alongside Hawkins are Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon, Michael Stulbarg, Doug Jones, and Academy Award winner, Octavia Spencer.Critics overwhelmingly praise The Shape of Water. RottenTomatoes gives it a score of 97. The Shape of Water runs 2 hours 3 minutes and is rated R.
,/B.The Shape of Water featurette

BELOW: The Shape of Water press conference Toronto International Film Festival

This film actually opens December 20.
In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, four teens get more than they bargained for when they fool around with an old video game and find themselves catapulted into the action playng out in a jungle. Added to that, they wind up becoming adult avatars in the game. The action adventure comedy is directed by Jake Kasden with a script by Chris McKenna, Eric Summers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner from a story by McKenna. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillian star. Look for appearances by Bobby Cannavale and Nick Jonas. The film runs 1 hour 59 minutes and has a RottenTomatoes score of 83.

After winning the acapella world championships, the girls from Pitch Perfect (and Pitch Perfect 2) go their separate ways. But this time, in Pitch Perfect 3: Last Call Pitches, there’s another singing competition raring its musical head, and the girls decide to reunite for one more adventure — a contest sponsored by a USO tour. This outing, the competition is even more fierce. Can they win again? The film is directed by Trish Sie from a screenplay and story by Kay Cannon. The cast from the last film are back again: Anna Kendrick, Ruby Rose, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Alexis Knapp, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Camp, and Hana Mae Lee. John Lithgow joins in the fun, as well. Pitch Perfect 3 has a running time of 1 hour 33 minutes and is rated PG-13.

Inspired by circus impresario P.T. Barnum, the original musical, The Greatest Showman, tells the story of a man who started with nothing before rising to the highest of heights in show business. The film is directed by Michael Gracey from a script by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and a story by Bicks. Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Rebecca Ferguson star. The film has a running time of 1 hour 45 minutes and is rated PG.

After winning the acapella world championships, the girls from Pitch Perfect (and Pitch Perfect 2) go their separate ways. But this time, in Pitch Perfect 3: Last Call Pitches, there’s another singing competition raring its musical head, and the girls decide to reunite for one more adventure — a contest sponsored by a USO tour. This outing, the competition is even more fierce. Can they win again? The film is directed by Trish Sie from a screenplay and story by Kay Cannon. The cast from the last film are back again: Anna Kendrick, Ruby Rose, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Alexis Knapp, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Camp, and Hana Mae Lee. John Lithgow joins in the fun, as well. Pitch Perfect 3 has a running time of 1 hour 33 minutes and is rated PG-13.

Downsizing is a sci-fi comedy drama from director Alexander Payne from a script by Jim Taylor and Payne. The plot centers around a man who thinks the grass would be greener if he could shrink himself. The studio is calling it a “social satire.” Matt Damon stars along with Christoph Waltz, Hong Chao, and Kristen Wiig. RottenTomatoes gives it a score of 63. The film runs 2 hours 15 minutes.

Realizing that their mother has for years told them that their father died long ago, follows the antics of twin brothers who discover that she lied and that Dad is very much alive. So what would you expect the brothers to do? They go on a search to try to find him. The film is directed by Lawrence Sher from a screenplay by Justin Malen. Stars include Owen Wilson, J.K. Simmons, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close, Terry Bradshaw, and Ving Rhames. Father Figures has a running time of 1 hour 53 minutes and is rated R.

The Post chronicles the circumstances surrounding one of the biggest political scandals of the last half of the 20th Century which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. The events surrounding this period pitted the White House against the dogged determination of the Washington Post editorial staff to get at the truth regarding circumstances involving the war in Vietnam. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks star along with Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford and Matthew Rhys. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. RottenTomatoes gives The Post a score of 83. The film runs 1 hour 55 minutes and is rated PG.

Hostiles is a western drama set in 1892. A captain in the Army is tasked with ensuring safe passage for a Cheyenne chief and his family on a journey through treacherous territory. The film is directed by Scott Cooper from his screenplay and a manuscript by Donald E. Stewart. Stars include Scott Shepherd, Rosamond Pike, Ava Cooper and Christian Bale. RottenTomatoes gives Hostiles a score of 63. The film has a running time of 2 hours 13 minutes and is rated R.

Bright is a crime fantasy set in a world where humans exist side by side with mystical creatures know as Orcs. A human policeman must work with an Orc to a find a much-sought-after weapon so powerful it is worth killing for. Directed by David Ayer from a script by Max Landis, the film stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, and Noomi Rapace. The film has a running time of 1 hour 51 minutes.

Happy End is a French-language drama set in Calais about a family with a refugee crisis swirling around them. The film is from writer-director Michael Hanake and stars Isabelle Hupert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Mathieu Kassovitz. RottenTomatoes gives the film a score of 66. Happy End has a running time of 1 hour 47 minutes.

Crooked House is a mystery taken from the Agatha Christie novel about a detective tasked by his former paramour to find her grandfather’s killer before family secrets are uncovered by Scotland Yard. The film is directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner from a screenplay by Julian Fellowes, Tim Rose Price and Paquet-Brenner. Crooked House stars /i>Hendricks, Gillian Anderson and Glenn Close. The film has a running time of 1 hour 53 minutes and is rated PG-13.

Hangman is a crime mystery about a detective and a criminal profiler tracking a serial killer inspired by the old children’s game, Hangman. The film is directed by Johnny Martin from a screenplay by Michael Caissie, Charles Huttinger, and Phil Hawkins. Stars include Brittany Snow, Al Pacino, and Karl Urban. Hangman has a running time of 1 hour 38 minutes and is rated R.

Tiger Zinda Hai is an action adventure thriller from director Ali Abbas Zafar taken from a story by Neelesh Misra and Zafar and adapted for the screen by Zafar based on original characters by Aditya Chopra. Stars include Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. The film has a running time of 2 hours 25 minutes.

Jackie Chan stars in this action sci-fi thriller as a tough as nails special forces agent who must protect a young woman from a gang of criminals. Bleeding Steel is directed by Leo Zhang from a script by Siwei Cui, Erika Xia-Hue, and Zhang. Along with Chan, the film stars Calan Mulvey and Tess Haubrich.

A fantasy drama, Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds/i> is about a firefighter who dies suddenly and is escorted to the afterlife by three “guardians.” Firefighter Ja-Hong must pass a series of trials to prove that his life as a human was guilt-free. The film is directed by Yong-hwa Kim from a screenplay by by kim taken from the web-comic Ho-min Ju. The film stars Jung-woo Ha, Tae Hyun-Cha, and Ji-hun Ju. Along with the Gods has a running time of 2 hours 19 minutes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *