Star Wars: The Last Jedi leads film releases for December 15

Star Wars: The Last Jedi marks the last film featuring the late actress Carrie Fisher, who reprised her role as Princess, now General Leia, leader of the Resistance. Daisy Ridley returns as the saber-wielding heroine, Rey. In this installment of the franchise, Rey tracks down the now-reclusive Luke Skywalker, played once again by Mark Hamill, who has gone into retirement on a remote location which was teased in the saga’s last outing two years ago. Rey persuades a reluctant Luke to school her in the ways of the Force, and with it, the rites of passage of the Jedi warrior. Others in the cast include Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson, Billie Lourd, Andy Serkis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. The film is directed by Rian Johnson from his script. RottenTomatoes gives it a score of 93. The Last Jedi runs 2 hours 32 minutes and is rated PG-13.

Directed by Carlos Saldanha, Ferdinand is an animated comedy about a bull named Ferdinand who is taken from his home and must enlist a group of characters to help him return to his friends and family. The film stars Kate McKinnon, John Cena, Bobby Cannavale, and Jeremy Cisto, among others. The film is based on the book by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson. Screenplay credits include Robert L. Baird, Tim Federle, and Brad Copeland from a story by Ron Burch, David Kidd, and Don Rhymer. RottenTomatoes gives Ferdinand a score of 80. The film has a running time of 1 hour 46 minutes and is rated PG.

The Ballad of Lefty Brown is an old-fashioned Western about a less-than-heroic friend who becomes an unlikely hero. Lefty Brown, played by Bill Pullman, is called to action when his friend Eddie is killed, and Lefty vows to go in search of justice and the perpetrator of the crime. Set in and shot in Montana, the film is directed by Jared Moshe from his screenplay. Joining Pullman in the cast are Peter Fonda, Kathy Baker, Joseph Anderson, and Michael Spears, among others. RottenTomatoes gives the film a respectable 80. The Ballad of Lefty Brown runs 1 hour 51 minutes and is rated R.

The hybrid action-adventure-sci-fi-horror film Beyond Skyline follows the exploits of a detective who must free his son from captivity in an alien warship. The film is directed by Liam O’Donnell from his screenplay. The cast includes Frank Brillo, Bojana Novakovic, Iko Uwais, among others. RottenTomatoes score: 78. The film runs 1 hour 45 minutes and is rated R.

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children is an interesting mix of animated drama-horror. The film tells the story of three children who leave their home to go in search of a better way of life. The film is directed by Pedro Rivera and Alberto Vazquez from their screenplay. The film is voiced by Felix Arcarazo in the title role. 11 critics on RottenTomatoes have given this film a score of 100. Birdman: The Forgotten Children runs 1 hour 16 minutes and is unrated.

Permanent is a comedy about teen angst in a dysfunctional family with hair issues. The film stars Patricia Arquette and Rainn Wilson and is written and directed by Colette Burson. Rated PG-13, it has a running time of 1 hour 33 minutes.

Youth is a Chinese-language drama set in the 1970s and tells the story of young people caught up in the Cultural Revolution. The film is directed by Xiaogang Feng from a script by Geling Yan. The cast includes Xuan Huang, Miao Miao, and Caiu Yang, among others. Youth has a running time of 2 hours 16 minutes. Eight critics on RottenTomatoes have given it a score of 100.

The drama Killing for Love is the story of a sensational crime and trial set in Virginia in which a wealthy, socially-connected couple falls victim to a gruesome set of murders. Arrested for the killings was the couple’s daughter, Elizabeth, and her German boyfriend, Jen. A crime documentary, the film is directed by Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter from their script. 30 years after the crime and conviction, new evidence has turned up that calls into question the original verdict. The cast includes many of the people involved with the story as it played out around the crime, trial and conviction. This is considered the first media trial, a proceeding that involved what was then massive television coverage. Running time is 2 hours 10 minutes. Six critics on RottenTomatoes have given the film a rating of 100.

Miss Kiet’s Children is a foreign-language documentary about the children of immigrants arrived in a new land with a language they don’t comprehend and a teacher who takes them in hand. Directed by Peter Lataster and Petra Lataster-Czisch from her script. Running time is 1 hour 55 minutes. Ten critics on RottenTomatoes have scored it 100.

From director Sam Patton from a script by Matt Anderson and Michael Larson-Kangas, Desolation is a horror thriller about a hiker on the trail of a mother, her son and friend who have taken to a wilderness area to scatter a father’s ashes. It has a running time of 1 hour 18 minutes.

Sundowners is a comedy about two guys tasked with shooting video for a wedding but they encounter problems along the way. It runs 1 hour 38 minutes. Six critics on RottenTomatoes have given it a rating of 100.

An action-adventure fantasy, The Thousand Faces of Dunjia is a Chinese-language film that tells the tale of warriors with supernatural powers who fight the forces of evil. It has a running time of 1 hour 53 minutes. From director Woo Ping-yuen.

Spent is a dark comedy about a mother, her son and her husband lying on death’s door with a brain tumor. He’s in the hospital, and they’re having the times of their lives — until Dad’s health suddenly takes a turn for the better. This one is written and directed by Lisa Mikitarian.

Danger Boys: Punks in Osaka, directed by Nick Romi, is a 47 minute documentary set in Osaka, Japan. This film features live concert footage from an underground punk culture.

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