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What to Watch in Theatres Before the New Year

Both October and November were solid months for theatregoers with anticipated films like Dune, Last Night in Soho and House of Gucci released successively.

With the biting frost of the colder months piercing through the dulcet autumn, December is poised to be no less of a thrilling month at the movies. Cinema screens will be graced with an array of films that range beyond saccharine holiday fare.

It would be remiss of any film fan to neglect the varied possibilities that theatres will have to offer before the onset of 2022. From independent psychodramas to action-oriented blockbusters, the upcoming month leads with a film selection suited to the assorted preferences of audience members.

While exciting, the barrage of movie theatre content can be overwhelming. Here’s a chronological list of 10 upcoming December releases to help narrow down your ticket choices:

Wolf (December 3)

From Italian director Nathalie Biancheri, this seemingly off-beat indie explores the unfamiliarity of species dysphoria. Centring on Jacob (George MacKay) who believes he is a wolf within the body of a man, a primitive world is discovered upon his admittance at a severe clinic populated with other animal-inhabiting individuals. Poised as an outlandish premise, the plot maintains its own beating heart as it questions the nature of humanity itself and unravels the development of a relationship between Jacob and long-time clinic dweller Wildcat (Lily-Rose Depp).

Being the Ricardos (December 10)

Appearing on the hit 1950s sitcom, I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were no strangers to the silver screen. Neither were rumours of personal scandal that sparked scrutinization of their political affiliations during the era of the Hollywood blacklist. Writer and director Aaron Sorkin chronicles a week in the production of the comedic show, delving into the trials of the marriage between Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Arnaz (Javier Bardem) amid their highly publicized lives. For those who cannot yet return to cinemas, Being the Ricardos will be available on Amazon Prime Video for streaming on Dec. 21 following its limited theatrical release.

Don’t Look Up (December 10)

Jennifer Lawrence marks her return to cinema alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Adam McKay’s star-studded comedy, Don’t Look Up. Satirizing the dissonance between politicians and the imminent climate crisis, the pair play astronomers Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence) and Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) on a frantic mission to alert humanity of a comet of mass destruction that is rapidly approaching Earth. Featuring an ensemble cast that depicts Meryl Streep as President of the United States, and including cameos from Ariana Grande, Cate Blanchett, Scott (Kid Cudi) Mescudi and Timothée Chalamet to name a few, the flick is destined to be a flamboyant watching experience, set for arrival on Netflix two weeks after its theatrical debut.

West Side Story (December 10)

Translating his adaptation of the 1957 musical to screens of the 21st century, Steven Spielberg exhibits the themes of cultural tension and forbidden romance integral to the original work. María (Rachel Zegler) and Tony (Ansel Elgort) are reborn in the tale of the unlikely couple’s budding relationship threatened by their differing alliances to rival gangs. As conflict between the Sharks and the Jets emerge within the New York City landscape, song and colour coalesce creating the nostalgia-inducing world of the beloved story.

Nightmare Alley (December 17)

Known for critically acclaimed, fantastical films like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro told Vanity Fair that he is forgoing the supernatural in favour of a more grounded world in his latest film. Based on the William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name, which was previously adapted to the screen in 1947, the film follows carnival conman Stanton Carlise (Bradley Cooper) who becomes embroiled in a precarious affair with Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), a psychiatrist with her own share of schemes.

Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17)

Spider-Man is back in the newest installment of the franchise – and, this time, it’s no secret. After the reveal of his identity in the previous film, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) seeks solace from his public persona through the magical powers of Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). But there is a price to pay when the multiverse is ruptured by the pair’s manipulation of the mystical. As he comes face to face with supervillains of Spider-Mans’ past, Parker is joined again by his enduring onscreen friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) as the Homecoming trilogy meets its end.

The Lost Daughter (December 17)

Author Elena Ferrante’s beachside psychological thriller sets the scene for writer and director Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first feature film. Amidst an Italian summer holiday, the troubled protagonist, Leda Caruso (Olivia Colman), encounters memories of her past as she develops an obsession with a seemingly overwhelmed, young mother, Nina (Dakota Johnson). The film will be available for streaming on Netflix starting Dec. 31.

The King’s Man (DecemBer 22)

Succeeding the two previous films in the Kingsman series, director Matthew Vaughn uncovers the origins of the international spy agency. The action-packed prequel follows the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) and his protégé, Conrad (Harris Dickinson), on their mission to disrupt the mass-destructive war plotted by a group of historical villains. Sword fighting, early 20th century estates and all, this origin story does not fail to preserve the humorous sensibilities of the former films.

The Matrix Resurrections (December 22)

Red pill or blue pill? Director Lana Wachowski leads the fourth installment of the prominent sci-fi series. After spending twenty years as an ordinary San Franciscan, Neo (Keanu Reeves) finds himself within the Matrix once again. Though as he reenters the reality-defying world, it seems that perhaps he was never that far removed from its complex web.

Licorice Pizza (December 25)

After playing in select theatres in the United States beginning Nov. 26, Paul Thomas Anderson’s ’70s nostalgia coming-of-age comedy is primed for an upcoming wide release. Among the hills of the San Fernando Valley, teenage actor Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) experiences his first love as he falls for an assistant photographer, Alana Kane (Alana Haim), in her mid-20s. As the unlikely friendship develops between the pair, the duo begin a waterbed business and encounter Hollywood figures of the past and present during their adventures.

With the variety of films releasing ahead of the new year, the is no absence of choice for cinema fans. Superstars, superheroes and all, which movies will you add to your watchlist this December?

A lover of many things, notably cinema and pop culture, Jodie Applewaithe is a third-year Journalism and Film Studies combined honours student at Carleton University. With her feet on earth and her head in the clouds, she has big dreams for her future which she's working towards by telling a diverse array of stories.
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