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WEEKEND WEB: What’s coming up at the cinema this month?

By Charlie Harman

While this month is undoubtedly going to be dominated by the eighth film in the most famous movie franchise of all-time, there are still one or two others worthy of your attention at Peterborough’s Showcase de Lux during the festive season . . .


Released: Next Thursday (December 14)

After the seventh movie in the most-famous movie franchise of all-time broke a whole host of records to become the biggest film ever Stateside – it’s no surprise the anticipation for Rian Johnson’s eighth helping is out of this world.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Rey (Daisy Ridley) takes her first steps into the Jedi world with her infamous mentor, Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker – shadowing what he did in original Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back (which is also coincidentally my favourite movie ever made) with Master Yoda.

This plots them on an adventure with Luke’s sister Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) – and of course Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), C3-PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2, BB-8 and co – as they unlock the mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past which leads them on a collision course with the Empire.

That, of course, includes Leia’s son Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), and an expanded role for Andy Serkis’ Supreme Leader Snoke, as this builds on the foundations that JJ Abrams laid last time out.

The early test screenings were supposedly extremely positive – and Disney execs have already tasked Johnson with devising a new Star Wars trilogy outside of this nine-part Skywalker saga which is a good sign – so there are high hopes that the force is strong with the Jedi this time round too . . .


Released: December 20

This blockbuster sequel (and tribute) to the beloved Robin Williams 22-year-old original throws Central Intelligence co-stars Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart into the game’s zany jungle setting, alongside Jack Black, Guardian of the Galaxy’s Karen Gillan and pop star Nick Jonas.

Set twenty years after the events of the first film, the infamous board game has evolved into a video game, and while cleaning out a school’s basement during detention, four teenagers find it and get sucked into the same adventure Alan Parrish did before – becoming the adult avatars they have chosen.

Now they must finish the game – which must be played without a break – or they’ll be stuck in it forever.


Released: Boxing Day

After shining in Les Miserables (which garnered him an Oscar nod) five years ago, Hugh Jackman headlines another musical – based on the true story of how PT Barnum started the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the early 1800s.

It chronicles showman Barnum (Jackman) and how the circus transformed the lives of its star acts, portrayed by the likes of Zac Efron (Bad Neighbours), Rebecca Ferguson (Life), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and multi-time Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain), who plays Barnum’s wife, Charity.

From first time director Michael Gracey – who has previously specialised in visual effects – this could just be the uplifting tonic required after those post-Christmas blues.


Released: December 20

After the box-office success of the first two entries there’s no surprise Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld and co are back for one (allegedly) final outing.

Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last tough singing competition assignment at an overseas tour – this time facing a group who combine both instruments and voices.


Released: December 16

The latest animation from Blue Sky Studios – the makers of Ice Age and The Peanuts Movie – sees big-hearted bull Ferdinand determined to be reunited with his family after being mistaken for a dangerous beast and torn from his homestead.

Former WWE champ John Cena (Trainwreck) is on voice duties as the title character, alongside Ghostbusters’ Kate McKinnon and ex-Doctor Who David Tennant.


Released: Tomorrow

James Franco’s first directorial effort – in which he stars alongside his brother Dave Franco – is also grabbing the limelight with some great early reviews.

It depicts the friendship of Tommy Wiseau (James) and Greg Sestero (Dave), the actors behind the 2003 film The Room, which was initially derided, and then became a surprising cult hit. Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Josh Hutcherson co-star.


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