Chris Foran Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published 8:00 AM EST Nov 23, 2018
At the movies, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are a mix of blockbusters and Oscar heavyweights — and sometimes they’re the same thing.
There’re lots of familiar faces (Mary Poppins), big stars (Clint Eastwood, Jennifer Lopez, Will Ferrell), superheroes (Aquaman, Deadpool, Spider-Man), queens (“Mary, Queen of Scots”) and … Dick Cheney? (Yes, Dick Cheney. See “Vice” below.)
As many as half of the movies expecting to be nominated for Academy Awards in January will come to a theater near you in the next five weeks. (Mary Poppins and “Vice,” I’m looking at you.)
RELATED: 6 new movies for Thanksgiving weekend, including ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet,’ ‘Green Book’
But some other Oscar contenders might never get to Milwaukee movie theaters at all.
Like a major-league team looking to buy a pennant, Netflix has spent millions signing up some of the most creative and talented filmmakers in the world, and their work is catching up with us. Last year, the streaming service’s drama “Mudbound” earned four Academy Award nominations, including best supporting actress for Mary J. Blige.
This year, Netflix has a serious Oscar contender for best picture: Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” a semi-autobiographical, black-and-white drama set in 1970s Mexico that took home top honors at the Venice Film Festival. To get the rest of Hollywood to take it more seriously, the streaming service is showing “Roma” in a handful of theaters before it hits Netflix Dec. 14.
But, as of this writing, there’s no indication that one of those theaters will be in Milwaukee.
Here are the movies that are coming to Milwaukee movie theaters for the rest of 2018. As always, dates are subject to change.
“The Possession of Hannah Grace”: Horror movie about a new worker at the morgue who, processing on the body of a woman who died during an exorcism, discovers the devil’s still in there.
“Once Upon a Deadpool”: They took “Deadpool 2,” cut out some of the hard-R-rated stuff, and added some new goofy framing scenes with Ryan Reynolds and Fred Savage (see the trailer above), for a PG-13-rated edit of the movie.
“At Eternity’s Gate”: Appleton native and former Milwaukee experimental theater actor Willem Dafoe is getting awards-season buzz for his all-in portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in his final years, directed by artist-filmmaker Julian Schnabel.
“The Favourite”: The director behind “The Lobster” takes on Restoration England in this comedy about an aging queen and two younger women vying for control in her court. With Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone — all three of whom are getting awards-season attention for their performances.
“Mortal Engines”: Dystopian action-fantasy based on a young-adult book series about a giant city on wheels and the rebels out to stop it. Produced by Peter Jackson.
“The Mule”: Clint Eastwood directed in and stars in this based-on-a-true-story drama about an old man who, to save his house and family, becomes a mule in Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel. Bradley Cooper plays the federal agent out to bring him, and the cartel, down.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”: Animated Spidey story about webslingers from multiple universes joining forces to save all of them. With an A-list voice cast including Nicolas Cage, Mahershala Ali, Hailee Steinfeld.
“Vox Lux”: Natalie Portman is drawing comparisons from her Oscar-winning performance in “Black Swan” with this one, as a pop legend whose life takes a jarring turn.
“Wildlife”: A teenager finds himself caught between his overwhelmed mother (Carey Mulligan) and adrift father (Jake Gyllenhaal) in 1960s Montana. Acclaimed directorial debut of actor Paul Dano, who co-wrote the movie, adapted from Richard Ford’s novel, with actress Zoe Kazan.
“Mary Poppins Returns”: It’s the bright, shiny, 54-years-later sequel to the beloved children’s classic that you didn’t know you needed. With Emily Blunt as Ms. Poppins, Lin-Manuel Miranda as the new chimney sweep in her life and some heart-tugging cameos (including by one of the stars of the original).
“Aquaman”: That guy who talked to fish in “Justice League” gets his own movie, and worlds of his own to save. With Jason Momoa, Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard.
“Bumblebee”: In this “Transformers” tangent/origin story, the robot in disguise that looks like a yellow VW Beetle finds a friend in a young woman (Hailee Steinfeld) who can use one.
“Mary Queen of Scots”: Saoirse Ronan is the Scottish queen who takes on her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, played by Margot Robbie in this not-exactly-sisterhood tale.
“Second Act”: Jennifer Lopez plays a woman who, tired of being passed over for promotions, lands a swanky office job with help from an exaggerated résumé. With Milo Ventimiglia, Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens.
“Welcome to Marwen”: Steve Carell plays a man who, to cope with the aftermath of a brutal beating that cost him his memory, crafts a miniature World War II-era town populated with dolls inspired by the people in his life. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, drawn from an award-winning documentary, with a supporting cast including Janelle Monae, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger.
“Holmes & Watson”: Will Ferrell is Sherlock and John C. Reilly is his friend, the doctor, in this apparent mashup of the great detective and “Talladega Nights.”
“Vice”: “The Big Short” director Adam McKay continues his dark journey through recent American history with this story of the rise and rise of Dick Cheney, played by chameleon Christian Bale, who’s already getting serious Oscar buzz for turning into George W. Bush’s VP. With Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld and Sam Rockwell as Bush.
Coming soon (we hope)
These movies have three things in common: All are getting significant Academy Award season attention; they’ll be in lots of ads on TV and your social media feeds promoting them; and, as of this writing, they don’t have Milwaukee release dates yet.
- “Ben Is Back”: Lucas Hedges and Julia Roberts are both getting raves for their performances in this story of a mother trying to keep her still-in-rehab son safe.
- “If Beale Street Could Talk”: “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins’ followup is a lush telling of James Baldwin’s romantic story.
- “Destroyer”: Nicole Kidman is unrecognizable as a weathered cop who has to revisit her dark undercover past.
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