Thanksgiving Movie Roundup 2018

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Thanksgiving Movie Roundup 2018

Jack Julow, Writer

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Hollywood is truly thankful this year for the audiences and its epic box-office weekend with a record high weekend of $314 million. The biggest winner was Disney with its newest animated sequel Ralph Breaks The Internet, earning a five-day-total of $84.5 million, while Creed II snatched the $55.8 million second place spot on the box-office podium. As much as audiences may claim that they want an original story, they still manage to give studios big profits by attending their sequels and reboots. Now, there have been many films to come out in this time period, so I am going to give quick reviews for all of this year’s Thanksgiving offerings.

The first film I must talk about is Instant Family, starring Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, and newcomer Rosa Salazar. Instant Family offers unique family fun by looking at family through a different lens: adoption. Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne play a couple in a bit of a rut who decide to foster a teenage girl, Lizzy (Rosa Salazar), and her two younger siblings. Adoption is not an easy task for the couple in the heartfelt, honest dramedy that successfully balances humor and dramatic moments. Rosa Salazar plays Lizzy with much charisma and a dynamic screen presence by bringing dimension to a very complex character. In addition, the film features an all-star supporting cast with Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro, Margo Martindale, and Joan Cusack. Instant Family may not be exceptionally directed, but the feel-good film tells an orthodox story about the benefits and struggles of adoption that will leave you walking out happy.

Onto the next film, I highly recommend the Viola Davis starring film, Widows. Helmed by director Steve McQueen, the female-led heist film features Viola Davis and the other widows (Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki) being coerced into completing the job that late husbands died trying to do. Widows contains some of the best cinematography scenes in recent film with the help of a strong screenplay from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. I would go into how amazing the awards contender is, but I cannot spoil the surprises that make the film great. Viola Davis proves that she can act far better than many other contemporary actresses, demonstrating both power and nuance. Furthermore, Widows’ supporting cast bolsters the film with assists from Cynthia Ervio, Colin Farrel, Liam Neeson, Carrie Coon, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, and Robert Duvall. Seriously, go see Widows. It needs the box office.

The box-office turkey Ralph Breaks The Internet may be a bit undercooked, but who cares when it’s drowned in gravy with enough Disney cameos to make sure everyone gets something out of the movie? Unlike the superior first entry in the franchise, Ralph Breaks The Internet loses focus in order for Disney to flex and showcase all of their IP: Disney Princesses, Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar. I’m going to admit that I enjoyed about 90% of the cameos, and they weigh the film down while also holding it up. Ralph and Vanellope, the main characters, have an underdeveloped plot that could’ve been interesting with more focus and attention, yet the film goes on many tangents that are fun but will make viewers leave the theater a bit empty possibly; the sequel is very much “Cameo: the Movie.” Nevertheless, Ralph Breaks The Internet can still be considered a fun time as long as one ignores how truly messy the film is.

This Thanksgiving, people were able to return to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. However, the latest wizard movie lost its movie magic. I was ecstatic to see it and was most excited for Zoe Kravitz to play in the Wizarding World, but her character was sidelined by the majority of the characters. Rowling is a phenomenal novelist, but she may not be the best screenwriter, as her latest testament crumbles and bloats simultaneously. With such a phenomenal cast, Fantastic Beasts 2 lacks the script and focus to pull off the task to earn a definite recommendation. Nevertheless, it is a great popcorn film.

Lastly, Creed II came out during Thanksgiving weekend. The boxing sequel of the Rocky spinoff may not match the exceptionality of Coogler’s film, Creed, but it is an entertaining film to watch. Michael B. Jordan proves how great of an actor he is once again, while Sylvester Stallone plays Rocky Balboa with heart as the moral core of the film. Tessa Thompson simply stuns with a strong performance in a role that only works because of her. Creed II builds the series up with many developed characters that are often missing in other boxing films, which makes Creed II a worthy watch at your local theater.

All of these films are currently playing in theaters.

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