Family fun and Oscar bait. Our holiday/awards season picks



AiPT! talk about the upcoming movies they are looking forward to the most.

Which movie are you looking forward to most this holiday season?

William Pierce: The Mule. I really like Clint Eastwood’s 21st century performances. He’s become a staple actor of the noughties, and has shown a consistent ability to provide powerful pieces of film, all the way into his late eighties. The Mule sounds right up Eastwood’s alley in terms of setting, and I’m excited to see the final product.

Dave Brooke: Into the Spider-Verse is my most anticipated not only because I’m a Spider-Man nut, but also because I can’t wait to see this very different kind of animation on the screen. I’m sick of the standard CGI that is clean and sort of run of the mill. Don’t get me wrong, Pixar seems to always push the boundaries with something be it water, hair effects, or something else, but this films style is so different than anything we’ve seen it’s bound to win an Oscar.

Justin Cohen: The Mule. The trailer gave me chills, definitely one of the most gripping trailers I’ve seen in recent memory. With Clint Eastwood starring and directing, plus Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Peña in supporting roles, this looks to me like it has the potential to be one of the best films of the year.

Michael Rosch: Vice. Adam McKay blew me away with his groundbreaking, wildly inventive and fourth-wall-breaking The Big Short. And he’s bringing much of the same team — including some of the same actors — together again along with several other usually reliable stars like Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell. The Big Short proved McKay could take on seemingly dry political material and make it both accessible and fun. I can’t think of a better match of director and content than this.

Megan Wallen: I would like to see Bohemian Rhapsody, Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch, and Into The Spider-Verse.

Which movie is on your radar but has not quite won you over?

William: Into the Spider-Verse. It’s stunning animation almost sold me straight away, but I’m not the biggest fan of the Spider-Verse comics. The artwork is solid, I thought they were just a bit too unfocused, far from terrible though. I’m just hoping they can turn it into a film with going too far and over-simplifying the plot.

Dave: The Crimes of Grindenwald is something I’ll see, but I’m not at all clamoring to see it. The first prequel film was pretty good, but didn’t drive me to want more from this corner of the universe. The trailers for this film seem very dark and moody, but again, why do I need to see it?

Justin: Green Book. I don’t know too much about it yet plot wise, but the reviews are starting to come in and they’re pretty great. I love both Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, so I’m thinking I’ll go check this one out if I keep hearing good things.

Michael: I can’t believe I’m saying this but maybe Bumblebee. I grew up on the OG Transformers cartoons in the 80s and will always have a special place in my heart for the traumatizing 1986 animated movie that doubles as perhaps the most brazen Star Wars knockoff of all time, but I hated the Michael Bay films. But combine the director of the brilliant Kubo and the Two Strings with a seemingly much more stripped down, personal story starring Haylee Steinfeld along with a well-produced teaser that features possibly the franchise’s first ever coherent action scenes, and there’s some small chance this thing somehow turns out shockingly good. But it still hasn’t won me over.

Megan: Probably The Possession Of Hannah Grace and At Eternity’s Gate.

This time of year is also called “awards season.” Which movie has the best shot of being a movie of the year contender?

William: Widows. Steve McQueen + Gillain Flynn + 40 million dollars = Oscars contender. This movie has so many promising elements, and I think it’ll be a big hit with critics. Vice is a close second.

Dave: A Star is Born is a sure bet to win, but that already came out. Of the films due to come out I think Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice are sure bets. Vice because it’s Adam McKay’s second political try at a serious film mixed with clever ideas, and Rhapsody because people do love their biopics.

Justin: I think A Star is Born and Vice both have a good shot at being nominated for best picture. A Star is Born is a lock for a notation in my opinion between the reviews and the buzz it’s gotten. Vice will depend on reviews. I can see The Mule getting a nomination as well.

Michael: A Star is Born seems like the earliest obvious Best Picture contender. But Vice has potential, and Steve McQueen is always a director to watch come award season. I disagree on The Mule though. I think The Academy is done with Eastwood. While he was a reliable Oscar nominee in the past, he’s been off his game for awhile. And I doubt I’m the only one who still pictures him talking to that empty chair like a crazy person every time I see him or hear his name.

There are a lot of sequels, spin offs, and remakes coming out the next two months. Which are you most interested in?

William: Bumblebee. Not a Transformers fan, very far from it actually, but it has some intriguing elements. Travis Knight, who gave us Kubo and the Two Strings, is directing instead of Michael Bay. Maybe a fresh mind could bring something new into the series? From the trailer, it seems to put a bigger emphasis on humanity and human problems instead of robot problems, something the franchise should’ve tried to do all the way back in the second film. Bumblebee will be an interesting chapter in the series, no matter it’s critical success.

Dave: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, in part because it seems to be pushing into a new realm entirely for the property.

Justin: Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch. I’m a massive Grinch fan (especially the original animated version) and I can’t wait to see the story told in a full length animated movie on the big screen. I also agree completely with William on Bumblebee.

Michael: Creed II definitely. The last was arguably the best entry in the franchise since the original and, though Ryan Coogler is not returning to direct this one, I think this cast, with the right writing, can possibly pull off two in a row, especially with the irresistibly exciting matchup of Apollo Creed’s son battling Ivan Draco’s son.

Megan: I’m most interested in Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch and Into The Spider-Verse.

What will be the biggest surprise of the holiday movie season?

Dave: If the history of Robin Hood films is any indication this latest incarnation will likely fail, but I’m leaning towards it making a good amount of cash and possibly winning a technical achievement award. The trailers seem to suggest the studio dumped a lot of money into this one and I suspect it will surprise many as being a jolly good time. I mean, it has Jaime Fox, how can it lose?

William: I’ve been wondering if people have realized that Wreck it Ralph: Breaks the Internet is basically The Emoji Movie 2. As well as being a critical failure, I also think it will underperform at the box office compared to the first film. Just a hunch.

Justin: I’m going to go out on a limb and say Mortal Engines may surprisingly be good. It’s directed by Christian Rivers, who did the storyboards for all of Peter Jackson’s films since Braindead in 1992. Aka all of The Lord of the Rings films. This is one of his first time’s directing, but with a script co-written by Jackson, produced by Jackson, and starring Hugo Weaving, this one has potential.

Michael: Given how amazing the 2010 documentary Marwencol was, I wouldn’t be surprised if the fictionalized retelling of it, Welcome to Marwen, hits that heartwarming sweet spot this holiday season and raked in the cash. But it will also be something if, of all superheroes, Aquaman saves Warner Brothers’ floundering (with the exception of Wonder Woman) DC comics franchise. If it’s a success, smart money says James Gunn could keep the momentum going with a Suicide Squad sequel that vastly overshadowed the fairly mediocre first installment.