Summertime is blockbuster season, but it’s the winter that is especially kind to moviegoers, thanks in part to an annual flood of prestige releases timed to strike the fancy of Oscar voters. Of course, the big-budget tentpole titles — including a big one that rhymes with “Car Bores” — will also be occupying more than their fair share of screens this holiday season.
Depending on the extent of whatever holiday vacation you may be taking, you might have a lot of time on your hands, time that would be well spent at a movie theater. Just make sure you spend that time wisely. Here are five films we recommend for the holidays.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Now Showing)
Showing at every theater near you
Why: It’s Star Wars. If you’re on board, you’re on board. If you’re not, you’re not. You don’t need me to convince you to see it or not see it. Maybe you need some help deciding where to see it, though — IMAX vs 3D, party or no party, drinks or no drinks, and so on.
The Hateful Eight (Dec. 25)
NorthPark AMC, Cinemark West Plano, and AMC The Parks at Arlington 18
Why: North Texas is lucky enough to have three theaters that will be showing Quentin Tarantino’s snowbound, cabin-fevered Western in 70 mm — Only about 100 theaters in the country will have the right projectors. The “roadshow” experience includes an intermission, which many might find a relief for a three-hour film. Reviews have been positive so far, assuming you are a fan of Tarantino’s usual tics and trademarks. The film goes into wide release and will be screened in digital starting Dec. 31. Get tickets here.
Spotlight (Now Showing)
Angelika Film Center
Why: It’s a tremendous movie about an important subject: The need for objective journalism. The film, which follows the true-life story of the Boston Globe’s investigation into the sex abuse scandal and subsequent cover-up in the Catholic Church, features an excellent ensemble cast including Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton. The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association singled it out as the best film of 2015.
Creed (Now Showing)
In Wide Release
Why: It’s the kind of inspirational, heart-warming, triumph-over-adversity story that’s tailor-made for the holidays, as Rocky Balboa passes the torch to the son of Apollo Creed.
Concussion (Dec. 25)
In Wide Release
Why: Because if anyone can make you feel guilty about enjoying a sport that results in brain damage for a significant number of its players, it’s national treasure Will Smith.