By Rick Davis
The beginning of December is traditionally a slow time of year for blockbuster movies.
November saw the success of Thor: Ragnarok and the sleeper hit Wonder. There were also the moderately successful A Bad Moms Christmas, Daddy’s Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express as well as a strong opening for Coco last weekend. And then there was Justice League, a movie that has grossed $483 million worldwide and could still be a financial disappointment due to its production and marketing costs. But now we must wait a few weeks until Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on Dec. 14 for the next headline-making blockbuster.
While theatres will bemoan the lack of product, this is a wonderful time for moviegoers as well the perfect time to do some easy shopping for the movie lover in your family. Because there are fewer people heading to the movies, it will be quicker than ever to pop into the theatre to buy that gift card. It is also a great time to catch up on movies with fewer line-ups and less than full theatres. There is a great selection of movies that have some great viewer scores like both Wonder and Coco each getting rare A+ CinemaScore (if you are not aware, CinemaScore is a company that polls audiences exiting movies). Thor got itself an A CinemaScore and Daddy’s Home 2 got an A- while Justice League got a B+.
And while the oddly titled Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri doesn’t have a CinemaScore yet, it has strong scores on Rotten Tomatoes with a 94 per cebt critic’s score and a 90 per cent audience score. This dark comedy-drama is from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, The Guard) and stars Academy Award-winner Frances McDormand (Fargo) as a distraught mother who is frustrated by the lack of progress in the investigation of the murder of her daughter.
In a bold move, she takes matters into her own hands and rents three billboards leading into town with a controversial message calling out the town’s revered chief of police (Woody Harrelson). The tension goes from bad to worse when another officer (Sam Rockwell), who lacks maturity and has a penchant for violence, gets involved and resorts to intimidation to get her to back down. Already having won the top prize at The Toronto International Film Festival, watch for Three Billboards to be a strong contender during the upcoming awards season.
Another movie to check out leading up to awards season is Lady Bird, which currently holds the title of the best-reviewed film on Rotten Tomatoes, with the record of most reviews while holding an approval rating of 100 per cent. It also has an Audience Score of 88 per cent. Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) plays the teenage daughter who is as wildly loving, opinionated and strong-willed as her mother (Laurie Metcalf) who works tirelessly as a nurse to keep her family afloat. Critics are heaping praise upon writer-director Greta Gerwig (Mistress America) for a coming of age story that delivers fresh insights about the turmoil of adolescence.
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