*Photo Credit: © 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, so now we are staring into the heart of winter. Unfortunately, like the weather of the season, this winter’s release schedule seems pretty barren and lifeless. But don’t fret: there are still some must-see films coming out this winter, so get a nice warm tub of popcorn and cozy up in the theaters as you weather the cold.

The Disaster Artist

Release Date: December 8th

© 2015 Warner Bros. Pictures

Anybody who’s ever seen The Room (2003) will tell you that it’s…well, it’s certainly something. Widely believed to be the worst movie ever made, Tommy Wiseau’s passion project has become a cult “classic” and draws crowds of the cinematic faithful to showings across the country, a la “Rocky Horror.”

Featuring James Franco as the enigmatic Tommy, The Disaster Artist is based on the making of The Room, as remembered by actor Greg Sestero (to be played by Dave Franco). In addition to playing the “starring” role, James Franco is also the director, whose creative vision is hopefully better than that of his subject matter.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Release Date: December 15th

© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd.

As the most anticipated movie release this winter, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is primed for box office success amid an otherwise unimpressive crowd. It’s likely that the presence of a Star Wars release on the docket has cleared out the December calendar, as there are few other high-budget films coming out. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Adam Driver all return, and Mark Hamill will be featured heavily as he reprises his role of Luke Skywalker. For die-hard fans of the franchise, The Last Jedi appears to be everything one could ask for, but given the mixed reception of The Force Awakens, it will be interesting to see how Director Rian Johnson makes his impact on the Star Wars franchise.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Release Date: December 20th

© 2016 CTMG

A fresh take on an old Robin Williams family comedy, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the latest action comedy to combine the talents of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and comedian Kevin Hart. As teenagers trapped inside a video game called “Jumanji,” Hart and The Rock must learn to master their characters’ skills if they hope to escape. With co-stars like Karen Gillan and the incomparable Jack Black, expect The Rock to bounce back from this past summer’s box-office nosedive Baywatch.

Untitled Cloverfield Movie

Release Date: February 2nd (?)

© 2008 Paramount Pictures

This secretive film looks to be among the most interesting of the season. Tentatively titled “God Particle,” not much is known about the film, which is unsurprising for the Cloverfield franchise. Elizabeth Debicki and Daniel Brühl are set to star under the direction of Julius Onah, a relative unknown who has only directed one other feature film. However, if this film is anything like 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), itself a directorial debut for Dan Trachtenberg, then audiences should expect a tantalizingly unique thriller that will be worth the secrecy.

Black Panther

Release Date: February 16th

© 2017 Marvel Studios

The next blockbuster Marvel film on the slate, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as the titular hero and newly-crowned king of Wakanda, a reclusive kingdom in Africa. However, when his power is challenged by enemies both inside and outside of the kingdom, he must don the mantle of “Black Panther” in order to defend his people. Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira (of Walking Dead fame) are among the star-studded cast, which also includes Get Out award-winner Daniel Kaluuya. Martin Freeman also reprises his role as CIA agent Everett Ross, whose minor appearance in Captain America: Civil War (2016) hinted at a much more important position for Freeman in the MCU.

Given the popularity of Black Panther after his appearance in Civil War, this film will likely be the first box-office smash of 2018. Director Ryan Coogler has worked with Michael B. Jordan twice already in Fruitvale Station (2013) and Creed (2015), so hopefully the chemistry between the two will help produce another success for Coogler and Marvel Studios.

Derek Wagner is a student at the University of Pittsburgh and is majoring in Statistics (Class of 2020). Derek hails from Eldersburg, Maryland, but his true allegiance lies with the city of Buffalo and their hapless Bills. While the field of statistics is his ideal vocation, Derek hopes to stay involved in politics and continue to promote conservative thought in American culture. Derek can be seen on episodes of The Unsafe Place Podcast, Spotlight, and the Locker Room. He also manages a blog on the site called Wagner’s Watchlist.

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