Movie

5 movies to check out over Christmas weekend

You know, there’s something truly special about this weekend. Everyone coming together, appreciating family, spending time with one another. It’s just a magical time of the year. This weekend, as we approach Dec. 25, millions of families like mine will come together over a festive meal of Chinese food, and then go see a movie because that’s all there is to do.

OK, that’s the traditional Jewish Christmas experience, but regardless of religion, Christmas is an amazing time to appreciate the season, and spend time together at the movies. Studios load up with options, and I’m here to give you the rundown on what to see and who to see it with.

5. “Passengers”
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt
You should see this with: Cousins, siblings, and other Cool Young Folk

J-Law, Chris Pratt, space, explosions — while reviews for this film have hardly been out of this world, this outer space thriller could be the perfect cinematic experience for you and your family. Look at Hollywood, and you’ll see no two stars shining brighter than Pratt & Lawrence. Their charisma and energy alone makes this film worth seeing. The film, at the very least, can provoke some serious discussion about space travel and Pratt’s abs. People are likely to be buzzing about this movie for a while, so Christmas could be a great time to get in on the action.

4. “Fences”
Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis
You should see this with: Your parents, your grandma who just loves Denzel, your sophisticated middle school cousin who wears a fedora

There are very few actors who command the screen better, in my opinion, than Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Honestly, see this film for their powerhouse performances alone. Your parents will be nostalgic for this August Wilson play, while that sophisticated middle school cousin of yours will want to show off how much he knows about the “the-ah-ter” with his knowledge of the play. This has been Washington’s passion project, as he has been trying to make this movie for years and is directing it as well, so this will give your grandma even more street cred when she discusses how dreamy he is. Talented in front of and behind the camera? Check and check.

3. “Sing”
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon
You should see this with: Your younger cousins you don’t know what to do with so you see a movie, your grandparents who are still very much amused by talking animals, your friends

After “Zootopia” and “The Secret Life of Pets,” you’d think America would be sick of talking animals. Well, you’re right, because we’ve evolved into singing animals. In this odd combination of “American Idol” and “Zootopia,” “Sing” combines the animation trend with the sensation that has swept television for the last decade or so. While this film might not be necessarily the most complex motion picture ever produced, it certainly will be a ton of fun, and everyone who goes will likely have a good time. There’ll be laughs, there’ll be songs, and I’d be willing to bet there’ll be a cute animal who everyone will quote on the ride home.

2. “Star Wars: Rogue One”
Starring: Felicity Jones, Forrest Whitaker, Alan Tudyk’s voice
You should see this with: Anyone above the age of 12 and below the age of 60

OK, let’s face it — you probably already saw this last week, but see it again. When all’s said and done, this film will likely be the one we all remember from this holiday season, as even a “Star Wars” spinoff has the ability to stop the world in its tracks. This film is absolutely thrilling, and nothing brings a family together like geeking out over space opera mythology.

1. “La La Land”
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
You should see this with: Anyone with a pulse

Cementing itself as an early frontrunner for best picture, “La La Land” is the film to see this Christmas weekend. Now, this choice is slightly off the beaten path, and you may have to search to find it, but you will get the ultimate satisfaction of seeing this film before the whole nation is clamoring to see it. This is an old-fashioned love story musical, and while there might be some mature themes and moments, really anyone can see it. So gather together your whole family, and go to the theater and see this film that really celebrates the magic of movies.

Erik Benjamin is a sophomore television, radio and film major. You can email him at ebenjami@syr.edu or follow him @embenjamin14 on Twitter.

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