20 December, 2017
What makes a film right for the holidays? It has to appeal to the whole family and moviegoers of all ages.
This year, three high-budget films meet the requirements. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released widely last Friday. The political thriller, The Post, comes out this Friday. And the musical, The Greatest Showman, will be in theaters December 20th.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is the latest in the series about the fight of the Resistance against the First Order. And this installment is absorbing, even to those who do not follow Star Wars like a religion.
The visually powerful science fiction film includes massive sets and complex characters. And the story is unpredictable, although it does, of course, center on the battle of good against evil.
Actor Daisy Ridley again plays the part of Rey, a resistance member, who finds Luke Skywalker and uncovers the powers of the Jedi.
Actor Mark Hamill, who returns to the part of Luke Skywalker, praised the size and detail of the production.
"I've never been on a set that opulent in my life, plus 150 extras in exotic makeups and alien prosthetics."
This is the first Star Wars movie directed by Rian Johnson.
"I hope audiences come out of the theater wanting to run into their backyard, grab their Star Wars toys and start flying spaceships around. I hope it just feels like a great Star Wars movie, a fun Star Wars movie, that takes you back to being ten years old again."
"This is a devastating security breach that was leaked out of the Pentagon?"
...we turn to a real-life political story that shook America in the 1970s.
"If the government wins, the Washington Post will cease to exist. "
In The Post, director Steven Spielberg tells a story of bravery in journalism. In the 1970s, The Washington Post newspaper published parts of top-secret government documents. The documents described the war in Vietnam as a lost cause. They also showed that the US government lied about the extent of its involvement in the war.
Tom Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, the famed Washington Post editor.
"The way they lied, those days have to be over."
Meryl Streep plays Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham, one of very few of women in leadership positions at the time.
"If you publish, we'll be at the Supreme Court next week."
"We could all go to prison."
The Post is a highly entertaining, fast moving political drama that will appeal to fans of political thrillers. But it should also interest people who see a link between the 1970s American political environment and the current one.
"What will happen if we don't publish? We will lose. The country will lose!"
If you consider movie musicals as the beating heart of the holidays, you are in for a treat. This year, actor Hugh Jackman takes center stage as The Greatest Showman.
"Ladies and Gents this is the moment you've been waiting for!"
The Michael Gracey film is based on the life of P.T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, which he called "The Greatest Show on Earth."
Hugh Jackman plays the celebrated character as he rises to fame. He gathers people with unusual skills who live on the edges of society. Together, they create an extraordinary variety show.
Critics have not been able to review the film, yet. But, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated it for two Golden Globes: best musical or comedy and best actor. The music writers of last year's hit "La La Land" are also behind the songs in The Greatest Showman.
I'm Caty Weaver.
Penelope Poulou reported this story for VOA News. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
Words in This Story
thriller – n. a novel, movie, etc., that is very exciting : a story full of exciting action, mystery, adventure, or suspense
character – n. a person who appears in a story, book, play, movie, or television show
opulent – adj. very comfortable and costly
exotic – adj. very different, strange, or unusual
prosthetic – n. an artificial feature or piece of flexible material applied to a person's face or body to change their appearance temporarily
drama – n. a play, movie, television show, or radio show that is about a serious subject and is not meant to make the audience laugh
stage – n. a raised platform in a theater, auditorium, etc., where the performers stand
variety – adj. a type of entertainment that has many short performances (such as dances, skits, and songs) which follow one another and that are not related — usually used before another noun