Mark Hamill makes  a triumphant return to active Star Wars duty.
Mark Hamill makes a triumphant return to active Star Wars duty.

What's on the big screen this week

THE early reception of the latest Star Wars saga is mostly positive.

Fans flocked to sold-out midnight screenings last night of The Last Jedi, Disney's second proper Star Wars instalment featuring Carrie Fisher's final movie performance.

Looper director Rian Johnson takes the galactic adventure to the next level as the forces of good and evil continue to battle for the future of the universe. 

Also out this week is the animated film Ferdinand, featuring WWE star John Cena as the voice of the film's big-hearted hero.

Here are this week's highlights of the big screen and why you should see them:

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (M)

Daisy Ridley in a scene from the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Daisy Ridley in a scene from the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Lucasfilm

Having taken her first steps into a larger world, Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.

Why you should see it: Director Rian Johnson delivers a fast-paced and entertaining galactic adventure that will satisfy casual cinema-goers and die-hard Star Wars fans alike. Read the review.

 

Ferdinand (G)

A scene from the movie Ferdinand.
A scene from the movie Ferdinand.

After Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure.

Why you should see it: The classic children's tale of a pacifist bull is given a charming makeover for a new generation. Read the review

 

Continuing

The Disaster Artist (M)

Dave Franco and James Franco in a scene from the movie The Disaster Artist.
Dave Franco and James Franco in a scene from the movie The Disaster Artist. Justina Mintz

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau's cult film The Room.

Why you should see it: This examination of a cinematic flop, directed by and starring James Franco, is surprisingly entertaining and empathetic. Not shying away from his character's quirks, Franco also manages to make him accessible for cinema-goers. Read the review.

 

Wonder Wheel (PG)

Kate Winslet in a scene from the movie Wonder Wheel.
Kate Winslet in a scene from the movie Wonder Wheel. Supplied

On Coney Island in the 1950s, a lifeguard tells the story of a middle-aged carousel operator and his beleaguered wife.

Why you should see it: While this certainly isn't Woody Allen's best film, it is the director's best effort in a while. Kate Winslet owns the screen, while Justin Timberlake contributes plenty of pep. Read the review.

 

The Man Who Invented Christmas (PG)

Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer in a scene from the movie The Man Who Invented Christmas.
Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer in a scene from the movie The Man Who Invented Christmas. Kerry Brown

In October 1843, Charles Dickens was suffering from the failure of his last three books and set out to self-publish a book and revive his career.

Why you should see it: This family-friendly affair adds a bit of holiday magic to the story behind A Christmas Carol. Christopher Plummer is a delight as Ebenezer Scrooge. Read the review.

 

Wonder (PG)

Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts in a scene from the movie Wonder.
Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts in a scene from the movie Wonder. Supplied

A young boy born with a facial deformity is destined to fit in at a new school, and to make everyone understand he's just another ordinary kid, and that beauty isn't skin deep.

Why you should see it: Jacob Tremblay is extraordinary as the shy, but resilient Auggie. This heart-warming tale will pull at your heartstrings but it's more uplifting than a tear-jerker.  Read the review.

 

Only the Brave (M)

Josh Brolin in a scene from the movie Only The Brave.
Josh Brolin in a scene from the movie Only The Brave. Richard Foreman

A drama based on the elite crew of firemen from Prescott, Arizona who battled a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona in June 2013 that claimed the lives of 19 of their members.

Why you should see it: This drama celebrates the lives of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew, slowing building up its main characters before finally depicting their terrible fate. You'll walk away from the cinema in awe of these everyday heroes. Read the review.

 

The Star (G)

A scene from the movie The Star.
A scene from the movie The Star. Supplied

Brave donkey Bo and his new stable animal friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told - the first Christmas.

Why you should see it: This animated film puts a new twist on the nativity story and boasts an all-star voice cast including Kristin Chenoweth and Keegan-Michael Key. Read the story.

 

Daddy's Home 2 (PG)

Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in a scene from the movie Daddy's Home 2.
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in a scene from the movie Daddy's Home 2. Claire Folger

Father and stepfather Dusty and Brad's newfound partnership is put to the test when Dusty's old-school, macho Dad and Brad's ultra-affectionate and emotional Dad arrive just in time to throw Christmas into complete chaos.

Why you should see it: Despite complete commitment by John Lithgow as Brad's dad, Will Ferrell's clown-like Brad steals the show. It seems he and Mark Wahlberg have finally found their winning comedy formula. Read the review.

 

Justice League (M)

The Justice League, from left, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa.
The Justice League, from left, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa. Warner Bros. Pictures

Fuelled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

Why you should see it: Building on the success of Wonder Woman, DC Comics' answer to Marvel's Avengers has a lot riding on it - including the upcoming Aquaman and Wonder Woman 2 films in an expanding cinematic universe. Read the review



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