As the days get shorter, and the space between now and the Christmas holidays along with them, the prospect of the cold ahead means that now is the perfect time to start anticipating what movies to hunker down with during the holiday season.
While big blockbusters like Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi loom large on the horizon, those of us looking for great indie movies to watch during the holiday season will not be disappointed by this year's selection, including already critically acclaimed entries by Michael Haneke, Guillermo del Toro, and Paul Thomas Anderson. Check 'em all out below:
1. 'Wonder Wheel'
Indie darling director Woody Allen is back with what looks to be an upturn in his otherwise lacking series of movies of late. Featuring a killer cast of Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Jim Belushi, and Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel takes place at a Coney Island amusement park in the 1950s where Ginny (Winslet), her husband Humpty (Belushi), and Mickey (Timberlake) all work. When Humpty's estranged daughter Carolina (Temple) shows up, hiding from gangsters who want her dead, things get gnarled fast and they all have to band together while dealing with high emotions and very real danger.
2. 'The Disaster Artist'
Starring James and Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, and many more big names, The Disaster Artist tells the story of how the cult classic The Room came to be made. In a nutshell, the movie was so unbelievably terrible that since its debut in 2003 it has gone on to gain quite the cult following, not least because of the wacky antics of its baffling writer/director/actor Tommy Wiseau (portrayed by James Franco).
Great reviews for the movie are already pouring in, and James Franco's performance has received particular praise. Don't miss it or it might tear you apart!
3. 'The Shape Of Water'
The acclaimed director of Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone is back with another stunner, if the early reviews are anything to go by. Once again combining fantasy elements with historical surroundings, The Shape of Water depicts the discovery of a creature by a lonely scientist in a laboratory during the Cold War.
Given early reviews and del Toro's known penchant for telling heartbreakingly beautiful stories that manage to maintain both an air of mystery and innocence, The Shape of Water should by high on your Christmas must-watch list.
4. 'Happy End'
Notorious French director Michael Haneke is back with another deceptively titled film. Funny Games? Amour? Please, monsieur, don't fool us again!
As you might have guessed, Happy End will be a far cry from it, depicting a middle-class family drama in Calais, France, set alongside the refugee crisis unfolding in the town. If you like Haneke, you already know what you're getting into. If you've never seen anything by Haneke, this Christmas is the perfect period to have not only enough time to watch Happy End, but to process and emotionally recover from it too!
5. 'The Phantom Thread'
As you might have heard, acclaimed method actor Daniel Day-Lewis is retiring from the screen, making The Phantom Thread his last project. Once again working with There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson, Day-Lewis will portray Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned dressmaker who falls in love with Alma (Vicky Krieps), a strong-willed young woman, set against the backdrop of the fashion world in the 1950s.
Having seen There Will Be Blood, plus any of PTA's other works, plus Daniel Day-Lewis (who is possibly the greatest actor alive), I'd say that there's more than enough reason to feast your eyes on what is sure to be one of the top movies of the year.