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Alternative movie picks for Christmas Eve in Ann Arbor

Credit: Pexels

ANN ARBOR – Just Thanksgiving, the Christmas holiday seems to have come out of nowhere. In just over a week we'll be ushering in a new year, and with it the hopes of being able to start fresh by beginning anew. Thank you all for reading, thank you all for supporting us and, most importantly, thank you for your feedback. You've made not only the holiday season, but the year in general, truly magical. 

We're big movie fans at A4, and while we're tempted to give you some classic holiday movie recommendations, we thought it might be fun to give you some alternative options, based on what is currently playing at both the Michigan and State Theatre

Christmas Eve at the Michigan

"The Shape of Water" - If you've never seen a Guillermo del Toro film, what are you waiting for? The film has been appearing on many critics' top 10 lists and was called "partly a code-scrambled fairy tale, partly a genetically modified monster movie, and altogether wonderful" by New York Times film critic A.O. Scott. Set in 1961, "The Shape of Water" tells the story of a mute custodian (Sally Hawkins) at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured amphibian creature (Doug Jones) and later falls in love with him. To say that the film offers an escape from the craziness of the holidays is putting it mildly. It is our strong recommendation that if you're looking for something "off the beaten path" when it comes to a movie to watch on Christmas Eve, "The Shape of Water" is perfect. 

"Darkest Hour" - Who doesn't love Gary Oldman? Seriously. The actor has had such a varied film career, we doubt anyone could say that there is not at least one performance of his that they genuinely love. From what we've read about "Darkest Hour," Oldman's performance as Winston Churchill is no exception. The film begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. About the film, Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips wrote, "'Darkest Hour' pulls from both extremes of Oldman’s prodigious but often unexploited skill set, the subtlety as well as the flamboyance." Consider us excited to have an excuse to once again see Oldman doing what he does best: disappearing into a role to the point where we believe he's actually the character he's portraying. 

Christmas Eve at the State

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri" - How do you feel about a dark comedy focused around a mother who purchases three billboards designed to shame the local police into solving her daughter's murder case? Sounds like a hoot, right? In this case, it actually is. Written, produced, and directed by Martin McDonagh, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri" stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage, and has been called "one of the best films of the year" from RogerEbert.com's Brian Tallerico

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" - We know that this one seems like an obvious pick, but how often can you see a movie that is this huge of a spectacle right in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, in a newly renovated theater no less? The film has been universally hailed by critics, while audiences have had more of a lukewarm reaction, but the film remains one of the most talked-about blockbusters in 2017, and the year is just about over. Any film that manages to pull off the types of conversations this one has is worth seeing at least once, maybe twice, depending on one's preference. ("Force Awakens" SPOILER ahead) Do you want to find out what happens after Rey hands Luke his lightsaber? We can guarantee you won't be able to predict it. If you need to escape, or simply want a break, taking a journey to a galaxy far, far away might just be the best excuse to go to the movies. 

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