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By Sonya Alexander

Six movies to catch during the holiday season

October is here and that means the beginning of the holiday season. It also means a bevy of high-caliber movies start coming out, including potential Oscar contenders. From thrillers to tearjerkers to comedies, this time of year has a little something for every moviegoer. Get your ice-cold soda and tub of popcorn ready. Here are six must-see flicks this season:
1. Girl on the Train – Adapted from Paula Hawkins’ New York Times #1 Fiction Bestseller, this mystery-psychological thriller stars Emily Blunt and Justin Theroux. Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help, Get On Up) and written by Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary), the story revolves around an alcoholic who enjoys looking through the windows of passing houses, particularly one couple’s, during her daily train ride. On one occasion, she witness something strange happen in the couple’s backyard and reports it to the police. In the meantime, the police are keeping their eyes on her. This was the author’s debut novel and the film promises to be quite a ride. It opens on Oct. 7.
2. Dr. Strange – Plucked from Marvel Comics and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Dr. Strange is the 14th installment in the Marvel movie universe. Written and directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose), the movie’s trailers look trippy, like a cross between Batman Begins and Inception. Derrickson co-wrote the screenplay with C. Robert Cargill. Considering Derrickson’s stellar record with horror films and his all-too-entertaining Twitter feed, the film should live up to its hype. It opens on Nov. 4 in 3D and IMAX 3D.
3. Arrival – It seems to be Amy Adams’ time to shine. The two-time Golden Globe Award winner heads up this movie about an elite team sent out to investigate strange alien spacecraft that have landed on Earth. Adams plays a linguist who’s supposed to translate the alien communications. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario), and also starring Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, the movie is already garnering the attention of critics. This looks like more than just a run-of-the-mill sci-fi flick, but rather a film that requires you to tighten your thinking cap. It heads to theaters on Nov. 11.
4. Nocturnal AnimalsNocturnal Animals is a psychological thriller about an art gallery owner who’s filled with unease because she thinks her ex-husband’s latest book release is a revenge tale aimed towards her. It stars holiday season darling Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon. The book that it’s based on, Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, was published in 1993 but didn’t get much critical attention until its 2010 UK publication. The film has a slick, Adrian Lyne-ish look and has already received a lot of critical acclaim, including nabbing the Grand Jury Prize at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. The film is written and directed by fashion designer Tom Ford (A Single Man) and is slated for release on Nov. 18.
5. La La Land – It’s a return to the musical with this lush and inviting film that’s reminiscent of old- school films like Singing in the Rain. The plot is simple enough, a jazz musician and up-and-coming actress meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, 10 Cloverfield Lane), the film’s cast is made up of a few of Hollywood’s best and brightest, with Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and J.K. Simmons in the lead roles. It comes out just in time for Christmas, on Dec. 9. This should be a breath of fresh air amongst all of the serious fare that will be out.
6. Fences – Adapted from August Wilson’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play, the drama stars consummate thespians Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Two-time Oscar winner Washington directs and co-wrote the script with Wilson. The story is set in the 1950s and focuses on how a former Negro Baseball League player must come to grips with his now difficult, less-than-ideal life. These two Oscar winners are sure to chew up the scenery, leaving us all reaching for our last tissue on Christmas day.
These honorable mentions are already out in theaters: The Magnificent Seven, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Snowden, and Sully.
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