The end of the year is a fantastic time for movies. In an effort to keep their contenders fresh on the minds of the Academy, most studios quite literally save the best for last. Award season hopefuls abound at the theater, which is great if you're looking for, say, a coming-of-age love story or a dramatic depiction of Winston Churchill's struggle against Nazi Germany.
But sometimes a person needs something a little bit lighter—especially during the holidays. The Christmas season is stressful enough so it's natural to want to unwind with a good-old-fashioned action flick.
And this season, there are several to fit your fancy.
The most anticipated—or, at least, the longest and most hyped—is the next Star Wars installment. The Last Jedi, the follow-up to The Force Awakens, is just as secretive as its predecessor, with most of its actual plot existing as rumors and hints until it hits theaters.
The movie will continue Daisy Ridley's reign over the genre—it will largely follow Rey as she joins Luke Skywalker to train, picking up right where TFA leaves off. Kylo Ren, a.k.a. moody Adam Driver, is also back and presumably as evil as ever (the latest trailer shows him blowing up his own mother's ship).
Perhaps most famously, at least to the Internet, is that the flick introduces a few new creatures to the Star Wars world. There are The Caretakers, which look kind of like if E.T. mated with a frog, and of course the Porgs, quite possibly the cutest creatures to grace the universe since the Ewoks. (Don't tell them we said that). Fans will have to wait until December 15 to find out the rest of the plot, but aren't Porgs enough to tide you over?
If navigating the realms of far outer space is too convoluted for your holiday plans, turn to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It's a modern-day remake of the 1995 Robin Williamsclassic—so modern that the eponymous enchanted board game is now an enchanted video game. Plus, you know, CGI.
This time around, when a group of mildly-delinquent teens slack off during detention, uncover the game and roll the dice turn on the joystick, they transform into their chosen game avatars, (which just so happen to look just like Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black) and tumble onto a very terrifying jungle landscape.
Just like the original, the characters stuck in the game have to deal with all sorts of natural threats: Killer elephants, rhinoceros stampedes, deadly cliff jumps and, somehow, what appears to be a group of snipers on motorcycles. Oh, and Nick Jonasis there too.
It doesn't retain any of the nostalgic charm of the original movie, but it's not trying to either: This is a movie for people fans of The Rock. Just remember: It's a game for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind. If that doesn't describe Christmas with your family we don't know what does.