holiday movies toronto

10 movies to see in theatres over the holidays in Toronto

It's the most wonderful time of the year to see movies in actual cinemas, as they were meant to be seen. Forget all your digital gadgetry, postage stamp sized screens, serial binging and pirate streams and reward the blessed gift of vision your mamma gave you with a trip to the multiplex to indulge in this year's crop of "must-see" movies.

Here are my picks for the top movies to see in theatres this holiday season.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
It's been 32 long years since Episode VI left us with the valedictory image of Ewoks power drumming on Storm Trooper helmets, and expectations are running higher than a dope fuelled Lando Calrissian booty call in Cloud City. Even if it's terrible (which it won't be, right?), there is zero chance it will plumb the same sewer ridden depths of the dreary blue-screen migraines known as Episodes I-III.

While fanboys and fangirls coddle their inner 10-year old selves with all that Star Wars malarkey, everyone else might want to check out this extended SNL skit starring the dynamic duo of television comedy gods Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, sure to be packing full metal snark.

Sylvester Stallone opts for a supporting turn in the latest installment of the Rocky series, focusing on Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo Creed who was killed off in Rocky IV by evil Soviet boxer Ivan Drago. Creed breathes new life into the almost 40 year old franchise and creates a modern hero in Michael B Jordan's Adonis as complex and mesmerizing as Stallone's Balboa was to audiences of the '70s.

The Hateful 8
The master of magpie moviemaking Quentin Tarantino returns with a butt-busting 3 hour-long Western ode to the 70mm roadshow epics of yesterday, starring his usual cadre of tough guys (Michael Madsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth) and the always gregarious Kurt Russell. It's The Thing meets Reservoir Dogs in the basement bar from Inglorious Basterds (which is great!).

William Shakespeare's "Scottish Play," which if one believes ancient superstition should never be mentioned by name, has been interpreted countless times by many talented people, but perhaps never with such immediacy or stylistic flair. This colourful adaptation goes for the throat, playing out more like an original Game of Thrones.

The Big Short
The economic wrecking ball of 2008 gets put through the cuss-filled meat grinder in this star studded soul brother to The Wolf of Wall Street. With the combined acting chops of Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, you better believe this is essential stuff, even if it was directed by Adam McKay, the guy who brought us Anchorman 2.

David O Russell's latest genre-defying Oscar bait pick'n'mix of comedy, pathos and drama features an encore of his yeoman acting troop - Robert DeNiro, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper - telling the story of Joy Mangano, the real life founder of Miracle Mop and its subsequent business empire.

If you missed this last month, it's worth checking out now before the inevitable Oscar-time bum rush to catch up on the best of 2015. Brian Cranston delivers the expected goods as blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, and the film zips along as an illuminating postcard from the era when Communist-phobic politicians ran roughshod over Hollywood.

Always Fresh Prince Will Smith looks set to disappear into the deadly serious role of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a real life academic who took on the NFL over the issue of head trauma. Featuring a slew of scenery chewing support players (Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, David Morse), this is another favored Oscar contender engineered for maximum Holiday consumption.

Point Break (2015)
A young buck FBI agent must infiltrate a gang of bank robbers, who happen to dabble in extreme sports. If your brain needs a rest, this big dumb remake of the 1991 stoner classic surfer heist flick might be just the ticket (and if you need a primer, the original starring the likes of Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Busey is easily found in $5 Bluray and DVD bins).

What did I miss? Please add your suggestions for new movies to see in the comments.

Lead image from The Hateful 8.

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