Movies to see over winter break

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Jeff Turner
A&E EDITOR

Star Wars: Rogue One
This spin-off watches Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her crew as they plan to steal the Death Star. Already hyped and wildly anticipated, this film with a premise that most initially sneered at is poised to make waves at the box office.

Fences
Based on the play by August Wilson, this new directorial effort from Denzel Washington follows a father dealing with raising his family, struggling with race relations and coming to terms with the events in his life. “Fences” promises another strong dramatic role from Washington, which are among his strongest turns.

Office Christmas Party
“Office Christmas Party” is a raunchy comedy offering in a holiday season that will be bereft of that. It has a stacked cast, featuring Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”), Jennifer Aniston, TJ Miller (“Silicon Valley”), and Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”). The plot is largely a set-up for the jokes, featuring Miller throwing a big Christmas party for an important client in order to assuage his uptight sister, played by Aniston.

Manchester by the Sea
This family drama starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams follows Affleck’s Lee as he has custody of his nephew thrust upon him after the boy’s father dies. The film is a magnificent meditation on loss and Kenneth Lonergan is a fearless filmmaker, allowing his actors room to breathe. These performances capture so much with a simple gesture or a glance. It is the kind of film that filmmakers only gets to make once or twice in their lifetimes. It is one of the strongest reviewed films of the year, with a lot of strong Oscar buzz.

La La Land
This musical follow up to director Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” stars Ryan Gosling as a struggling LA jazz pianist who falls for a struggling actress (Emma Stone). The trailer promises addictive music, and genuine emotion. Early press has also been amicable, with the film being touted as a potential winner for the best picture Oscar.

Passengers
This new sci-fi film from director Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”) follows an expedition to a distant planet, and the ship malfunctions. James (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) are awakened from their sleeping chambers 90 years too early. The film promises to be a big box office draw, with attractive stars and a strange setting.

Assassin’s Creed
This video game adaptation follows Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) as he is bought into the custody of a shadowy organization. He is filled with the memories of his ancestor Aguilar, and discovers that he is a descendant of an ancient assassin’s society. The plots of the games were usually place-holders, but the previews promise plenty of great action and stunts, with Shakespeare veteran Justin Kurzel (“Macbeth”) behind the camera.

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