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Winter movies bring an intriguing mix
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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We finish out the year with some heavy hitters that we previously mentioned in the fall preview, such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Cats and Little Women in December. J.J. Abrams has now hinted publicly that there may be some LGBT representation in the Star Wars franchise and we'll see if there is any truth to rumors that two female Resistance fighters kiss.

Another film breaking out into movie theaters on Dec. 20 is Bombshell, which stars Margot Robbie and Kate McKinnon, who are in a relationship together for the Fox scandal piece. Brigitte Lundy-Paine is also in the film in a supporting role and came out as queer and non-binary last year.

As for local theaters, Gene Siskel Film Center presents out Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar's new Pain and Glory and Law of Desire ( 1987 ), both with Antonio Banderas. Look for the 30th Annual Festival of Films from Iran in February and the 23rd Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival in March at the Center as well. The film Temblores, from Guatemala, about a gay protagonist dealing with his conservative family, shows at Siskel Film Center Dec. 27-Jan. 2.

Music Box Theatre will screen a 35mm print of Mike Nichols's 1995 comedy The Birdcage, his remake of La Cage Aux Folles, on Jan. 13.

Below are some other cinematic highlights with general release dates that are always subject to change:


—Like a Boss: ( Jan. 10 ) The beauty company Mel & Mia's has sunk itself into debt and asks for help from the rich Claire Luna cosmetic mogul to save the day. Unfortunately, Salma Hayek as Luna may cause more harm than good, but that's all part of the zany fun. Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne star in the comedy that adds the over the top Billy Porter into the mix.

—My Spy: ( Jan. 10 ) A nine-year-old named Sophie learns to be a spy in My Spy. Noah Danby and Devere Rogers play a gay couple in the action movie that tackles bullying with a buddy flick.

—The Gentlemen: ( Jan. 24 ) Mickey Pearson played by Matthew McConaughey creates a marijuana empire in London just in time for it to be legal in real life in Chicago. Look for more bros with Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant in The Gentlemen, directed by Madonna's ex-husband, Guy Ritchie.


—Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of the One Harley Quinn: ( Feb. 7 ) The longest title in the world is spun off from the successful 2016 film Suicide Squad with Margot Robbie playing the title role again. An all female superhero team sets out to protect a young girl from the Black Mask, played by Ewan McGregor.

—Fantasy Island: ( Feb. 14 ) Just in time for Valentine's Day, we have the first Fantasy Island movie based on the 1977 drama television series. Michael Pena takes on the iconic master of the island, Mr. Roarke, following up his other 1977 television show role as Ponch in the CHiPs movie.

—Emma: ( Feb. 21 ) A new version of the Jane Austen novel is adapted for the big screen with Emma. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the title character who some may recognize from the horror film, The Witch.


—A Quiet Place: Part II: ( March 20 ) The sequel to the horror film A Quiet Place sneaks its way into the cinema this March with Emily Blunt returning to a planet plagued by aliens. Please be quiet in the theater and don't buy any crunchy popcorn to snack on!

—Mulan: ( March 27 ) Another live action Disney movie battles its way into the big screen with Mulan. Liu Yifei stars in the drama based on the 1998 animated film of the same name. Christina Aguilera better be singing the theme song.

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