December movie guide

Your monthly collection of cinematic selections


Although ABC’s Christmas movie marathon is fun and nostalgic, the holiday season offers a variety of new releases throughout the month of December.

From lighthearted, animated films to profound dramas, The Spectrum compiled a list of what to look out for.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Dec. 14

Sony is bringing its animation skills to the big screen again with “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse.” The story follows Miles Morales and his journey into becoming Spider-Man. Although it seems to fall outside of the traditional canon, the film depicts Peter Parker and countless other spider-men crossing the multiple universes. Parker goes on to take Morales under his wing and teach him everything he needs to know about fighting for justice. 

The film brought on big names as voice actors including Chris Pine, Zoë Kravitz and John Mulaney. Sony seemed to drop the ball with its reimagining of Venom, so hopefully it gets its act together with the backing of the star-studded cast. 

“Mary Poppins Returns”

Dec. 19

Disney is still pushing along on its reimagining of classics and the next in line just happens to be “Mary Poppins Returns.” 

The film differs from Disney’s usual shot-for-shot remakes by moving forward with a legitimate sequel. The film falters a bit with the casting. Emily Blunt is a strong actress with an impressive filmography, but following Julie Andrews’ performance is going to be difficult. Hopefully the film doesn’t include poor British accents from the different American actors. Aside from Blunt, the film also includes Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep and Dick Van Dyke.


Dec. 21

Cartoon Network’s animated “Justice League” series was pivotal in countless people’s childhoods. When DC announced its “Justice League” movie, fans were ecstatic. Then they saw it and comic book fans have not known peace since that day. 

This falls entirely on the poorly-thought-out dialogue, aesthetic and character design. “Aquaman” is laughable. The CGI is so poorly done, in a film that is entirely relient on CGI, that patrons are sure to lose respect for DC as a whole. For a character that is subpar at best, pushing the live-action agenda is clearly the wrong move for the company. 


Dec. 21

“Bumblebee” is a prequel to the blockbuster “Transformers” series. Although critics often pan the series, this prequel seems to be a fresh take on the story and characters. There seems to be a lot of continuity errors between the original series and the prequel, but it’s unlikely that the intended audience of children and frat guys will notice.

It’ll be interesting to see the transition for a male-dominated series to a female lead. The film stars Hailee Steinfeld in place of Shia Labeouf as the human lead. The tone seems to differ from the rest of the films, drawing on emotions and the vulnerability of the lead.

“Welcome to Marwen”

Dec. 21

Steve Carell is currently in a career transition from solely comedic films to more serious roles. He is following his role in “Beautiful Boy,” which looked into drug addiction with his leading role in “Welcome to Marwen.” The versatile actor plays Mark Hogancamp, who must overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after experiencing a hate crime. 

He copes with this by sculpting miniature figures and becomes enveloped in his hobby. The film switches between live action and animation with the clay figures. It should be profoundly emotional and appealing. 

“Holmes and Watson”

Dec. 25

The classic duo of Sherlock Holmes and Watson will be reimagined with the comedic duo of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. The two performed together in comedy favorites like “Talladega Nights” and “Step Brothers.” The film is sure to be full of slapstick humor, beloved by all frat guys and middle-aged dads. If you’re looking for an easy comedy to celebrate the holiday season and maybe get away from your family, this movie is sure to suffice.  

Samantha Vargas is the assistant arts editor and can be reached at samantha.vargas@ubspectrum.comand @SamVargasArts .


 Samantha Vargas is an English/ film studies double major with a minor in media study. She spends her free time finding shows around buffalo and hanging out with her cat.