Matthew Kim, Entertainment Editor
It’s the new year of 2018, everyone! And what better way to kickstart the year than to sit back and watch some hot new movies. Since December of 2017, many entertaining movies have been released in theaters and have blown viewers away! As a personal media enthusiast, I am utmost proud of the movies that have been recently released and can’t wait for the upcoming movies that will release in 2018! But, those movies will be for another article. However, we still have exceptional movies out in theaters currently and available digitally that I can recommend for you. Here are a few movies that I personally would recommend you to watch to start off your year and have also provided some not-as-well-known facts about each movie, from its production, its filming, its cast members, and more!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Released: December 15, 2017
Description: Despite having found complete solitude and tranquility on an island, Luke Skywalker has been found by hopeful Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. She desires Luke’s help to stop the First Order, forcing Luke to make a decision that can change their lives. On the other side, Kylo Ren and General Hux have already started the First Order’s assault to dominate the galaxy against the remaining Resistance members. Time is running out and they need as much help as they can get.
Did you know: Scriptwriter Rian Johnson says that three movies inspired him when writing the script for this movie: Twelve O’clock High, Three Outlaw Samurai, and To Catch a Thief. Those movies inspired the aerial combat, sword-fighting and romantic aspects of the movie. Also, stars Tom Hardy, Gary Barlow, Prince William and Harry made cameos for Stormtroopers in the movie; however, their scenes were cut during the editing process.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Released: December 20, 2017
Description: High school students Spencer, Fridge, Bethany, and Martha discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of, Jumanji. Suddenly, they get drawn into the game itself and transform into the avatars they chose: a brawny adventurer, an Einstein, a middle-aged professor and a warrior. And they find out that this isn’t casual play … this is survival. Beat the game and return to the real world, that is their new reality. The students in their new bodies will have to go on the most dangerous adventures and discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago. It’s either they change and adapt to their new environment or they’re stuck in the game forever.
Did you know: The film’s African setting was actually shot in Hawaii whereas the film’s first set is in the same city as the first Jumanji film (Brantford, New Hampshire). Tom Holland was originally cast for Seaplane McDonough but had to decline later on because he was busy with Spider-Man: Homecoming. With the main four cast members chosen, they were asked if they would be able to sing a part of Welcome to the Jungle, in which all members accepted. Jack Black sang lead vocals (also performing Axl Rose’s iconic scream) and Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart were secondary singers.
Description: Michael, an insurance salesman, is taking his daily commute back home when his trip becomes anything but routine. He’s contacted by a mysterious stranger who unwittingly recruits Michael into a murder conspiracy, forcing him to race against time to find an unidentified passenger under the alias “Prynne”. Michael has to find “Prynne” before the last stop because the conspiracy carries life and death stakes for both himself and the passengers on board.
Did you know: This is the second film ever to co-star Liam Neeson and Colin McFarlane. The first movie was Batman Begins in 2005 and coincidentally, both films feature scenes where Neeson boards a commuter train that later derails. On the topic of commuter train incidents, this is also the second film to feature star Vera Farmiga and an incident on a commuter train. The first movie was Source Code from 2011.
Released: January 12, 2018
Description: Our favorite talking bear Paddington has settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens. He quickly becomes a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. Skip to the present and Paddington is found searching for the perfect present to give to Aunt Lucy on her 100th birthday. He spots a unique pop-up book from Mr. Gruber’s antique shop and goes through many odd jobs to earn the money to pay for it, only to find that it was stolen after. Now it is up to Paddington and the Browns to find the book thief and return it to its rightful owner.
Fun Facts: The original creator of Paddington Bear passed away six months before the release of the film at the age of 91, right on the day before the last scene was filmed for Paddington 2. He released his last book in April 2017 and has sold more than 35 million copies throughout his entire writing career. However, he was able to see plans for a possible third film in the series as of June 2016, several months before the second movie started filming. On another note, Paul King dropped out of directing the film Wonder (2017) in favor of helping out with Paddington 2 instead: making him former director of Wonder.
These movies have done incredibly well at the box office and will continue to be alluring to a large population of movie lovers. It’s going to be interesting to see how 2018 movies will top their predecessors. Stay tuned!