Most of my next column will be about the 2018 Golden Globe awards (Jan. 7). So this week, I’ll catch up with one film that already opened and two others that will be released early in January.

Benj Pasek

The Greatest Showman, a musical, opened on Dec. 20. It’s the story of P.T. Barnum, the famous 19th-century popular entertainment entrepreneur. Hugh Jackman plays Barnum. The film’s songs were written by the team of Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, 32. These U-M grads are on a hot streak: In February, they co-won an Oscar for best song and, in June, their Broadway show, Dear Evan Hansen, swept the Tony Award musical categories. Three Showman songs were released in October and one, “This is Me,” is turning into a big hit. It’s been nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Original Song.
Opening Friday, Jan. 5, is Hostiles, a Western. Christian Bale plays a legendary Army captain who reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to tribal lands. During the trip, they come across a young widow (Rosamund Pike) whose family was murdered. The chief and the captain come to realize they must work together during this journey of over a thousand miles — a journey made more harrowing by hostile Comanches and vicious outlaws.

Timothee Chalamet

Ben Foster, 37, and very hot actor Timothee Chalamet, 21, have big supporting roles. Chalamet has already won two of the biggest best actor of the year awards (from the New York and Los Angeles film critics’ associations) and is nominated for a lead actor Golden Globe. The awards and nomination are for his performance in Call Me by Your Name, which opens in Detroit on Jan. 12.
Every January, it seems, a new Insidious horror film is released. Insidious: The Last Key is the fourth installment in the series (opens Jan. 5). It stars Lin Shaye, 74, as Dr. Ellice Rainier, whom the film notes describe as a “brilliant parapsychologist.” Dr. Rainier has to confront her worst nightmare — the supernatural baddies are in her own home

Lin Shaye,.
Peter Morgan

The second season of the hit Netflix series The Crown began streaming on Nov. 29. Some criticized the first season for depicting King Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, as a rather benign figure. I heard that a second-season episode would confront Edward and Wallis’ extensive Nazi ties head on. I suspected that series creator and chief writer Peter Morgan, 54, whose German Jewish father fled the Nazis, wouldn’t let Edward off the hook. Well, he didn’t. Morgan wrote a brilliant script (episode 6) that artfully and dramatically made the devastating case against Edward and Wallis. It explained why the Royal family, including Queen Elizabeth, shunned Edward and Wallis until the couple died. You can watch just this episode without watching the whole series — it stands alone.

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