Best bet opening this week
▪ “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – Unless you live in a galaxy far, far away you know that the second film in the new “Star Wars” trilogy opens this week to much fandom and anticipation. The story has been kept tighter than a Princess Leia hair bun, but we do know the film picks up right where “The Force Awakens” left off: With Rey (Daisy Ridley) meeting an exiled Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on an a remote island. We also know that Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) return, as does General Leia (the late Carrie Fisher) in her final “Star Wars” film. May the Force be with you, indeed.
Also new this week
▪ “Ferdinand” – The classic children’s book finally gets made into a movie, following a gentle bull with a big heart who is mistaken for a dangerous beast, captured and torn from his home when all he’d rather do is smell flowers than fight in bullfights. Wouldn’t we all?
▪ “Wonder Wheel” – Writer/director Woody Alen’s latest is set n Coney Island in the 1950s, where a lifeguard (Justin Timberlake) tells the story of a middle-aged carousel operator (Jim Belishi) and his beleaguered wife (Kate Winslet).
▪ “Miracle on 34th Street” – The Orpheum’s classics series presents this 70th anniversary screening. The film stars Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood and takes place between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City, and follows a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa. The film won three Academy Awards including best supporting actor (Edmund Gwenn) and was nominated for best picture. It will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, at the Orpheum, 200 N. Broadway. Tickets are $5, $4 for students, seniors and military. It’s rated PG.