Hollywood’s hottest stars are out in force for a slew of holiday season flicks that will make for as many headlines as long lines at the multiplex

BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI

BIRD BOX
DECEMBER 21 (UNRATED)
Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson, who recently starred together in Ocean’s Eight, stretch their horror/ scifi acting chops in this white knuckle escape from unknown terrors a perilous journey fraught with disasters during which Bullock and her on screen children must remain blindfolded. Also starring BD Wong, John Malkovich, and Tom Hollander.

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VOX LUX
DECEMBER 7 (RATED R)
The latest Natalie Portman vehicle sounds like A Star is Born but with futuristic twists. Her character, Celeste, rises to stardom after singing at a memorial service following a terrorism tragedy, then falls from grace. Jude Law, an executive producer of the fi lm, also plays her manager over a story arc that spans 18 years. (Vox Lux is the title of her eventual “comeback” album.) Original songs by Grammy nominated artist Sia and Scott Walker are featured, along with co star Willem Defoe.

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VICE
DECEMBER 25 (RATED R)
Buzz started building months ago over Christian Bale’s portrayal of, and transformation into, Dick Cheney for this biographical drama. It traces Cheney’s transition from Halliburton CEO to George W. Bush’s Vice President. Bush is played to the hilt by Sam Rockwell. The cast also includes Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, and Tyler Perry as Colin Powell. Bale’s performance is said to have Oscar written all over it.

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ON THE BASIS OF SEX
DECEMBER 26 (RATED PG 13)
How did “RBG” (Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg) become notorious? Find out in this biographical drama of her early career and rise, from struggles to break into the legal world to her legendary romance with husband Marty, played by Armie Hammer. Along the way, she confronted and broke down gender discrimination, as well as prejudiced lawyers like the one played here by Sam Waterston. Felicity Jones takes the title role (which originally went to Natalie Portman). Supporting players include Kathy Bates and Justin Theroux.

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AQUAMAN
DECEMBER 21 (RATED PG 13)
Arthur Curry (Jason Mamoa) comes to accept he is the half human heir to the King of Atlantis in this action/adventure/ fantasy with a DC Comics Justice League connection, and a love interest in the form of Amber Heard. Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, and Randall Park strive to rise above some of the credulity stretching material and special effects (evocative of previous genre films). Director James Wan stated in interviews that his inspirations were derived from Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and Romancing the Stone (1984).

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SPIDER MAN: INTO THE SPIDER VERSE
DECEMBER 14 (UNRATED)
Sony Pictures Animation puts some diversity into the Marvel universe with different dimensions, as well as different Spider men acting in concert to set a somewhat convoluted set of circumstances straight. An older Spider Man (Nicolas Cage doing a G rated version of Deadpool) takes a young Brooklyn recruit under his web. Stellar voices behind the characters include Liev Schreiber, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, and John Mulaney in his first motion picture.

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MARY POPPINS RETURNS
DECEMBER 19 (RATED PG)
The mysterious Mary returns to Depression era London to visit Jane and her brother Michael (now a father of three), and helps them rediscover the joy they knew as children. Emily Blunt takes the title role.

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