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Arts + Culture

10 Movies to See During Your Staycation

Who doesn't need an escape from the season’s gift-buying/party-hopping madness? These 10 December films will buy you at least 110 minutes away from it all. Trust us: your sanity will thank you later.

See recent posts by Siobhan Reid

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The Big Short

This December, Hollywood heartthrobs Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Steve Carell tackle the corrupt world of high finance in director Adam McKay’s The Big Short. Based on the bestselling book by Michael Lewis, the film documents the housing bubble of the mid-2000s through the eyes of four individuals who travel from Wall Street to Las Vegas to bet on its collapse. If McKay’s previous work (Anchorman, Stepbrothers) is any indication of film's tone, expect plenty of fun and irreverence along the way.

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The Hateful Eight

As talented a director Quentin Tarantino is, we just don’t see his latest feature film becoming an instant Christmas classic. Taking as its setting a post-Civil War Wyoming, the film tells the story of eight strangers (think: sheriffs, slaves and bounty hunters) who are forced to take shelter together following an epic winter snow storm. It's a 176 minute-long wild ride culminating in (what else?) a bloody, over-the-top shootout.

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Joy

Dream team J-Law, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro have paired up with director David O’Russell once again — this time in a decade-spanning comedy-drama about the life of entrepreneur Joy Mangano, inventor of the “Miracle Mop.” Brimming with virtuosic camerawork, stellar performances and dazzling costume designs redolent of O’Russell’s American Hustle, this may be the most exciting film you’ll see about a cleaning implement all year.

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Youth

Michael Keaton and Harvey Keitel play best friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps in Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews. Evocative in style and visual sensibility to the director’s breakout 2013 Academy Award-winning flick, The Great Beauty, critics are praising the film’s sumptuous cinematography and commanding supporting performances from Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda. (Personally, we can’t take our eyes off this luxury belle époque hotel that served as the film's setting.)

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45 Years

Hailed as “perceptive,” “measured,” and “quietly moving,” Andrew Haigh’s film tells the story of Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff (Tom Courtenay), a childless middle-class couple who, on the eve of their 45th anniversary party, receive devastating news that threatens to overturn their marriage. Awards buzz continues to mount for the film, which has already won Rampling a best actress award at the Berlin International Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It's the one we've all been waiting for. When you simply cannot take any more Christmas cheer, escape to a galaxy far, far away in the seventh installment of the Star Wars saga. After learning that the film was shot in the exotic locales of Iceland, Abu Dhabi and Ireland, we'll be the first in line for this blockbuster.

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Macbeth

This is Shakespeare like you’ve never seen it — savage, unflinching and utterly mesmerizing. Marion Cotillard’s Lady Macbeth soars opposite Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth in Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s dark and harrowing play, which was filmed in Scotland’s Isle of Skye and Northumberland’s Bamburgh Castle. Calling it one of her darkest and most difficult roles to date, French-born Cotillard is already being tipped for awards season glory.

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Sisters

Ring in the holiday season with the family you wish you had — funny girls Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. In their latest, the pair plays sisters who throw the house party to end all house parties after learning of their parents’ plans to sell their suburban family home. Directed by Bridesmaids' Jason Moore, consider this uproarious comedy an integral part of your Christmas party exit strategy.

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The Revenant

Remember Birdman? Last year’s Alejandro G. Innaritu flick that cleaned up at the Academy Awards and was so meta, your friends couldn’t even, like, deal? Well, Innaritu’s back, and this time with a film so ambitious it makes Birdman look like his paltry senior project. Set to release on Christmas day, The Revenant tells the true story of fur trapper Hugh Glass — played by a weathered and fierce-looking Leonardo DiCaprio — who gets mauled by a bear, betrayed by his companions and left to freeze to death in the Rocky Mountain wilderness. The film looks so epic it might finally win Leo his Oscar.

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