10 movies you must see this holiday season, from 'Fantastic Beasts' to 'Mary Poppins'

Brian Truitt USA TODAY Published 11:40 AM EDT Oct 24, 2018 For the first time in years, Santa isn’t bringing a “Star Wars” film to good little girls and boys this Christmas.

That’s all right, since this Discount Holidays © holiday movie season is a packed house with a wild-man superhero who hangs with fish, an adorable Autobot, a couple of Spider-Men, some magical folks and even Dick Cheney.

Prepare for a bunch of big franchise movies to gorge on after your Thanksgiving turkey. Don’t worry, though: The slate is stuffed with awards-ready fare, too, as studios try to get films out before the New Year for Oscar consideration. Here are 10 films, from the return of the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious nanny to a Viola Davis heist flick, that you’re absolutely going to want to see in the next two months.

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Dr.

Seuss’ The Grinch’ (Nov.

9)

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Angela Lansbury Directors: Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier The skinny: The latest take on Seuss’ classic 1957 Discount Holidays © holiday tale presents a Grinch (voiced by Cumberbatch) who’s quite the talented inventor as he schemes with his dog Max to ruin festivities for the town of Whoville.

The cynical grouch puts “his whole heart” into the mission, Mosier says. “Watching him steal Christmas is just one of the most fun and visually exciting parts of the movie.” The animated film also digs into why the Grinch hates Christmas so much and how his anti-Discount Holidays © holiday mindset is “rooted in loneliness and isolation. It’s a movie that has a message about the redemptive power of kindness and compassion to transform, not just the person receiving that but also the people giving that out.”

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ (Nov.

16)

Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Jude Law Director: David Yates

The skinny: War is starting within the wizarding world of the 1920s, with villainous Gellert Grendelwald (Johnny Depp) rallying magic men and women against humankind, causing everyone to choose sides. But after befriending quirky wand-waving hero Newt Scamander (Redmayne) in the first “Beasts,” loyal World War I vet Jacob Kowalski (Fogler) is #TeamNewt forever. “His heart is just bigger than his whole torso,” Fogler says of his character. “This is an epic, gigantic movie and you have lovely little moments of these brothers trying to help each other out.” And they need to be a tighter unit than ever: “The good guys are being tested, and the bad guys are rising up and trying to level the playing field.”

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Widows’ (Nov.

16)

Stars: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson Director: Steve McQueen

The skinny: Almost five years after grabbing the best picture Oscar for “12 Years A Slave,” McQueen returns with his twisty take on the heist film genre, featuring a group of wives who plan an ambitious job to pay off their dead spouses’ debts. “How do I make a car chase or action sequence exciting for people who’ve seen these things 1,010 times?” the director says. “It’s what Stanley Kubrick said: Everything has been done. Our job is to try to make it better.” Key to the story is the gang’s leader Veronica (Davis), who’s extremely confident and strong but has “depth of vulnerability,” McQueen says. “She doesn’t have a cape on. She has no superpowers.

She just has a certain drive, and that drive in some ways is to keep her husband’s memory alive.”

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Creed II’ (Nov.

21)

Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson Director: Steven Caple Jr.

The skinny: Again under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa (Stallone), boxing champ Adonis Creed (Jordan) is getting his biggest test yet: Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) – the same guy who killed Adonis’ dad, Apollo (see: 1986’s “Rocky IV”). “The stakes are much higher within the fight and even outside of the ring,” Caple says. While young Drago is a heavyweight brawler, “Creed is all about technique and speed, everything that Rocky taught him.” And when Rocky sees Ivan, his old Russian nemesis? “It’s kind of like, ‘I don’t want this to happen. I don’t want to see a flashback of ’86.’ He has his doubts about this fight, for sure.”

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ (Nov.

21)

Stars: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson

Directors: Phil Johnston and Rich Moore The skinny: Video-game baddie-turned-hero Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by Reilly) and his best pal Vanellope (Silverman) go from the arcade to cyberspace in the animated sequel. And while’s she’s gung-ho on going online, he’s a lot more wary, which causes some friction. “Ralph loves her so much.

He’s so grateful to have a friend after all those years of being an outcast that he’s kind of holding on a little too tight,” Reilly says. “The challenge for him is how to become a real friend: What does a real friend do when their friend wants to grow? And in classic Wreck-It Ralph fashion, he makes some colossal blunders along the way, almost destroying the world, literally, by stupid ideas.”

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (Dec.

14)

Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman

The skinny: What’s better than one Spider-Man? Two Spideys, as “Spider-Verse” brings together the classic hero Peter Parker (voiced by Johnson) with newer half-black, half-Hispanic kid Miles Morales (Moore). When jaded Peter – pushing 40 and tired of do-gooding in an alternate universe – inexplicably shows up in spunky Miles’ New York City, they become unexpected friends when Peter begrudgingly accepts the teen’s help to get home. “Peter buoys Miles and absolutely vice versa,” Persichetti says. “Miles’ discovery of his powers and his enthusiasm for being sort of a selfless hero, all of that stuff helps re-inspire Peter to become a better version of what his best self once was as Spider-Man.”

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ (Dec.

19)

Stars: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw Director: Rob Marshall The skinny: The practically perfect nanny (Blunt) returns in a musical sequel to again help the Banks family in 1930s London after a tragedy.

One guy happy she’s back is friendly lamplighter Jack (Miranda), who apprenticed under Bert (Dick Van Dyke from the 1964 “Poppins”) and recalls her appearance from 25 years earlier. “The Banks kids have grown up and think they made up their adventures with Poppins,” Miranda says. “They’ve convinced themselves those were just fantasies we had as children. But Jack’s never forgotten. He’s well aware of the magic she brings when she arrives.” And with Miranda being a hardcore fan of the original film, “it is not the toughest, from an acting perspective, to be pinching myself that I was going on adventures with Mary Poppins.”

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Aquaman’ (Dec.

21)

Stars: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson Director: James Wan The skinny: Underwater despot King Orm (Wilson), aka Ocean Master, isn’t the nicest guy but he’s got a cool trusty steed: a tylosaur, “which is a prehistoric crocodile,” Wilson says. “You’re basically riding on a mechanical bull.” The ruler of Atlantis – and half-brother to superhero Arthur Curry (Momoa) – is the main antagonist of “Aquaman,” who plans an assault on the surface world after mankind has polluted his oceans.

Aquaman is “really easygoing and the life of the party and dead set on not being a leader at the beginning,” Wilson says. “I just want to act as a foil to that: Somebody who probably takes themselves a little too seriously and has a very large shell around them and rules with an iron fist.”

‘Bumblebee’ (Dec.

21)

Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. Director: Travis Knight The skinny: The 1980s-set “Transformers” spinoff prequel is the coming-of-age tale of teen girl Charlie (Steinfeld) and her robot buddy who shapeshifts into a Volkswagen Beetle.

It’s also an action-packed movie with giant machines punching each other. Knight’s mission was to marry the two ideas and “try to show that rock-’em, sock-’em robots can actually have a heart and soul,” says the director, who says he’s going for the magic, wonder and imagination that exploded with him when he first saw “Transformers” cartoons as a 9-year-old. “As a kid, we’re natural storytellers with our action figures. Those are beloved playthings and the things that you love deeply become a part of you.

And I love these things.”

10 movies you must see this <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> holiday season, from &#039;Fantastic Beasts&#039; to &#039;Mary Poppins&#039;

‘Vice’ (Dec.

25)

Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell Director: Adam McKay The skinny: “If you look at the great figures in American history, I don’t think there’s ever been anyone with such quiet focus who changed the course of history like this guy did,” McKay says of Dick Cheney (Bale), former vice president to George W.

Bush (Rockwell) and subject of the comedy/drama. “Vice” tracks the enigmatic Cheney’s political rise over five decades: “He’s a little bit like a zelig figure who’s just there when stuff’s happening, and then other times, he’s central to what’s happening.” McKay’s intention was to create “a portrait of a man and a portrait of what power does to a man, but it was also a portrait of the country.

Depending on your perspective on the world, either sadly or in a great way, it fit like a puzzle piece.”

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