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Reel News: A Hidden Life, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Cats

Welcome to Reel News, our weekly segment looking at what’s coming out in the box office, and what’s worth your money. Join Erin Keeney and Riley Winn as they take a look at A Hidden Life, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Cats.

First up is A Hidden Life, based on the true story of an Austrian peasant farmer who was an unsung hero of World War II. After refusing to fight with Hitler, he was sent to prison for treason. From director Terrence Malick, who also wrote the screenplay, “the production value is gorgeous and the visual artistry is stunning,” says Keeney. “It’s a take on World War II I don’t think I’ve ever seen,” notes Winn. A Hidden Life opens in theaters December 13.

Next up is a quiet little movie called Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the third and final installment of the latest Star Wars trilogy. Taking place a year after the events of The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker features an ensemble cast, including the late Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, and Billy Dee Williams. With post-production finishing mere weeks ago, “it’s the franchise that has captured the attention of generations,” says Winn. JJ Abrams directs this final installment, taking over from The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. Abrams directed the first sequel in the new trilogy, The Force Awakens, and he also produced and co-wrote this latest film. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker storms into theaters on December 20.

Finally, it’s the movie whose trailer broke the internet: Cats, the musical fantasy film based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world-famous stage musical of the same name. After grossing $3.5 billion worldwide on the stage, this version leaps onto the big screen with stars like Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo, James Corden, Rebel Wilson, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen, with an original song written by Lloyd Webber and Swift. “This is from one of my favorite directors out there: Academy Award winner Tom Hooper, director of The King’s Speech, says Keeney. “The big challenge was translating the whimsical story into a film. It will be interesting to see,” she says. Winn notes, “I’m a big musical guy, and with a stellar cast like this, how can you not want to go see it?” Cats opens in theaters December 20.

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