Weekend Top Ten 12/24-27: Have a Merry Movie Christmas!

If your Christmas weekend usually includes a trip to the movies, you’re in luck this year — and you might not even have to leave the house. Here’s a list of what’s opening, what’s streaming and more. ALL OPENINGS ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

Streaming and in theaters:
Wonder Woman 1984. Gal Gadot kicked super-heroine butt in her first Wonder Woman installment, accompanied by dreamboat co-star Chris Pine, and now they’re back for another blockbuster, this one set dystopially in 1984. And cray-cray Kristen Wiig is a supervillain! Expect some high-kickin’ fights and kickin’ ’80s fashions. Streaming on HBO Max. Opening at area theaters.

Streaming only:
Soul. The latest animated flick from the geniuses at Pixar has already landed on many 2020 Best lists, and from the looks of the trailer it’s a must-see, a light-hearted dip into metaphysics and music in which a high school band teacher dreaming of a career in jazz learns the true meaning of soul. Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Daveed Diggs and St. Pete’s own Angela Bassett are among the actors giving voice to the animation. Streaming on Disney+.
Sylvie’s Love. This one got an ecstatic review from the New York Times’s usually tough-minded critic Mahnola Dargis, who confessed to shedding a few tears at the lushly filmed mid-century romance. It’s the kind of movie melodrama that Douglas Sirk used to make — but now with Black actors in the leads. Tessa Thompson stars. Streaming on Amazon Prime.

Opening in theaters only:
Promising Young Woman. Carey Mulligan stars in a comedy/thriller about a woman bent on revenge. The film’s writer/director/producer, Emerald Fennell, was head writer for the BBC America series Killing Eve, but you may know her better as an actor; she played Camilla, Prince Charles’s true love, in the most recent season of The Crown.
News of the World. Tom Hanks in heroic mode, as a  widowed Civil War veteran who agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, despite the girl’s wish to remain with her captors.

Opening only at St. Pete’s GreenLight Cinema:
Dear Santa (pictured at top). St. Pete’s new art house movie theater, GreenLight Cinema, is dedicated to showing indie films, and this one looks like a perfect fit for the season: a documentary that goes behind the scenes of the 100-year-old ‘Operation Santa’ Program of the United States Postal Service, through which the public adopts letters to Santa and makes children’s dreams come true. The film highlights letters where a child is asking for something poignant, something that goes beyond the common wish for a toy. Dec. 25-30, GreenLight Cinema, 221 2nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg, greenlightstpete.com.

Not a movie, but it’s big TV:
Bridgerton. Shonda Rimes, she of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal fame, got herself a big ol’ deal with Netflix, and she’s kicking things off with this highly anticipated series about high-society doings and marriage machinations in early 19th-century London, imagined as a racially integrated culture. Streaming on Netflix.

Based on a movie (but it’s radio):
It’s a Wonderful Life
. It’s the final weekend to catch American Stage’s “Live Radio Play” adaptation of the durable Christmas classic about George Bailey, who discovers during one fateful Christmas Eve what the world would be like without him. Pre-recorded performances can be streamed on demand through BROADWAY ON DEMAND anytime through Sunday, December 27. americanstage.org.

It was a novel first, a movie many times, but now it’s drive-in theater!
A Christmas Carol: In Concert at freeFall. A musical version of the Dickens classic, staged as part of freeFall’s outdoor drive-in concert series and performed by a cast of live performers along with multimedia and narration from the original novella. Dec. 24, freefalltheatre.com.

Also a movie (once) but now a great bar with a Christmas-y spirit of generosity:
Intermezzo’s “Miracle at Mezzo.” The popular coffee and cocktail bar in St. Pete’s EDGE District is once again pouring holiday-themed cocktails in a cheerfully kitschy pop-up setting. There’s outdoor seating, so you don’t have to weather the bar crowd for too long — only long enough to order a tasty Christmapolitan, which I highly recommend. It’s an elegant twist on a traditional Cosmo, mixing Banyan Reserve Vodka from St. Pete Distillery with a touch of spiced cranberry sauce and vermouth and garnished with a rosemary sprig. Making it even tastier, word has it Intermezzo will donate $1 from every Christmapolitan purchase to the St. Petersburg Free Clinic until Dec. 31.

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