'The Shape of Water' and other movie picks for Dec. 8

Movie recommendations from critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang.

Blade Runner 2049 You can quibble with aspects of it, but as shaped by Denis Villeneuve and his masterful creative team, this high-end sequel puts you firmly and unassailably in another world of its own devising, and that is no small thing. (Kenneth Turan) R.

Call Me By Your Name Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer give superb performances as two young men falling in love in the northern Italian countryside in this rapturously beautiful collaboration between director Luca Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory. (Justin Chang) R.

The Disaster Artist James Franco's shrewd, affectionate and frequently hilarious comedy re-creates and deconstructs the making of Tommy Wiseau's cult landmark “The Room,” with Franco giving a fully committed, even haunted performance as Wiseau himself. (Justin Chang) R.

The Florida Project Absorbing us in the day-to-day rhythms of life at a dumpy Florida motel complex, home to a wildly spirited 6-year-old girl named Moonee (the startling Brooklynn Prince), Sean Baker (“Tangerine”) goes to a place few of us know and emerges with a masterpiece of empathy and imagination. (Justin Chang) R.

Lady Bird As warm as it is smart, and it is very smart, this portrait of a high school senior year marks actor-screenwriter Greta Gerwig's superb debut as a solo director and yet another astonishing performance by star Saoirse Ronan. (Kenneth Turan) R.

Last Flag Flying Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne and Steve Carell give richly felt performances as Vietnam veterans reuniting 30 years later in Richard Linklater's warm, ribald and elegiac quasi-sequel to Hal Ashby's 1973 classic, "The Last Detail." (Justin Chang) R.

Mudbound Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan are part of a superb ensemble in writer-director Dee Rees' sweeping epic of World War II-era Mississippi, the rare film that grants its white and black characters the same moral and dramatic weight. (Justin Chang) R.

1945 A lean, unadorned parable about guilt and the nature and consequences of evil. A quietly furious Hungarian film that puts a particular time and place under a microscope, revealing hidden fault lines and differences that have been ineffectively papered over. (Kenneth Turan) NR.

The Shape of Water Magical, thrilling and romantic to the core, a sensual and fantastical "Beauty and the Beast" tale with moral overtones, Guillermo del Toro's film plays by all the rules and none of them, going its own way with fierce abandon. (Kenneth Turan) R.

The Square A Stockholm museum curator (an excellent Claes Bang) undergoes a crisis of conscience in Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund's sprawling, virtuoso satire of the modern art world, which won the Palme d'Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. (Justin Chang) R.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Uncommon writer-director Martin McDonagh and a splendid cast toplined by Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell present a savage film, even a dangerous one, the blackest take-no-prisoners farce in quite some time. (Kenneth Turan) R.

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