SIOUX CITY | The end of the year is less than two months away, which means some top level films will be coming to theaters by the end of December.

The end of the year is typically chock full of films that could have Oscar award heft and also some blockbusters that can draw substantial crowds at holiday time.

There will be several dozen films released over the last eight weeks, and here are four that should not be missed. Coincidentally, they all hit theaters in December.

Dec. 1: WONDER WHEEL

Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake and Jim Belushi are key actors as Woody Allen looks at life in Coney Island in the 1950s. Allen's recent work has been hit-and-miss, but perhaps this one will go in the plus category.

Dec. 15: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

The second installment in the third trilogy -- in other words, the eighth "Star Wars" film overall -- references Luke Skywalker in the title.

"I only know one truth: it is time for the Jedi to end." That's a line by Luke that will draw a certain segment of people to the theater, for absolute certain.

Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren and other characters introduced in the 2015 film return, plus others will show up as new characters. Of course, the death of actress Carrie Fischer earlier this year means it is her last appearance as Princess Leia.

Dec. 22: DOWNSIZING

Alexander Payne usually delivers complex fare out of the norm for most films. The director of "About Schmidt" and "Nebraska" is back with a film in which Matt Damon is cut down to size (five inches), in a comedy-fantasy about people who shrink in order to solve the problems of overpopulation.

Dec. 25:  PHANTOM THREAD

The title of this film was still untitled a few months ago. Director Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most interesting filmmakers working, and his past complex movies include "Magnolia" and "There Will Be Blood."

Daniel Day-Lewis starred in the latter one, and is back with Anderson, for a film DDL is saying is his last. He stars as a renowned dressmaker in London during the 1950s. So yes, another top film on this short list is set in the 1950s.

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County and education reporter

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