Winter movies 2021: Here’s what’s coming soon to streaming and theatres

A poster of the Disney film Encanto. Photo taken from its Twitter account
Tired of critics raving about film festival titles that you haven’t yet had a chance to see? This holiday season will bring many of the year’s most acclaimed films to theatres and streaming, from Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” which will be available both ways, to Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria,” which is forgoing home viewing altogether. There will also be fresh takes on enduring classics of the stage: Steven Spielberg does “West Side Story,” while Joel Coen adapts Shakespeare in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

This is a highly select list of noteworthy films due out this season. Release dates are subject to change and reflect the latest information as of deadline. (Movies that have already opened in theatres but are coming soon to streaming — like “Passing,” “Red Notice” and “Violet” — aren’t included.)


THE DRUMMER Danny Glover plays a Vietnam veteran and lawyer who works at a coffee shop that serves as a gathering place for other vets. With attention and activism, he helps them work through post-traumatic stress. Eric Werthman directed. (Nov 9 on demand)

CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG Can a dog be too big or too red — or too real? Early images from this live-action movie, which is based on Norman Bridwell’s beloved children’s book character, have raised the question of whether photorealism suits a large rouge canine. (Nov 10 in theatres and on Paramount+)

UPPERCASE PRINT Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude (who also directed “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn” — see below) is responsible for this look at where the country stood in the 1980s under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The time period is seen through the lens of both a play based on the work of an activist who scrawled slogans in public areas and through television from the time. (Nov 10 in theatres and on

3212 UN-REDACTED This documentary from ABC News investigative reporter James Gordon Meek delves into what happened when four American soldiers were killed in Niger in 2017. The film challenges a Pentagon investigation that placed the bulk of the blame on junior officers. (Nov 11 on Hulu)

APEX Bruce Willis plays a former police officer who will be spared from a prison sentence if he survives being the prey in a hunt in the latest riff on “The Most Dangerous Game.” (Nov 12 in theatres and on demand)

BELFAST A boy (Jude Hill) grows up against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The film is said to be a personal project for Kenneth Branagh, who wrote and directed, and who was born in Belfast in 1960. The film also stars Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench and Jamie Dornan. In September, it won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, indicating that it’s a crowd-pleaser. (Nov 12 in theatres)

CUSP Directors Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt capture three Texas teenage girls’ alternately lyrical and harrowing experiences of adolescence. AO Scott called the film a “deceptively dreamy-looking, unflinchingly tough-minded documentary” when it played at the virtual Sundance Film Festival this year. (Nov 12 in theatres, Nov 26 on Showtime)

A HERO Asghar Farhadi (the Oscar-winning “A Separation”) shared the second-place Grand Jury Prize at Cannes for his latest morality play, which follows the complications that ensue as a man (Amir Jadidi) works to avoid returning to prison for a debt. The film will have an awards-qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles before opening in January. (Nov 12 in theatres)

HOME SWEET HOME ALONE This revival of the “Home Alone” franchise finds Archie Yates (the friend in “Jojo Rabbit”) stepping into the Macaulay Culkin role and Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney as the crooks trying to break into his house. (Nov 12 on Disney+)

JULIA Betsy West and Julie Cohen, the documentarians behind “RBG,” look at a different sort of visionary, following the path that Julia Child took to becoming a bestselling cookbook author and TV celebrity. (Nov 12 in theatres)

LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE Eleanor Coppola (director of “Paris Can Wait” and Francis Ford Coppola’s better half) directed this triptych of stories that concern, well, love, with Rita Wilson, Cybill Shepherd and Rosanna Arquette among the cast members. (Nov 12 in theatres, Dec 14 on demand)

MAYOR PETE Jesse Moss, one of two directors of the acclaimed “Boys State,” followed Pete Buttigieg during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The documentary promises insight into what makes Buttigieg, now the secretary of transportation, tick. (Nov 12 on Amazon)

NIGHT RAIDERS A First Nations mother (Elle-Maija Tailfeathers) must work with a group of fellow Indigenous vigilantes to save her daughter (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) from being trained as a soldier by the state. Set in a dystopian future, the film is said to speak directly to Canada’s history of trying to erase Indigenous culture. Danis Goulet directed. (Nov 12 in theatres and on demand)

PAPER & GLUE The artist JR (who collaborated with Agnès Varda on “Faces Places”) documents his own working process on projects in France, Brazil and the United States. (Nov 12 in theatres)

PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN This coming-of-age story from writer-director Tatiana Huezo (freely adapting a novel by Jennifer Clement) concerns a young girl’s dawning understanding of what’s happening around her in her hometown, located in a rural pocket of Mexico where danger abounds from cartels and corrupt officials. “The more she knows, the more you do, too — and it is brutal,” Manohla Dargis wrote when the film showed at the New York Film Festival. (Nov 12 in theatres, Nov 17 on Netflix)

PROCESSION Existing somewhere on the outer edges of documentary, Robert Greene’s two preceding features, “Kate Plays Christine” and “Bisbee ’17,” both explored the ethics of reenacting a traumatic event. In “Procession,” Greene collaborates with six survivors of childhood abuse in the Catholic Church. With Greene giving the men lead authorial credit, “Procession” follows them as they go through a form of drama therapy and film scenes from their pasts. (Nov 12 in theatres, Nov 19 on Netflix)

THEY SAY NOTHING STAYS THE SAME Joe Odagiri directed this drama set in Japan during the Meiji era; it concerns a ferryman (Akira Emoto) whose job is becoming outmoded. Wong Kar-wai’s longtime collaborator Christopher Doyle did the cinematography. (Nov 12 in theatres and on demand)

TICK, TICK ... BOOM! In this adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s pre-“Rent” musical — originally presented as a one-man show and not produced in a formal off-Broadway production until after Larson’s death in 1996 — Andrew Garfield is a Larson-like composer. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who played the role himself in a 2014 production, makes his feature-film directing debut. (Nov 12 in theatres, Nov 19 on Netflix)

WHAT DO WE SEE WHEN WE LOOK AT THE SKY? A favorite among critics at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, this Georgian film from Alexandre Koberidze has been described as both a fairy tale and a city symphony. A curse cast on a pharmacist and soccer player thwarts their intended rendezvous but also helps them see the city of Kutaisi — and perhaps each other — with fresh eyes. (Nov 12 in theatres)

AULCIE The title refers to Aulcie Perry, a Newark, New Jersey-born basketball player who became a star athlete in Israel. He’s the subject of this documentary. (Nov 16 in theatres)

BRUISED In her first feature as a director, Halle Berry stars as a mixed martial arts fighter who is reunited with the son she gave up to his father. (Nov 17 in theatres, Nov 24 on Netflix)

CHILDREN OF THE ENEMY This documentary from director Gorki Glaser-Muller follows a Swedish-Chilean man during his travels through the Middle East, where he hopes to free his grandchildren from a prison camp in Syria. (Nov 17 in theatres)

THE POWER OF THE DOG Jane Campion goes west (albeit filming in New Zealand) with this adaptation of a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons play sibling Montana ranchers who are thrown into conflict after one marries a widow played by Kirsten Dunst (Plemons’ real-life partner), and her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) confounds the local codes of masculinity. (Nov 17 in theatres, Dec 1 on Netflix)

JAGGED Alison Klayman (“The Brink”) directed this portrait of Alanis Morissette, who looks back on her ascent to musical superstardom in the mid-1990s. Morissette released a statement taking issue with the film. (Nov 18 on HBO Max)

THE JENKINS FAMILY CHRISTMAS Actress Robin Givens directed this Christmas special, about a family whose holiday is turned upside down by the arrival of a previously unknown relative. (Nov 18 on BET+)

THE PRINCESS SWITCH 3: ROMANCING THE STAR How many times can you get away with impersonating a princess? If you’re Vanessa Hudgens, the star of “The Princess Switch,” “The Princess Switch: Switched Again” and now this film, the answer is … at least once more? (Nov 18 on Netflix)

BAD LUCK BANGING OR LOONY PORN This pandemic-shot satire from Radu Jude (“Aferim!”) won the Golden Bear at Berlin and deserves some kind of award for the attention it pays to onscreen mask-wearing alone. With COVID angst exacerbating tempers, a school and angry parents have to decide what to do about a history teacher (Katia Pascariu) after a sex tape she made with her husband winds up on the internet. (Nov 19 in theatres)

BLACK FRIDAY Bruce Campbell and Devon Sawa play store workers beating back aggressive shoppers. In this case, the customers are not mere day-after-Thanksgiving consumers, but ones who have been infected by an alien parasite. (Nov 19 in theatres and Nov 23 on demand)

BOILING POINT Stephen Graham (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Vinette Robinson (“Sherlock”) are chefs during a chaotic night at a London restaurant. Early reviews say that the film has been made to appear as if it unfolds in a single shot. (Nov 19 in theatres, Nov 23 on demand)

BRIAN WILSON: LONG PROMISED ROAD The Beach Boy revisits his career with the help of Jason Fine, who was Rolling Stone’s top editor until February. The documentary includes a new song and interviews with several of Wilson’s famous colleagues. (Nov 19 in theatres and on demand)

C’MON C’MON In a bittersweet black-and-white dramedy, Mike Mills (“20th Century Women”) directs Joaquin Phoenix as a radio interviewer who winds up caring for his nephew (Woody Norman). The boy teaches him to take life’s surprises as they come while they travel from Los Angeles to New York and then to New Orleans. Gaby Hoffmann also stars. (Nov 19 in theatres)

THE FEAST This Welsh-language horror film concerns a group of wealthy dinner guests and a server (Annes Elwy) who has a plan for them. (Nov 19 in theatres and on demand)

THE FIRST WAVE Documentarian Matthew Heineman (“Cartel Land”) recounts the first four months of the pandemic, which he observed from the vantage point of a hospital in the New York area. (Nov 19 in theatres)

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE Is the perception that the female “Ghostbusters” reboot (2016) went splat? Director Jason Reitman takes charge of reviving the franchise originated by his father, Ivan Reitman, by going in a different direction. Carrie Coon plays the daughter of Harold Ramis’ Egon, and Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard play her children. Some critics who caught the movie, which turned up at New York Comic Con in October, reacted as if they’d been slimed. (Nov 19 in theatres)

INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES An Indian American college student (Sophia Ali) goes home to New Jersey for a visit with a new perspective on life. (Nov 19 in theatres)

I WAS A SIMPLE MAN Christopher Makoto Yogi directed this story of a man in Hawaii looking back on his past. The film competed at Sundance in January. (Nov 19 in theatres)

KING RICHARD That would be Richard Williams (Will Smith), father of Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), in a biopic that highlights his role in raising two of the world’s greatest tennis stars. Reinaldo Marcus Green (“Monsters and Men”) directed. (Nov 19 in theatres and on HBO Max)

KURT VONNEGUT: UNSTUCK IN TIME Robert B. Weide (“Woody Allen: A Documentary”) traces the career of the “Slaughterhouse-Five” author. So it goes. (Nov 19 in theatres and on demand)

THE REAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN Peter Middleton and James Spinney directed this biographical documentary, which uses archival materials, audio and reenactments to explore the career of the Little Tramp. (Nov 19 in theatres, Dec 11 on Showtime)

SHE PARADISE This drama from Trinidad and Tobago follows an aspiring soca dancer as she pursues — and doubts — her dreams. Maya Cozier directed. (Nov 19 in theatres and on demand)

ZEROS AND ONES Ethan Hawke stars in dual roles as a soldier in Rome trying to stop a terrorist attack and the soldier’s brother. Abel Ferrara directed. (Nov 19 in theatres and on demand)

8-BIT CHRISTMAS A boy (Winslow Fegley) in 1980s Chicago wants a video game system for a holiday present. Neil Patrick Harris also stars. (Nov 24 on HBO Max)

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) directed this live-action adaptation of a holiday book by Matt Haig, starring Henry Lawfull as a boy who goes searching for his father. Toby Jones, Sally Hawkins, Kristen Wiig and multiple other notable actors co-star. (Nov 24 on Netflix)

DRIVE MY CAR It’s difficult (and maybe unfair) to describe the plot of the fall’s second film from Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, after “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” in October. Adapted from a Haruki Murakami story, “Drive My Car,” which won the screenplay prize at Cannes, unfolds over three hours and is unafraid of detours. It concerns a stage actor and director (Hidetoshi Nishijima) and his wife (Reika Kirishima), a screenwriter, and the way drama interacts with language and with real-life tragedy. (Nov 24 in theatres)

ENCANTO Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote original songs for this animated Disney musical, about one member of a gifted family (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) who seems to be the only one who doesn’t have a special ability. Diane Guerrero and Wilmer Valderrama provide some of the other voices. (Nov 24 in theatres)

HOUSE OF GUCCI The combined star wattage of Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino and a heavily made-up Jared Leto promises to be at least as exciting as any of the intrigue in this true-crime thriller. Gaga sternly taps an espresso mug as Patrizia Reggiani, who in 1998 was convicted of ordering the murder of her ex-husband, fashion heir Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver). The tireless Ridley Scott (whose “The Last Duel” was released in October) shows us how it all went down. (Nov 24 in theatres)

THE HUMANS Stephen Karam adapted and directed this screen version of his own play, which unfolds during a multigenerational Thanksgiving gathering in a decrepit New York apartment; the stage version won the Tony Award for best play in 2016. Jayne Houdyshell reprises her role, joined by Richard Jenkins, Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yeun, Amy Schumer and June Squibb. (Nov 24 in theatres and on Showtime)

KEEP SWEET Don Argott (“The Art of the Steal”) directed this documentary about the former followers of Warren Jeffs, the leader of a breakaway sect of the Mormon church, who in 2011 was sentenced to life in prison for the sexual assault of two girls he called his wives. (Nov 24 on Discovery+)

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS Stephan James and Alexander Ludwig star as college football players who start a strike. J.K. Simmons is their head coach. Ric Roman Waugh (“Angel Has Fallen”) directed. (Nov 24 in theatres)

RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY Over nearly two decades, the “Resident Evil” franchise has survived a lot. But can it survive without Milla Jovovich? Kaya Scodelario (the “Maze Runner” movies) is the new headliner. (Nov 24 in theatres)

THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS Based on a manga series, Patrick Imbert’s animated feature centres on a journalist who spots a Kodak camera that may prove that George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who died climbing Mount Everest in 1924, were the first to reach the summit. (Nov 24 in theatres, Nov 30 on Netflix)

THE UNFORGIVABLE Sandra Bullock plays an ex-con looking for her sister in a film directed by Nora Fingscheidt. (Nov1 24 in theatres, Dec 10 on Netflix)

DMX: DON’T TRY TO UNDERSTAND Director Chris Frierson spent a year following rapper DMX between his release from prison in 2019 and his death at 50 in April. (Nov 25 on HBO Max)

A CASTLE FOR CHRISTMAS Mary Lambert (the 1989 “Pet Sematary”) directs Brooke Shields as an American writer who tries to buy a Scottish castle from Cary Elwes. (Nov 26 on Netflix)

AYAR Frustrated in her ambitions to become a singer and actress, the title character (Ariana Ron Pedrique) tries to return to her daughter. But the pandemic gets in the way. (Nov 26 in theatres and on demand)

LADY BUDS Chris J. Russo’s documentary follows six women as they navigate the new market for legal marijuana in California. (Nov 26 in theatres and on demand)

LICORICE PIZZA Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (born 1970) is a bit younger than the characters in his coming-of-age story set in 1973 in the San Fernando Valley, where Anderson grew up. His cast here is typically eclectic: Alana Haim (of the sister band Haim), Cooper Hoffman (son of Philip Seymour Hoffman), Bradley Cooper, Benny Safdie, Tom Waits, Sean Penn. (Nov 26 in theatres)

NOT TO FORGET Cloris Leachman and Olympia Dukakis, both of whom died earlier this year, have roles in this drama about a con artist who considers fleecing his grandmother. (Nov 26 in theatres and on demand)

’TWAS THE FIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS Documentarian Becky Read follows the efforts of an Idaho man to throw a gigantic Christmas bash, an endeavor that encounters resistance from a homeowners’ association. Chris Smith, of such semi-comic documentaries as “Fyre” and “American Movie,” is an executive producer. (Nov 26 on Apple TV+)

WRITING WITH FIRE Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh observe the workings of an Indian newspaper that is run by Dalit women (the group once known as “untouchables”). The paper’s muckraking risks running afoul of the government. (Nov 26 in theatres)

14 PEAKS: NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE Nepalese climber Nims Purja sets a goal of climbing the globe’s 14 highest mountains in seven months. (Nov 29 on Netflix)


LISTENING TO KENNY G Penny Lane (“Hail Satan?”) investigates the appeal (or lack thereof) of the jazz saxophonist born Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, who is simultaneously one of the world’s bestselling instrumentalists and a symbol of cultural appropriation and everything that’s wrong with popular taste. Extensive interviews with the musician only confound the question of whether he is to be admired or loathed. (Dec 2 on HBO Max)

SINGLE ALL THE WAY In a rare gay-themed holiday rom-com, a man talks his best friend into spending the holidays posing as his boyfriend. Michael Urie and Philemon Chambers star. (Dec 2 on Netflix)

BENEDETTA As both the director of “Showgirls” and the author of a book on Jesus, Paul Verhoeven finds an improbable alignment of his interests in the story of a real 17th-century nun who had a lesbian affair, according to documents from the time, and who also claimed she had divine visions. Virginie Efira stars as Sister Benedetta Carlini, the nun; Daphné Patakia is the convent newcomer with whom she sins. With Charlotte Rampling as a doubting abbess. (Dec 3 in theatres, Dec 21 on demand)

CITIZEN ASHE Tennis champion Arthur Ashe, who spoke out against racial and economic barriers in the sport before dying of AIDS-related pneumonia at 49, is the subject of this new documentary from Sam Pollard (“MLK/FBI”) and Rex Miller. (Dec 3 in theatres)

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID Already adapted as a live-action film franchise and as a stage musical, Jeff Kinney’s popular children’s series — the first book, specifically — becomes an animated feature. (Dec 3 on Disney+)

ENCOUNTER Riz Ahmed plays a father — a Marine — trying to rescue his sons after a global cataclysm. Michael Pearce directed. (Dec 3 in theatres, Dec 10 on Amazon)

THE END OF US A couple (Ben Coleman and Ali Vingiano) who are about to break up are stranded together during the pandemic lockdown. (Dec 3 in theatres, Dec 7 on demand)

FLEE Animation becomes the ideal form to represent the fluidity of identity in this experimental documentary from Jonas Poher Rasmussen. The director listens while his friend, known in the film as Amin, remembers his life as a refugee from Afghanistan, bouncing from country to country as he looked for safe harbor. The film was one of the highlights of Sundance and is even more timely now. (Dec 3 in theatres)

THE HAND OF GOD The title refers to the famous 1986 soccer play in which Diego Maradona knocked the ball into the goal with his hand. Around that time, Fabietto Schisa (Filippo Scotti), an incipient filmmaker enthralled by Maradona’s arrival in Italy, grows up in Naples in this semi-autobiographical film from Paolo Sorrentino, riffing, as in his Oscar-winning “The Great Beauty,” on tropes made famous by Federico Fellini. (Dec 3 in theatres, Dec 15 on Netflix)

MIXTAPE A girl (Gemma Brooke Allen) tries to figure out what songs her dead parents recorded on a broken mixtape. (Dec 3 on Netflix)

SILENT NIGHT Camille Griffin directs Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode, among others, as wealthy Brits trying to throw a proper Christmas party despite the fact that the world is about to end. (Dec 3 in theatres and on AMC+)

TRY HARDER! Students at a hypercompetitive San Francisco high school endure the college admissions process. Debbie Lum directed this documentary. (Dec 3 in theatres)

TWAS THE NIGHT Nicole Pringle and David Steven Perez play a couple who won’t let a body in their bathroom interfere with a holiday gathering. (Dec 3 in theatres and on demand)

WOLF George MacKay (“1917”) plays a young man who thinks he’s a wolf. Then he meets a woman named Wildcat (Lily-Rose Depp). Nathalie Biancheri directed. (Dec 3 in theatres)

FATAL DISTRACTION Taking off from a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post article published in 2009, this documentary looks at the trial of a man convicted of murder in 2016 after his toddler died in a hot car. (Dec 7 in theatres and on demand)

THE ADVENT CALENDAR A dancer (Eugénie Derouand) who can no longer walk may able to again, thanks to a magical advent calendar. But it will mean harming others. (Dec 9 on Shudder)

MR. SATURDAY NIGHT Nope, it’s not a rerelease of the Billy Crystal film. Rather, it’s a documentary on disco titan Robert Stigwood, who managed the Bee Gees and was a producer on “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease.” (Dec 9 on HBO Max)

SO LATE SO SOON Daniel Hymanson’s documentary observes Chicago artist couple Jackie and Don Seiden, married for a half-century, over five years as they go about their well-established life together, a life that runs up against the challenges of aging. (Dec 9 in theatres)

AGNES Molly C. Quinn plays a nun whose friend, another nun, may be possessed by a demon. Mickey Reece directed. (Dec 10 in theatres and on demand)

BACK TO THE OUTBACK Reptiles and insects escape from an Australian zoo in an effort to return to their natural habitats in this animated adventure. Isla Fisher, Guy Pearce and Eric Bana are among the actors providing voices. (Dec 10 on Netflix)

BEIJING SPRING This documentary draws on footage shot by Chi Xiaoning, a filmmaker, in the late 1970s, when a group of artists mounted a site called Democracy Wall, where they pushed for democratic reforms and highlighted horrors of the Cultural Revolution. (Dec 10 in theatres)

BEING THE RICARDOS There’s always some cognitive dissonance when recognizable actors take a chance on playing recognisable actors, but as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem will have to overcome the enduring memories of generations of TV viewers. Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this drama about the Ball-Arnaz relationship and the making of “I Love Lucy.” (Dec 10 in theatres, Dec 21 on Amazon)

DON’T LOOK UP After sending up the global financial crisis (“The Big Short”) and Dick Cheney (“Vice”), director Adam McKay turns his satirical eye to a less serious target: a global catastrophe. Jennifer Lawrence plays an astronomy grad student and Leonardo DiCaprio her professor. They try to alert the world to an approaching comet. The cast, including Meryl Streep as the president and Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry as TV hosts, could itself light up the cosmos. (Dec 10 in theatres, Dec 24 on Netflix)

OFF THE RAILS In her final role, Kelly Preston (who died last year of breast cancer) is one of three women who accompany the teenage daughter of a friend to Europe. (Dec 10 in theatres and on demand)

TO WHAT REMAINS A documentary highlights the work of Project Recover, a nonprofit organization devoted to finding the remains of Americans declared missing in action since World War II. (Dec 10 in theatres)

FRANCE Provocateur director Bruno Dumont satirizes the French news media, and perhaps France itself, with this story of a celebrity anchor, France de Meurs (Léa Seydoux, in the most complex of her performances this fall), whose glib attitude is jarringly at odds with her reporting from conflict zones. Dumont ensures that the film’s tone and its stance on the character are as tough to pin down as she is. (Dec 10 in theatres)

THE HATING GAME Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell are workplace rivals, but she starts to fall for him in this adaptation of the novel by Sally Thorne. (Dec 10 in theatres and on demand)

LAST AND FIRST MEN Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson, who died in 2018, directed this lone feature: a “Sans Soleil”-like essay film in which Tilda Swinton narrates the results of humankind’s existence from the vantage point of 2 billion years in the future. (Dec 10 in theatres and on

RED ROCKET Sean Baker’s first feature since “The Florida Project” (2017) is another improbably giddy, sad and disturbing portrait of life on the fringes. A porn star (Simon Rex) returns home to the Gulf Coast of Texas, where he reconnects with his estranged wife (Bree Elrod) and looks in vain for work. Newcomer Suzanna Son and Judy Hill (from the documentary “What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?”) co-star. (Dec 10 in theatres)

A SON In Tunisia, a couple’s young son is wounded by stray fire from Islamic militants. Suddenly, they need to find an organ for him — and they may have to resort to illegal means. Mehdi M. Barsaoui directed this feature, shown at the Venice Film Festival in 2019. (Dec 10 in theatres)

WEST SIDE STORY The 1961 version is one of the few movie-musical adaptations generally regarded as worthy of the Broadway original. (It won the best picture Oscar.) Could anyone possibly top it? Perhaps Steven Spielberg, who doesn’t have the benefit of Jerome Robbins as a choreographer — but Tony Kushner wrote the new script. Ansel Elgort plays Tony; newcomer Rachel Zegler plays Maria. (Dec 10 in theatres)

JUICE WRLD: INTO THE ABYSS This documentary looks at the musical career of the rapper born as Jarad A. Higgins, who died at 21 of an accidental overdose in 2019. (Dec 16 on HBO Max)

PUFF: WONDERS OF THE REEF A baby puffer fish serves as viewers’ guide in a documentary that Netflix is positioning as a successor to this year’s Oscar-winning documentary feature, “My Octopus Teacher.” (Dec 16 on Netflix)

LAST WORDS This feature from Jonathan Nossiter (who won acclaim for the 1997 Sundance drama “Sunday” and the 2004 documentary “Mondovino”) would have played at Cannes in 2020 had the full festival not been canceled. It’s set in the 2080s and stars Nick Nolte, Stellan Skarsgard and Charlotte Rampling. (Dec 17 in theatres and on demand)

THE LOST DAUGHTER For her feature writing-directing debut, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who won the screenwriting prize at Venice, adapts a novel by Elena Ferrante. Olivia Colman plays an academic whose interactions with a mother (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter at a Greek beach resort stir recollections of her own difficulties raising children and her ambivalent relationship with parenthood. Jessie Buckley, Ed Harris and Peter Sarsgaard co-star. (Dec 17 in theatres, Dec 31 on Netflix)

MOTHER/ANDROID An expectant couple (Chloë Grace Moretz and Algee Smith) try to survive in a world overrun by robots. (Dec 17 on Hulu)

NIGHTMARE ALLEY Guillermo del Toro remakes an enduring classic of film noir, or technically readapts the novel on which it was based. (He wrote the screenplay with film critic Kim Morgan.) In the 1947 movie, Tyrone Power played a Carnival worker who started a big-time con with a mentalist act. Bradley Cooper — on the surface a much less disquieting actor than Power — now has that role. With Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe and Toni Collette. (Dec 17 in theatres)

THE NOVICE A prizewinner at the Tribeca Film Festival, this debut feature from Lauren Hadaway stars Isabelle Fuhrman as a college freshman who undertakes a monomaniacal pursuit of excellence on the rowing team. (Dec 17 in theatres and on demand)

PRESIDENT Camilla Nielsson follows her highly praised documentary “Democrats” (2015) with another look at Zimbabwean politics. Taking the vantage point of an opposition candidate, Nelson Chamisa, the film tracks the country’s 2018 presidential election, when Robert Mugabe was out of power but his party still ran the electoral apparatus. “The way this film confronts the fragility of democracy and the ever-looming possibility of violence hit home for this American viewer in a way that was both harrowing and humbling,” AO Scott wrote when the film showed at Sundance. (Dec 17 in theatres)

THE SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST Dasha Nekrasova directed and co-stars in this up-to-the-minute thriller, which centres on two friends who move in to an Upper East Side duplex — and then are told that it used to belong to Jeffrey Epstein. At the Quad Cinema in New York, the movie will open on 35-millimeter film, a rarity these days. (Dec 17 in theatres)

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME The web slinger (Tom Holland) takes on his greatest challenge yet: juggling freshman year of college with crime-fighting superhero duties. With Zendaya and Benedict Cumberbatch. (Dec 17 in theatres)

SWAN SONG Science fiction gives a dying man played by Mahershala Ali a chance to save his family from grief over his death. Glenn Close also stars. (Dec 17 in theatres and on Apple TV+)

THE TENDER BAR George Clooney directs Tye Sheridan as an aspiring writer with an absent father and Ben Affleck as the young man’s bartender uncle. The script, by William Monahan (“The Departed”), is based on the memoir by the JR Moehringer. (Dec 17 in theatres, Jan 7 on Amazon)

THE KING’S MAN The much-delayed third movie in the “Kingsman” series, centered on an organisation of dapper British spies, is a prequel that stars several actors new to the series, including Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton and Matthew Goode. Director Matthew Vaughan returns. (Dec 22 in theatres)

THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS Eighteen years after the last movie, Lana Wachowski (directing without her sister Lilly Wachowski) reloads “The Matrix.” How deep will the rabbit hole go? The specifics are under wraps, but we do know that Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will return as Neo and Trinity. (Dec 22 in theatres and on HBO Max)

SING 2 In this sequel to the 2016 animated film, the koala voiced by Matthew McConaughey and the koala’s friends have to find a hermitlike rock star (voiced by Bono) and persuade him to perform with them. (Dec 22 in theatres)

THE VELVET QUEEN Nature photographer Vincent Munier (who directed this documentary with Marie Amiguet) takes French writer Sylvain Tesson into the Tibetan mountains to try to snap a picture of a snow leopard. (Dec 22 in theatres)

PARALLEL MOTHERS Making perhaps the most political film of his career, Pedro Almodóvar follows two women of different ages — both pregnant, neither intentionally — who bond in the hospital where they are set to give birth. Without avoiding the demands of melodrama, Almodóvar uses what happens between the characters to hold up a mirror to how Spain has grappled with the legacy of the Spanish Civil War. Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit star. (Dec 24 in theatres)

AMERICAN UNDERDOG Zachary Levi plays former St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner in this biopic tracking his sports success. Anna Paquin plays his wife. Andrew and Jon Erwin, who come from the world of Christian filmmaking, directed. (Dec 25 in theatres)

A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN Michael B. Jordan plays 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who wrote a journal for his son from Iraq. Denzel Washington directed the film, based on a book by King’s fiancée, former New York Times journalist Dana Canedy. (Dec 25 in theatres)

THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH No, Joel Coen has not murdered his brother, Ethan, in order to claim the throne. But this black-and-white Shakespeare adaptation is Joel’s first solo directorial feature, and the script doesn’t need any punching up. Frances McDormand, Joel’s wife, stars as Lady Macbeth, a role she played onstage in 2016. Denzel Washington is the hubby she talks into murder. Put that way, it even sounds like a Coen film. Reviews from the New York Film Festival were ecstatic. (Dec 25 in theatres, Jan 14 on Apple TV+)

MEMORIA Tilda Swinton, collaborating with Palme d’Or-winning Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”), plays a woman in Colombia who seeks to learn more about a mysterious loud bang she keeps hearing. With sound design and screen size crucial to its impact, the film is pursuing a release strategy that has already prompted debate: It will open in theatres only, one city at a time for one week at a time — and never be available for home viewing in the United States. (Dec 26 at IFC centre)

JOCKEY Clifton Collins Jr plays a jockey who is past his glory days. A younger rider (Moises Arias) turns up and says he’s the man’s son. Molly Parker co-stars. (Dec 29 in theatres)

CYRANO Peter Dinklage re-creates a role he played off-Broadway in a musical version of “Cyrano de Bergerac” in which, for a change, Cyrano’s nose is not the source of insecurity. Haley Bennett and Kelvin Harrison Jr also star. Erica Schmidt, who scripted the stage update (members of The National did the songs), wrote the screenplay for the film. Joe Wright directed. (Dec 31 in theatres)



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