From breakthrough CGI action to historical reimaginings to visionary epics on earth and in space, here are the movies everyone will be talking about.
The period from Labor Day to the end of the year is always stuffed with movies, ranging from comedies to aspiring holiday classics to aspiring Oscar nominees. In 2019, there are even more than usual vying for spots on the box office charts and critics’ year-end lists.
So here, with all the laughs, flash, sparkle, gore, explosions, tears, and animated cats you could ask for, are the movies to know about for the rest of 2019 — all 66 of them.
It Chapter Two (September 6)
The kids of the 2017 film It, based on Stephen King’s novel, are now grown up and still grappling with the terrors that haunted them as children. Argentine horror director Andrés Muschietti returns as director, and Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, James McAvoy, and Bill Skarsgård star.
Hustlers (September 13)
Based on a 2015 New York magazine article, Hustlers is the story of a group of strippers who fall on hard times when the recession hits in 2008 and struggle to figure out how to support themselves and their children. Their solution pays big dividends — but it comes with big risks, too. Vibrant, stylish, and substantive, Hustlers is directed by Lorene Scarfaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World). Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu lead a dynamic cast that includes Lizzo and Cardi B in their onscreen film debuts.
Monos (September 13)
It takes a long time to get your bearings while watching Monos, a story that feels like it could be inspired by Lord of the Flies. A band of fierce young people live in a Colombian jungle alone, conducting training exercises and waiting for directives from some entity called “the Organization,” which remains shadowy throughout the film. With a gritty, jarring cinematic style, Monos is less likable than admirable, an achievement in filmmaking with a clear, apocalyptic vision.
The Goldfinch (September 13)
Based on Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2014 novel, The Goldfinch tells the life story of Theodore Decker (Ansel Elgort), who survives a terrorist attack in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a boy and, eventually, grows up and gets himself entangled in the world of art forgeries. Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Nicole Kidman, and Sarah Paulson also star in the film directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn).
Where’s My Roy Cohn (September 20)
Roy Cohn is an infamous figure in American politics, from serving as Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel to prosecuting the Rosenbergs to working as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. (He’s also a character in Angels in America.) Where’s My Roy Cohn? — which takes its title from something the president reportedly said while in crisis mode — is a biographical documentary about Cohn, an introduction to a figure who exerted outsize pressure on American politics in the latter half of the 20th century and continues to do so from beyond the grave.
Ad Astra (September 20)
Director James Gray’s previous movie was The Lost City of Z, in which Charlie Hunnam played an early-20th-century explorer headed to the farthest reaches of the Amazon. Now he’s turned his gaze upward for Ad Astra, in which Brad Pitt plays an astronaut who must travel to the outer reaches of space to find his missing father. It’s a vaguely Interstellar-sounding plot, which Gray co-wrote with Ethan Gross, who worked as a writer and story editor on the sci-fi TV series Fringe.
Downton Abbey (September 20)
Fans of Downton Abbey rejoiced when it was announced that the characters from the beloved TV show — and the grand house itself — would return for a feature film this fall. In this installment, the king and queen are coming to the great house, which means everyone else who loves the place, from family to former employees, are returning as well. You can count on romance, drama, and some quips from Lady Crawley. It’s Downton Abbey, after all.
Between Two Ferns (On Netflix September 20)
Zach Galifianakis’s silly, surreal comedic interview show Between Two Ferns was a highlight of the comedy website Funny or Die, and now it’s being turned into what sounds like an equally surreal movie. Scott Aukerman (of the podcast Comedy Bang Bang) directs a film about Galifianakis, playing a version of himself, on a road trip to restore his “reputation” after his “public access TV show” — that is, Between Two Ferns — was uploaded to Funny or Die by Will Ferrell.
Rambo: Last Blood (September 20)
Sylvester Stallone returns for the fifth time as his iconic character, the Vietnam vet John Rambo. This time, he’s rescuing a friend’s daughter from her kidnappers. Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adriana Barraza, Yvette Monreal, Genie Kim, Joaquín Cosío, and Oscar Jaenada also star.
Abominable (September 27)
Abominable is the animated tale of Yi (Chloe Bennet), who discovers a Yeti hanging out on the roof of her Shanghai apartment building. She and her friends Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai) dub the Yeti “Everest” and decide to help him reunite with his family — which entails a lengthy journey. Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson also lend their voices to the family-friendly flick. More like Adorable, am I right?
Judy (September 27)
Renee Zellweger plays Judy Garland in this biopic, which takes place in 1968, the year before Garland died. Thirty years after The Wizard of Oz, after battles with addiction and illness, Garland is in London to perform to sold-out nightclub crowds, where she meets the man who will become her fifth husband. Judy is based on Peter Quilter’s musical End of the Rainbow, which played in London’s West End and on Broadway in 2012.
The Laundromat (September 27; on Netflix October 18)
Cinema’s busiest director, Steven Soderbergh, returns with a comedy-drama about the Panama Papers, millions of documents leaked in 2016 that exposed global corruption and tax avoidance. Meryl Streep plays Ellen Martin, a fictional character whose dream vacation goes off the rails when she stumbles across insurance fraud. Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Jeffrey Wright, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Cromwell, and Sharon Stone also star.
Pain and Glory (October 4)
In Pain and Glory, Antonio Banderas turns in a career-best performance as aging film director Salvador Malio, who encounters people throughout the film both in person and in his memory that represent important moments of creative, spiritual, and sexual awakening in his life — and in particular, his mother (Penélope Cruz) and a former lover (Leonardo Sbaraglia). It’s hard not to see this as a reflection of the film’s actual director, Pedro Almodóvar, who will turn 70 days before the film’s US release. And as such, it’s one of Almodóvar’s warmest and most poignant films in years.
The Current War (October 4)
The Current War has had a rough path to theaters. After a tepid reception at its Toronto premiere in September 2017, the film became the casualty of the revelations about the film’s executive producer Harvey Weinstein, which broke the next month and took Weinstein’s company down with him; alongside movies like The Upside, it sat on the shelf until the remaining Weinstein slate was purchased by Lighthouse Entertainment.
Now, edited and reworked by its director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, The Current War is finally coming to theaters. Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon star as Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, locked in a battle to create and fuel America’s power grid. It’s a visually stylish period drama that suffers from an unavoidable problem — struggles between various types of current simply doesn’t translate into on-screen tension — but still worth a watch.
Dolemite Is My Name (October 4; on Netflix October 25)
Starring Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name is a biographical drama about Rudy Ray Moore, the filmmaker who portrayed the character of Dolemite (a pimp) in blaxploitation films and stand-up comedy during the 1970s. Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan) directs the project from a screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the writers of movies like Ed Wood and The People vs Larry Flynt. Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, and Ron Cephas Jones also star.
Joker (October 4)
The Joker gets a standalone film in the Warner Bros. DC Extended Universe, with the title character played by Joaquin Phoenix — which feels like good casting even if the idea of a character study of a villain who is terrifying precisely because he seems to have come from nowhere is a bit dubious. Directed by Todd Phillips (of Old School and The Hangover trilogy), Joker tells the story of an impoverished failed stand-up comedian, which sounds pretty chilling all on its own. Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Bill Camp, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, and Marc Maron also star.
Lucy in the Sky (October 4)
Noah Hawley (creator of TV shows like Fargo and Legion) makes his feature directing debut with Lucy in the Sky, in which Natalie Portman plays an astronaut whose life falls apart when she returns to earth and begins an affair with a fellow astronaut. It’s loosely based on the story of Lisa Nowak and also stars Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens, Colman Domingo, and Ellen Burstyn.
Parasite (October 11)
It’s hard to categorize a Bong Joon-ho film: The director excels at movies that blow up boundaries. His dark-comedies-slash-monster-films, like The Host (2006) and Okja (2017), double as biting social commentaries, often aiming barbs at social inequality, particularly in his native Korea. Parasite returns to those themes with superb control; it’s a bleakly comic story about two families, one wealthy and one not so wealthy, that’s also a caustic tale of class conflict. (At times it plays like a dark inversion of last year’s Shoplifters.) At Cannes, the film won Bong the Palme d’Or, in a unanimous decision among the jury — and in so doing, it became the first Korean film to ever win the festival’s top prize.
Gemini Man (October 11)
Ang Lee’s next film is a big-budget science fiction action thriller about an assassin who’s trying to escape a younger clone of himself. Will Smith stars as both the present-day version of himself and a carefully CGI-animated version of himself in his early 20s. Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Benedict Wong also star.
Jexi (October 11)
Jexi sounds a bit like a goofier version of the 2013 film Her. In this one, Adam Devine plays a sad-sack guy named Phil who discovers that his newly upgraded phone includes a feature that’s like Siri, but much more involved in his life, named Jexi (and voiced by Rose Byrne). She’s a life coach and virtual assistant, and with her help Phil starts to get his life on track — but then Jexi gets jealous.
Mister America (October 11)
Tim Heidecker (one half of comedy duo Tim & Eric) plays a version of himself in this darkly comedic campaign movie spoof. After he narrowly escapes being convicted of the murder of a group of people at a music festival he organized, Heidecker vows to run for district attorney against the man who tried to put him behind bars. Mister America is the chronicle of his comically disorganized and corrupt campaign. Terri Parks, Gregg Turkington, and Curtis Webster also star in this film from director Eric Notarnicola (Nathan for You, Who Is America).
The Addams Family (October 11)
America’s favorite macabre clan is getting the animated treatment from directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan (Sausage Party). In this story, the family ends up in a feud with a reality TV producer while also preparing for a visit from out-of-town relatives. Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Bette Midler, and Allison Janney lend their voices to the project.
The King (October 11, on Netflix November 1)
Timothée Chalamet stars as Henry V in this adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henriad, directed by David Michôd from a screenplay by Michôd and Joel Edgerton. In this version, Prince Hal ascends the throne upon his father’s death and finds that there’s a lot to navigate in his new position, from politics and intrigue to war. It appears the film sticks to Shakespeare’s plot while dispensing with his dialogue, which is certainly a bold choice. Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Lily-Rose Depp, Robert Pattinson, and Ben Mendelsohn also star.
The Lighthouse (October 18)
The Lighthouse, from The Witch director Robert Eggers, strands Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson on an island with a lighthouse and some devious seagulls, and surrounds them with a fierce sea. The film is somehow a whacked-out period comedy populated by saltily bearded sea dogs; a psychosexual drama about dramatically fractured psyches; a Beckett-style dive into guilt and shame; and, at times, kind of a takeoff on Aquaman. Shot in grainy black and white and in Academy ratio (which appears square to most audiences), it’s like a movie made by a director who knows just what he’s going for and just how to get there.
Jojo Rabbit (October 18)
Following his Thor installment, director Taika Waititi returns with Jojo Rabbit, a dark comedy about a young boy in Nazi Germany, whom everyone says is a “scared rabbit,” and his imaginary friend … Adolf Hitler? Waititi stars alongside Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Leave No Trace breakout star Thomasin McKenzie.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (October 18)
Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning star in the sequel to the 2014 film about characters from Sleeping Beauty. In this installment, Maleficent (Jolie) and Princess Aurora (Fanning) must band together to protect their magical lands from forces with less-than-beneficent intentions. Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville return, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Michelle Pfeiffer also star.
Zombieland: Double Tap (October 18)
It’s been a decade since the first Zombieland, and it turns out the undead have evolved. So Wichita (Emma Stone), Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), and Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) must evolve how they live too, unless they want to turn up dead. (Or undead.) Bill Murray returns as himself, Dan Aykroyd joins him, and Zoey Deutch also stars.
Frankie (October 25)
Written and directed by Ira Sachs (Little Men, Love is Strange), Frankie is a modest and quietly deep story about a family adjusting to change. Frankie (Isabelle Huppert) is a world-renowned actress who summons her family — her husband (Brendan Gleeson), son (Jérémie Renier), stepdaughter (Vinette Robinson) and family, and her ex-husband (Pascal Greggory) — to the idyllic landscape of Sintra, in Portugal. She also invites an old friend (Marisa Tomei), who brings along her boyfriend (Greg Kinnear). Over the course of a day of conversations, old relationships are realigned and new ones are formed. All things in life eventually end; Frankie suggests the endings can be as beautiful as the beginnings.
Black and Blue (October 25)
Naomie Harris plays Alicia West, a rookie cop in New Orleans whose body cam records the murder of a drug dealer — a murder committed by several officers, one of whom is her partner. She finds herself a target as she works to expose the murder and outrun those who are trying to stop her. Deon Taylor (The Intruder) directs a cast that also includes Tyrese Gibson, Mike Colter, Reid Scott, Beau Knapp, and Frank Grillo.
The Irishman (November 1, on Netflix November 27)
Netflix spent an extraordinary amount of money — more than $140 million — on Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, partly because the movie uses de-aging effects on some of its cast. It follows Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro) as he recounts all of the hit jobs he says he committed for the Bufalino crime family, including the murder of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Jo Pesci, Harvey Keitel, and Bobby Cannavale also star in what sounds like a vintage Scorsese joint.
Earthquake Bird (November 1, on Netflix November 15)
Based on the novel by Susannah Jones, Earthquake Bird is a thriller about Lucy Fly (Alicia Vikander), a young woman living in Tokyo in 1989. She becomes a murder suspect when her friend Lily (Riley Keough) disappears because both were involved in a love triangle with Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi).
Harriet (November 1)
In Harriet, Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Black Nativity) directs Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave who became one of the most significant figures in leading the enslaved to freedom during the Civil War. Leslie Odom Jr., Jennifer Nettles, Joe Alwyn, Janelle Monáe, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and Clarke Peters also star.
Motherless Brooklyn (November 1)
Motherless Brooklyn is a crime drama set in the 1950s, about a detective with Tourette’s Syndrome working to solve the mystery of the murder of his mentor. Edward Norton, who stars in this adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s 1999 novel, also wrote, produced, and directed the film. Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann, Ethan Suplee, Dallas Roberts, Josh Pais, Robert Ray Wisdom, Fisher Stevens, Alec Baldwin, and Willem Dafoe also star.
Waves (November 1)
Director Trey Edward Shults earned raves for his 2016 indie film Krisha, about one family’s tumultuous Thanksgiving; now he’s back with Waves, about a black family in Florida who come together after a devastating loss. And it features an all-star cast that includes Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Sterling K. Brown.
Terminator: Dark Fate (November 1)
Terminator: Dark Fate is sort of a sequel and a reboot. Twenty-seven years after the events of 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day, a new Terminator is sent from the future by Skynet to get rid of Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) and a cyborg/human hybrid (Mackenzie Davis); the targets are helped by Sarah Connor and the original Terminator, with Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising their roles. Some movie wizardry will also allow Edward Furlong to reprise his role as John Connor, sort of: CGI will apply Furlong’s face from the 1990s films to a body double. It sounds weird!
Marriage Story (November 6, on Netflix December 6)
Few directors understand family dynamics like Noah Baumbach, and in Marriage Story, he’s working at the top of his game. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star in this heartrending comedy-drama as a couple undergoing a divorce that pushes them in unexpected ways. The movie actually released two trailers — one from his perspective and one from hers. Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta also star.
Doctor Sleep (November 8)
In 2013, Stephen King wrote a sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining. Now it’s been turned into a movie — and thus a sequel to the 1980 Kubrick horror classic. The film follows grown-up Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) who has developed psychic powers and an alcohol problem, and encounters a teenager with psychic powers of her own.
Honey Boy (November 8)
Shia LaBeouf earned praise at Sundance for Honey Boy, which he wrote based on his childhood and his relationship with his father. Alma Har’el directed the film, in which LaBeouf stars (playing his father) alongside Noah Jupe (playing a version of young LaBeouf) and Lucas Hedges.
Klaus (November 8, on Netflix November 15)
Klaus is Netflix’s first original animated feature, directed by Sergio Pablos (who created Despicable Me). According to Netflix’s description, it’s a “Santa Claus origin story” about a selfish young postman, assigned to a remote Scandinavian town, who “forms an unlikely friendship with a reclusive toymaker.” Bet you can guess what happens next. Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, JK Simmons, and Joan Cusack lend their voices to the project.
Last Christmas (November 8)
Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, A Simple Favor) directs a screenplay co-written by Emma Thompson and Bryony Kimmings (based on a story Thompson wrote with her husband Greg Wise). Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, and Thompson star in a London-set romcom about a woman working at a Christmas supply store.
The Lodge (November 15)
Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala — the team behind the terrifying 2014 film Goodnight Mommy — The Lodge stars Riley Keough as a damaged young woman who grew up in a doomsday cult headed by her father. Now she’s engaged to a man with two children who hate her for replacing their own mother. And when she and the kids get snowed in together in a remote cabin, bad things start to happen.
Atlantics (November 15, on Netflix November 29)
Mati Diop, the first black woman in Cannes history to have a film in the festival’s main competition, tells the story of Ada (Mame Bineta Sane), a Senegalese girl living in a poor village that’s been exploited by a wealthy developer. One of the developer’s workers is Soulemaine (Traore), and Soulemaine and Ada are in love. But she’s already promised to the aloof, wealthy Omar. Then Soulemaine and a number of other young men disappear in the night and mysterious fires are lit around town. And that’s when things start getting really weird. It’s an extraordinary feature debut for Diop — who came away from Cannes with the Grand Prix, essentially second place to the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or — and an unforgettable tale of the poor struggling to assert their right to what’s theirs.
Charlie’s Angels (November 15)
Elizabeth Banks directs a new reboot of the much-rebooted franchise from the 1970s, starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Banks, Patrick Stewart, and Djimon Hounsou. In this new installment, there are multiple teams of Angels globally, and they’re called out to protect the world against a dangerous new technology. It’s a pretty conventional plot setup for an action flick, but with the Angels in the mix, there will be a lot of ass-kicking.
Ford v Ferrari (November 15)
James Mangold (Logan) directs a cast led by Christian Bale and Matt Damon, who play automotive designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles, respectively, in this retelling of a true story about a team of engineers and enthusiasts trying to build a car from scratch that can beat the Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans race in France. Caitriona Balfe, Noah Jupe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, and Tracy Letts also star.
The Good Liar (November 15)
Based on Nicholas Searle’s 2015 novel, The Good Liar is the story of a con man (Ian McKellen) who scams a woman (Helen Mirren) online, but starts to find himself caring for her. The film is directed by Bill Condon, who directed films like Dreamgirls and the 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast, and based on a screenplay by Stage Beauty’s Jeffrey Hatcher.
The Report (November 15)
One of the buzziest films from Sundance this year was The Report, in which Adam Driver plays Daniel J. Jones, the Senate staffer who investigated the CIA’s use of torture following September 11. Scott Z. Burns (who wrote The Informant! and Contagion) directs the film, which also stars Annette Bening, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, and Jon Hamm.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (November 22)
Following the runaway success of the 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor about Fred Rogers — that is, Mister Rogers — Tom Hanks stars as the kindly children’s TV star in a biopic directed by Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?). Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel, an Esquire journalist assigned to profile Rogers (based on real-life journalist and Rogers profiler Tom Junod). Chris Cooper also stars.
Dark Waters (November 22)
Based on the true story of a lawyer who uncovered the connection between the DuPont chemical company and a string of deaths, Dark Waters is unlikely but welcome territory for director Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, Carol, Wonderstruck). Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper, and Bill Pullman star.
Frozen 2 (November 22)
It’s a sequel to Frozen. Need I say more?
Knives Out (November 27)
Between Star Wars projects — The Last Jedi and his upcoming standalone trilogy — director Rian Johnson decided to make a quick little film with some friends. The result is Knives Out, a “modern murder mystery in a whodunnit style,” which is a great fit for a director who broke out with Brick, an old-school noir mystery set in a contemporary California high school. Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, and Chris Evans star.
Queen & Slim (November 27)
Lena Waithe (The Chi) wrote the screenplay for Queen & Slim, a modern-day take on the story of Bonnie and Clyde directed by Melina Matsoukas. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith star as a couple whose first date takes a turn when they’re pulled over by a cop. Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Bokeem Woodbine, and Indya Moore also star.
The Two Popes (November 27, on Netflix December 20)
Fernando Meirelles (City of God) directs this biographical comedy-drama about Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and his successor, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the eventual Pope Francis. The movie takes place at a turning point in the Roman Catholic Church’s history, as Bergoglio requests permission from Benedict to retire from the church with which he’s become frustrated.
Little Joe (December 6)
It’s a little hard to know what to make of Little Joe, a stylized horror sci-fi drama from director Jessica Hausner. Emily Beecham (who won Best Actress at Cannes for her performance) and Ben Whishaw star in a story about scientists endeavoring to create a houseplant that makes its owner happy when they smell it. The plant, the scientists say, will help cure depression and anxiety around the world. But then things go … sideways. There are some chin-scratching implications about mental illness in the film (I’d have to spoil the plot to explain; suffice it to say it gave me pause). With those connotations aside, however, as a horror film, it’s great: slow-moving, filled with dread, set in a pastel landscape that makes the fiery red flowers all the more creepy.
The Aeronauts (December 6)
Tom Harper (Wild Rose, Peaky Blinders) directs Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones — who last teamed up for 2014’s The Theory of Everything — in a historical drama about a scientific quest gone terribly wrong. It’s based on a real-life 1862 gas balloon flight; Redmayne plays James Glaisher and Jones plays a fictional pilot named Amelia Wren. Phoebe Fox, Himesh Patel, Vincent Perez, and Anne Reid also star.
Playmobil: The Movie (December 6)
The latest in a string of children’s playthings to get their own movie, Playmobil parlays the beloved German building toys into a tale of international travel, adventure, and intrigue, centering on a girl named Marla (voiced by Anya Taylor-Joy) and her brother Charlie (Gabriel Bateman). The voice talent includes Daniel Radcliffe, Jim Gaffigan, Meghan Trainor, and Adam Lambert.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (December 6)
French director Céline Sciamma has often made coming-of-age films about young women, frequently exploring the ways that gender expression and sexual desire morph, shift, and evolve during youth. For Portrait of a Lady on Fire, she casts her gaze to the past, telling the story of a young painter (Noémie Merlant) near the end of the 18th century. The painter has been commissioned to make a portrait of a woman named Marianne (Adèle Haenel), who’s being pressured by her mother to get married. The two become closer, and when Marianne’s mother leaves for a while, desire flames into life. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a restrained film until it isn’t, and exquisite both in its rendering of the women’s relationship and of its period.
A Hidden Life (December 13)
Set during World War II and based on a true story, A Hidden Life — the latest film from Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life, Badlands, Days of Heaven) — is about Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer who could have lived a prosperous life if he’d agreed to swear an oath of loyalty to Hitler. But he refused. A Hidden Life is Malick’s most overtly political film and one of his most religious, urgent, and sometimes even uncomfortable because of what it says — to everyone, but specifically to Christians in places where they’re the majority — about the warp and weft of courage. It also seems designed to lodge barbs in a comfortable audience during an era of rising white nationalism.
Jumanji: The Next Level (December 13)
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle turned out to be one of the surprise hits of 2017, and its follow-up reunites the same cast — including Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and The Rock — with a few new faces, including Awkwafina. It turns out that the pieces of the Jumanji video game weren’t quite disposed of, and a gang of teenagers finds themselves back in the game.
Uncut Gems (December 13)
Adam Sandler stars in the new film from brothers Josh and Benny Safdie (Good Time) as New York City jeweler Howard Ratner, who makes some risky high-stakes bets. If he wins, he’ll win big. But if he loses, he could lose everything. Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, and Judd Hirsch also star.
Bombshell (December 20)
Bombshell is a movie about the women who accused Fox News founder Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and led, eventually, to his professional demise. The movie stars Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), and Margot Robbie (who plays a fictional producer). But the supporting cast is just as star-studded, including John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Alison Janney, and more.
Cats (December 20)
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is getting the big-screen treatment, directed by Tom Hooper, who also directed the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables that won Anne Hathaway a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. The trailer raised a lot of questions, chief among them whether the movie will be any good. But the cast is absurdly stacked: Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellen, Laurie Davidson, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Rebel Wilson, and more.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (December 20)
Some time has gone by following the events of The Last Jedi, and some big questions — like Rey’s parentage and the future of the Jedi order — still linger for The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in the third Star Wars trilogy. J.J. Abrams returns to direct a cast that once again includes Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and, thanks to unused footage from The Force Awakens, Commander Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, who died at the end of 2016).
1917 (December 25)
Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Skyfall) directs a historical drama based partly on stories his grandfather told him about World War I. Two British soldiers are sent on an impossible mission to warn a battalion of an impending ambush. The cast includes Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch, and stars rising stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman.
Just Mercy (December 25)
Based on Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson’s bestselling 2014 memoir, Just Mercy is the story of Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan) as he takes the case of Walter McMillan (Jamie Foxx), a man imprisoned for a murder he may not have committed. The film is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), whose upcoming project is Marvel’s Eternals. Brie Larson, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Rob Morgan, Rafe Spall, and Tim Blake Nelson star.
Little Women (December 25)
Greta Gerwig is following her beloved 2017 film Lady Bird with an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women. Fans of the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder may raise an eyebrow, but Gerwig’s cast (and the movie’s first trailer) has won over most skeptics, with Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Emma Watson as Meg, Florence Pugh as Amy, Eliza Scanlen as Beth, Meryl Streep as Aunt March, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Timothée Chalamet as Laurie.
Clemency (December 27)
Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) has worked as a warden at a maximum-security prison for years, and it’s clearly been wearing on her health, her marriage, and her soul. She sees her work as important — caring for the inmates and quietly supporting them as they approach their execution dates. But then a lethal injection goes awry, and as the date for the next one approaches, she finds herself reaching a breaking point. Director Chinonye Chukwu crafts an unusual way to expose the injustices of the capital punishment system without forgetting the individuals who are stuck in its gears.
Author: Alissa Wilkinson