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Your Guide to All the Awards Season Films Released Over the Holidays

You may have already chosen your favorite film of the year and declared your selections for the 2020 Academy Awards Best Picture category but there are still dozens of buzzworthy films set to be released over the upcoming holidays. To help keep you up to date with all the new movie releases of 2019, check out our November and December release calendar below and write us in the comments about the movies you’re most excited to see or the ones you’ve loved most so far this year.

Out Now & Some of the Year’s Best

Rocketman

The story of Elton John’s life, from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his influential and enduring musical partnership with Bernie Taupin. Directed by Dexter Fletcher.
Rocketman is Broadway razzle-dazzle of the best kind. Full review

Parasite

Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks. Directed by Joon-ho Bong.
The story begins as a social satire of rich and poor, as witty and sophisticated in its fashion as vintage Preston Sturges or Ernst Lubitsch. Remarkably, though, it gets funnier as it grows more serious, then savagely funny and finally…but we mustn’t get ahead of a movie that stays ahead of its audience every frame of the way. Full review

Jojo Rabbit

A lonely German boy’s (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism. Directed by Taika Waititi.

Absurdist humor abounds throughout a story whose underlying themes echo Elvis Costello’s eternal question, “What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?” even as corpses dangle from a foregrounded gallows. Full review

Honey Boy

A young actor tries to reconcile with his father after surviving a turbulent childhood. Directed by Alma Har’el.

Shia LaBeouf wrote the script, and based it on his own childhood. This means he is, in essence, playing his own father. The performance is so good, so in-the-trenches, it feels like it’s an act of channeling rather than mimicry or even imitation. Full review

Ford v Ferrarri
Visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and fearless British-born driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) battle corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966. Directed by James Mangold.

The movie is an old-fashioned rouser with a lot of new-fashioned virtuosity. Full review

Judy

Winter 1968 and showbiz legend Judy Garland (Renée Zellweger) arrives in Swinging London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in The Wizard of Oz, but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of love seem undimmed as she embarks on a whirlwind romance with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. Directed by  Rupert Goold
Zellweger knocks it out of the park, lighting up this punchy and moving late-life biopic with big-hearted, big-voiced panache. Full review

November 22

Frozen II

Elsa the Snow Queen and her sister Anna embark on an adventure far away from the kingdom of Arendelle. They are joined by friends, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven.

The best things about the first film — the characters and music — once again sing in a frequently dazzling if narratively flawed sequel that’s better at being sensory than sense-making. Full review

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A journalist’s life is enriched by friendship when he takes on an assignment profiling Fred Rogers. Based on the real-life friendship between journalist Tom Junod and television star Fred Rogers.

This film invites us into Rogers’ philosophy that adults would be better people if they tried to remember what it was like to be children. It gently coaxes the audience to filter some very adult emotions through the familiar characters and songs and stories of Rogers’ world. The result is unexpected and unlike any film of its kind, and a testimony to Rogers’ enduring influence, too. Full review

21 Bridges

After uncovering a massive conspiracy, an embattled NYPD detective joins a citywide manhunt for two young cop killers. As the night unfolds, he soon becomes unsure of who to pursue — and who’s in pursuit of him. When the search intensifies, authorities decide to take extreme measures by closing all of Manhattan’s 21 bridges to prevent the suspects from escaping.

Dark Waters

Inspired by a shocking true story, a tenacious attorney (Mark Ruffalo) uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths due to one of the world’s largest corporations. In the process, he risks everything – his future, his family, and his own life – to expose the truth. Starring Mark Rufallo and Anne Hathaway. Directed by Todd Haynes

What gives Dark Waters its singular texture is that Todd Haynes (“Carol,” “Far From Heaven”), who has never made a drama remotely like this, colors in the scenario with an underlying dimension of personalized obsession. Full review

November 27

Queen & Slim

While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man (Daniel Kaluuya) and a black woman (Jodie Turner-Smith), are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country. As they drive, these two unlikely fugitives will discover themselves and each other in the most dire and desperate of circumstances, and will forge a deep and powerful love that will reveal their shared humanity and shape the rest of their lives. Directed by Melina Matsoukas.

Queen & Slim is an extraordinary Black Odyssey; a film whose tracks reverberate with echoes of the underground railroad. Full review

Knives Out

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death. Directed by Rian Johnson.

Knives Out isn’t just deviously intelligent but also consistently gut-busting, and an impeccably crafted blast of Hollywood entertainment, built around several exceptional (and juicily venomous) performances. Full review

The Two Popes

Behind Vatican walls, the traditionalist Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) and the reformist future Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church. Directed by Fernando Meirelles

What makes The Two Popes so delightful, other than the very funny script, is watching two seasoned actors play off each other for two hours. Both Hopkins and Pryce illustrate what the craft of acting is really about. Full review

The Irishman

(On Netflix)

The Irishman is an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th Century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.
Directed by Martin Scorsese.
No-one but Scorsese and this glorious cast could have made this movie live as richly and compellingly as it does, and persuade us that its tropes and images are still vital. Full review

December 6

The Aeronauts

In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and advancing scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival. Directed by Tom Harper.

A thrilling, action-packed, wide-vista yarn from the sharp quills of Jack Thorne and co-writer and director Tom Harper, this Amazon-backed project is deceptively simple yet surprisingly deft. Full review

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

France, 1770. Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be, and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day, to paint her secretly. Directed by Céline Sciamma.
This radiantly sensual film ends on the perfect note, a rush of emotional intensity that’s wrapped in a secret, as hushed as the rustle of silk. Full review


Little Joe

Alice (Emily Beecham) is a single mother and dedicated senior plant breeder at a corporation engaged in developing new species. She has engineered a special crimson flower, remarkable not only for its beauty but also for its therapeutic value: if kept at the ideal temperature, fed properly and spoken to regularly, this plant makes its owner happy. Against company policy, Alice takes one home as a gift for her teenage son, Joe. They christen it ‘Little Joe.’ But as their plant grows, so too does Alice’s suspicion that her new creation may not be as harmless as its nickname suggests. Directed by Jessica Hausner.
Visually, it’s a total feast for the eyes, contrasting art-deco pinks and mint greens against sterile, symmetrically framed expanses of white, vaguely evoking the aesthetic of some lost sci-fi film of the ’70s. Full review

Marriage Story

(On Netflix)

An incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. Directed by Noah Baumbach.
A highlight reel for everyone involved: career-defining work from Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, astounding supporting turns courtesy of Laura Dern and Alan Alda, and a masterclass from Baumbach. Full review

December 13

Jumanji: The Next Level

In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game.

Black Christmas

Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays. But as Riley Stone (Imogen Poots) and her Mu Kappa Epsilon sisters-athlete Marty (Lily Donoghue), rebel Kris (Aleyse Shannon), and foodie Jesse (Brittany O’Grady)-prepare to deck the halls with a series of seasonal parties, a black-masked stalker begins killing sorority women one by one. As the body count rises, Riley and her squad start to question whether they can trust any man, including Marty’s beta-male boyfriend, Nate (Simon Mead), Riley’s new crush Landon (Caleb Eberhardt) or even esteemed classics instructor Professor Gelson (Cary Elwes). Whoever the killer is, he’s about to discover that this generation’s young women aren’t about to be anybody’s victims.

Richard Jewell

The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta bombing—his report making him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart. Reaching out to independent, anti-establishment attorney Watson Bryant, Jewell staunchly professes his innocence. But Bryant finds he is out of his depth as he fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI and APD to clear his client’s name, while keeping Richard from trusting the very people trying to destroy him.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, and Kathy Bates.

Bombshell

A group of women decide to take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over the network.
Directed by Jay Roach and starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Connie Britton, Alice Eve, Allison Janney, Ashley Greene, Brooke Smith, and Kate McKinnon.

Uncut Gems

Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler, is always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win. Directed by The Brothers Safdie.

It is the most arrhythmia-inducingly tense film I have seen in years: by the end, I felt as if I’d spent the last two hours being dangled by my ankles over a crocodile pit. Full review

Seberg

The story is inspired by true events about the French New Wave darling and Breathless star, Jean Seberg, who in the late 1960s was targeted by the FBI, because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal. She was the focus of the FBI’s attempts to disrupt, discredit and expose the Black Power movement.

The picture is potent and engaging; even its fictionalized elements ring with the spirit of truth. And Stewart is off the charts, though that’s hardly a surprise. Full review

A Hidden Life

Based on real events, A Hidden Life is the story of Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife, Fani, and children that keeps his spirit alive. Directed by Terrence Malick.

Malick’s masterpiece makes a great argument that it’s the little-known heroes, as opposed to the ones we trumpet as such, that truly form the ethical foundation upon which our society still creakily rests. Malick is a true cinematic maestro, conducting the orchestra of life. A Hidden Life is breathtaking in every aspect. Full review

December 20

Cats

A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.
Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring: Francesca Hayward, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, James Corden, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Larry Bourgeois, Laurent Bourgeois, Laurie Davidson, Les Twins, Mette Towley, Ray Winstone, Rebel Wilson, Robert Fairchild, Steven McRae, Taylor Swift, Zizi Strallen

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Every generation has a legend.
Directed by dream team Colin Trevorrow and J.J. Abrams. Starring Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Billie Lourd, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson, Dominic Monaghan, Greg Grunberg, Ian McDiarmid, John Boyega, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Keri Russell, Lupita Nyong’o, Mark Hamill, Matt Smith, Naomi Ackie, Oscar Isaac, Richard E. Grant.

December 25

1917

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them. Directed by Sam Mendes.

Little Women

Little Women draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In writer-director Greta Gerwig’s take, the beloved story of the March sisters—four young women each determined to live life on her own terms—is both timeless and timely.

Just Mercy

Just Mercy follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him.

It is impossible to walk away from Just Mercy unmoved. Full review

Clemency

Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard). As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill. Directed by Chinonye Chukwu.
Chukwu maintains an impressive command over her material, but Woodard herself becomes the movie’s central storyteller. Full review

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