Movie News & Reviews

Here come the 2016 holiday films

Caspar Phillipson portrays John F. Kennedy and Natalie Portman is Jackie in a scene from “Jackie.” opening Dec. 21.
Caspar Phillipson portrays John F. Kennedy and Natalie Portman is Jackie in a scene from “Jackie.” opening Dec. 21. Fox Searchlight

Hollywood likes to save its best films for last, in order to take advantage of holiday moviegoing crowds and be fresh in the minds of Academy voters when they start submitting their Oscar ballots in January. Here’s a list of the movies heading into theaters between now and the end of 2016 (along with a few January stragglers).

DEC. 2

“Manchester by the Sea”: The third — and best — movie from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (“You Can Count On Me,” “Margaret”) stars Casey Affleck as a handyman who becomes the legal guardian of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges).

DEC. 9

“Miss Sloane”: Jessica Chastain stars as a crackerjack political lobbyist trying to make a difference on Capitol Hill.

“Office Christmas Party”: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Kate McKinnon and Olivia Munn are among the revelers at an office holiday celebration that gets way out of control.

DEC. 16

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”: Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”) directs this prequel to “A New Hope” about a band of resistance fighters (including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn and Forest Whitaker) who risk their lives to steal the plans for an under-construction Death Star.

“La La Land”: Get ready to be very happy. Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s song-and-dance musical about two aspiring artists (Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling) who fall in love lives up to the hype.

“The Space Between Us”: Asa Butterfield is the first human being born on Mars who comes to visit Earth for the first time.

“Collateral Beauty”: Will Smith stars as a man whose life is upended by tragedy. Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren are among the people who help him try to regain his footing.

DEC. 21

“Assassin’s Creed”: Michael Fassbender stars in this adaptation of the hit video game as a man genetically linked to a member of a secret society of killers in 15th-century Spain.

“Lion”: 25 years after being separated from his family, a young man (Dev Patel) leaves his adoptive parents (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) and tries to track down the relatives he left behind in Calcutta.

“Jackie”: The Oscar buzz is strong around Natalie Portman’s performance as Jacqueline Kennedy in this drama set during the immediate days following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“Passengers”: A spacecraft carring thousands of people to a distant colony planet malfunctions, causing two of its passengers (Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt) to wake up from hypersleep 90 years early.

“Sing”: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane and Scarlett Johansson provide the voices for this animated fable about animals who put on a musical show to save an old theater.

DEC. 23

“Elle”: A ferocious Isabelle Huppert stars in director Paul (“Showgirls”) Verhoeven’s drama about a woman plotting revenge against the home intruder who raped her.

“Why Him?”: An uptight father (Bryan Cranston) is aghast to discover his daughter (Zoey Deutch) is dating a Silicon Valley billionaire (James Franco) who lacks even a semblance of manners and social grace.

“A Monster Calls”: A boy (Lewis MacDougall) worried about the health of his mother (Felicity Jones) seeks comfort in the company of a giant talking tree (Liam Neeson).

DEC. 25

“Fences”: Viola Davis is the early favorite in the Best Supporting Actress Oscar race for her performance in this adaptation of August Wilson’s play about race relations in the 1950s, directed by and starring Denzel Washington.

“Hidden Figures”: Director Theodore Melfi’s fact-based drama celebrates the contributions of three African-American women (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe) who played critical roles in helping NASA send astronaut John Glenn to the moon.

“Live By Night”: Ben Affleck wrote, directed and stars in this Prohibition Era drama about an overly ambitious man who crosses the wrong mobsters.

DEC. 28

“Paterson”: Jim Jarmusch wrote and directed this character study of an emotionally alienated bus driver (Adam Driver).

JAN. 6

“Silence”: Two 17th-century Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) travel to Japan in search of their mentor (Liam Neeson) in director Martin Scorsese’s years-in-the-making drama.

JAN. 13

“Patriots Day”: Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman and J.K. Simmons star in director Peter Berg’s dramatic recounting of the first responders who helped save lives during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

“Julieta”: A mother (Emma Suarez) revisits her past in order to figure out why her daughter abandoned her in the latest drama from director Pedro Almodóvar.

JAN. 20

“20th Century Women”: Mike Mills (“Beginners”) directs Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning in this story about the cultural rebellion of the late 1970s.

“Toni Erdmann”: Writer-director Maren Ade’s celebrated German comedy centers on a father trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

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