Here are some flicks to check out this holiday:
The gist: A couple goes through divorce, spurred by a cross-country move and simmering tensions.
The stars: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta
The hype: Director Noah Baumbach is a frequent chronicler of crumbling families, and this one has gotten festival raves for its two leads’ authentic performances and the story’s equal parts heartbreaking and sweet musings on relationships.
Recommended if you like: Crying but smiling but crying; New York vs. Los Angeles debates; Laura Dern meaning business and taking names; a muted color palette and drab clothing that make you question what year this is
The gist: An adult Danny Torrance deals with the resurgence of his “shining” powers after encountering a young girl who shares them—and a sinister group now after their abilities.
The stars: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran
The hype: While Stephen King was famously not a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, he still approved director Mike Flanagan’s vision to bring Danny back to the Overlook Hotel of the 1980 classic. Get ready for long, creepy hallways and hedge mazes!
Recommended if you like: Getting snowed in; tricycles; all work and no play; those hippie folk singers you might find playing for tips on a French Quarter street (but here they’re cast as the quasi-immortal bad guys)
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The gist: Based on an Esquire article about Fred Rogers, a journalist learns more about himself in the process of interviewing the beloved children’s television host.
The stars: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Cooper
The hype: Hanks was born to play this role. Early reviews say it’s less a biopic and more about the friendship between the two main characters, with Hanks finding the unwaveringly positive core of Mr. Rogers.
Recommended if you like: The creepy charm of Lady Elaine Fairchilde; model train sets; characters who openly admit they’re “broken” at some point; cardigans
The gist: Elsa, Anna and the gang set out to a distant land to uncover the secret of Elsa’s frosty powers.
The stars: Voice work from Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Evan Rachel Wood, Sterling K. Brown
The hype: Frozen was the highest-grossing animated film of all time, thanks to its epic theme song “Let It Go” and fresh take on the prince/princess formula. One early plus: Groff, a Broadway regular, gets a major musical number this time around.
Recommended if you like: Enchanted forests; not caring what they’re going to say; the cold, which never bothered you anyway; so many hair braids
The gist: A detective team arrives to investigate a murder at a sprawling family estate. Of course, everyone’s a suspect.
The stars: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer
The hype: It’s fascinating to find director Rian Johnson following up Star Wars: The Last Jedi with this Agatha Christie-nodding whodunnit, but the film was a crowd pleaser at festivals for its puzzle of twists and turns.
Recommended if you like: Investigators with comically thick Southern accents; stuck-up rich people getting their comeuppance; fall layers; knives out literally and metaphorically; motives, so many motives
QUEEN & SLIM
The gist: After an uneventful first date, a traffic stop takes a violent turn and sends the couple on the lam, setting off a media firestorm and protests.
The stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Indya Moore
The hype: This timely Bonnie & Clyde-style story was written by Lena Waithe, who has become a hot commodity since her Emmy win and Showtime series The Chi. But all eyes will be on Turner-Smith in her first film role.
Recommended if you like: Tinder dates; heading off to the coast; that scene at the end of Thelma & Louise where there’s nowhere to turn so they hold hands and floor it
The gist: The takedown of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes is seen through the eyes of women at the network, like Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly, who spoke up about Ailes’ history of sexual harassment.
The stars: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Connie Britton, John Lithgow
The hype: The teaser trailer was essentially Theron, Kidman and Robbie stepping into an elevator and exchanging glances, yet that was tense enough to create media buzz. The star power in this, as well as a screenplay by Charles Randolph, who wrote The Big Short, promises to make this a juicy Oscar contender.
Recommended if you like: Perfect news anchor hair that doesn’t move; office politics; that news headline formula of “[Person A] SLAMS/BLASTS/CALLS OUT [Person B]”
The gist: The film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and T.S. Eliot’s long-running feline Broadway musical hits movie theaters.
The stars: Francesca Hayward, James Corden, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson
The hype: Early impressions of the first trailer were not good, mainly because of the creepy motion capture of putting famous faces on the bodies of cat-human hybrids. But that’s also just how Cats is: creepy. Director Tom Hooper was responsible for Anne Hathaway’s Oscar-winning turn in Les Miserables, so expect some Oscar buzz around this film, too.
Recommended if you like: Top hats; luxurious fur coats; jellicle cats; cobblestone streets; furries; new days beginning
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
The gist: Members of the Resistance try to put the pieces back together after being decimated by the First Order in The Last Jedi.
The stars: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Ian McDiarmid
The hype: The trailer hints at the return of the franchise’s scariest villain, Emperor Palpatine, but we’re really here to find out the truth about Rey’s past and if Kylo Ren will be redeemed.
Recommended if you like: The Mad Max series; bazaars; troubled young white dudes; confidently looking off into the distance
The gist: The eighth film adaption of the late 19th century novel focuses on the young adult lives of the March sisters.
The stars: Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep
The hype: Greta Gerwig is writing and directing, which means the story’s in good hands after Lady Bird’s critical success—and the cast is stacked with prime young performers.
Recommended if you like: Subverting social norms; wearing pants; going out unaccompanied; creating a scandal; overly romantic young white dudes
This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.