Winter Movies 2021: Here’s What’s Coming Soon to Streaming and Theaters

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 theaters and streaming, from Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” which will be available both ways, to the 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 theaters 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)

The title pooch hits the city in “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” Credit…Paramount Pictures

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 theaters and on Paramount+)

UPPERCASE PRINT The 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 the 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 theaters and on

3212 UN-REDACTED This documentary from the 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 theaters 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 theaters)

CUSP The directors Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt capture three Texas teenage girls’ alternately lyrical and harrowing experiences of adolescence. A.O. 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 theaters, 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 theaters)

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 Child on the set of her cooking show, one of several aspects of her life examined in a new documentary.Credit…Fairchild Archive/Penske Media and Shutterstock

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 best-selling cookbook author and TV celebrity. (Nov. 12 in theaters)

LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE Eleanor Coppola (the 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 theaters, 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 theaters 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 theaters)

Marya Membreño in Tatiana Huezo’s “Prayers for the Stolen.”Credit…Netflix

PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN This coming-of-age story from the 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 theaters, 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 re-enacting 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 theaters, 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 theaters 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 theaters, 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 theaters)

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

Halle Berry and Valentina Schevchenko face off in “Bruised.” Berry also directed.Credit…John Baer/Netflix

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 theaters, Nov. 24 on Netflix)

CHILDREN OF THE ENEMY This documentary from the 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 theaters)

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’s real-life partner), and her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) confounds the local codes of masculinity. (Nov. 17 in theaters, 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 The 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+)

Vanessa Hudgens gets triple screen time in the latest “Princess Switch” movie.Credit…Mark Mainz/Netflix

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 theaters)

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 theaters 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 theaters, 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 theaters and on demand)

Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Norman in the latest film from Mike Mills, “C’mon C’mon.”Credit…Tobin Yelland/A24

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 theaters)

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 theaters and on demand)

THE FIRST WAVE The 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 theaters)

From left, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace and Logan Kim answer the call in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.”Credit…Kimberley French/Columbia Pictures

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE Is the perception that the female “Ghostbusters” reboot (2016) went splat? The 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’s 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 theaters)

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 theaters)

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 theaters)

KING RICHARD That would be Richard Williams (Will Smith), the 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 theaters 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 theaters and on demand)

THE REAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN Peter Middleton and James Spinney directed this biographical documentary, which uses archival materials, audio and re-enactments to explore the career of the Little Tramp. (Nov. 19 in theaters, 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 theaters 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 theaters 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 the 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 theaters)

Stephanie Beatriz provides one of the voices in “Encanto.”Credit…Disney

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 theaters)

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, the 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 theaters)

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 theaters 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 theaters)

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 theaters)

THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS Based on a manga series, Patrick Imbert’s animated feature centers 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 theaters, Nov. 30 on Netflix)

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

DMX performing in a documentary filmed in the year before his death. Credit…HBO

DMX: DON’T TRY TO UNDERSTAND The director Chris Frierson spent a year following the 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 theaters 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 theaters and on demand)

Cooper Hoffman, left, Alana Haim and Milo Herschlag out for a ride in “Licorice Pizza.”Credit…Melinda Sue Gordon/MGM

LICORICE PIZZA The 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 theaters)

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 theaters and on demand)

’TWAS THE FIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS The 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 theaters)

14 PEAKS: NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE The 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 best-selling 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 theaters, Dec. 21 on demand)

CITIZEN ASHE The 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 theaters)

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 theaters, 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 theaters, 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 theaters)

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 theaters, 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)

Simon Rex in a scene from Sean Baker’s latest, “Red Rocket.”Credit…A24

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 theaters 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 theaters)

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 theaters 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 theaters)

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 theaters 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 the 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 the 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 theaters)

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

BEING THE RICARDOS There’s always some cognitive dissonance when recognizable actors take a chance on playing recognizable 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 theaters, Dec. 21 on Amazon)

The cast of “Don’t Look Up” includes Meryl Streep as the president.Credit…Niko Tavernise/Netflix

DON’T LOOK UP After sending up the global financial crisis (“The Big Short”) and Dick Cheney (“Vice”), the 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 theaters, 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 theaters 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 theaters)

FRANCE The 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 theaters)

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 theaters and on demand)

LAST AND FIRST MEN The 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 two billion years in the future. (Dec. 10 in theaters 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. The newcomer Suzanna Son and Judy Hill (from the documentary “What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?”) co-star. (Dec. 10 in theaters)

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 theaters)

David Alvarez as Bernardo, center, in Steven Spielberg’s take on “West Side Story.”Credit…Niko Tavernise/20th Century Studios

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; the newcomer Rachel Zegler plays Maria. (Dec. 10 in theaters)

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 2080sand stars Nick Nolte, Stellan Skarsgard and Charlotte Rampling. (Dec. 17 in theaters 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 theaters, 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)

Willem Dafoe, left, and Bradley Cooper in the newest version of “Nightmare Alley.”Credit…Searchlight Pictures

NIGHTMARE ALLEY Guillermo del Toro remakes an enduring classic of film noir, or technically re-adapts the novel on which it was based. (He wrote the screenplay with the 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 theaters)

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 theaters 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,” A.O. Scott wrote when the film showed at Sundance. (Dec. 17 in theaters)

THE SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST Dasha Nekrasova directed and co-stars in this up-to-the-minute thriller, which centers 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 theaters)

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 theaters)

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 theaters 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 J.R. Moehringer. (Dec. 17 in theaters, Jan. 7 on Amazon)

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

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 theaters and on HBO Max)

Scarlett Johansson (as Ash) is among the voice actors returning in “Sing 2.”Credit…Universal Studios

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 hermit-like rock star (voiced by Bono) and persuade him to perform with them. (Dec. 22 in theaters)

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

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 theaters)

AMERICAN UNDERDOG Zachary Levi plays the 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 theaters)

Chanté Adams and Michael B. Jordan in “A Journal for Jordan.”Credit…David Lee/Columbia Pictures

A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN Michael B. Jordan plays First 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, the former New York Times journalist Dana Canedy. (Dec. 25 in theaters)

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 theaters, Jan. 14 on Apple TV+)

MEMORIA Tilda Swinton, collaborating with the 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 theaters 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 Center)

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 theaters)

Peter Dinklage followed by Bashir Salahuddin, right, in “Cyrano.”Credit…MGM

CYRANO Peter Dinklage recreates 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 theaters)

Compiled with the assistance of Gabe Cohn.

Related Articles

Back to top button