Rejoice! It’s the holiday movie season. It’s awards season, too. And you know what all that means.
Through the end of the year, expect to see the biggest, most beautiful family entertainments you could possibly imagine. And if the latest “Star Wars” movie turns out to be a disappointment, at least there’s another “Pitch Perfect” sequel to look forward to.
This year, there’s a bumper crop of great actors such as Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, James Franco, Jacob Tremblay, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, Daniel Day-Lewis, Joel Edgerton and most of the Justice League putting all kinds of things on their heads — wigs, prosthetics, masks, you name it — to show us how transformative they can be. As of this writing, that list still includes Kevin Spacey’s unrecognizable turn as J. Paul Getty in “All the Money in the World,” though don’t be surprised if the film is moved out of this competitive time frame due to myriad sexual harassment accusations against the actor, perhaps never to be seen at all.
The way such misconduct has been exposed throughout the industry this fall means that most any movie, no matter how anticipated, could quickly become toxic. So we’ll add that caveat in the accompanying listings to our usual disclaimer about release dates always being subject to change.
Here’s a quick look at movies opening in the next few weeks. Please note that dates are subject to change.
Call Me by Your Name: A young man named living in Italy during the 1980s becomes involved romantically with an academic who has come to stay at his parents’ villa. Starring Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory.
Cuba and the Cameraman: (Netflix and in select theaters) Director Jon Alpert chronicles 45 years of the island under Fidel Castro in this documentary.
Eric Clapton — Life In 12 Bars: Documentary on famed guitarist includes access to Clapton’s personal archives.
Porto: An American and a Frenchwoman reflect on a carefree night spent together in Portugal. With Anton Yelchin (in his last role) and Lucie Lucas.
Thelma: In this thriller from Joachim Trier, a female student experiences a seizure and finds she’s attracted to a beautiful young student of the same sex; she also finds she has dangerous supernatural abilities.
24 Hours to Live: Ethan Hawke plays an assassin who is killed and then somehow revived.
The Disaster Artist: (Limited, opens wide Dec. 8) James Franco directs and stars in the true story of aspiring filmmaker and infamous Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau — an artist whose passion was as sincere as his methods were questionable. With Dave Franco and Seth Rogen.
Extraordinary Ordinary People: Documentary directed by Alan Govenar on folk and traditional arts in America.
Love Beats Rhymes: The RZA-directed film tells of an aspiring rapper who is challenged by a poetry professor to aim higher. With Azealia Banks, Jill Scott, Lucien Laviscount, Common.
Loveless: The sudden disappearance of their son shakes a divorced Moscow couple. Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Oscar-qualifying run.
The Other Side of Hope: A middle-aged poker-playing Helsinki restaurateur bonds with a homeless Syrian refugee.
Slumber: “Designated Survivor’s” Maggie Q plays a sleep doctor trying to protect a family from a demon.
The Tribes of Palos Verdes: Jennifer Garner, Maika Monroe and Cody Fern star in this emotional screen adaptation of Joy Nicholson’s 1997 bestselling coming-of-age novel set amid California surfers.
Voyeur: (Netflix and in select theaters) Documentary on Gay Talese’s controversial book “The Voyeur’s Motel.”
Wonder Wheel: The latest from Woody Allen tells the story of a young woman running from the mob (Juno Temple) hides out with her estranged father (Jim Belushi) and his lovelorn current wife (Kate Winslet) in Coney Island in the 1950s. Justin Timberlake stars as a lifeguard.
Arthur Miller — Writer: In this documentary, director Rebecca Miller profiles her father, one of America’s greatest playwrights.
Big Sonia: Documentary on an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor.
Bombshell — The Hedy Lamarr Story: The glamorous film star of the 1930s and ‘40s was more than an actress and beauty. As part of the fight against the Nazis, she helped devise a technological system that provided the underpinnings for Bluetooth and WiFi.
Bullet Head: Antonio Banderas, Adrien Brody and John Malkovich play criminals holed up in a warehouse.
Foxtrot: The parents of a young soldier reel after learning of his death. Oscar-qualifying run for Israel’s official Oscar entry. Opens March 2.
I, Tonya: A darkly comic telling of figure skater Tonya Harding’s infamous attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan. With Margot Robbie.
Just Getting Started: In this comedy from Ron Shelton (“Tin Cup”), Morgan Freeman is the freewheeling manager of a luxury Palm Springs retirement resort. Everything is cool until he butts heads with a new arrival — a charming former military man (Tommy Lee Jones) — while a regional director (Renee Russo) wants to check the books.
Naples ‘44: Based on the memoir by Norman Lewis, this documentary looks at the impact of World War II on the Italian city. Benedict Cumberbatch narrates.
Shadowman: Documentary directed by Oren Jacoby profiles 1980s New York street artist Richard Hambleton.
The Shape of Water: Director Guillermo del Toro returns with an emotional monster movie about a mute janitor (Sally Hawkins) who befriends a strange gill man (Doug Jones) trapped in the Cold War-era lab where she works. Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer co-star.
Song of Granite: Drama about the rise of Irish folk singer Jon Heaney.
The Ballad of Lefty Brown: A Western about a man (Bill Pullman) on the trail of the men who killed his longtime friend (Peter Fonda), a newly elected senator.
Beyond Skyline: A detective embarks on a relentless pursuit to free his son from an extraterrestrial warship.
Ferdinand: A computer-animated adaptation of Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s children’s book about a bull who would rather smell the flowers than fight. John Cena, Kate McKinnon, and Gina Rodriguez provide voices.
Gotti: The film from Kevin Connolly follows infamous crime boss John Gotti’s (John Travolta) rise to become the “Teflon Don” of the Gambino crime family in New York City.
The Leisure Seeker: An aging Boston couple (Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren) hit the road to escape the suffocating effects of doctors and children.
Permanent: In this 1980s-set comedy, a hair treatment goes awry for a junior-high student. With Kira McLean, Patricia Arquette and Rainn Wilson.
Star Wars — The Last Jedi: The great sci-fi space fantasy picks up in Episode VIII right where J.J. Abrams left off in “The Force Awakens” with Rey (Daisy Ridley) reaching the planet where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) lives in self-exile. Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) are also back for the adventure directed by Rian Johnson (“Looper”).
Wormwood: (On Netflix and in theaters) The theatrical version of director Errol Morris’ four-hour hybrid documentary series about one man’s six-decade search to solve the mystery of his father’s death, which leads him into dark corners of American history. With Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Christian Camargo.
The Greatest Showman: Hugh Jackman stars as P.T. Barnum in this original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of the rise of this visionary who created spectacles that became worldwide sensations. With Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya Coleman, Rebecca Ferguson.
Jumanji — Welcome to the Jungle: Something of a sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams adventure only with a new group of kids sucked into the weird world of Jumanji, this time it’s a video game that transforms them into adults played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black.
All the Money in the World: Ridley Scott directs this harrowing true story of billionaire J. Paul Getty (Kevin Spacey) and his refusal to pay kidnappers ransom to free his grandson John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer). Michelle Williams is Gail Harris, the victim’s mother, alongside Mark Wahlberg as the agent trying to help her.
Bright: (On Netflix and in theaters) David Ayer (“Suicide Squad”) directs the fantasy-action flick. It stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton as two cops — one human and one Orc, respectively — who must outrun law enforcement, criminals, and even supernatural beings in order to protect a magical wand. With Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry and Edgar Ramírez.
Downsizing: Alexander Payne’s high concept sci-fi satire has a couple (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) who believe their lives have gotten out of hand and decide to voluntarily have themselves miniaturized so they can live large in tiny resort communities.
Father Figures: Focuses on two brothers (Ed Helms and Owen Wilson) whose eccentric mother (Glenn Close) raised them to believe their father died when they were young. When they discover this to be a lie, they set out to find him, learning more about their mother than they ever wanted to know.
Hangman: Al Pacino plays a detective chasing a murderer whose killing spree involves the game Hangman.
Happy End: From Oscar-winner Michael Haneke (“Amour”), the drama focuses on a family in Calais with the European refugee crisis as the backdrop. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert.
Hostiles: Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart) directs Christian Bale in this Western about an army captain who is assigned to accompany a dying Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) to Montana. Along the way, they encounter danger and the sole survivor (Rosamund Pike) of a massacre.
Pitch Perfect 3: Now graduated from college, the Bellas find themselves apart and discovering there aren’t many job prospects as singers until they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Anna Camp are back.
The Post: (limited, goes wide Jan. 12) Formerly called “The Papers,” Steven Spielberg’s film centers on the Washington Post’s decision to publish the classified Pentagon Papers in 1971, revealing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Tom Hanks plays editor Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep is Katherine Graham, the paper’s publisher.
Molly’s Game: Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of Molly Bloom’s bestselling memoir about her time running a high-stakes underground poker ring for Wall Street and Hollywood elites. Starring Jessica Chastain as Bloom, with Idris Elba as her attorney. With Kevin Costner and Michael Cera.
Phantom Thread: Paul Thomas Anderson’s first feature since “Inherent Vice” (2014) reunites with his “There Will Be Blood” star Daniel Day-Lewis in the story of a dressmaker who tailors for the crème de la crème of London in the 1950s. With Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps.
In the Fade: In this revenge drama from Fatih Akin (“The Edge of Heaven”), a woman (Diane Kruger) whose husband and son were killed in a terrorist bombing finds that the German legal system is less forthcoming with justice than she would like. Kruger won the best-actress prize at Cannes.
Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool: Annette Bening channels Gloria Grahame, the glamorous, scandalous star of “In a Lonely Place,” in her twilight years in England in 1978.
— By Southern California News Group staff