2017-18 Holiday Movie Preview
December 16, 2017 | 77° | Check Traffic

TGIF

2017-18 Holiday Movie Preview

  • COURTESY FOCUS FEATURES

    Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour.”

  • COURTESY SONY PICTURES

    From left: Kevin Hart (Franklin “Moose” Finbar), Dwayne Johnson (Dr. Smolder Bravestone), Karen Gillan (Ruby Roundhouse) and Jack Black (Professor Shelly Oberon) will be joining the holiday movie rush in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”

Here you have it: The 2017-18 Holiday Movie Preview, a glimpse at films opening through mid-January, to help make holiday viewing plans.

(Note: Release dates listed here originate in Los Angeles; Honolulu opening dates often vary, and other details are subject to change. Netflix-produced films streaming on the service are also listed.)

NOW PLAYING

>> “A Bad Mom’s Christmas”: Three mothers face the most daunting holiday of the year — coupled with visits from their own moms — in this sequel to the 2016 comedy. With Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jay Hernandez, Cheryl Hines, Peter Gallagher, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon. Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. STX Entertainment (R)

>> “Coco”: A young boy with musical aspirations visits the Land of the Dead. Voices of Gael Garcia Bernal, Anthony Gonzalez, Benjamin Bratt and Renee Victor. Directed by Lee Unkrich. Co-directed by Adrian Molina. Walt Disney Pictures (PG)

>> “Daddy’s Home”: Sensitive stepdad Will Ferrell and macho dad Mark Wahlberg return in this sequel to the 2015 comedy, this time dealing with the arrival of their own fathers just in time for Christmas. With Linda Cardellini, John Cena, John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. Written by Sean Anders and John Morris, based on characters created by Brian Burns. Directed by Anders. Paramount Pictures (R)

>> “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”: Frustrated by the lack of progress in her daughter’s murder case, a woman publicly challenges the local police department. With Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Clarke Peters, Samara Weaving, John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Fox Searchlight (R)

>> “Justice League”: Batman and Wonder Woman recruit a team of superheroes to defend the planet against a new threat. With Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Raymond Fisher, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller. Written by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon; story by Terrio and Zack Snyder, based on characters from DC Entertainment, Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Directed by Snyder. Warner Bros. (PG-13)

>> “Lady Bird”: Saoirse Ronan stars as a headstrong Sacramento high schooler who clashes with her determined mother (Laurie Metcalf) in this highly praised, acutely portrayed comedy. With Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet and Lois Smith. Written and directed by Greta Gerwig. (R)

>> “Last Flag Flying”: Vietnam vets reunite in 2003 to escort the body of their buddy’s son, who was killed in Iraq, in this drama, presented with a kick-to-the-gut frankness and superb characterizations, along with a few laughs. With Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, Yul Vazquez and Cicely Tyson. Written by Richard Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan; based on the novel by Ponicsan. Directed by Linklater. Amazon Studios / Lionsgate (R)

>> “The Man Who Invented Christmas”: In a terrible slump, author Charles Dickens desperately sets out to write and self-publish a book that might feed his family. With Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer and Jonathan Pryce. Written by Susan Coyne. Directed by Bharat Nalluri. Bleecker Street (PG) Review on page 26.

>> “Mudbound” (streaming on Netflix): Director Dee Rees shot for the stars and got her dream cast, including Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan and others for this film. Two families — one black, one white — struggle to farm the Mississippi Delta under Jim Crow laws during World War II. With Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Jonathan Banks, Jason Clarke and Rob Morgan. Written by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, based on a novel by Hillary Jordan. Directed by Rees. Netflix (streaming) (R)

>> “Murder on the Orient Express”: Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in a rollicking mystery that plays out on a train across Europe — entertaining, though the plot turns cold. With Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley. Written by Michael Green, based on the novel by Agatha Christie. 20th Century Fox (PG-13)

>> “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”: Denzel Washington stars as a principled LA attorney battling in the criminal courts system who gets recruited by a high-end law firm after the death of his mentor, a civil rights icon. With Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo. Written and directed by Dan Gilroy. Columbia Pictures (PG-13) Review on page 25.

>> “The Star”: A tenacious little donkey and his newfound friends follow a bright light in the sky and become part of the first Christmas in this animated fable. Voices of Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. Written by Carlos Kotkin, story by Simon Moore and Kotkin. Directed by Timothy Reckart. Sony Pictures Animation (PG)

>> “Thor: Ragnarok”: Chris Hemsworth stars in the third installment as the thunder god is held prisoner without his mighty hammer. With Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins. Written by Eric Pearson; story by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost and Pearson, based on the Marvel comic. Directed by Taika Waititi. Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures (PG-13)

>> “Wonder”: Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay star in “Wonder,” based on the novel by R.J. Palacio. The facial differences that a fifth-grader was born with present challenges during entry into a mainstream school. With Mandy Patinkin and Daveed Diggs. Written by Jack Thorne, Steven Conrad and Stephen Chbosky; based on the novel by R. J. Palacio. Directed by Chbosky. Lionsgate (PG)

OPENING

>> “Novitiate”: Special Jury Prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival. In the late 1950s, a young woman (Margaret Qualley) discovers God through the Catholic Church and, while wrestling with questions of faith, sexuality and dogma, follows a path to serving him into the turbulent ’60s. With Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Morgan Saylor, Liana Liberato, Rebecca Dayan, Eline Powell, Chelsea Lopez, Denis O’Hare and Chris Zylka. Written and directed by Maggie Betts. (R) Review on page 24.

Dec. 1

>> “The Breadwinner”: Striking, tough-minded animated adventure about a girl who dresses as a boy to support her family and find her father in 2001 Afghanistan under the Taliban. Set in Kabul, “Breadwinner” has a vivid sense of a very specific culture as well as a gift for strikingly beautiful visuals. Written by Anita Doron, based on the novel by Deborah Ellis. Directed by Nora Twomey (“The Secret of Kells”). GKids (PG-13)

>>“Gangster Land”: Crime drama. With Sean Faris, Milo Gibson, Jason Patric, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Peter Facinelli. Written by Ian Patrick Williams. Directed by Timothy Woodward Jr. Cinedigm (Not rated)

>> “Love Beats Rhymes”: An aspiring rapper is challenged by a poetry professor to aim higher. With Azealia Banks, Jill Scott, Lucien Laviscount and Common. Written by Nicole Jefferson Asher. Directed by RZA. Lionsgate (R)

>> “The Tribes of Palos Verdes”: A teenage girl turns to surfing after her family’s move to the Southern California coast turns out to be less than idyllic. With Jennifer Garner, Maika Monroe, Cody Fern and Alicia Silverstone. Written by Karen Croner, based on the novel by Joy Nicholson. Directed by Emmett Malloy and Brendan Malloy. IFC Films (R)

>> “24 Hours to Live”: An assassin gets a second chance after being brought back to life. With Ethan Hawke, Xu Qing, Liam Cunningham, Rutger Hauer and Paul Anderson. Written by Zach Dean. Directed by Brian Smrz. Saban Films (R)

Dec. 8

>> “Bullet Head”: Crime drama with Antonio Banderas, Adrien Brody and John Malkovich. Written and directed by Paul Solet. Saban Films / Lionsgate (R)

>> “Just Getting Started”: Rivals at a Palm Springs seniors resort compete for the attention of an attractive newcomer. With Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, Rene Russo, Jane Seymour, George Wallace, Joe Pantoliano, Glenne Headly, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Graham Beckel and Elizabeth Ashley. Written and directed by Ron Shelton. Broad Green Pictures (PG-13)

Dec. 15

>> “The Ballad of Lefty Brown”: A cowboy in Montana sets out to bring the killers of his friend, a U.S. senator, to justice. With Bill Pullman, Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel, Joe Anderson, Diego Josef, Tommy Flanagan and Peter Fonda. Written and directed by Jared Moshe. A24 (R)

>> “Ferdinand”: John Cena is the voice of Ferdinand the bull in this animated tale about a large, gentle bull determined to return to his family after being captured. Voices of Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Bobby Cannavale, David Tennant and Anthony Anderson. Inspired by a book by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson. Directed by Carlos Saldanha. 20th Century Fox (PG)

>> “Gotti”: Crime drama. With John Travolta, Kelly Preston and Stacy Keach. Lionsgate Premiere (R)

>> “Permanent”: In 1982, a couple and their preteen daughter have a particularly hairy time when they move to a town in the South. With Patricia Arquette, Rainn Wilson and Kira McLean. Written and directed by Colette Burson. Magnolia Pictures (PG-13)

>> “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”: Continuing the episodic story of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and a few original characters, including Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Rey continues her search for the truth behind the Force in Episode VIII. With Adam Driver and Carrie Fisher. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, based on characters created by George Lucas. Walt Disney Pictures (PG-13)

>> “Wonder Wheel”: The lives of a former actress working as a waitress, her carousel-operator husband, his estranged stepdaughter hiding out from the mob and a dreamy lifeguard intersect at 1950s Coney Island. With Kate Winslet, Jim Belushi, Juno Temple and Justin Timberlake. Written and directed by Woody Allen. Amazon Studios (PG-13)

>> “Wormwood”: One man’s six-decade search to solve the mystery of his father’s death leads him into dark corners of American history. With Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Christian Camargo, Scott Shepherd, Tim Blake Nelson, Bob Balaban, Jimmi Simpson and Michael Chernus. Written by Steven Hathaway and Molly Rokosz. Theatrical version of director Errol Morris’ four-hour hybrid documentary series. Netflix (streaming) (Rating unavailable)

Dec. 20

>> “The Greatest Showman”: Hugh Jackman stars as P.T. Barnum, the 19th-century empresario who created entertainment known around the world. With Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson. Songs by “La La Land’s” Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon; story by Bicks. Directed by Michael Gracey. 20th Century Fox (PG)

>> “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”: Four teenagers find themselves inside an old video game console featuring ferocious realism and danger. With Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale. Written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jake Kasdan, Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner; story by McKenna, based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. Directed by Kasdan. Columbia Pictures (PG-13)

Dec. 22

>> “All the Money in the World”: The mother of kidnapped teenager John Paul Getty III races against time to persuade the boy’s billionaire grandfather to pay the ransom. With Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Charlie Plummer and Timothy Hutton. Written by David Scarpa; based on the book by John Pearson. Directed by Ridley Scott. TriStar Pictures (R)

>> “Bright”: In an alternative, sinister present where mythical creatures exist, a human cop (Will Smith) partners with an orc (Joel Edgerton) to protect a powerful ancient relic that surfaces along with a streetwise elf (Lucy Fry), and elite, power-wielding foil (Noomi Rapace). With Edgar Ramirez and David Ayer. Written by Max Landis (“American Ultra”). Directed by David Ayer (“Suicide Squad”). Netflix (streaming) (R)

>> “Darkest Hour”: Gary Oldman portrays British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the early days of World War II. With Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup and Ben Mendelsohn. Written by Anthony McCarten. Directed by Joe Wright. Focus Features (PG-13)

>> “Downsizing”: A stressed Omaha couple choose to take part in a groundbreaking experiment where they’re shrunk to 5 inches tall. With Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau and Kristen Wiig. Written by Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”) and Jim Taylor. Directed by Payne. Paramount Pictures (Rating unavailable)

>> “Father Figures”: Two brothers set out to find their biological father after discovering everything their mother told them was a lie. With Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, J.K. Simmons, Glenn Close, Katt Williams, Terry Bradshaw, Ving Rhames, Harry Shearer, June Squibb and Christopher Walken. Written by Justin Malen. Directed by Lawrence Sher. Warner Bros. (R)

>> “Hangman”: Crime thriller with Al Pacino. Directed by Johnny Martin. Saban Films / Lionsgate (R)

>> “Hostiles”: A veteran Army captain escorts a Native American chief from the Arizona Territory to Montana in the 1890s. With Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi and Ben Foster. Written and directed by Scott Cooper. Entertainment Motion Picture Studios (R)

>> “Pitch Perfect 3”: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and the rest of the Bellas are back for one more run. Graduated from college and struggling to find jobs on their own, the Bellas reunite for a USO tour. With Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, John Lithgow, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. Written by Kay Cannon and Mike White; story by Cannon, based on the book by Mickey Rapkin. Directed by Trish Sie. Universal Pictures (PG-13)

>> “The Post”: Publisher Katherine Graham and editor Ben Bradlee guide the Washington newspaper in joining the New York Times to take a stand against the Nixon administration over the Pentagon Papers. With Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford and Zach Woods. Written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. Directed by Steven Spielberg. 20th Century Fox (Rating unavailable)

>> “The Shape of Water”: An adult fantasy from writer/director Guillermo del Toro (“Pacific Rim”). Sally Hawkins stars as a mute cleaning woman at a 1960s government facility who discovers a secret otherworldly experiment — a mysterious creature played by Doug Jones, who changes her life. With Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Octavia Spencer. Written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor; story by del Toro. Directed by del Toro. Fox Searchlight (R)

Dec. 25

>> “Molly’s Game”: Jessica Chastain stars as a world-class skier who channels her shattered Olympic dreams into running a high-stakes poker game until she’s busted by the FBI. With Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd and Bill Camp. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. STX Entertainment (R)

>> “Phantom Thread”: In 1950s London, a famous fashion designer discovers his finely-tuned lifestyle disrupted by love. With Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Focus Features (R)

Jan. 5

>> “Blame”: Jealousy over the casting of the lead in a play rocks a suburban high school. With Quinn Shephard, Nadia Alexander and Chris Messina. Written and directed by Shephard. Samuel Goldwyn Films (Rating unavailable)

>> “Day of the Dead: Bloodline”: Zombies run amok as military personnel and survivalists search for a remedy in an underground bunker. With Sophie Skelton and Jonathan Schaech. Written by Mark Tonderai and Lars Jacobson, based on characters created by George A. Romero. Directed by Hector Hernandez Vicens and Pearry Reginald Teo. Saban Films (R)

>> “Insidious: The Last Key”: A parapsychologist discovers a horrific threat inside her own home. With Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Josh Stewart, Caitlin Gerard, Kirk Acevedo, Javier Botet and Bruce Davison. Written by Whannell. Directed by Adam Robitel. Universal Pictures (PG-13)

Jan. 12

>> “The Commuter”: An insurance salesman stumbles upon a deadly conspiracy during his evening train ride home. With Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern and Sam Neill. Written by Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi and Ryan Engle. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Lionsgate (PG-13)

>> “I, Tonya”: The dark comic story of figure skater Tonya Harding, her scheming husband, hard-driving mother and the infamous attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan. With Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale and Mckenna Grace. Written by Steven Rogers. Directed by Craig Gillespie. Neon (R)

>> “Paddington 2”: The popular bear and the Brown family search Windsor Gardens for a book thief. With Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, and the voices of Ben Whishaw and Imelda Staunton. Written by Paul King and Simon Farnaby; based on the series of children’s stories by Michael Bond. Directed by King. (Not rated)

>> “The Polka King”: A Polish immigrant pursues the American dream in Pennsylvania with comic and tragic results. With Jack Black, Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman and Jacki Weaver. Written and directed by Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky. Netflix (streaming) (Rating unavailable)

Comments
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.