15 movies to watch: The holiday movie rush has just begun

The holiday season tends to bring a rush of serious movies – prestige projects with Oscars all around – sprinkled with a handful of floats meant just for fun. 2022 is no exception, and those venturing out to the multiplex this season will find everything from a Steven Spielberg origin story to a cannibal romance to a Whitney Houston biopic — oh, and a long-awaited sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time.

Here’s a guide to some of the season’s most anticipated titles, with something for everyone; Note that release dates are always subject to change.

Fablemans: Steven Spielberg looks back on his youth in this family drama, about a boy growing up in Arizona who dreams of becoming a filmmaker. He wrote with playwright Tony Kushner, with whom Spielberg previously collaborated on West Side Story, Lincoln, and Munich, starring Michelle Williams and Paul Dano. (November 23)

“Glass Onion… Knives Dispelling Mystery”: Back in 2019, Daniel Craig as brilliant detective Benoit Blanc brightens up the season of serious blockbusters in Knives Out; Now he and writer/director Rian Johnson are back, with a new cast (including Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, and Leslie Odom Jr.) anticipating silliness in the best of ways. (November 23 in theaters, on Netflix December 23)

“strange world”: Disney always has a family movie showing on Thanksgiving weekend, and this year’s version is an adventure featuring a family of explorers, voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu. (November 23)
Bones and All: Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s latest sensual epic (“Call Me By Your Name,” “Suspiria,” “I Am Love”) is a cannibal romance starring Timothée Chalamet, Taylor Russell, and Mark Rylance. It was an award winner at the Venice Film Festival earlier this fall. (November 23)

“The Woman Speaks”: Actress-turned-director Sarah Polley’s latest film (and it’s been a while; her last “Stories We Tell” was among my favorites in 2012) is an adaptation of Miriam Toews’ best-selling novel, which takes place in an isolated religious community. Leading the cast is Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jesse Buckley, and Frances McDormand. (2 December)

“Release”: Could Will Smith’s career recover from The Slap at the Oscars earlier this year? He’s the star of this historical drama from Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”), about an enslaved man who flees the Louisiana plantation where he grew up. (December 2 in theaters, on Apple TV + December 9)

“Empire of Light”: Sam Mendes takes a break from blockbusters (“Skyfall,” “Spectre,” “1917”) to tell a quiet romance on a small scale, set in the 1980s in an old movie house in a British seaside town. Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, and Toby Jones are among the cast, and the great Roger Deakins is the cinematographer. (9 December)

“inspection”: Director/photographer Elegance Bratton, a former Marine, makes his debut with this story of a young Marine (Jeremy Pope) who confronts homophobia at both boot camp and at home. Gabrielle Union and Bokeem Woodbine co-star. (9 December)

Spoiler alert: Journalist Michael Ausiello’s memoir, about the life and death of his partner Kate Kwan, is on screen starring Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge. Seattle writer/journalist/activist Dan Savage co-wrote the screenplay with director Michael Showalter (“The Big Sick”). (9 December)

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: The final moments (maybe?) of the “Shrek” franchise, this animated adventure features the arrogant title character (voiced by Antonio Banderas) who is dismayed to learn that he is on the last of his nine lives. (21 Dec)

“I wanna Dance With Somebody”: British actress Naomi Ackie plays the late R&B/pop singer Whitney Houston in the Cassie Lemons biopic, which also features Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis, Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown, and Houston’s legendary vocals. (21 Dec)

“Whale”: Brendan Fraser earned solid pre-Oscar buzz for his performance in Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, a drama about a 600-pound man trying to connect with his teenage daughter (Sadie Sink). The film won several awards at the Venice International Film Festival. (21 Dec)

Avatar: The Way of Water: It’s been a long wait, but James Cameron’s long-promised follow-up to his 2009 megahit films “Avatar” has finally arrived. The first of four planned sequels, it will feature 3D cinematography, mesmerizing special effects (watch the incredible underwater scenes), and returning performances from Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, joined this time by Michelle Yeoh, Kate Winslet and Jemine Clement. (23 Dec)

Babylon: Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” is set in present-day Los Angeles; His new movie returns to that city, but in the past. Set in the 1920s, a decade since Hollywood transitioned from silent films to talkies, the film features a large ensemble cast led by Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Jean Smart. (23 Dec)

“Son”: The follow-up to director Florian Zeller’s 2020 film The Father (Oscar winner for Anthony Hopkins), this is a family drama starring Hugh Jackman as a father who struggles to connect with his teenage son. Co-starring Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zane McGrath, and Hopkins. (23 Dec)

(c) 2022 The Seattle Times

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