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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Feb. 22, 2024

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12 intriguing movies opening in December and beyond

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An image from the movie &Ccedil;&fnof;&uacute;The Boy and the Heron.&Ccedil;&fnof;&ugrave; (Studio Ghibli/TNS)
An image from the movie ǃúThe Boy and the Heron.ǃù (Studio Ghibli/TNS) Photo Gallery

As the end of the year draws near, so do some of the year’s biggest and/or most intriguing movies. Here’s a sampling of what’s on tap for late 2023; dates indicate theatrical releases (and note that these are ever-changeable).

  • Friday

“The Boy and the Heron”: The great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki came out of retirement to make this film, in which a boy coping with grief follows a heron into a tower and discovers a fantastical world.

“Maestro”: Bradley Cooper directed and stars in this biopic about composer Leonard Bernstein (“West Side Story”) and his complex relationship with his wife Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan). (Also streaming on Netflix beginning Dec. 20.)

“Poor Things”: Yorgos Lanthimos’ films (“The Lobster,” “The Favourite”) defy characterization — black comedy? Fantasy? Wildly creative drama? All of the above? His latest features Emma Stone as a Victorian woman reanimated after her suicide.

  • Dec. 15

“Wonka”: Family movie alert: Timothée Chalamet plays the title role in this prequel to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” directed by Paul King, who made the delightful “Paddington” movies.

“The Zone of Interest”: Jonathan Glazer (“Under the Skin,” “Sexy Beast”) directs this drama in which a commandant at Auschwitz tries to create a dream life there for his family.

“All Of Us Strangers”: A gay London man (Andrew Scott) mysteriously re-connects with his long-dead parents (Claire Foy, Jamie Bell) in Andrew Haigh’s drama.

“American Fiction”: Winner of the People’s Choice Award for best film at the Toronto International Film Festival, this literary comedy features Jeffrey Wright as a Black novelist who, frustrated when told his books “aren’t Black enough,” writes a pseudonymous novel steeped in racial cliché.

“Anyone But You”: Need a rom-com for Christmas weekend? Here’s one: Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell play a pair of wedding guests pretending to be a couple, and surely we can guess what happens next.

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”: It’s not the holiday season without at least one big superhero movie, right? This one features the return of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman.

“Migration”: Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks and Awkwafina head the voice cast for this cute-looking animated comedy about a family of ducks that gets lost while attempting to head south for the winter.

  • Dec. 25

“The Boys in the Boat”: It’s been a long wait for the screen version of local author Daniel James Brown’s bestselling book about the University of Washington crew team who competed — against all odds — at the 1936 Olympics. George Clooney directs; Callum Turner stars as rower Joe Rantz.

“The Color Purple”: First a novel, then a movie, then a Broadway musical and now a movie version of the Broadway musical: Alice Walker’s book of a woman’s journey through hardship to independence has traveled a long road. Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson and Halle Bailey star in this latest version.

“Ferrari”: Michael Mann’s latest features the appropriately named Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Italian car company, as he enters a team in a grueling thousand-mile race across Italy in 1957.

  • Dates TBD

(which might mean January for a local opening), but Oscar-eligible for the 2023 cycle

“The Crime Is Mine”: Based on a 1934 play, this comedic farce about murder and tabloid fame in 1930s Paris looks like a very chic kick — and it’s directed by the always-interesting French filmmaker Francois Ozon (“Swimming Pool,” “8 Women”).

“Eileen”: Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie (“Last Night in Soho”) play two women working in a prison in this psychological thriller, based on the award-winning 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh.

“Fast Charlie”: Pierce Brosnan, a charming presence who’s struggled to find the right vehicle after playing James Bond years ago, here goes dark, playing a violent hit man trying to prove the identity of a headless corpse.

“The Iron Claw”: This fact-based drama from Sean Durkin (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”) is the story of a family of professional wrestlers; Zac Efron stars.

“Occupied City”: Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) turns his eye to documentary for this portrait of the city of Amsterdam and its recovery from Nazi occupation during WWII.

“Origin”: In this unique drama from Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Aunjanue Ellis depicts Isabel Wilkerson, the real-life author of “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” as she faces personal tragedy while writing the book. In the supporting cast are Audra McDonald, Vera Farmiga, Nick Offerman and Niecy Nash.

“Waitress: The Musical”: Recorded from a 2021 Broadway performance, this stage version of the 2007 film about a waitress who sees pie-baking as a road out of her troubles stars Sara Bareilles, who also wrote the music and lyrics.