“Mary Poppins Returns.”Disney
- There are still a lot of great movies coming to a theater near you before 2018 ends.
- Here we highlight 22 that are worth your time.
We’ve made it to the holidays! That means it’s time for a mix of Oscar bait and blockbusters to hit your local multiplex.
And if the 2018 box office is any indication — audiences are going to the movies at a record pace — you’re going to see some of these movies.
From Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” to Christian Bale transforming into Dick Cheney for “Vice” to Warner Bros. hoping that “Aquaman” will put its DC Comics universe back on track, there’s quite an assortment on the horizon.
Here are the 22 movies opening by the end of the year that we think you shouldn’t miss:
“Creed 2” — in theaters
Picking up where Ryan Coogler left off in the first movie, director Steven Caple Jr. delves deeper into the life of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) and the legacy he’s trying to build both in and outside of the ring. Oh, yeah, and he and Ivan Drago’s son beat the heck out of each other.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” — in theaters
The gang is all back, plus more Johnny Depp, for the continuation of the “Harry Potter” prequel. If you’re a “Potter” fanatic, you’ve probably already seen the movie multiple times. Maybe take the family with you when you see it again over the holidays.
“The Favourite” — in theaters
The latest from director Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”), Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz star as cousins who are fighting for the attention of Queen Anne in early 18th century England. But this is far from a stuffy period drama. Stone, Weisz, and Olivia Colman as Queen Anne give amazing performances as they scheme and sabotage one another in this great dark comedy.
“Green Book” — in theaters
After making a career being one of the brothers behind the biggest gross-out comedies in the history of Hollywood, Peter Farrelly goes against type and takes on an “inspired by a true story” drama. In it, Viggo Mortensen plays an Italian known for defusing situations with his fists who is hired to drive a black classical pianist played by Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) as he goes on tour in the south during the 1960s. It’s a reverse “Driving Miss Daisy” that has become a surprise Oscar favorite.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” — in theaters
This sequel to 2012’s “Wreck-It Ralph” brings Ralph (John C. Reilly) and his pal Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) into the internet and there’s quite a lot for them to get used to. It’s filled with the jokes and fun observations of some of the most popular online destinations, but Disney also pulls off a clever satire on how damaging the internet can be (if you let it get to you).
“Roma” — in theaters (on Netflix on December 14)
Alfonso Cuarón takes memories from his youth to tell a powerful story about a Mexico City middle-class family and the live-in housekeeper who tries to keep everything together. What stands out about the movie, outside of its beautiful black-and-white photography, are the surprising turns the story takes. Whether it’s at the movie theater or at home, see this movie.
“Widows” — in theaters
Director Steve McQueen’s fantastic caper may be his first studio movie, but it still has many of the traits that made him a star in the art and indie film worlds. The fantastic cast made up of Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Debicki, Brian Tyree Henry, Michelle Rodriguez, and Daniel Kaluuya match the clever story (which McQueen wrote with “Gone Girl” scribe/author Gillian Flynn) and masterful direction.
“Mary Queen of Scots” — December 4
Saoirse Ronan in “Mary Queen of Scots.”Focus Features
Battling cousins in period pieces is kind of a theme this winter. Here Saoirse Ronan plays Mary Stuart, who attempts to overthrow her cousin, Elizabeth I, played by Margot Robbie. This one isn’t as funny as “The Favourite.”
“Tyrel” — December 4
Jason Mitchell gives a fantastic performance as the only black guy at his friend’s gathering over a weekend. It’s an extremely sharp satire that dives into bro culture, race, and class.
“Vox Lux” — December 4
You thought Natalie Portman brought it in “Black Swan”? Wait until you see her as pop star Celeste in this directorial debut by actor Brady Corbet. Jude Law and Willem Dafoe (as the narrator) also star.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” — December 11
Following up his Oscar-winning “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins now adapts the powerful novel of James Baldwin, which follows a woman who tries to prove that her fiancé is innocent of a crime that’s put him in jail, as she is carrying their first child. Jenkins delivers another intimate story that should not be missed.
“Mortal Engines” — December 11
Philip Reeve’s book comes to life in full CGI glory as we follow a young woman’s rebellion against a giant city on wheels.
“The Mule” — December 11
Clint Eastwood’s first role in six years (he also directs the movie) finds him playing a 90-year-old horticulturalist who becomes a drug mule for a Mexican cartel. Bradley Cooper, Andy Garcia, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Pena also star.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” — December 11
It’s the best animated movie of the year. I don’t really know what else to say. Run to see this movie!
“Aquaman” — December 18
Another DC Comics movie, another chance for Warner Bros. to redeem itself and have more than just “Wonder Woman” be a success in its DCU. James Wan has been tasked with bringing the character to the screen in a standalone movie. Jason Momoa stars in the title role with Amber Heard and Nicole Kidman alongside him.
“Bumblebee” — December 18
What may be the sleeper hit of the winter, Paramount’s Transformers franchise gets its first spin-off as it tells the origin story of one of the fan-favorite Autobots. Set in the late 1980s, Hailee Steinfeld plays the teen who comes across Bumblebee. Director Travis Knight (“Coraline,” “Kubo and the Two Strings”) crafts an unlikely buddy movie.
“Welcome to Marwen” — December 18
Jeff Malmberg’s beautiful 2010 documentary, “Marwencol,” introduced the world to Mark Hogancamp’s 1/6th scale World War II-era town he built in his backyard to help cope with the vicious attack that left him brain damaged. Now Robert Zemeckis uses his CGI style and Steve Carell in the Hogancamp role to give the story the Hollywood treatment.
“Mary Poppins Returns” — December 19
Disney is already making space in the bank vault for all the money this one is going to rake in. Emily Blunt takes on the iconic role of the magical nanny with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, and Colin Firth also starring.
“Destroyer” — December 25
Nicole Kidman gives one of the grittiest performances of her career in this cop drama. Starring opposite Sebastian Stan as two undercover cops on their first assignment, the story shifts from their mission to the present day where Kidman’s character goes on a rogue, clearly trying to correct something that went horribly wrong.
“Holmes & Watson” — December 25
Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly take their brand of comedy to the story of the legendary detectives. That’s all you need to know.
“Vice” — December 25
Adam McKay continues to explore more serious fare after years of directing some of the best Will Ferrell comedies. Following 2015’s “The Big Short,” McKay now looks at how Dick Cheney went from a Washington insider to one of the most powerful vice presidents ever. Christian Bale transforms into the Cheney role with Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell (as George W. Bush) also starring.
“Stan & Ollie” — December 28
John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan take on the incredibly hard task of telling the history of legendary comedy duo Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel.