Who: Mo’Nique, JB Smoove, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union and Danny Glover
What: A dysfunctional family reunites for their first Thanksgiving since their mom died.
When: November 11th
Why: A murderer’s row of acting and comic talent are assembled in this perfectly timed holiday film. The previews make the comedy look pretty broad, but there’s a lot to recognize in this portrayal of a bickering family that traditionally doesn’t get along. Written and directed by David E. Talbert, who has had a similar rise in his career as Tyler Perry in crafting emotional stories around black families, “Almost Christmas” looks like it could be a crowd-pleasing comedy with a sincere center that will resonate with audiences who spend their holidays arguing with the people they love. This may only play to a certain segment of the population, but with a shortage of Thanksgiving-set films, it may surprise people and become a staple for the holiday season to come.
Who: Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Zoë Kravitz, Katherine Waterson, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller and Ron Perlman
What: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards 70 years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.
When: November 18th
Why: A return to the Potterverse, albeit in prequel form, this film blends a period piece with the fantastical nature of the wizarding world. Relocating from United Kingdom to America, the movie trades in the Boy Who Lived for an adventuring wizard that looks to study all sorts of magical creatures in the Roaring Twenties. Along for the ride is some fine acting talent and director David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” films. Fans of J.K. Rowling’s world should find much to love in the adventure, while others will find a new way to access this mystical setting through its more grounded setting of a non-magical city.
Who: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Ted Levine, Katey Sagal and Ciarán Hinds
What: The true story of World Champion boxer Vinny Pazienza who, after a near-fatal car crash, made one of sports’ most incredible comebacks.
When: November 18th
Why: Nothing quite beats the world of sports for incredible yet true stories of amazing comebacks. This looks to be in the vein of movies like “Rocky” and even “Hoosiers” (albeit a bit darker and bloodier) for the inspirational story of a man who struggles to regain footing in the world he loves so much. Miles Teller is quickly proving to be one of his generation’s most talented and dedicated actors; he always turns in a good, compelling performance, even if the material around him isn’t up to snuff (“Fantastic Four”). Director Ben Younger, who turned in the excellent “Boiler Room” many years ago, looks ready to once again examine modern masculinity in a nuanced manner.