Who: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Laura Linney, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer and Michael Sheen
What: An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.
When: November 18th
Why: Fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford delivered an amazing character study/period piece with “A Single Man.” A gorgeous film that was a measured look at one man’s life, it announced Ford as a talented multi-hyphenate who was more than just dabbling in making films. His follow-up looks like a change in direction, this time towards a dramatic thriller, but still retains the beautiful cinematography and production design that Ford brought to his previous filmmovie The director has also lined up some incredible talent in front of the camera who will help bring what looks to be a harrowing story to life.
Who: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan and Matthew Goode
What: In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa and a female French Resistance fighter reunite in London, where their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.
When: November 23rd
Why: After years of success helming many critically and commercially acclaimed films, “Allied” director Robert Zemeckis has had a spotty decade with some good movies (“Flight”) and some not-so-good ones (“The Polar Express”). But a return to real characters and story bodes well for the former golden child of Hollywood, especially when plumbing the depths of WWII conspiracy and armed with this gathering of acting talent. The film looks like a sexy combination of action and intrigue as two spies navigate the stormy waters of the world on the brink and the sacrifices they have to make in order to see a mission through. With Zemeckis’ track record, it could be schmaltz or it could be a new classic that charms audiences for years to come.
Who: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox and Christina Hendricks
What: Fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie teams up once again with his angry little sidekick Marcus to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve.
When: November 23rd
Why: Though most of the original creative team (director and writers) are not involved with this sequel, and that could be a red flag, there is something incredibly promising about returning to the world of horrible Santa/burglar Willie and his reticent sidekick Marcus. With Bates, Hendricks and Ryan Hansen joining the cast, it’s possible there’ll be a lot more comedy to mine from everyone’s favorite holiday drunkard. After all, there’s always room for a mean-spirited (but still oddly touching) comedy for the Christmas season. Plus, director Mark Waters knows how to steer a good dark comedy with his work on perennial classic “Mean Girls” showing his ability to plumb comedy out of horrible social situations.
Who: Dwayne Johnson, Alan Tudyk, Jemaine Clement and Auli’i Cravalho
What: A young woman uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui.
When: November 23rd
Why: While Pixar has faltered a bit over the past few years, Disney Animation has been churning out some stellar near-classics like “Tangled,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Frozen” and “Zootopia.” Delivering fun movies for the whole family, complete with catchy music and some excellent messages for children, the company looks to keep that streak going with their latest Pacific Islander-tinged tale. With music from theater phenom Lin-Manuel Miranda (the Tony-winning writer and star of “Hamilton”), “Moana” could be a huge hit for the Mouse House, and more importantly, an excellently crafted tale that parents won’t mind seeing with their children and singing along with the soundtrack for months after.