‘Violent Night’ December 2nd (Theaters)
David Harbour decks the halls and takes some names this holiday season in Violent Night, a new Christmas action comedy that’s likely to become a new favorite. The film comes from 87North, the bare-knuckle producers of Nobody, John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Bullet Train and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, and Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola, best known for the Dead Snow franchise and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. When a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage, the team isn’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus is on the grounds, and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint.
‘Emancipation’ December 2nd (Theaters) December 9th (Apple TV+)
Emancipation tells the triumphant story of Peter (Will Smith), a man who escapes from slavery, relying on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom. The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of "Whipped Peter," taken during a Union Army medical examination, that first appeared in Harper's Weekly. One image, known as "The Scourged Back," which shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery. The film is directed by renowned filmmaker Antoine Fuqua, who is known for Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen, and both The Equalizer films as well as the upcoming third one.
‘The Whale’ December 9th (Theaters)
Brendan Fraser solidifies his comeback with a powerful and award-worthy performance in this new drama from boundary-pushing filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. A reclusive English teacher (Fraser) suffering from severe obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter (Stranger Things' Sadie Sink) for one last chance at redemption. Aronofksy will likely be bringing the same intensity he's become famous for with films like Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan and mother!.
‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ December 9th (Netflix)
Celebrated Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and award-winning, stop-motion legend Mark Gustafson reimagine the classic Carlo Collodi tale of the fabled wooden boy with a whimsical tour de force that finds Pinocchio on an enchanted adventure that transcends worlds and reveals the life-giving power of love. This stop-motion animated adaptation offers gorgeous and inspiring visuals while also embracing the darkness of the original story in ways only del Toro can. Gregory Mann stars as the titular living puppet alongside a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Ron Perlman, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett and more.
‘Nanny’ December 16th (Prime Video)
In this psychological fable of horror, Aisha (Anna Diop), a woman who recently emigrated from Senegal, is hired to care for the daughter of an affluent couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector) living in New York City. Haunted by the absence of the young son she left behind, Aisha hopes her new job will afford her the chance to bring him to the U.S., but becomes increasingly unsettled by the family’s volatile home life. As his arrival approaches, a violent presence begins to invade both her dreams and her reality, threatening the American dream she is painstakingly piecing together. The directorial debut of Nikyatu Jusu, Nanny was the first ever horror film to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ December 16th (Theaters)
The first of several planned sequels for James Cameron’s landmark 2009 film Avatar is long overdue, but it’s been proven time and time again that it's foolish to underestimate Cameron. Set more than a decade after the first film, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Ney’tiri (Zoe Saldana) have formed a family and are doing everything to stay together. However, they must leave their home and explore the regions of Pandora when an ancient threat resurfaces, enduring fresh tragedies and harsh battles. The film will once again showcase incredible cutting-edge effects and filmmaking techniques, and could quite possibly change the entertainment landscape once again.
‘Babylon’ December 23rd (Theaters)
Damien Chazelle has quickly established himself as a must-watch modern director with hits like Whiplash, La La Land and First Man. His latest film, Babylon, is an original epic set in 1920s Los Angeles led by Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva, with an ensemble cast including Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li and Jean Smart. A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood.
‘Women Talking’ December 23rd (Theaters)
Based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Miriam Toews, Women Talking is a challenging and vital new drama from director Sarah Polley. Set in 2010, eight women from an isolated Mennonite colony grapple with reconciling their reality with their faith after it is revealed that men from their community drugged and raped the community's women for years. The cast includes Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw, Frances McDormand and Sheila McCarthy. The powerful film has been receiving early critical acclaim around the world.
‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ December 23rd (Netflix)
Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) returns to peel back the layers in a new Rian Johnson whodunit. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) for their yearly reunion. Among those on the guest list are Miles' former business partner Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), current Connecticut governor Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), cutting-edge scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), fashion designer and former model Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson) and her conscientious assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), and influencer Duke Cody (Dave Bautista) and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline). As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect.
‘White Noise’ December 30th (Netflix)
Based on the 1985 novel by Don DeLillo, White Noise is an apocalypse tale with a healthy dose of black comedy. Directed by Noah Baumbach and at once hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd, ordinary and apocalyptic, White Noise dramatizes a contemporary American family’s attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world. Jack Gladney (Adam Driver), professor of Hitler studies at the College-on-the-Hill, husband to Babette (Greta Gerwig) and father to four children/stepchildren, is torn asunder by “the Airborne Toxic Event,” a cataclysmic train accident that casts chemical waste over his town.