Happy Holidays at the Movies: 'FJI' previews the next two months of movie madness

Movies Features

With just two more months left in the year, there are still a ton of movies to get out and see. From big-budget actioners to smaller and foreign indies, movie theatres have you covered in 2018.

November Highlights

Mag-ni-fi-coooooooo. Rami Malek (“Mr Robot.”) plays the late, great Queens front man Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. The script, by The Theory of Everything and Darkest Hour’s Anthony McCarten, focuses on the years leading up to Queen’s famed appearance at the 1985 Live Aid concert. (Fox; Nov. 2)

One of Lucas Hedges’ two awards-season starring roles is in the Joel Edgerton-directed Boy Erased, about a teenage boy forced into gay conversion therapy by his conservative parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). Joel Edgerton (The Gift) directs. (Focus Features; Nov. 2)

A woman (Tiffany Haddish) recently released from prison vows to take revenge on the man who catfished her straitlaced sister (Tika Sumpter) in Tyler Perry’s Nobody’s Fool. Whoopi Goldberg, Omari Hardwick and Missi Pyle co-star. (Paramount; Nov. 2)

Disney updates holiday classic The Nutcracker with Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston’sThe Nutcracker and the Four Realms, starring Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren. In this version of the tale, a young girl (Foy) must save the mystical fantasy world created by her late mother from a wannabe dictator (Mirren). (Disney; Nov. 2)

Master of tone Luca Guadagnino puts his own spin on Dario Argento’s horror classic Suspiria, about an aspiring dancer who joins a world-renowned dance company, only to discover some rather shady—and bloody—things going on underneath the surface. Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton star. (Amazon; Nov. 2)

Hugh Jackman stars in Jason Reitman’s political drama The Front Runner, based on the downfall of presidential candidate Gary Hart, whose political career imploded when evidence of his extramarital affair was made public. Vera Farmiga and J.K. Simmons co-star. (Columbia Pictures; Nov. 7)

Don’t Breathe’s Fede Alvarez directs Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, Lakeith Stanfield and Sverrir Gudnason in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. The film is based on the fourth book in the Stieg Larsson-created Millennium series, which began with the twice-adapted The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (Columbia Pictures; Nov. 9)

Benedict Cumberbatch takes over from Boris Karloff and Mike Meyers in voicing the title character of The Grinch, based on the classic children’s book by Dr. Seuss. The film is the latest from Illumination Entertainment, which has also brought the Despicable Me movies, Sing and The Secret Life of Pets to the big screen. (Universal; Nov. 9)

A college-bound teenager (Tony Revolori) and an aimless mechanic (Jason Mantzoukas) go on a road trip across the American West in director Hannah Fidell’s The Long Dumb Road. (Universal; Nov. 9)

Chris Pine plays the 14th-century Scottish king Robert the Bruce in the historical epic Outlaw King, which reunites the actor with his Hell or High Water director David Mackenzie. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Florence Pugh co-star. (Netflix; Nov. 9)

J.J. Abrams produces World War II drama Overlord, about two American paratroopers caught behind enemy lines in the aftermath of D-Day. There they discover, not just German soldiers, but the monstrous results of secret Nazi experiments. Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk and Bokeem Woodbine star. (Paramount; Nov. 9)

Mike Leigh goes back to the 1800s with Peterloo, about a peaceful protest in Manchester, England that was set upon by armed British forces, resulting in 15 deaths and hundreds of injuries. Rory Kinnear and Maxine Peake star. (Amazon; Nov. 9)

Joel and Ethan Coen return to the world of westerns for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, an anthology film starring Tim Blake Nelson (as the eponymous Buster), Zoe Kazan, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson and more. (Netflix; Nov. 16)

Eddie Redmayne returns to the Harry Potter universe in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the first of a planned four sequels to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That film’s director, David Yates, returns for Crimes of Grindelwald, as do actors Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller and Johnny Depp. (Warner Bros.; Nov. 16)

A couple (Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg) become foster parents to three siblings who prove more of a handful than they anticipated in Sean Anders’ comedy Instant Family. (Paramount; Nov. 16)

Steve McQueen directs one hell of a cast—including Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo—in Widows, about four women who turn to a life outside the law after the deaths of their criminal husbands. (Fox; Nov. 16)

Michael B. Jordan suits up for the second time as boxer Adonis Johnson in Creed II, with Sylvester Stallone once again playing mentor Rocky Balboa. This time around, Creed Jr. fights the progeny of Ivan Drago, who killed Creed Sr. in the ring in Rocky IV. (MGM; Nov. 21)

Peter Farrelly directs Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini in ’60s-set drama Green Book, about a working-class, Italian-American man (Mortensen) who drives a famed African-American concert pianist (Ali) on his tour through the Deep South. (Universal; Nov. 21)

Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) explore the wilds of the World Wide Web when a router gets installed in their video arcade in Wreck-It-Ralph sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet. (Disney; Nov. 21)

Kingsmanstar Taron Egerton becomes the latest actor to play the Prince of Thieves in “Peaky Blinders” director Otto Bathurst’s Robin Hood, co-starring Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Foxx, Eve Hewson and Jamie Dornan. (Lionsgate; Nov. 21)

A man (Steve Carrel) copes with the traumatic aftermath of a brutal attack by inventing an elaborate fantasy world in Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen. (Universal; Dec. 21)

Yorgos Lanthimos directs Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in historical drama The Favourite. Colman dons the crown of 18th-century British monarch Queen Anne, whose attentions are fought over by a longtime friend and advisor (Weisz) and a new servant girl (Stone). (Fox Searchlight; Nov. 23)

Director Barry Jenkins follows up his Oscar-winning Moonlight with If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel about a pregnant woman’s (KiKi Layne) attempts to prove her fiancé (Stephan James) innocent of a crime before her child is born. Regina King co-stars. (Annapurna; Nov. 30)

Also in November

A white, middle-class college student (Calum Worthy) enters the world of underground rap battles in Bodied, from music-video director Joseph Kahn.  (Neon; Nov. 2)

Murderball’s Dana Adam Shapiro directs the documentary Daughters of the Sexual Revolution, about the founding—and cultural impact—of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. (Nov. 2)

A couple grieves over the death of their infant child just 57 hours after its birth in Patrick Wang’s The Grief of Others, based on the novel by Leah Hager Cohen. (In the Family; Nov. 2)

Red Armydirector Gabe Polsky helms the documentary In Search of Greatness, which examines the phenomena of genius through the lens of some of the greatest athletes of all time. (Art of Sport; Nov. 2)

At long (long, long) last, audiences will get to see The Other Side of the Wind, the final film from Orson Welles. John Huston stars as a Welles-esque director who returns from years of semi-retirement in Europe to complete an ambitious final film. Peter Bogdanovich, Welles’ friend and protégé who worked for decades to see the film completed and released, co-stars. (Netflix; Nov. 2)

Rosamund Pike plays celebrated war correspondent Marie Colvin, who died in 2012 while covering the Syrian civil war, in Matthew Heineman’s A Private War. Jamie Dornan and Stanley Tucci co-star. (Aviron; Nov. 2)

Kim Sung-hoon directs the Korean historical fantasy epic Rampant, about a dissolute prince (Hyun Bin) who must step up and save his kingdom from a horde of undead monsters. (Well Go USA; Nov. 2)

Directors Margarthe von Trotta, Felix Moeller and Bettina Böhler explore the life and legacy of one of film history’s most renowned directors in Searching for Ingmar Bergman. (Oscilloscope; Nov. 2)

A group of students unexpectedly cause a rift in the space-time continuum while looking for their missing mentor in the sci-fi adventure Time Trap. (Paladin; Nov. 2)

Brooklyn-based performance artist Narcissister directs and stars in Narcissister Organ Player, in which she examines her mother’s illness and death. (Film Movement; Nov. 7)

Director Cameron Yates documents preteen chef-turned-media sensation Flynn McGarry in Chef Flynn. (Nov. 9)

Lorenzo Ferro stars in the crime drama El Angel, based on the true story of a baby-faced thief and killer who became the longest-serving criminal in Argentina’s history. (The Orchard; Nov. 9)

Sarah Jessica Parker plays a singer/songwriter forced to reevaluate her life over the course of a single day in director Fabien Constant’s drama Here and Now. Common, Renée Zellweger, Simon Baker and Jacqueline Bisset co-star. (AMBI Distribution; Nov. 9)

A college student (Jessica Barden) opts to avoid relationships with men her own age in favor of being a sugar baby to older men in Carly Stone’s The New Romantic. (The Orchard; Nov. 9)

Beach Rats’ Harris Dickinson stars in writer/director Steve McLean’s Postcards from London, about a suburban teen who moves to Soho and joins a gang of high-class male escorts. (Strand Releasing; Nov. 9)

Taye Diggs, George Lopez, John Cusack and Luke Hemsworth star in River Runs Red, a revenge thriller in which parents seek justice for their sons, killed by corrupt cops. (Cinedigm; Nov. 9)

A millionaire speedboat enthusiast (John Travolta) gets himself tied up with the mob in the fact-based Speed Kills. (Saban Films; Nov. 9)

Alessandro Nivola, Julianne Nicholson, and Johnny Knoxville star in first-time feature director Jaron Albertin’s Weightless, about a loner suddenly confronted with caring for his young child. (Paladin; Nov. 9)

The late Claude Lanzmann tells the story of four women who surivved the Holocaust in his final documentary, Shoah: Four Sisters. (Cohen Media Group; Nov. 14)

Zoe Renee and Simone Missick star in Nijla Mumin’s Jinn, about a teenage girl’s struggle to find her own identity after her mother converts to Islam. (Orion Classics; Nov. 15)

Couple Eva (Oona Chaplin) and Kat (Natalia Tena) struggle with the question of whether to have a child by one of their best friends (David Verdaguer) in Carlos Marquet-Marcet’s Anchor and Hope. Geraldine Chaplin co-stars. (Wolfe; Nov. 16)

Willem Dafoe leads a stacked cast in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly director Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate, about the later years of artist Vincent Van Gogh. Oscar Isaac, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Friend, Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner co-star. (CBS Films; Nov. 16)

A young man (Charlie Plummer) begins to suspect that his father (Dylan McDermott)—a community leader respected by all—may be a serial killer responsible for the brutal murders of ten women in The Clovehitch Killer. (IFC Films; Nov. 16)

Talal Derki directs the documentary Fathers and Sons, which chronicles the private life of a radical Islamist family, specifically the way the family’s young boys relate to their father’s religion. (Kino Lorber; Nov. 16)

A patients’-rights lawyer (Hilary Swank) has her life changed by an offbeat psychiatric patient (Helena Bonham-Carter) in Bille August’s 55 Steps. (Sony Pictures Wolrdwide Acquisitions; Nov. 16)

Lukas Dhont directs Netflix release Girl, about a transgender teen who wants to become a professional ballerina. Arieh Worthalter and Victor Polster star. (Netflix; Nov. 16)

Ansel Elgort stars twice over in the sci-fi thriller Jonathan, about a pair of brothers who share one body. Suki Waterhouse co-stars. (Well Go USA; Nov. 16)

A small town tries to keep their beloved stock-car racing track open despite pressure from developers in Michael Dweck’s documentary The Last Race. (Magnolia Pictures; Nov. 16)

Struggling couple Bryan (Aaron Paul) and Cassie (Emily Ratajkowski) attempt to repair their relationship with a nice countryside vacation only to have the handsome stranger down the street (Riccardo Scamarcio) threatens it further in the thriller Welcome Home. (Vertical Entertainment; Nov. 16)

Jennifer Lopez returns to the world of the rom-com in Second Act, playing a former big-box retail employee who reinvents herself as a high-flying business executive. Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”) and Vanessa Hudgens co-star. (STX Entertainment; Nov. 21)

Alba August and Nico, 1988 lead Trine Dyrholm star in Danish director Pernille Fischer Christensen’s Becoming Astrid, about the creator of iconic children’s character Pippi Longstocking. (Music Box Films; Nov. 23)

Documentary Invisible Hands exposes the widespread use of child labor by some of the world’s largest companies. (First Run Features; Nov. 23)

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda is here to pummel your emotions yet again with Shoplifters, about a tight-knit family of thieves who adopt an abandoned girl they find on the street. (Magnolia; Nov. 23)

One-time teenage friends Ruth (Rachel Keller) and Jonny (Finn Wittrock), since moving in vastly different social circles, reconnect in Stacy Cochran’s NYC-set romantic comedy Write When You Get Work. (Abramorama; Nov. 23)

Ella Hunt plays the title role in John McPhail’s Anna and the Apocalypse, the world’s first (and only) Scottish zombie apocalypse Christmas musical. (Orion; Nov. 30)

A miniature horse (voiced by Josh Hutcherson) attempts to secure a coveted spot as one of Santa’s team in the animated holiday offering Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer. (ScreenMedia; Nov. 30)

Writer/director Alice Rohrwacher follows up The Wonders with Happy as Lazzaro, about the friendship between a peasant and a nobleman both living in an idyllic pastoral village. (Netflix; Nov. 30)

A spoiled young boy resentful of his new baby sister meets an older version of that same sister from the future in time-travel drama Mirai, from anime auteur Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars). (GKids; Nov. 30)

The Lives of Othersdirector Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck directs Never Look Away, a period drama loosely based on the life of German artist Gerhard Richter. (Sony Pictures Classics; Nov. 30)

Hao Wu directs People’s Republic of Desire, a documentary about Internet live-streaming culture in China. (Nov. 30)

Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza direct the fairy tale-esque Sicilian Ghost Story, about a young girl determined to find the mysteriously missing object of her affections. (Strand Releasing; Nov. 30)


December Highlights

Peter Hedges (Pieces of April) directs his son Lucas (Manchester by the Sea) in Oscar hopeful Ben Is Back, about a troubled youth who returns to the home of his mother (Julia Roberts) on Christmas morning, with potentially devastating consequences. (Roadside Attractions; Dec. 7)

Saoirse Ronan stars in historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, playing the doomed Queen who unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). Guy Pearce and Gemma Chan co-star. (Focus Features; Dec. 7)

It Follows writer-director David Robert Mitchell turns to A24 for his follow-up Under the Silver Lake. Andrew Garfield stars in the revisionist noir as Sam, a rootless, unemployed man attempting to untangle a conspiracy that he hopes will lead to the location of the mysterious woman (Riley Keogh) he’s obsessed with. (A24; Dec. 7)

Peter Jackson produced and co-wrote Mortal Engines, a futuristic dystopia tale set in a world where cities have transformed into giant machines that roll around the wasteland gobbling each other up. Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving and Stephen Lang star. (Universal; Dec. 14)

Clint Eastwood directs and stars in The Mule, playing a man offered some respite from his dire financial circumstances... by transporting illegal drugs. Bradley Cooper, Taissa Farmiga and Michael Peña co-star. (Warner Bros.; Dec. 14)

Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón follows a middle-class Mexico City family over a year in the 1970s in Roma. Yalitza Aparicio stars. (Netflix; Dec. 14)

The Spider-Man franchise gets an animated twist in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which brings together an assortment of Spider-Men from parallel universes. Dope’s Shameik Moore voices fan-favorite Spider-Man Miles Morales, while Jake Johnson voices OG Spidey Peter Parker and Hailee Steinfeld lends her pipes to Gwen Stacy, aka “Spider-Gwen.” (Columbia Pictures; Dec. 14)

Jason Momoa can talk to the fishes in the DC Comics adaptation Aquaman. Set prior to Justice League, here Aquaman—aka Arthur Curry—must fight his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) for control of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. Nicole Kidman and Amber Heard co-star. (Warner Bros.; Dec. 21)

Sandra Bullock stars in the post-apocalyptic thriller Bird Box, from Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier. (Netflix; Dec. 21)

Travis Knight (Kubo and the Four Strings) directs 1980s-set Transformers spin-off Bumblebee, starring Hailee Steinfeld as the young friend of the eponymous Autobot. John Cena co-stars, with Justin Theroux and Angela Bassett providing the voices of other Transformers. (Paramount; Dec. 21)

Ida’s Pawel Pawlikowski won the Best Director award at Cannes 2018 for Cold War, a love story set in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Paris and Yugoslavia. Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig star. (Amazon; Dec. 21)

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly unite for the third time—after Step Brothers and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby—for Holmes and Watson, a comic take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories of Sherlock Holmes. Kelly Macdonald, Ralph Fiennes and Rebecca Hall co-star, with Etan Cohen (Get Hard) in the director’s chair. (Sony; Dec. 21)

Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell and Tatiana Maslany star in director Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, about a detective (Kidman) who infiltrates a cult with which she had dealings early in her career. (Annapurna; Dec. 25)

Emily Blunt steps into Julie Andrews’ hat and teeny, tiny bow-tie in Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to director Robert Stevenson’s 1964 classic. This time around, Mary returns to London to help a grown Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw), as well as Michael’s three children. Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Julie Walters co-star. (Disney; Dec. 25)

Felicity Jones plays Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On the Basis of Sex, about the early years of the trailblazing Supreme Court Justice. Armie Hammer stars as Ginsburg’s husband Marty, with Mimi Leder (Deep Impact, “The Leftovers”) directing. (Focus Features; Dec. 25)

Christian Bale packs on a few pounds and loses a few hair follicles to play former Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice, from The Big Short writer-director Adam McKay. Amy Adams undergoes a physical transformation of her own to play Lynne Cheney, while Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell and Tyler Perry play other political notables of the George W. Bush era. (Annapurna; Dec. 25)

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly play comedy legends Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy—here, embarking on a theatre tour that the duo hoped would restart their careers—in Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie. (Sony Pictures Classics; December)

Also in December

Sebastián Silva (The Maid) directs Jason Mitchell, Christopher Abbott, Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Cera and Reg E. Cathey in Tyrel, about a black man (Mitchell) attending a wild weekend party otherwise populated exclusively by white bros. (Magnolia; Dec. 5)

Ron Perlman stars as a Mossad agent-turned-hitman trying to turn his life around in Michael Caton-Jones’ Asher. (Momentum Pictures; Dec. 7)

Actress Karen Gillan (“Doctor Who,” the Guardians of the Galaxy movies) makes her directorial debut with The Party’s Just Beginning, about a young woman (Gillan) grieving her best friend’s suicide. Lee Pace, Matthew Beard and Paul Higgins co-star. (Dec. 7)

A psychopath (Christopher Abbott), not wanting to succumb to the urge to hurt his infant daughter, makes a plan to kill a sex worker (Mia Wasikowska) instead in Nicolas Pesce’s dark comedy Piercing. (Universal Pictures Content Group; Dec. 7)

A family attempts to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been beset by a species of monsters endowed with acute hearing in The Silence. Kiernan Shipka, John Corbett and Stanley Tucci co-star. (Global Road; Dec. 7)

Director Gene Graham examines contemporary black culture through the community of exotic dancing in the documentary This One’s for the Ladies. (Neon; Dec. 7)

Nadine Labaki directs the modern-day fable Capernaum, about a Lebanese boy (non-professional actor Zain Al Rafeea) who sues his parents for the crime of giving birth to him. (Sony Pictures Classics; Dec. 14)

A massive earthquake hits Oslo, Norway in John Andreas Andersen’s environmental actioner The Quake. (Magnet; Dec. 14)

Leon Marr directs The Second Time Around, about a widow who strikes up a relationship in a senior’s residence. (First Run Features; Dec. 14)

Sandra Luckow directs the documentary That Way Madness Lies, about her schizophrenic brother’s struggles with the mental health system. (First Run Features; Dec. 14)

Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan stars in Zero, a romantic drama about a vertically challenged man whose life is changed when he meets a superstar actress (Katrina Kaif). (Red Chillies, Dec. 21)


Legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki gets the documentary treatment in Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki. Kaku Arakawa’s tribute follows the director of Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and more as he attempts to make his first CGI project. (GKIDS; Winter)