There’s just one week until Christmas, and we know it’s a hectic time. So here’s hoping you find a few hours over the course of the holiday season to check out some movies — and any of these new releases would be a great way for you and yours to spend some precious moments together!
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)
As he tried to cope with the alien symbiote now sharing his body, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) couldn’t turn down the invite that could recharge his flagging journalism career: A prison sit-down with psychotic serial murderer Cletus Kasaday (Woody Harrelson). Freak circumstance caused the parasite to infect Kasaday as well–resulting in an escape and rampage that even Venom might not be able to stop. Showdown for the Marvel Comics supervillains co-stars Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris.
The Last Duel (2021)
In late-14th-century France, Norman knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) was stunned when his wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) leveled an accusation of rape against his squire and best friend Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver). The events as recounted through the eyes of all three–through their culmination in the nation’s last recognized trial by combat–drive Ridley Scott’s historical opus. Co-stars Ben Affleck; Damon, Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener co-adapted the Eric Jager novel for the screen.
As Michigan teen Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobsen) was prepping to go to college in California, her tech-loathing dad Rick (Danny McBride) declared that the family would make it a bonding (and unplugged) road trip. Too bad a robotics firm’s outmoded AI (Olivia Colman) chose the moment to go rogue…and order the company’s products to capture all humans! Acclaimed animated effort from the “Gravity Falls” team also features the voices of Maya Rudolph, Mike Rianda, Eric André, Fred Armisen.
Long-sought “DuPont Show of the Month” adaptation of the Mary Chase stage favorite stars Art Carney as Elwood P. Dowd, an aging, gentle dipsomaniac with a most unusual confidante: the invisible six-foot rabbit he calls “Harvey.” The efforts of his mortified sister (Marion Lorne) to have him committed have surprising repercussions for everyone in Elwood’s orbit. Fred Gwynne, Elizabeth Montgomery, Charlotte Rae, Larry Blyden also star.
Bedtime Story (1964)
Germany-stationed non-com Freddy Benson (Marlon Brando) had quite the side action–conning the women of a plush Riviera resort village out of cash and favors. Polished grifter Lawrence Jameson (David Niven) didn’t appreciate the competition…and made a loser-leaves-town challenge for the attentions of beautiful heiress Janet Walker (Shirley Jones). Long-sought farce, twice remade as “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “The Hustle,” co-stars Marie Windsor, Dody Goodman.
Coming Home for Christmas (2017)
With the wealthy Marley family’s swanky Ashford Estate about to be sold, newly hired house manager Lizzie Richfield (Danica McKellar) is tasked with putting together one last Christmas Eve party. Lizzie gets far more than she bargained for as she becomes mixed up in the family drama and catches the attention of free-spirited Kip Marley (Andrew Francis)…despite her attraction to his buttoned-down brother, Robert (Neal Bledsoe). Hallmark holiday romance co-stars Lindsay Maxwell, Paula Shaw.
The Waltons’ Homecoming (2021)
It was December, 1933, and the Walton family was relieved that their patriarch John (Ben Lawson) would returning to Virginia for the holiday. Christmas Eve, however, brought a fierce blizzard–and as mother Olivia (Bellamy Young) sent her eldest John-Boy (Logan Shroyer) to look for his father, he’d find his life changed forever. Remake of the beloved series’ pilot film–after half a century–co-stars Marcelle LeBlanc, Christian Finlayson, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr.; Richard Thomas narrates.
Language Lessons (2021)
One day during lockdown, aging, pampered Adam (Mark Duplass) got an unexpected gift from his rich husband: a hundred hours of Spanish tutoring, delivered remotely by glad-to-have-the-gig Costa Rican Cariño (Natalie Morales, who directed). The warm bond that student and teacher develop as they see one another through trauma and tragedy is movingly chronicled in this effort co-written by the leads. Desean Terry, Christine Quesada also star.
Going Beserk (1983)
Several “SCTV” stars are featured in this hilarious comedy that follows aspiring drummer/limo driver John Bourgignon (John Candy) as he prepares to marry the daughter (Alley Mills) of a presidential hopeful (Pat Hingle). Trouble rears its ugly head when some cult leaders that use aerobics as a method of mind control set out to hypnotize John so that he will assassinate the politico. With Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy.
The Brass Bottle (1964)
Architect Harold Ventimore (Tony Randall) should’ve kept the receipt for the antique bottle he acquired, as it turned out to contain a very over-accommodating genie (Burl Ives)! The amiable djinn’s magical efforts to make life easier for his new master only cause havoc for Harold and his flustered fiancée (TV-genie-to-be Barbara Eden). Fun fantasy-comedy, based on the 1900 novel by F. Anstey, co-stars Edward Andrews, Ann Doran, Kamala Devi.
The Learning Tree (Criterion Collection) (1969)
Renowned photographer Gordon Parks wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical drama based on his novel. Newt Winger (Kyle Johnson), a black teen growing up in a racially divided town in 1920s rural Kansas, witnesses a murder for which an innocent man is accused, and his decision to reveal the truth has unexpected and tragic consequences. Understated and beautifully filmed tale also stars Alex Clarke, Estelle Evans, Dana Elcar.
South of Heaven (2021)
Having done a 12-year stretch for armed robbery, small-timer Jimmy (Jason Sudeikis) won early parole–and he was determined to ensure that he’d help cancer-stricken first love Annie (Evangeline Lilly) make the most of the time she had left. Unfortunately, there are those in his past unwilling to let him make a clean break from the criminal life. Stylish action-drama also stars Shea Whigham, Mike Colter, Jeremy Bobb, and Michael Paré.
The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979)
Young U.S. senator Joe Tynan (Alan Alda, who scripted) is persuaded by cagey lobbyist Karen Traynor (Meryl Streep) to withdraw his support for a Supreme Court nominee with a segregationist past. While the move raises his national profile and ambitions, it also leads to an affair with Traynor, jeopardizing Tynan’s union with his loving but overtaxed wife (Barbara Harris). Potent political tale co-stars Rip Torn, Melvyn Douglas.
The Card Counter (2021)
Ex-military interrogator William Tell (Oscar Isaac) lived OK off of his skill set at the casino tables–until he was approached by young Cirk (Tye Sheridan), who came looking for his help in a payback for the CO (Willem Dafoe) who’d wrecked both their lives. He opted to try and steer the kid from his plans by making him an apprentice…but even as the chips piled up, a confrontation with his dark past remained inevitable. Writer-director Paul Schrader’s intense thriller co-stars Tiffany Haddish.
The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)
Legendary bandleader brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey played themselves in this tune-filled biodrama that follows the duo from their upbringing in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and career breakthroughs up to their stormy breakup and reunion. Janet Blair, William Lundigan co-star, with appearances by Paul Whiteman and other musical greats; songs include “Marie,” “Green Eyes,” “The Object of My Affection,” and more.
12 to the Moon! (1960)
A trip to the moon proves perilous for the adventurous international dozen of this sci-fi drama, as they encounter a secret race of underground lunar aliens who command them to leave immediately. The astronauts obey, but the creatures launch at attack on Earth that will leave much of North America covered in deadly ice. Is there any way to reverse the deep freeze? Ken Clark, Michi Kobi, Tom Conway, Anthony Dexter star.