20 New Movies We Can’t Wait to See

Hollywood rolls out blockbuster films for the holiday season.

Had enough of holiday shopping? It’s time to settle in with some Sno-Caps at your hometown cineplex and enjoy one of the many new movies coming to New Jersey in December. You’ve got options. Here they are.

Manchester By the Sea
Rated R
In theaters now

After the death of his older brother Joe (played by Kyle Chandler), Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked to learn that Joe has made him sole guardian of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Taking leave of his job as a janitor in Boston, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea, the fishing village where his family has lived for generations, to care for Patrick, a spirited 15-year-old. There, he is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife, Randi (Michelle Williams). Bonded by the man who held their family together, Lee and Patrick struggle to adjust to a world without him.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Rated PG-13
In theaters now

The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds. Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller and Johnny Depp co-star; David Yates, who helmed four of the Harry Potter films, directed; and J.K. Rowling adapted for the screen from her own book.

Jackie
Rated R
In theaters now

Pablo Larraín directed this historical biopic about Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy (John Carroll Lynch), as she made plans for his funeral procession. Confiding in her close friend and secretary Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig) and brother-in-law Robert Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard), Jackie examines her husband’s legacy and cares for her young family while a nation mourns.

SiREN
Not rated
In theaters now

SiREN is a horror-thriller about Jonah, an apprehensive groom-to-be whose bachelor party turns into a nightmare when he frees a seemingly innocent girl locked up in a supernatural sex club. Her ruthless handler will stop at nothing to recapture his prize. Jonah struggles to rescue the girl only to discover he’s the one who needs to be rescued. The girl, it turns out, is a dangerous predator who has chosen him as her mate.

Frank & Lola
Not rated
Opening Dec. 9

An obsessive Las Vegas chef (Michael Shannon) falls in love with a mysterious woman (Imogen Poots), but an act of infidelity turns their relationship into a paranoid nightmare. Written and directed by Matthew Ross; in limited release.

Friend Request
Rated R
Opening Dec. 9

A popular college student, Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey), accepts a Facebook friend request from a lonely girl, Marina, who went to her high school, but quickly unfriends her when Marina tries to turn their virtual connection into a real-life bond. Soon, Marina gets her revenge—demonic forces start killing off Laura’s friends one by one. Directed by Simon Verhoeven.

Office Christmas Party
Rated R
Opening Dec. 9

When a company CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close the branch run by her hard-partying brother (T.J. Miller), he and his chief technical officer (Jason Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs. The latest comedy from directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (Blades of Glory) co-stars Kate McKinnon, Olivia Munn, Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Sam Richardson, Jamie Chung, and Courtney B. Vance.

Kill Ratio
Not rated
Opening Dec. 9

An American covert agent (Tom Hopper) becomes the last hope to stop a military coup aimed at overthrowing a democratically elected president in an Eastern European nation. Paul Tanter directed this action thriller.

Abbatoir
Rated R
Opening Dec. 9

A young investigative reporter (Jessica Lowndes) works to solve the mystery behind a man who has been buying houses where tragedies have occurred. She and a detective, her ex-lover (Joe Anderson), are led to the town of New English where they find the enigmatic Jebediah Crone (Dayton Callie) and the Abattoir—a monstrous house stitched together with unending rooms of death and the damned. The stakes go up when things suddenly turn personal in this modern noir.

Collateral Beauty
Rated PG-13
Opening Dec. 16

A successful New York adman (Will Smith) deals with personal tragedy by retreating from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. But it’s not until his notes bring unexpected personal responses that he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived, and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty. Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris and Michael Peña co-star. Directed by David Frankel.

Fences
Not rated
Opening Dec. 16

Denzel Washington directed and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which centers on a black garbage collector who struggles to take care of his family in 1950s Pittsburgh. Washington and co-star Viola Davis won Tonys for their performances in the 2010 revival of the play. Also featuring Jovan Adepo, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson and Saniyya Sydney. The film was produced by Washington, with Todd Black and Scott Rudin.

The Founder
Rated PG-13
Opening Dec. 16

This biopic tells the true story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a salesman from Illinois who maneuvered himself into a position to buy the 1950s burger operation of Mac and Dick McDonald in Southern California. Kroc then built the operation into a billion-dollar fast food empire. Written by Robert Siegel (Big Fan).

La La Land
Rated PG-13
Opening Dec. 16

This contemporary musical tells the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, the film explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams. Directed by Damien Chazelle.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rated PG-13
Opening Dec. 16

In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. Felicity Jones, Alan Tudyk, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelson and Forest Whitaker star.

Assassin’s Creed
Rated PG-13
Opening Dec. 21

Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th-century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day. Marion Cotillard co-stars; directed by Justin Kurzel.

Passengers
Rated PG-13
Opening Dec. 21

In this action-adventure/sci-fi hybrid, two passengers, Jim and Aurora (Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence), aboard a spacecraft traveling to a distant planet are brought out of suspended animation by a technical glitch 90 years before the vessel is due to reach its destination. As Jim and Aurora face living the rest of their lives on board, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction. Then they discover the ship is in grave danger. The lives of 5,000 sleeping passengers are at stake—and only Jim and Aurora can save them.

Sing
Rated PG
Opening Dec. 21

Set in a world entirely inhabited by animals, “Sing” is a quirky animated musical that tells the story of Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), a koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster loves his theater and will do anything to preserve it. He has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory: producing the world’s greatest singing competition. Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth McFarlane, Nick Kroll and Taron Egerton co-star.

A Monster Calls
Rated PG-13
Opening Dec. 23

Twelve-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall)—dealing with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness, a less-than-sympathetic grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) and bullying classmates—finds an ally when a monster appears at his bedroom window. Ancient, wild and relentless, the monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith and truth. Toby Kebbell plays Conor’s father, and Liam Neeson stars in performance-capture and voiceover as the monster. Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (“The Impossible”); based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel.

Why Him?
Not rated
Opening Dec. 25

Over the holidays, Ned (Bryan Cranston), an overprotective but loving dad, and his family, visit his daughter at Stanford, where he meets his biggest nightmare: her well-meaning but socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire boyfriend, Laird (James Franco). The straight-laced Ned thinks Laird, who has absolutely no filter, is a wildly inappropriate match for his daughter. A rivalry—and Ned’s panic level—escalates when he finds himself increasingly out of step in the glamorous high-tech hub and learns that Laird is about to pop the question.

Paterson
Rated R
Opening Dec. 28

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in New Jersey’s very own city of Paterson. Every day, he adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry in a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer; he goes home to his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). By contrast, Laura’s world is ever-changing. Dreams come to her almost daily, each a different and inspired project. The film quietly observes the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

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