Here come the 2016 holiday films. Plan your movie-watching accordingly
Hollywood likes to save its best films for last, in order to take advantage of holiday moviegoing crowds and be fresh in the minds of Academy voters when they start submitting their Oscar ballots in January. Here’s a list of the movies heading into theaters between now and the end of 2016 (along with a few January stragglers).
DEC. 2 “Manchester by the Sea”: The third — and best — movie from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (“You Can Count On Me,” “Margaret”) stars Casey Affleck as a handyman who be- comes the legal guardian of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges).
“Man Down”: A U.S. Marine (Shia LaBeouf) comes home from a tour of duty of Afghanistan to discover his wife and son are missing.
DEC. 9 “Miss Sloane”: Jessica Chastain stars as a crackerjack political lobbyist trying to make a difference on Capitol Hill.
“Office Christmas Party”: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Kate McKinnon and Olivia Munn are among the revelers at an office holiday celebration that gets way out of control.
DEC. 16 “La La Land”: Get ready to be very happy. Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s songand-dance musical about two aspiring artists (Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling) who fall in love lives up to the hype.
“The Space Between Us”: Asa Butterfield is the first human being born on Mars who comes to visit Earth for the first time.
“Collateral Beauty”: Will Smith stars as a man whose life is upended by tragedy. Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren are among the people who help him try to regain his footing.
DEC. 21 “Assassin’s Creed”: Michael Fassbender stars in this adaptation of the hit video game as a man geneti- cally linked to a member of a secret society of killers in 15th-century Spain.
“Lion”: 25 years after being separated from his family, a young man (Dev Patel) leaves his adoptive parents (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) and tries to track down the relatives he left behind in Calcutta.
“Jackie”: The Oscar buzz is strong around Natalie Portman’s performance as Jacqueline Kennedy in this drama set during the immediate days following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”: Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”) directs this prequel to “A New Hope” about a band of resistance fighters (including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn and Forest Whitaker) who risk their lives to steal the plans for an under-construction Death Star.
“Passengers”: A spacecraft carring thousands of people to a distant colony planet malfunctions, causing two of its passengers (Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt) to wake up from hypersleep 90 years early.
“Sing”: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane and Scarlett Johansson provide the voices for this animated fable about animals who put on a musical show to save an old theater.
DEC. 23 “Elle”: A ferocious Isabelle Huppert stars in director Paul (“Showgirls”) Verhoeven’s drama about a woman plotting revenge against the home intruder who raped her.
“Why Him?”: An uptight father (Bryan Cranston) is aghast to discover his daughter (Zoey Deutch) is dating a Silicon Valley billionaire (James Franco) who lacks even a semblance of manners and social grace.
“A Monster Calls”: A boy (Lewis MacDougall) worried about the health of his mother (Felicity Jones)