Holiday Movie Calendar 2016



Winter is nigh upon us, and in the movie industry, that means the studios are getting ready to release all of their prestige pictures, awards hopefuls, and holiday blockbusters. In order to help you figure out exactly what you should be spending your movie budget on, we’ve collected the most notable films coming out in November and December in one handy list. So bundle up, check out our Holiday Movie Calendar, and plan accordingly!

20th Century Women (2016)
Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig star in Mike Mills’ period drama about a single mother in 1979 who enlists the help of two younger women to help raise her son. Early reviews have been strong, pointing out the film’s likable characters and heartfelt family dynamics. More

Directed By: Mike Mills

Doctor Strange (2016)
The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a disgraced surgeon who seeks redemption at a remote Tibetan monastery and becomes a powerful sorcerer. Early reviews have already pegged this another triumph for marvel, and its top-notch supporting cast should ensure this will be another fun blockbuster trip to the movies. More

Directed By: Scott Derrickson

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Mel Gibson returns to the director’s chair for the first time in a decade for this World War II actioner, which tells the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the brave US Army medic who single-handedly saved 75 of his comrades during the Battle of Okinawa. Based on early reviews, it looks like Mel Gibson has got his mojo back. More

Directed By: Mel Gibson

Trolls (2016)
Remember those ugly dolls with the frizzy hair that were all the rage decades ago? Well, DreamWorks is looking to refresh your memory (and introduce them to a new generation) with the help of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, and more in this animated feature based on the once-popular toy. Early reviews indicate this collection of silly, colorful hijinks might be worth a watch. More

Directed By: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn

Loving (2016)
Director Jeff Nichols tackles this real life story about Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga), the interracial couple whose marriage was the centerpiece of a legal battle to overturn outdated laws prohibiting marriages like theirs. With rave reviews coming out of the festival circuit, this Certified Fresh drama looks to be an Oscar contender. More

Directed By: Jeff Nichols

Almost Christmas (2016)
Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union headline this ensemble comedy about a family patriarch who gathers his relatives for a holiday celebration and tries to keep them all in line. If you’re looking for a season-appropriate treat, this might do the trick. More

Directed By: David E. Talbert

Arrival (2016)
Director Denis Villeneuve looks to continue his impressive streak of acclaimed thrillers with this sci-fi tale about a linguistics expert (Amy Adams) who is called to assist when a dozen alien ships appear on Earth and begin attempting to communicate. Reviews thus far have been glowing recommendations, calling this a heady mystery with great performances. More

Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

Based on the eponymous novel, Ang Lee’s war drama centers on a US soldier who returns home a hero after a tour in Iraq and recounts his experiences during a spectacular football halftime show. Critics have been mixed on the film so far, but it’s the first movie to be filmed in 3D 4K resolution at a frame rate of 120 frames per second, which might make for an unparalleled visual experience. More

Directed By: Ang Lee

Shut In (2016)
Naomi Watts and Jacob Tremblay star in this psychological thriller about a child psychologist who believes she and her son are being terrorized by the spirit of one her patients, who has gone missing. If you’re looking for a good scare amid all the holiday fare and prestige dramas, this might be a good bet. More

Directed By: Farren Blackburn

Elle (2016)
Dutch auteur-provocateur Paul Verhoeven has earned some of the best reviews of his career with this latest outing, a dark and suspenseful Certified Fresh thriller starring Isabelle Huppert as a woman who is brutally raped in her home but coldly moves past the incident and begins to stalk her assailant instead. More

Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

Bleed for This (2016)
Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart star in this inspirational sports drama about Providence, Rhode Island boxer Vinny Pazienza, who suffered a broken neck in a car accident but worked his way back into the ring, despite being informed he might never walk again. More

Directed By: Ben Younger

Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson star in this coming-of-age comedy about an awkward high school junior who suffers an adolescent crisis and finds support from an unlikely source when her best friend begins dating her brother. More

Directed By: Kelly Fremon Craig

If you’ve been itching for a fix ever since the Harry Potter series ended, you’re in for a treat. Eddie Redmayne stars in this spinoff of J.K. Rowling’s massively popular series, which recounts the adventures of a wizard named Newt Scamander and his efforts to recover a number of magical creatures who have been let loose in 1920s New York. More

Directed By: David Yates

Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams star in Kenneth Lonergan’s acclaimed drama about a janitor who returns to his seaside New England home when his older brother dies and names him sole guardian of his teenage nephew. This slice-of-life portrait has earned stunning reviews from the festival circuit, so it’s likely to be an Oscar contender. More

Directed By: Kenneth Lonergan

Nocturnal Animals (2016)
Fashion designer Tom Ford’s sophomore directorial effort stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams in a psychological thriller about an art gallery owner who receives a novel manuscript from her ex-husband and interprets dark designs within it. A stellar supporting cast and Ford’s keen eye for sumptuous detail have earned it great early reviews. More

Directed By: Tom Ford

Allied (2016)
Robert Zemeckis helms this period romantic thriller starring Brad Pitt as a Canadian intelligence officer whose relationship with a French Resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) — who may or may not be a spy herself — is threatened by the onset of World War II. More

Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

Bad Santa 2 (2016)
Billy Bob Thornton reprises his role as ill-tempered holiday con man Willie Stokes, who reunites with his old partner Marcus (Tony Cox) to rip off a charity in Chicago. The first Bad Santa was a surprise hit, and Thornton is enjoying a recent career boost, so if you like a bit of hilarious misanthropy with your egg nog, this could do the trick. More

Directed By: Mark Waters

Moana (2016)
Disney’s latest animated adventure is set among the islands of the Pacific Ocean, where an intrepid young princess sets off on a journey to locate a fabled island and meets the demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson). Disney’s track record is rock solid, and all signs point to this being another winning treat for the whole family. More

Directed By: John Musker, Ron Clements

Rules Don't Apply (2016)
Warren Beatty returns to the director’s chair for the first time since 1998’s Bulworth for this period romantic comedy about a young actress (Lily Collins) and a limo driver (Alden Ehrenreich) who are drawn to each other and into the orbit of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes (Beatty). More

Directed By: Warren Beatty

Lion (2016)
Dev Patel stars in this real life story about an adopted Australian man who utilizes Google Earth to find his way back to India and the remote village from which he disappeared as a five-year-old. Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman co-star, and early reviews have been positive, so this earnest drama could be a winner. More

Directed By: Garth Davis

Miss Sloane (2016)
Oscar-winner John Madden enlists another all-star cast for this political drama about a successful D.C. lobbyist (Jessica Chastain) who struggles against powerful opponents to pass gun control reform. Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sam Waterston, and John Lithgow co-star. More

Directed By: John Madden

Incarnate (2016)
Aaron Eckhart and Carice van Houten star in this horror film about a scientist who enters his subjects’ subconscious minds to save them from exorcism and the young boy haunted by a powerful demon from his past. This will be one of the few choices for those looking for a good scare this holiday season. More

Directed By: Brad Peyton

Kidnap (2017)
Halle Berry stars in this action thriller about a single mother who witnesses her young son’s abduction and attempts to secure the city’s help in order to rescue him. Audiences in search of a solid adrenaline jolt might find what they’re looking for here. More

Directed By: Luis Prieto

Jackie (2016)
Natalie Portman stars in this biopic about First Lady Jackie Kennedy, which focuses on her life in the days immediately following the assassination of her husband. The impressive cast includes Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Richard E. Grant, and John Hurt, and early reviews have heaped a ton of praise on Portman’s performance, making this another potential awards contender. More

Directed By: Pablo Larraín

T.J. Miller and Jason Bateman star in this holiday comedy about two branch execs who must impress a big client with their Christmas party or else face a shutdown by the company’s CEO (Jennifer Aniston). Based on the huge cast of comedy vets involved — including Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, and Rob Corddry — this is likely to be a raunchy good time. More

Directed By: Josh Gordon, Will Speck

La La Land (2016)
This musical ode to Hollywood from Damien Chazelle stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a jazz musician and an aspiring actress who meet, fall in love, and struggle with success in Los Angeles. With outstanding reviews from the festival circuit thus far, this buzzworthy film has already got folks talking Best Picture at the Oscars. More

Directed By: Damien Chazelle

Collateral Beauty (2016)
Will Smith stars in this heartfelt drama about a New York ad exec whose friends rally together to help him overcome his grief after he suffers a difficult personal tragedy. The impressive supporting cast includes Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and more. Make sure to bring a few tissues. More

Directed By: David Frankel

The first of the highly anticipated Star Wars Anthology films, Rogue One tells the story of how the plans for Darth Vader’s death star were stolen and smuggled into the hands of the Rebel Alliance. Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Ben Mendelsohn headline a big ensemble cast, and come on. This is Star Wars. You’re going to watch it. More

Directed By: Gareth Edwards

Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson star in this sci-fi tale about a teenager — the first child born on Mars — whose investigation into his unknown father leads him to Earth for the first time. Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, and B.D. Wong co-star in this teen romance, which could be a hit with its target audience. More

Directed By: Peter Chelsom

Why Him? (2016)
Bryan Cranston, James Franco, and Zoey Deutch star in this comedy about the rivalry that ensues when a Stanford coed introduces her father to her new boyfriend — an earnest but awkward Silicon Valley mogul who announces his plans to propose. Both Cranston and Franco have proven their comedic chops plenty of times, so expect some good laughs. More

Directed By: John Hamburg

A Monster Calls (2016)
J.A. Bayona’s fantastical coming-of-age tale centers on a 12-year-old boy who befriends an ancient talking tree (voiced by Liam Neeson) when his mother grows ill with terminal cancer. Based on strong early reviews, critics are calling this an uncommonly moving example of its genre. More

Directed By: J. A. Bayona

Silence (2016)
Martin Scorsese’s latest film stars Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as a pair of 17th century Jesuit Priests who travel to Japan and face persecution at the hands of the shogunate, which seeks to banish all western influences from the country. Liam Neeson, Ciaran Hinds, and Tadanobu Asano co-star, but a new Scorsese film is always something to take notice of. More

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Assassin's Creed (2016)
Michael Fassbender hopes to deliver the first critically acclaimed video game adaptation when he stars in this sci-fi fantasy tale about a man who relives his ancestor’s adventures as a member of a secret society of assassins. Big, blockbuster visuals and a cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Noomi Rapace, Jeremy Irons, and more make this a highly anticipated action thriller. More

Directed By: Justin Kurzel

Passengers (2016)
Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence star in Morten Tyldum’s sci-fi thriller about two people who are prematurely awoken during a 120-year space voyage and discover a larger problem affecting the ship. Tyldum scored big points with his last film, The Imitation Game, and star power doesn’t come much brighter than Pratt and Lawrence, so you’re probably in good hands here. More

Directed By: Morten Tyldum

Sing (2016)
Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon lend their voices to this animated musical from Illumination Entertainment about a koala who puts on a massive singing competition to help save his theater. Illumination also brought us the Despicable Me and Minions movies, and so far, this one looks like another crowd-pleaser. More

Directed By: Garth Jennings

Patriots Day (2016)
Director Peter Berg reunites with his Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon star Mark Wahlberg for this depiction of the brave first responders who leapt into action in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. This is firmly within Berg’s wheelhouse, and Wahlberg is aided by the likes of J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan, and John Goodman. More

Directed By: Peter Berg

Fences (2016)
Denzel Washington’s third film as director, adapted from August Wilson’s play, centers on a former negro league baseball player coming to terms with the events of his life. The cast includes Viola Davis and Mykelti Williamson, and Wilson himself adapted the script, but Denzel is the real draw here; he’s as watchable a star as there is today. More

Directed By: Denzel Washington

Gold (2016)
Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez star in this adventure film about a down-on-his-luck businessman who teams up with a geologist and travels to Indonesia in search of gold. Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, and Bruce Greenwood help round out the cast, and it should provide some solid thrills and beautiful landscapes. More

Directed By: Stephen Gaghan

Paterson (2016)
Jim Jarmusch isn’t exactly a mainstream draw, but the director’s latest film, starring Adam Driver as a New Jersey bus driver with a penchant for poetry, has earned fantastic reviews thus far. If you’re looking for a quiet, thought-provoking slice-of-life drama, this is probably a sure thing. More

Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

Live by Night (2016)
Ben Affleck looks to continue his Certified Fresh directorial streak with his latest effort, a period crime drama based on Dennis Lehane’s novel about the son of a Boston police captain who moves to Florida and becomes a prominent gangster. Brendan Gleeson, Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, and Zoe Saldana headline the impressive ensemble cast. More

Directed By: Ben Affleck

Toni Erdmann (2016)
This German-Austrian co-production and festival darling may not open in many theaters, but critics so far agree it’s worth seeking out. Sandra Huller stars in this comedy as a busy corporate exec whose life is turned upside down when her prank-loving father suddenly decides to pay her a surprise visit. More

Directed By: Maren Ade