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2015 Holiday Movie Preview

True stories (and updates to ‘Rocky’ and ‘Star Wars’) give you lots of viewing options

  • Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    ‘Creed’ (Nov. 25)

    Sylvester Stallone brings Rocky back for the seventh time; the Oscar-winning original was 39 years ago! Fruitvale Station writer-director Ryan Coogler envisions the long-retired Rocky as reluctant mentor to a rising young fighter named Adonis Johnson, the son of his old nemesis Apollo Creed. Playing Adonis is the talented Michael B. Jordan, who also starred in Fruitvale Station

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  • Courtesy of Focus Features

    ‘The Danish Girl’ (Nov. 27)

    Eight decades before the media embraced Caitlyn Jenner, Danish artist Lili Elbe caused a sensation in Europe by undergoing revolutionary gender-reassignment surgery. Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for transforming himself into Stephen Hawking in last year’s The Theory of Everything, goes even further as Elbe in this fact-based drama.   

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  • Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

    ‘The Lady in the Van’ (Dec. 4, opens wide Jan. 15)

    Everyone benefits from the company of elders. But what happens when one of them parks her van in your driveway and lives there for 15 years? In this based-on-fact dramedy, Maggie Smith stars as Mary Shepherd, the lady in the film’s title, and Alex Jennings is her gobsmacked host, the playwright Alan Bennett.

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  • Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

    ‘Youth’ (Dec. 4)

    A crumbling Swiss spa populated by guests young and old — and often naked — is the compelling backdrop for a chance run-in between Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in this poetic contemplation of age, friendship and family. As Caine’s daughter, Rachel Weisz seethes at his perceived failings because she is ignorant of his private sacrifices.

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  • Courtesy of CinemaWest

    ‘The Letters’ (Dec. 4)

    British elderbabe Juliet Stevenson (Truly Madly Deeply) plays Mother Teresa in this drama chronicling the legendary nun’s 50-year correspondence with her friend and spiritual adviser, Father Celeste van Exem. He’s played by Max von Sydow — who, yes, was doomed Father Merrin in The Exorcist 42 years ago.

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  • Alamy/Getty Images

    ‘Macbeth’ (Dec. 4)

    Michael Fassbender makes the jump from King of Silicon Valley (Steve Jobs) to Scottish prince in this latest effort from screenwriter William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, West Side Story). Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) costars as Big Mac’s murderous moll, Lady Macbeth.

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  • Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

    ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ (Dec. 11)

    Director Ron Howard (Splash, Cocoon, Apollo 13) has been taking us on fantastic voyages for decades, and this high-seas epic may be his most spectacular adventure yet. He plops us aboard an 1820s whaler being stalked and smashed to bits by its vengeful prey. The true-life events would inspire Herman Melville to pen his own little fish tale, Moby Dick.   

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  • Courtesy of Disney Pictures

    ‘Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens’ (Dec. 18)

    This long-anticipated installment in the Star Wars saga has theatergoers scrambling for advance tickets — and consenting to midnight showings. Prepare to be Force-fed the nostalgia stirred up by the reappearance of original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Like those who crammed theaters for that first jump to hyperspace 38 years ago, they’ve grown older and, we hope, wiser.

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  • Courtesy of Universal Pictures

    ‘Sisters’ (Dec. 18)

    Best buds Tina Fey and Amy Poehler haven’t made a movie together in seven years (Baby Mama). As award-show partners, SNL guests and occasional TV show collaborators, however, they’ve become a comedy duo for the ages, always worth watching. Here they reunite as grown sisters who throw one last house party before their parents (Dianne Wiest and James Brolin) sell the family abode. 

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  • Courtesy of IFC Films

    ‘45 Years’ (Dec. 23)

    On the surface, the 45-year marriage of a British couple (Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) seems mundane. But as their anniversary party approaches, a dark secret that has been bubbling beneath the surface for as long as they’ve known each other threatens to boil over. As a couple who know too much and speak too little, Rampling and Courtenay hold us rapt.   

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  • Courtesy of TIFF

    ‘Where to Invade Next’ (Dec. 23, opens wide Jan. 15)

    You could practically taste the bitterness in Michael Moore’s documentaries Roger & Me and Fahrenheit 9/11, but this time out he offers a thoughtfully engaging, sweet-natured examination of the good ideas he says the U.S. should be importing from other countries. 

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  • Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

    ‘Joy’ (Dec. 25)

    Why see a movie about the woman who invented the Miracle Mop? Because it reunites classic couple Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, the Hepburn and Tracy (or Ryan and Hanks —  take your pick) for a new generation. With David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) directing and Robert De Niro part of the supporting cast, these “mop-its” should wring in the holidays with a joyful splash.  

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  • Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

    ‘Concussion’ (Dec. 25)

    Football fans used to call it “getting your bell rung.” Then forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu discovered the link between repeated gridiron collisions and crippling head trauma. Will Smith, handsomely grayed at the temples, plays the brave doc who went head-to-head with the NFL over his findings.

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