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8 Cool Flicks to Watch Over the Winter Break

No place like the multiplex for the holidays

  • Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

    'Manchester by the Sea' (Nov. 18)

    Casey Affleck stretches his wings in this mesmerizing drama that should bring the film world’s most famous younger brother his second Oscar nomination. He plays a troubled handyman who must suddenly shoulder the burden of caring for his teenage nephew. The drama centers on them, but sad-eyed Michelle Williams will have you blubbering as the guy’s ex-wife. 

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  • Francois Duhamel/Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

    'Rules Don’t Apply' (Nov. 25)

    Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes has always fascinated Warren Beatty, the 79-year-old screen legend tells us, so what better role to tackle for his first film in nearly 15 years? Besides writing, directing and producing this comic romance, Beatty aims to lure the younger crowd by casting Lily Collins (The Blind Side) as an ambitious starlet in 1950s Hollywood and Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures) as her suitor.  

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  • Daniel Smith/Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

    'Allied' (Nov. 25)

    Brad Pitt is a dashing World War II U.S. Intelligence officer; Marion Cotillard is the beautiful French Resistance member who fills him with l’amour. This is the romantic drama that got entangled in the demise of Pitt’s marriage to Angelina Jolie when news outlets wrongly reported a real-life romance between the two leads. 

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  • Courtesy of Lionsgate

    'La La Land' (Dec. 2)

    Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone will never eclipse Fred and Ginger, but they tap and sing their hearts out in this lavish tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals. Writer-director Damien Chazelle even makes room for a quick cameo by J.K. Simmons — whom he coached to an Oscar in Whiplash — as a prickly nightclub owner. 

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  • Stephanie Branchu/Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

    'Jackie' (Dec. 9)

    Maybe we needed to wait a generation or two for someone to step back and capture the essence of everyone’s favorite first lady. Natalie Portman embodies the shattered soul of Jacqueline Kennedy in this breathtaking examination of Jackie’s nightmarish days in the White House after JFK’s assassination. Not everyone will love the sight of a shell-shocked Jackie lurching through the White House, drink in hand, listening to a recording of “Camelot” — but none will ever forget it. 

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  • Barry Wetcher/Courtesy of Warner Bros.

    'Collateral Beauty' (Dec. 16)

    Extending the somber vein of his recent Suicide Squad and Concussion, Will Smith plays a grieving businessman who encounters a series of mysterious figures claiming to personify Love (Keira Knightley), Time (Jacob Latimore) and Death (Helen Mirren). The vibe feels like A Christmas Carol meets Its a Wonderful Life, but given that supporting cast, expect things to go right.   

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  • Merrick Morton/Courtesy of A24 Films

    '20th Century Women' (Dec. 23)

    Whose eyes are more achingly expressive than Annette Bening’s? Just weeks after husband Warren Beatty’s trumpeted return in Rules Dont Apply, America’s Most Overlooked Great Actress steals the show in this story of a woman who opens her home to an emotionally scarred photographer (Greta Gerwig), a directionless handyman (Billy Crudup) and a troubled teen (Elle Fanning) — all while trying to raise her impressionable son (Lucas Jade Zumann).  

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  • Paramount Pictures/Photofest

    'Fences' (Dec. 23)

    Before he died in 2005, playwright August Wilson wrote a screen treatment for his Pulitzer-winning play — with instructions that it be directed by an African American. Enter first-time director Denzel Washington, who swings for the fences in the central role as a former Negro Leagues baseball player now working as a trash collector in 1950s Pittsburgh. Viola Davis co-stars as his wife; Mykelti Williamson plays his brain-damaged brother.

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