Holiday movie preview: ‘West Side Story’ finally unveiled; ‘Matrix,’ ‘Spider-Man’ return

·4 min read

Movie theaters are still struggling to bounce back after (or still during?) the pandemic. But like any good underdog story, they’re hanging in there.

And Hollywood studios are reacting with a slightly scaled down holiday movie season slate. But there are still some much-anticipated films coming our way. Here’s a look at what’s coming through the end of the year. (As always, especially now, release dates and titles are subject to change.)

Wednesday, Nov. 24

“House of Gucci” Ridley Scott directs this crime saga about Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider from humble beginnings who marries into the Gucci family, where her unbridled ambition begins to unravel their legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge and ultimately . . . murder. Sounds juicy! Also starring Adam Driver, Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons.

“Encanto” This Disney animation follows a young Colombian girl who has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without special magical powers. I know how that feels!

“Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” Set in 1998, this origin story of the franchise explores the secrets of the mysterious Spencer Mansion and the ill-fated Raccoon City. That doesn’t sound like much of a welcome.

Dec. 3

“Wolf” A young man who believes he is a wolf trapped in a human body is sent to a clinic by his family where he is forced to undergo increasingly extreme forms of “curative” therapies. His only solace is the enigmatic woman who calls herself “Wildcat,” with whom he roams the hospital in the dead of night. The two form an improbable friendship that develops into infatuation. Starring George MacKay (”1941”) and Lily-Rose Depp (yes, Johnny’s daughter).

Dec. 10

“West Side Story” Somethin’s comin,’ somethin’ good (hopefully)! Director Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited lavish take on the classic 1957 musical explores forbidden love among the deadly rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs in New York City with different ethnic backgrounds. Ansel Elgort (”Baby Driver”) and newcomer Rachel Zegler star as Tony and Maria. Rita Moreno (who won an Oscar for the original film) also appears.

“National Champions” A star quarterback ignites a players’ strike hours before the biggest game of the year in order to fight for fair compensation, equality and respect for the student-athletes. What an idea! It’s got quite a hefty cast in Alexander Ludwig (TV’s ”Vikings”), Timothy Olyphant (TV’s “Justified”), Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (”Whiplash”) and perennially bubbly Kristen Chenoweth.

Dec. 17

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) asks Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help. Then when a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear. It’s always something! Zendaya, Jon Favreau and Marisa Tomei also return.

Dec. 22

“The Matrix Resurrections” The plot of the fourth film in the series is being kept more secret than star Keanu Reeves’ anti-aging regimen, but he does return for this sequel alongside Carrie-Anne Moss. Lana Wachowski also returns to direct. Whoa!

“The King’s Man” This prequel take place In the early years of the 20th century, as the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal plotting a war to wipe out millions of people. Starring Ralph Fiennes and sure-to-be-breakout Harris Dickinson, whose abs might just upstage his performance.

“Sing 2” This animated sequel follows Buster Moon and his friends as they try to persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show. Starring the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Taron Egerton and Reese Witherspoon.

Dec. 24

“Licorice Pizza” Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest follows two kids growing up and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley in 1973. Bradley Cooper, Maya Randolph and Sean Penn are among the sprawling cast.

Christmas Day

“American Underdog” The story of NFL MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi, “Shazam!”), who went from stocking shelves at a supermarket to becoming a football star. A true Cinderella story, if Cinderella were a fella and a football player. Also starring Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid and Adam Baldwin.

“A Journal for Jordan” Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington directs this tale of 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King (Michael B. Jordan), who keeps a journal for his newborn son while stationed overseas. Hanky alert if you’re a crier!

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rodrick@rawdzilla.com.

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