It’s been 23 years, but there’s finally a new addition to the chicken coop in Chicken Run 2: Dawn of the Nugget. Courtesy Aardman/Netflix

The Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes are now over, but the ripple effects are still evident at the multiplexes. The Dune sequel got bumped to the spring, and several other big-ticket items have seen their release dates delayed. However, your local movie theater won’t be short of options as the Christmas season approaches.

This is especially true if you prefer your holiday movies with music. The film version of Waitress: The Musical comes to big screens for less than a week starting this weekend, with star Sara Bareilles performing the songs she wrote for the show. Another Broadway adaptation expected to be a bigger hit is The Color Purple, with a cast full of stars (Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, H.E.R., Fantasia Barrino) performing the songs in Alice Walker’s epic tale of friendship. If you’d rather have an original musical, Dune’s Timothée Chalamet won’t be absent from the screens as he stars in Wonka, a prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory telling the story of how the candymaker got started in his business.

With animated films, Illumination Studios releases Migration, about a family of ducks undertaking the great journey for the first time. Rainbows comes out too, for all the horse girls in the audience, and Netflix releases Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, a sequel to the 2000 claymation film. The biggest item may be The Boy and the Heron, a Japanese tale set in the world between life and death and reported to be the last anime film from 82-year-old master Hayao Miyazaki.


The holidays always seem to bring biopics. George Clooney directs The Boys in the Boat, a sports drama about the University of Washington rowing team that overcame great odds to win gold at the 1936 Summer Olympics, and Sean Durkin (who did Martha Marcy May Marlene) administers The Iron Claw, starring Zac Efron, Harris Dickinson, and Jeremy Allen White as the Von Erich brothers, who took over pro wrestling in the 1980s.

On a more highbrow note, two other films set people talking at the film festivals this past fall. Bradley Cooper stars in his own Maestro, about the complicated life and career of conductor, composer, and music educator Leonard Bernstein, and old hand Michael Mann helms Ferrari, which stars Adam Driver as the legendary Italian automaker.

On foreign shores, Hirokazu Kore-eda departs from his usual low-key realism for Monster, about a Japanese mother whose son starts to behave disturbingly at school. The Korean entry Concrete Utopia is a disaster movie about a group of survivors trying to rebuild their lives after a massive earthquake levels the city of Seoul. Other awards contenders include Steve McQueen’s Occupied City, a documentary exploring the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam from the lens of the present day, and Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, with Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal as a gay couple at the center of a time-travel plot.

Cord Jefferson’s hilarious satire American Fiction is about a Black novelist who finds notoriety by using a pen name to write a novel full of outrageous Black stereotypes. This week, Eileen is a bruising psychological thriller with Thomasin McKenzie’s prison clerical worker falling in love with Anne Hathaway as the prison’s new psychotherapist. Jonathan Glazer comes out with his first movie in 10 years. The Zone of Interest chronicles Rudolf Hess and his shocking success rebuilding his life right next to the grounds of Auschwitz after World War II.

Still, the movie to anticipate is Poor Things. Reuniting Emma Stone with director Yorgos Lanthimos, it’s a picaresque tale inspired by Frankenstein, with a dead Victorian Englishwoman brought back to life and rebuilding her identity by having sex with lots of people.

I suppose I should mention Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom at some point in this piece. That’s the one entry for the blockbuster crowd, and Anyone But You is a romantic comedy to test the lead-actor skills of Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell.

Lastly, there are not one but two films that are musts for anyone who cares about French food. The Taste of Things is a 19th-century story with Juliette Binoche as an indispensable cook for a legendary chef, while Menus Plaisirs — Les Troisgros is Frederick Wiseman’s four-hour documentary about a Parisian restaurant with three Michelin stars. Both pieces drill deep into the details of preparing classic French cuisine, and they cap a delectable holiday season.

An incredible year for gaming means a perfect pick for just about every gamer on your list. Read all about it in our Gamer Guide.