The superheroes have returned to their lairs. There’s noticeably more science creeping into our sci-fi. And the reboots and sequels have been packed away for reuse another summer while we get a brand-new story from a beloved movie franchise.
It’s the holidays, which typically offer a bounty of fine end-of-the-year movies featuring Oscar-worthy performances and intense family dramas for your consideration, along with a mix of hedge bets and holdovers consisting of raunchy comedies, video-game-inspired actioners and a few odd horror films and whatnot for those looking for a little fun.
There’s a lot to see. You’d need a guide to keep track of all the films coming in the final weeks of 2016. Fortunately, you’re reading one. Not only do we have a list of the year’s remaining releases, but we also have interviews with the stars of some of the biggest films yet to come — “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Live by Night” and “Collateral Beauty” — as well as the makers of sassy Santa-inspired films.
So read on for a look at the movies that will play out in 2016 — and possibly stick around for the awards race in 2017. — By Erik Pedersen
Films to light the holiday darkness
The Eyes of My Mother: A young Portuguese-American girl witnesses a horrific event, and as she grows up, it unleashes a darkness within her.
Incarnate: A scientist with the ability to enter the subconscious minds of the possessed must save a young boy from the grips of a demon with powers never seen before, while facing the horrors of his past.
Jackie: An intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, as seen through the eyes of the iconic first lady. Starring Natalie Portman.
Kidnap: This action-thriller stars Halle Berry as a mother who will stop at nothing to rescue her kidnapped son.
Man Down: When U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer (Shia LaBeouf) returns home from his tour in Afghanistan, he finds that the place he once called home is no better than the battlefields he fought on overseas.
Pet: A psychological thriller about a man who bumps into an old flame and subsequently becomes obsessed with her, leading him to hold her captive underneath the animal shelter where he works.
Run the Tide: When their drug-abusing mother (Constance Zimmer) is released from prison determined to rebuild their family, a young man (Taylor Lautner) kidnaps his younger brother and escapes their desert home for the California coast.
Siren: A bachelor party becomes a savage fight for survival when the groomsmen unwittingly unleash a fabled predator upon the festivities.
Things to Come: From actress-director Mia Hansen-Løve (“Goodbye First Love”), this film is about a philosophy professor (Isabelle Huppert) who rethinks her life after her mother has died and she finds her husband (Andre Marcon) is cheating on her.
Abattoir: An investigative reporter tries to figure out why a mysterious man has been buying houses where tragedies have occurred.
All We Had: A struggling mother and her teenage daughter find refuge and a new life in a small town. With Katie Holmes.
Burn Country: An Afghan refugee (Dominic Rains) works as a journalist in a small California town and stumbles into its violent underbelly.
Frank & Lola: A psychosexual noir romance starring Michael Shannon as an up-and-coming chef and Imogen Poots as an aspiring fashion designer who find one another, but a man from Lola’s past intrudes on their happiness.
Kill Ratio: An attack on the new president of a fledgling eastern European democracy pits an American covert operative against the country’s ruthless military leader determined to seize control of the government.
Harry Benson — Shoot First: Documentary charts the illustrious career of the renowned photographer who initially rose to fame alongside the Beatles,
La La Land: This musical stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and features real Los Angeles locations.
Office Christmas Party: When his uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down his branch, a manager throws an epic Christmas party to land a big client, but things get out of hand. Stars Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, Olivia Munn, Jason Bateman.
Collateral Beauty: From director David Frankel, a tragic event sends a New York ad man on a downward spiral. Stars Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren.
The Founder: The story of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. Directed by John Lee Hancock with Michael Keaton as the hamburger man.
A Kind of Murder: A psychological noir thriller set in 1960s New York based on a Patricia Highsmith novel in which a rich man wants his wife dead and conveniently finds her so but then becomes a suspect. With Patrick Wilson, Jessica Biel.
Neruda: A biopic of the renowned Chilean poet who in the 1940s became a political fugitive for joining the Communist party. As the world clamors for his freedom, Neruda writes some of his greatest works. Meanwhile, he begins to play a cat-and-mouse game with the inspector tasked to find him in order to reinvent himself.
Rogue One — A Star Wars Story: In this first stand-alone “Star Wars” film, the Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans to the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. Directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Riz Ahmed (HBO’s “The Night of”), Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn.
Solace: A retired physician (Anthony Hopkins) with psychic powers reluctantly decides to help an FBI special agent track a serial killer.
The Space Between Us: A young man raised by scientists on Mars returns to Earth to find his father. With Carla Gugino, Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman and Asa Butterfield.
Assassin’s Creed: Another video game is brought to the big screen. This one is about a man who discovers he is a descendant of the secret assassins society. With Michael Fassbender, Michael Kenneth Williams, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons.
Julieta: The title character and her daughter Antía suffer in silence over the loss of Xoan, Antía’s father and Julieta’s husband. When Antía turns 18, she abandons her mother. As Julieta searches for her, she discovers how little she knows of her daughter. Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Passengers: A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 60 years early. Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne.
Patriots Day: An account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’ actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the citywide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it. Directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Kevin Bacon.
Sing: Animated musical-comedy about a koala named Buster, who recruits his best friend to help him drum up business for his theater by hosting a singing competition. With the voices of Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon
The Autopsy of Jane Doe: Father-and-son coroners are baffled by the postmortem examination they perform on the victim of a grisly homicide in small-town Virginia. With Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch.
I, Daniel Blake: Ken Loach’s drama finds a carpenter in Northern England with a heart condition battling government bureaucracy while helping a struggling single mom with two children. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Silence: In the latest from director Martin Scorsese, two Jesuit missionaries travel to 17th-century Japan and defy a ban on Christianity to find their mentor. With Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson.
Why Him?: A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter’s young rich boyfriend, starring James Franco, Zoey Deutch and Bryan Cranston.
Fences: Denzel Washington directs and stars in the adaptation of the August Wilson play about an African-American father struggling with race relations in the United States, trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life. With Viola Davis.
Gold: Writer-director Stephen Gaghan (“Syriana”) tells the story of an unlikely pair who venture to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold. Starring Matthew McConaughey Bryce Dallas Howard and Edgar Ramírez.
Hidden Figures: A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions. With Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe.
Live by Night: Ben Affleck wrote, directed and stars in this adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel about the son of a Boston police superintendent who becomes an outlaw during the the Prohibition era. With Elle Fanning, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper.
Toni Erdmann: A retired German music teacher dons a disguise and pretends to be a life coach to spend more time with his ambitious, corporate-driven daughter.
20th Century Women: Written and directed by Mike Mills, the film follows three women of different generations who help teach a teenage boy about life in 1979 Santa Barbara. Starring Annette Bening, Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning, Lucas Jade Zumann.
Paterson: Set in the present in Paterson, New Jersey, this Jim Jarmusch film concerns a bus driver, who is a dreamer and a poet, and his wife (Golshifteh Farahani), who is much more of a doer, and how they see the city.
— By Rob Lowman, email@example.com