The holiday season can bring a mixed stocking of treats and surprises, but hopefully, it also brings a few days off work or school. Once all the cooking, cleaning, baking, shopping and wrapping is finished, why not spoil yourself with a popcorn break and head to the movie theater? Although November and December are known as the months when the more serious, awardworthy movies are released, there are also plenty of family-friendly flicks to see. Thanksgiving brings us a new version of the classic folktale Robin Hood along with a sequel to the animated kids movie Wreck It Ralph. And just before Christmas comes a new Mary Poppins musical that’s sure to excite the whole family as well as a new take on Spider-Man.
Whatever your tastes, there’s sure be a movie you and your family will enjoy. Here are our holiday picks.
1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
This Harry Potter spinoff comes out a week before Thanksgiving (Nov. 16), and is a good one to catch if you haven’t had time until the holiday break. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) again takes us into his exciting wizarding world where all may not be as it seems. This time, he must conspire with Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to prevent evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) from allowing pure-blood wizards to overpower the wizarding world and Muggle world alike, threatening all that Newt holds dear.
2. Robin Hood
There’s something about the idea of wanting to take from the rich and give to the poor (Robin Hood’s motto) that people of all time periods and cultures can relate to. This latest version of the centuries-old folktale (arriving Nov. 21) has Robin Hood (Taron Egerton), a former soldier and rebel, partnering with his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) to lead a revolt against the unscrupulous English crown. There’s also a romance with Maid Marian, played by Eve Hewson, daughter of U-2 front man Bono.
3. Green Book
Based on a true story, this powerful movie is already getting Oscar buzz. World-class pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) is about to embark on a concert tour that will take him into the Deep South. The only problem is that Shirley is Black and will no doubt face racism or worse. When he hires driver and bodyguard Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a hard-edged Italian from the Bronx, they must rely on the Green Book to guide them to Black-friendly establishments. Look for this movie on Nov. 21.
4. Ralph Breaks the Internet
We can’t wait to see this movie with our kids when it arrives on Nov. 21 because the franchise does such a good job entertaining both children and adults. Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) and bestie Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) decide to escape the video game world to explore something new: the internet. But when they come across the trendy BuzzzTube video site that entrances Vanellope, can their friendship survive?
5. The Favourite
This movie is a rare treat: It’s a period comedy set in the 1700s, when Britain was at war with the French. Though Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) should be focusing on the war, her mental stability is deteriorating. Luckily, she has Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) to run the country for her — but when a new servant (Emma Stone) shows up, a power struggle ensues as jealousy and bad behavior run rampant. This brutally hilarious tale is sure to have you cracking up. The movie will be out Nov. 23.
6. Mary Queen of Scots
While this true story from history has been made into numerous movies and TV shows, this version features Scottish Queen Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) as the story’s tragic hero, a role usually reserved for her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). Robbie and Ronan completely transform for their roles and deliver performances that are already earning awards-season buzz. The film opens Dec. 7.
7. Mary Poppins Returns
When the next generation of the Banks family discovers they’re on the verge of losing their home, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns to help out in this plucky new take of the singing nanny we all know and love. Most excitingly, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) plays the role of Jack, a rapping chimney sweep. Meryl Streep, Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury all make cameos. This fun new musical hits theaters Dec. 19.
Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) believes he’s a mere mammal until he discovers he’s heir to the magical underwater kingdom of Atlantis. Though he fancies himself an unlikely sea king, Arthur realizes he must swim up and claim his watery throne before the divide between the seven seas and the surface world destroys everything. This movie is an excellent mix of action, fantasy and comedy. It opens Dec. 21.
9. Welcome to Marwen
Based on a true story, Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) awakes from a brutal attack to discover he’s suffered brain damage. With much of his memory erased, he finds a surprising way to deal with his trauma: He creates a miniature town in his backyard. This movie opens Dec. 21.
10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This animated film explores new territory in the Spider-Man universe. Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) thinks he’s the only person with spiderlike superpowers, but his world changes when he learns there’s a whole Spider-Verse with many talented superheroes just waiting to be explored. This movie releases Dec. 21.
11. Holmes & Watson
From movies to TV shows, audiences can’t get enough of Sherlock Holmes. Now, funny guys Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly give their comedic interpretation of the famous crime-solving duo, Holmes and Watson, respectively. When a murder happens at Buckingham Palace and the queen’s life is threatened, it’s up to the bumbling detectives to save the day. Go see this on Dec. 26, the day after Christmas.
12. Second Act
This romantic comedy is about what happens when Maya (Jennifer Lopez) reinvents her life to get her dream job. This story hails the power of street smarts over book smarts, and that sounds great to us. Leah Remini also stars as Maya’s jokester best friend. Knowing Lopez and Remini are great friends in real life makes us want to see it even more. It opens Dec. 21.