In theaters and streaming January 2022
Belfast (PG-13) Drama – Kenneth Branagh looks back at his growing up in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. Comparisons to Roma, another black & white tale of political unrest, are inevitable.
Being the Ricardos (R) Drama – When Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) is accused of being a communist by Walter Winchell, her husband and partner Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) tries to deal with that crisis and others. In theaters and streaming.
Don’t Look Up (R) SF comedy – Astronomers Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence discover a huge comet that will hit the earth in six months and 14 days. Trumpian President Meryl Streep doesn’t know how to deal with the news. On Netflix.
The French Dispatch (R) Comedy – Wes Anderson assembles his usual star-studded ensemble cast for a love letter to The New Yorker (of all things.) Not, alas, another Grand Budapest Hotel.
The King’s Man (R) Action – Ralph Fiennes takes the lead in a prequel to the big-budget Kingsman series wherein upper-class Brits attempt to avert geopolitical disaster in the early 20th century. Inventive action scenes, blue humor, lots of CGI effects. (Scheduled for release two years ago.)
Licorice Pizza (R) Comedy – Paul Thomas Anderson’s loose-jointed coming-of-age story is set in early ‘70s Southern California. It’s funny, surprising, heart-felt and powered by two brilliant performances by young stars Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman.
Nightmare Alley (R) Suspense – Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro’s (The Shape of Water) newest is a stylish remake of the 1947 Tyrone Power film about a bogus mentalist. Superb cast. One of the year’s best.
The Power of the Dog (R) Western – Many critics’ choice for the best picture of 2021 is best appreciated as a minimalist murder story. In 1925 Montana, brothers Benedict Cumerbatch and Jesse Plemons deal with the arrival of Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee on their ranch.
tick, tick… BOOM! (PG-13) Musical – In the early ‘90s, Jonathan Larson, who would create the Broadway hit Rent before his untimely death, struggles with an early work. Andrew Garfield has a legitimate shot at an Oscar for his performance. Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The Tragedy of Macbeth (R) Drama – Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star in Joel Coen’s horror-tinged black-and-white interpretation of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play.” Probable Oscar nominee in several categories is easy to admire, hard to love. In theaters and on AppleTV.
West Side Story (PG-13) Musical – Stephen Spielberg’s long-awaited re-make of the beloved multi-Oscar winner is finally on the big screen. Exceptionally well done box-office disappointment.