It’s the most wonderful time of the year—for movies, that is. Though the year is ending, awards season is just beginning, meaning some of the best film contenders are just starting to be released. Even if you aren’t a film buff, trust us: There’s something out there that you’re going to want to see right now.
And though long nights of binge-watching TV are threatening the lost art of actually going to the movies, we’ve rounded up the flicks worth clearing your regularly scheduled television-watching for. Read on for 15 new releases that will make you want to grab your boo or you BFFs for a little date-night action.
Manchester by the Sea
Ben Affleck’s baby bro already holds his own with major acting (not to mention behind-the-scenes) cred, including an Oscar nomination. However, his latest role opposite Michelle Williams, which has already earned him Golden Globe nods, could be a game-changer. When his brother passes away, Casey Affleck’s character Lee Chandler must return to his New England hometown to care for his nephew and ultimately confront his painful past.
Manchester by the Sea is in theaters now.
The Affleck/Middleton Project
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
It’s safe to say this blockbuster isn’t going anywhere any time soon. While die-hard Star Wars fans can debate how the latest installment holds up, we’re in line to see the fantasy saga for leading lady (and one of our red-carpet style crushes) Felicity Jones alone.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.
Passengers gives new meaning to the term “if you were the last man on Earth.” Fortunately for Jennifer Lawrence’s character, that man is Chris Pratt and, instead of Earth, it’s a spaceship transporting them 120 years into the future to populate another planet. We’ve already caught a glimpse of the leading lady’s futuristic date-night LBD and swimwear (courtesy of costume designer Jany Temime), and we have high hopes that her love story is also lightyears ahead of its time.
Passengers is in theaters now.
Our hearts still ache for the victims of the Boston Marathon attack, back in 2013. An all-star cast, including Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, and Michelle Monaghan, portrays the events of the tragic day and how the police department’s emergency response ultimately led to the capture of the bomber.
Patriots Day is in theaters now.
A film 30 years in the making, Martin Scorsese has finally completed his passion project, based on a 1966 novel. We’re equally passionate about any excuse to watch The Amazing Spider-Man’s Andrew Garfield and Girls’ Adam Driver share the screen for approximately two hours and 41 minutes. In this case, the actors play two Jesuit priests traveling to Japan in search of their mentor (Liam Neeson).
Silence is in theaters now.
Cappa Defina Productions
Judging by the cast alone, this movie is major. Denzel Washington stars (and directs!) alongside Viola Davis, who plays his wife in Pittsburgh during the 1950s. Washington’s character Troy is a former baseball player, struggling to come to terms with his life and discouraging his son’s college football career.
Fences is in theaters now.
20th Century Women
Annette Bening’s character Dorothea doesn’t need a man to help her raise her son. Instead, she looks to two young women (played by Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwin) to help her relate to her teenager. We’re loving the female spirit and empowerment of this film, set in Santa Barbara during the late ’70s.
20th Century Women is in theaters now.
They say behind every great man is a great woman—or, in the case of the first astronaut NASA sent into orbit, a team of brilliant African-American female engineers that weren’t recognized for their achievements. Octavia Spencer, Taraki P. Henson, and Janelle Monae lead this impressive all-star cast, along with Kevin Costner and Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons. We’re also in it for the period fashions and soundtrack by Pharrell Williams.
Hidden Figures is in theaters now.
We never thought we’d see the day our rom-com hero Dermot Mulroney would play a villain. And yet, he’s behind the kidnapping of an undercover police officer’s (played by Jamie Foxx) son in this action-packed thrilled, set in the Las Vegas nightlife scene. With the help of Michelle Monaghan, Foxx’s character Vincent takes on cop corruption and will stop at nothing to get him back.
Sleepless hits theaters Friday, January 13th.
The Book of Love
After losing his wife in a car accident, Jason Sudeikis’s character Henry finds new purpose and healing in helping a young homeless girl build a raft. Jessica Biel plays his wife, while her real- life hubby Justin Timberlake takes the lead on the soundtrack, composing original music for the heart-warming film.
The Book of Love hits theaters Friday, January 13th.
The Darwin Collective
Live by Night
Ben Affleck returns to his Boston roots on screen, only this time he’s a gangster during the Prohibition Era. While the suspense thriller will score you major points with the guys in your life, leading ladies Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, and Elle Fanning in roaring-’20s fashions will keep you equally captivated.
Live by Night hits theaters Friday, January 13th.
If you’ve seen The Wedding Singer, you’ll quickly realize the “table nine” reference is the premise for this movie, which also coincidentally boasts major ’80s-classic movie vibes. Anna Kendrick’s character Eloise has fallen from grace—in this case, bridal party bliss—and forced to sit at the table of single misfits, after the bride’s brother (and best man) dumps her. We’re fully expecting her to make unlikely friends a la The Breakfast Club and get to dance with the good guy while she’s Pretty in Pink.
Table 19 hits theaters Friday, January 20th.
Matthew McConaughey starring in a retro period film is silver screen gold. For his latest role, he portrays a (balding) down-on-his-luck businessman venturing into the Indonesian jungle to lead a gold rush circa late ’80s–early ’90s. Inspired by true events, the adventure flick also stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Edgar Ramirez, who plays the geologist McConaughey’s character Kenny teams up with.
Gold hits theaters Friday, January 27th.
Black Bear Pictures
Introducing the Stepbrothers-esque follow-up you didn’t know you needed in your life. Owen Wilson and Ed Helms play two (real) brothers determined to uncover the identify their father, after learning their mother (played by Glenn Close) lied to them about his passing. Follow them on their outrageous quest, as they confront the likes of J.K. Simmons and Terry Bradshaw (played by himself).
Bastards hits theaters Friday, January 27th.
At first glance, Robert De Niro’s latest film might seem reminiscent of his recent rom-com, The Intern. It certainly hits some of the same themes of aging and classic romance. However, his latest role as comedian Jackie Burke has more of an edge. New York City’s comedy scene sets the stage, which he shares with the always-hilarious Leslie Mann.
The Comedian hits theaters Friday, February 3rd.