A Holiday Buffet of Conscience, Conviviality, and Cats

A Holiday Buffet of Conscience, Conviviality, and Cats


A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmagedon is new this season.

Hollywood is ready with new movies for the season.

It’s the time of year when Hollywood goes for the gold — the glint of Oscars and barrows of box-office cash. Movies usually fit in one category or the other, and movie-goers decide if they’re in the mood for sparkle or substance. Period pieces check both boxes, which bodes well for both The Aeronauts, based on the real-life 1860s adventure of a hot-air balloonist and meteorologist (played, respectively, by British heart-throbs Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne), and Little Women, Greta Gerwig’s take on the post-Civil War saga. In more recent history, The Banker pairs Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie as streetwise 1950s businessmen who hire a white guy to front (and “legitimize”) their enterprise. Richard Jewell revisits the cable-news villainizing of the titular security guard after the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics, while Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce play pontiffs circa 2013 on the verge of enormous changes in The Two Popes.

Speaking of moral authority, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life tells of Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jagerstatter, who declined to join the Nazis’ barbaric fight. Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy depicts the early battles of gutsy Alabama human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who challenged Death Row sentences of black Alabamans. Benny and Josh Safdie reportedly based Uncut Gems, an on-the-edge drama about a risk-taking New York jeweler (Adam Sandler), on their father. In another key altogether, Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire imagines the bond between an 18th-century artist and the woman she has been commissioned to paint.

The multiplexes welcome the colon-crazy sequels Jumanji: The Next LevelA Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmegeddon, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

It’s anybody’s guess, though, how Cats will fare on the big screen, or Jay Roach’s bottle-blonde Bombshell, with Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman as the Fox newscasters who called out Roger Ailes’ abuse. Will Hollywood get a Hollywood ending?

Faces of the East Bay