Thanksgiving week, and even the holiday night itself, is traditionally a busy time at movie theaters. People find themselves with time off work and a need for something to do that's as appropriate for grandma as it is for that 14-year-old nephew. That's why this week's new releases come out Wednesday instead of Friday. Also, there are only so many activities that work with a belly full of leftover yams.
Here's a look at what's new and new-ish in theaters this week.
Allied: A wartime romance starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard that might have been made in 1942, if Humphrey Bogart flashed his bum and Ingrid Bergman had good aim. It's largely set in Casablanca, among Nazis, Vichy collaborators and French Resistance fighters, wrapping up next to an airplane. Rated R. Read the full review.
Rules Don't Apply: Warren Beatty directs and returns to the screen for the first time in 15 years to play the famed billionaire, aviator and filmmaker Howard Hughes in a film about a devout actress named Marla Mabry (Lily Collins) escorted by her prudish mother (Annette Bening) and falling for her driver Frank (Alden Ehrenreich), which defies Hughes' number one rule for his employees: no dating the actresses. Rated PG-13. Read the full review. Read the full review.
Moana: Introducing the newest Disney Princess, a spirited teenager named Moana who sets sail across the South Pacific on a mission to prove herself and fulfill her ancestors' unfinished quest, meeting the demi-god, Maui (voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) along the way, and together encountering a variety of huge and fiery creatures. Rated PG. Review coming soon. Read the full review.
Nocturnal Animals: Art gallery owner Susan (Amy Adams in glum mde) is haunted by a novel by her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) sent a galley of his new novel, which is dedicated to her. Rated R. The movie opens in select theaters (Sundial 19, Starlight 20, Veterans 24) this week, with a wider release next week. Read the full review.
Bad Santa 2: In the sequel to the 2004 cult classic comedy, Billy Bob Thornton returns as the hateful, whiskey-soaked con man Willie Soke, who uses his cover as a Santa Claus to pull off heists during the holiday season with his angry, little sidekick Marcus. This time they're in Chicago to knock off a charity. Thurman Merman is all grown up, and Soke's equally dysfunctional mother Sunny (Kathy Bates) is along for the ride. Rated R. Read the full review.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: Newcomer Joe Alwyn plays Billy, poster boy for the increasingly unpopular Iraq war. Something terrible happened over there as revealed in flashbacks that also explain Billy's bond with his sister, Kathryn (Kristen Stewart). He's pulled in several directions by his sergeant (Garrett Hedlund), his salty comrades-in-arms, a cheerleader (Makenzie Leigh) in love and a Hollywood agent (Chris Tucker) cutting a movie deal with the owner of a football team (Steve Martin) that's using Billy's Iraq unit as part of a halftime show. Rated R. Read the full review.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, writer of a Hogwarts textbook on creatures, in this Harry Potter spinoff written by J.K. Rowling. In 1926, Scamander is completing another leg in his dogged, worldwide search for creatures, and smuggling them into New York in a suitcase, when the critters escape and pose a threat for both the wizarding and muggle (now called "no-maj") worlds. Rated PG-13. Read the full review.
Loving: Acclaimed director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Midnight Special)celebrates the real-life courage of Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), a white man and the black woman carrying his child, who were arrested in 1958 despite a license obtained in Washington, D.C., where such a marriage was allowed. Eventually, their case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose ruling repealed laws banning mixed-race unions and children. Rated PG-13. Read the full review.
Moonlight: Moonlight shines on three phases and faces of a life that would otherwise be cast aside or closeted as Chiron (played at different points by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes) comes of age in Miami's Liberty City during the "War on Drugs" era. He's young, not especially gifted, black and gay. The film challenges an ideas of black masculinity comparable to what Brokeback Mountain did for white machismo. Rated R. Read the full review. Read the full review.
Bleed for This: A sports biopic about the brash and talented boxer Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller), an underdog who won world titles across two different weight classes, then was nearly killed in a head-on crash that left him with a broken neck, apparently ending his career. The film dramatizes Pazienza's ordeal to prove everyone else wrong. Read the full review. Read the full review.
Almost Christmas: A beloved patriarch (Danny Glover) asks his family for one gift this holiday season: to get along. If they can honor that wish and spend five days under the same roof without killing one another, it will be a Christmas miracle. Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Romany Malco and Mo'Nique also star in the holiday comedy. Rated PG-13.
Doctor Strange: After his career is destroyed in an accident that robs him of the use of his hands, a brilliant but arrogant surgeon (Benedict Cumberbatch) gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wing and trains him to defend the world against evil. Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor also star in the Marvel Comics adaptation. Rated PG-13. Read the full review.
Arrival: A closer encounter with human nature than extraterrestrials, Denis Villeneuve's film starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner is a romantic tale of alien invasion told without a single death ray shot or building being crushed. A dozen alien spacecraft suddenly appearing at random places worldwide simply hover, silently benign. Creatures aboard invite visitors, twice daily opening an antigravity portal for national security snoops expecting the worst. Rated PG-13. Read the full review.
Trolls: Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the optimistic leader of the Trolls, and her polar opposite, Branch (Justin Timberlake) must embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond the only world they've ever known in this animated film based on the wild haired ugly/cute collectible doll craze from the 1960s. Read the review. wild haired ugly/cute collectible doll craze from the 1960s Rated PG. Read a review.
The Edge of Seventeen: The coming-of-age comedy follows Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), a high schooler living in the shadow of her popular older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) and more likely to eat lunch in the classroom of her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) than with other kids her age. Her one age-appropriate close confidant is Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), who has been her best friend for years, but that relationship is thrown into disarray when Nadine catches Krista fooling around with Darian one day. Rated R. Read the full review.
It's a Wonderful Life: The holiday classic starring Jimmy Stewart as a man who wishes he'd never been born, and Henry Travers as the angel who comes to earth to make his wish a reality, comes to Tampa Theatre as part of the historic theater's annual holiday film series. 3 p.m., Nov. 27. Tampa Theatre. 711 Franklin Street, Tampa. $8-$10. tampatheatre.org
Jiro Dreams of Sushi: The dreamy documentary about 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono and his relationship with his son comes to the Dali and Beyond Film Series, which lets visitors see a film for free in the Dali Museum's lobby theater. 1 p.m., Saturday. Dali Museum. 1 Dali Blvd., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 823-3767. thedali.org
Sing: A free "Sing Saturday" screening of the animated film in which a cast of animals hold a singing contest in hopes of saving a once grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Voice stars include Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane and Tori Kelly. Tickets only available to the first 200 people. 10 a.m., Saturday. West Shore 14, 210 Westshore Plaza, Tampa. (813) 637-8366