COME AND FIND ME Everybody says David and Claire (Aaron Paul and Annabelle Wallis) are the perfect couple. They met as neighbors in their Los Angeles apartment building, have interesting lives — he’s a graphic designer, she dabbles in photography after her day job — and have now been together for four blissful years. Then one morning he wakes up, and she’s gone. And he’s determined to find her, no matter what her dark secret turns out to be. Zack Whedon wrote and directed this thriller.
DISTURBING THE PEACE “I was 4 years old when we were attacked on Yom Kippur,” one man recalls. A Muslim woman remembers making the decision to become a suicide bomber. A Palestinian man wonders aloud how Nelson Mandela could have changed an entire country without firing a shot. This documentary, directed by Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young, looks at sworn enemies who have laid down their arms and come together as peace activists.
ELLE Variety has already called this revenge fantasy “a possible career high for Paul Verhoeven,” who directs a French cast here. Isabelle Huppert stars as a Parisian video game executive d’un certain âge who is raped by a masked intruder in her own home. She has her own, very un-victim-like plan to catch her attacker. Oh, and there’s comedy.
ESTEROS In Papu Curotto’s 2015 short, “Matías y Jerónimo,” two young boys acknowledged their mutual sexual attraction on the same night they saw a gay man attacked. In this, Mr. Curotto’s feature directorial debut (from Argentina, Brazil and France), the guys (now played by Ignacio Rogers and Esteban Masturini) are all grown up and run into each other at Carnival in their hometown. Matías’s girlfriend may be in for a surprise.
LAZY EYE From Tim Kirkman, a romance about a West Coast graphic designer’s sexy desert weekend with an ex-lover. The designer is also having vision problems. Lucas Near-Verbrugghe and Aaron Costa Ganis star.
THE MONSTER Zoe Kazan as a divorced mom on lonely country roads. When she takes her stuffed-animal-clutching daughter on an emergency late-night road trip to see her ex, they have an accident. It totals their car and leaves them at the mercy of a horrible evil presence in the woods, one that has no trouble smashing car windows. Ella Ballentine is the little girl. Bryan Bertino wrote and directed.
NATIONAL BIRD Sonia Kennebeck’s documentary about America’s drone war. When the film was at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Guardian wrote that it brought “alarming truths” to light “with stealth and elegance.”
NO PAY, NUDITY Getting old is difficult for everybody, but it’s even harder in showbiz. Gabriel Byrne stars in this comic drama about an aging actor who should be auditioning for the title role in “King Lear” but is so demoralized that he’s grateful to be considered for the part of Fool. His supportive friends are played by Nathan Lane (who gives him sage advice: “Stop counting other people’s blessings”) and Frances Conroy. Lee Wilkof directed.
SHUT IN “There’s something going on, and it’s not just in my head,” says Mary (Naomi Watts), a young, widowed child psychologist who lives in a remote house in New England. Quietly caring for her teenage son (Charlie Heaton), who was paralyzed in the car accident that killed her husband, she takes in a little boy whose mother has died. The boy runs away during a violent snowstorm and is presumed dead, but strange things begin happening. Jacob Tremblay, from “Room,” plays the boy. Farren Blackburn directed.
U.S.S. INDIANAPOLIS: MEN OF COURAGE So how did the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 get there? The Navy heavy cruiser Indianapolis delivered important parts, including the uranium, to the Mariana Islands on a top-secret mission. But on its way home, the ship was attacked and sunk by a Japanese submarine, and the American survivors endured a real-life shipwreck nightmare, complete with multiple shark attacks. Nicolas Cage stars as the captain. Mario Van Peebles directed.
BLACK WOMEN IN MEDICINE Exactly what it sounds like. A documentary about female African-American physicians who have had to battle discrimination. Crystal R. Emery wrote and directed.
NOTES ON BLINDNESS When this documentary was on the festival circuit, The Guardian called it “a beautiful, accessible and thoughtful work of art.” It’s the story of the theologian John Hull, who lost his sight when he was in his 40s but learned how meaningful it was that he could still feel sunlight on his face, dance with his wife and listen to the rain. Peter Middleton and James Spinney wrote and directed.
ALI AND NINO She’s Christian, he’s Muslim, they’re in love, and (against the advice of everybody they know) they marry. In Azerbaijan in 1918, that turns out to be even more difficult than they feared. A romantic drama from Asif Kapadia, whose Amy Winehouse documentary won an Oscar. With Maria Valverde, Adam Bakri and Mandy Patinkin.
THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN What do you do if you’re an insecure high school girl and your B.F.F. starts dating your brother? Hailee Steinfeld’s character tries to bounce back by being bold and taking risks but just ends up accidentally sending sexts to a cute boy who works at Petland. The only grown-ups around are her busy mother (Kyra Sedgwick) and her irreverent but wise English teacher (Woody Harrelson). A coming-of-age comedy drama from Kelly Fremon Craig.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM In New York City, in 1926, Newt Scamander (a wide-eyed Eddie Redmayne) is a newly arrived British guy with the magic suitcase. Big-city chaos ensues in this new adventure, set in Harry Potter’s world long before Harry was born. With Colin Farrell and Katherine Waterston. David Yates directed from a screenplay by a first-timer named J. K. Rowling.
LIFE ON THE LINE John Travolta stars in this action drama about electrical linemen and the night that a devastating storm hits their Texas town. Naturally, his beloved niece (Kate Bosworth), whose father was electrocuted on the job, is in love with a young lineman (Devon Sawa) and refuses to escape her town and the almost inevitable heartbreak. David Hackl directed.
THE LOVE WITCH Elaine is a very late-’60s-early-’70s witch in this stylized thriller. With her waist-length dark hair, Technicolor blue eye shadow, double false lashes and nude lipstick — not to mention her spells and potions — she has no trouble seducing men. The problem is that they keep dying, and that was not her plan. Samantha Robinson stars. Anna Biller wrote and directed.
MAGNUS All about Magnus Carlsen, the young Norwegian who first played chess at 5, became a grandmaster at 13 and first won the world championship in his early 20s. “60 Minutes,” among others, declared him “the Mozart of chess.” Benjamin Ree directed this documentary.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA The playwright Kenneth Lonergan wrote and directed this drama set on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Casey Affleck’s taciturn janitor finds himself the reluctant legal guardian of his orphaned nephew (Lucas Hedges) and has to come to terms with his ex-wife (Michelle Williams) and a family tragedy.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Amy Adams stars as an art-gallery owner frightened by her ex-husband’s violent new novel, about tragedy on a family trip. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Isla Fisher and Michael Shannon. A thriller from Tom Ford, the fashion designer turned filmmaker.
OFFICER DOWNE Up from the grave he arises, over and over. Kim Coates of “Sons of Anarchy” stars as Downe in this live-action thriller based on a particularly violent, particularly sexual graphic novel. He’s a Los Angeles police officer who keeps getting killed on duty, resurrected (via some questionable technology) and sent back to active duty. Downes’s new rookie backup is determined to learn his secrets. Michael Shawn Crahan directed.
OFF THE RAILS Little Darius McCollum always loved New York subways. Motormen made him a sort of mascot and taught him the entire system by the time he was 8. The mistake made by Mr. McCollum, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was driving the trains without actually being employed by the transit authority. And now it won’t hire him. In middle age, he continues to be jailed time after time for his obsession. Adam Irving directed this documentary.
THE RED TURTLE You can’t exactly call this a silent film (there’s lots of sound), but this animated international production does tell its story without dialogue. The plot: A man is shipwrecked on a deserted island and tries to escape, but a scary-looking turtle the size of a Volvo won’t let him. And then there’s a woman. The moral, they say: Stability is a myth. Written and directed by Michael Dudok de Wit.
ALLIED When certain divorce proceedings were announced in September, this movie suddenly got a lot more interesting. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard (who has stated firmly that she had no personal involvement with her co-star) make 1940s fashions and hairstyles look spectacular. In this World War II drama, a Canadian spy (him) and a French agent (her) meet in Casablanca and fall fiercely in love. Unfortunately she may be a Nazi spy. They’re already married and have a baby when he learns that. Robert Zemeckis directed.
BAD SANTA 2 The one thing we didn’t learn in the first “Bad Santa” movie was just how Willie (Billy Bob Thornton), a hardhearted con man with a truly foul mouth, got that way. Now Kathy Bates appears in this sequel as his mother, and everything makes sense. She’s not politically correct (loves to make Lollipop Guild comments to Willie’s sidekick, played by Tony Cox). She looks sweet and maternal in a Mrs. Santa dress. And she can take a punch. Mark Waters directed this comedy about the gang’s plan to rob a Chicago charity.
MOANA A teenager goes on an impossible ocean voyage, battles monsters, saves her people and does some mad self-actualizing while she’s at it. Disney’s newest animated adventure is set in Oceania. With the voices of Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson (as the demigod who teaches her how to be a “master wayfinder”) and musical contributions by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
RULES DON’T APPLY The last time we saw Warren Beatty in a film of his own making was as an unusually honest presidential candidate in “Bulworth.” Eighteen years later, he’s playing a womanizing billionaire. Hmm. Mr. Beatty stars as Howard Hughes in 1958 Hollywood, sponsoring a sweet aspiring actress named Marla. But she’s drawn to his handsome young chauffeur, which is not allowed. With Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich.
ALWAYS SHINE Two actresses try to renew their friendship during a weekend getaway to Big Sur, Calif., but things go wrong. A waitress recognizes Beth (Caitlin FitzGerald) but not Anna (Mackenzie Davis). Anna asks Beth, who has done nude scenes in recent work, “Do you ever feel like a whore?” Sophia Takal directed.
EVOLUTION Mommy, why do we live on an island with only women and little boys? Why do all the mommies dress alike and hold strange meetings on the beach at night? Where did that dead body in the ocean come from? Why do I have to go to the hospital now? This horror drama is from France and the director Lucile Hadzihalilovic. With Max Brebant, Roxane Duran and Julie-Marie Parmentier.
LION If only the adorable 5-year-old Saroo had known the name of his village in India after he accidentally took a train trip to Kolkata! He ends up living on the streets, then is happily adopted by an Australian couple but haunted by memories. When he grows up, only Google Earth (seriously — it’s a true story) can help him find home. With Dev Patel as Saroo, Sunny Pawar (Saroo at 5), Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara. The film, directed by Garth Davis, was a huge hit at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, when The Hollywood Reporter called it “that relatively rare breed — a classy crowd pleaser.”
MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI Toshiro Mifune, that is, the star of Kurosawa’s masterpieces “Rashomon” and “Seven Samurai” and the most famous Japanese actor of the last century. Keanu Reeves narrates this documentary about the actor (who died in 1997). Directed by Steven Okazaki.
MISS SLOANE You think the American gun lobby is powerful? In this political thriller, it has Sam Waterston on its side, too. He and his team are up against Washington’s most ruthless lobbyist, the title character (Jessica Chastain), who is determined to do whatever it takes to pass gun-control legislation. Directed by John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”).
TANK 432 Things just get creepier and creepier in this wartime thriller from Nick Gillespie. Mercenaries surrounded by the enemy take cover inside an abandoned tank, then can’t get out. Inside they find a batch of files about soldiers missing in action, and (OMG) their own names are there. Rupert Evans and Michael Smiley star.
BOBBY SANDS: 66 DAYS Sands was 27 in 1981, when he died in Maze Prison in Northern Ireland after a 66-day hunger strike. His goal had been for men like him, an I.R.A. member jailed for weapons possession, to be treated as political prisoners rather than criminals. Margaret Thatcher was not sympathetic. This documentary, from Brendan J. Byrne, is about the last two months of Sands’s life.
OLD STONE Nothing is the taxi driver’s fault. His passenger is drunk and causes the accident, which injures a motorcyclist. The driver goes out of his way to help the victim, then a bureaucratic nightmare begins, one that threatens to ruin his life. A Chinese-Canadian psychological thriller written and directed by Johnny Ma.
BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS The producers call this documentary a celebration of outcasts. It’s also a coming-of-age story: that of Michelle Smith, a 20-year-old woman in rural Maine who has no intention of letting the fact that she is legally blind and on the autism spectrum stop her search for love and freedom. Or free love. Garrett Zevgetis directed.
THE COMEDIAN Robert De Niro stars in this Taylor Hackford comic drama as an aging insult comic whose career has gone way downhill. No matter what he tries, audiences want to see him only as the TV character he played long ago. And now he’s hit a heckler with a microphone. Maybe something good (Leslie Mann) will come of his community service. With Danny DeVito and Patti LuPone.
THE EYES OF MY MOTHER What in the name of “Un Chien Andalou” is Francisca doing to that cow head? Kika Magalhaes stars in Nicolas Pesce’s black-and-white Gothic horror drama as a woman shaped by two influences. As a child, she (1) watched her mother, a Portuguese eye surgeon, do dissections, and (2) she witnessed a gruesome crime. Now, living on an isolated American farm, she makes use of her lifelong fascination with the inside of the human body, but she isn’t a surgeon. At Sundance, The Hollywood Reporter called it “both strange and strangely enthralling.”
JACKIE Natalie Portman portrays Jacqueline Kennedy in this psychological drama about the days right after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It won best screenplay (by Noah Oppenheim) at the Venice Film Festival. From the Chilean director Pablo Larraín.
KIDNAP In the middle of a sunny day at an amusement park, her son disappears. And Halle Berry’s character, who is mad as hell, has a message for the kidnappers: “You took the wrong kid!” A thriller directed by Luis Prieto.
MAN DOWN Shia LaBeouf stars as Gabriel Drummer, a husband, father and Marine who goes off to serve in Afghanistan and returns to find an America that looks like “Mad Max.” In this violent postapocalyptic thriller, directed by Dito Montiel, Gabriel and a trigger-happy friend go searching for his missing wife and son. With Jai Courtney, Kate Mara and Gary Oldman.
PET A combination of psychological thriller and very dark love story. Dominic Monaghan plays a lonely man who works at an animal shelter. Ksenia Solo is the object of his affection. A cage is involved. Carles Torrens directed.
RUN THE TIDE What does a responsible young man do when his drug-addicted mom is being released from prison and returning home? In this drama, he kidnaps his little brother and runs away to California. The hero is played by Taylor Lautner. Soham Mehta directed.
SIREN The guys couldn’t just give Jonah (Chase Williamson) a normal bachelor party. Nooooo, they have to take him to a supernatural sex club. So when the groom-to-be feels sorry for Lily, a young woman working there, and decides to rescue her from exploitation, he’s actually getting all too close to a real live demon. Hannah Fierman reprises her role as Lily from the 2012 anthology film “V/H/S,” on which this is based. Gregg Bishop directed.
THINGS TO COME Isabelle Huppert plays a French philosophy professor having a very bad year. Her husband leaves her, her demanding mother dies, and, as Manohla Dargis wrote in The Times when the film played the New York Film Festival, her “life of the mind slowly and coolly comes somewhat undone.” Mia Hansen-Love won the best director award for this at the Berlin Film Festival.
ABATTOIR It’s about time a real estate reporter was the protagonist of a horror movie. Julia (Jessica Lowndes) puts her investigative skills to work. She and a police detective (Joe Anderson), who is also an ex-beau, discover the appropriately named Jebediah Crone (Dayton Callie) and his bizarre building project: a haunted house made up of the actual rooms where gruesome things happened. Darren Lynn Bousman directed.
ALL WE HAD Katie Holmes makes her directorial debut with this coming-of-age drama. She plays a single mom whose challenges include an abusive boyfriend, living in her car and a complete absence of money. Stefania Owen plays her 15-year-old daughter. Their supporting cast includes Richard Kind, Luke Wilson and Judy Greer.
BEYOND THE GATES And back to the days when VHS ruled. In this retro horror story, set in the ’80s, two estranged brothers reunite when their father disappears. They find an interactive video game that Dad watched just before he vanished, and it turns out to be the portal to a terrifying alternate reality. With Chase Williamson, Graham Skipper, Brea Grant and Barbara Crampton. Jackson Stewart directed.
BURN COUNTRY An Afghan journalist (Dominic Rains) gives up war reporting to live in a little bohemian California town and write about crime for the local newspaper. When the weird local hot-tub builder (James Franco) mysteriously disappears, the journalist gets to know the town a little too well. Ian Olds directed. Mr. Rains won a best actor award at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
FRANK & LOLA He’s a Las Vegas chef; she’s an aspiring fashion designer. Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots star in this very noir romance, filled with obsession, domination, dark secrets, revenge and a trip to Paris. Matthew Ross wrote and directed.
HARRY BENSON: SHOOT FIRST The world knows the photos, from playful to tragic: The Beatles in mid-pillow-fight in a Paris hotel room. Princess Diana, kneeling to accept flowers from a very little girl. Robert F. Kennedy as he lay dying. This documentary, directed by Matthew Miele and Justin Bare, suggests that the secret of Mr. Benson’s brilliant photos may be his compassion and the fact that he “does get the joke about life.” At 86, Mr. Benson still has his camera, his Scottish accent and his amazing eye.
KILL RATIO Place: an Eastern European country just getting started on this democracy thing. Problem: an attack on the new president. Solution: an American covert-ops guy (Tom Hopper), sent to battle the country’s military leader, who loves the sound of the word “coup.” Paul Tanter directed.
LA LA LAND The critics are in passionate love with this musical. A “full-fledged musical,” as its director, Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”), puts it. When an aspiring jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) meet in a Los Angeles traffic jam, the scene turns into a song-and-dance spectacular. At the Telluride Film Festival, when A. O. Scott of The Times described it as lavish and lovely, no one disagreed. It won the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. The cinematic question: Can the characters’ love or career goals survive in the capital of crushed dreams?
LAND OF MINE World War II is over, and the beaches of Denmark look deserted and peaceful, but 45,000 land mines are buried there. What better way to punish German prisoners of war than to force them to defuse them all — even if they are little more than boys? In Martin Zandvliet’s drama, the joys of revenge may or may not give way to human decency.
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY Apparently, there’s only one rule at this drunken holiday get-together: no sex on company property. “Go into the Rite Aid parking lot,” Kate McKinnon’s character announces to partygoers. This ensemble comedy, directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, includes Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, T. J. Miller and Olivia Munn.
ON THE MAP Sometimes a sports movie about the amazing triumph of the underdog is a documentary. Dani Menkin’s is about Israel versus the Soviet Union on the basketball court in 1977. With six new team members (from the United States), Maccabi Tel Aviv was victorious — and went on to win the European Cup. Moshe Dayan was a big fan.
THE SALESMAN From Iran, a drama that owes its title to Arthur Miller. A young Tehran couple are starring in a community theater production of “Death of a Salesman” when they have to move and their marriage starts to fall apart. The new apartment is very questionable. With Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti and directed by Asghar Farhadi (whose “A Separation” won the best foreign-language film Oscar in 2012). The film took home the best actor and best screenplay awards from Cannes this year.
COLLATERAL BEAUTY Howard, you will be visited by three spirits. Howard (Will Smith, in serious mode) was a happy, successful New York adman until the death of his little daughter, and the grief is crushing him. In David Frankel’s drama about human connection, colleagues (Kate Winslet, Edward Norton and Michael Peña) come to his aid. And Howard’s letters addressed to existential concepts (love, death and time) prove therapeutic in strange ways. Death visits him as Helen Mirren in a blue beret and matching boa, Love looks just like Keira Knightley, and Time is personified by Jacob Latimore with an earring. The glittery setting: New York City during the holidays.
THE FOUNDER Michael Keaton in 1950s cocky-guy mode as Ray Kroc, the so-called founder of McDonald’s. Actually, he was the hapless, middle-aged milkshake-mixer salesman who bought the business from the McDonald brothers and perfected their system. John Lee Hancock directed.
A KIND OF MURDER Walter Stackhouse, affluent suburban midcentury architect, wishes his wife were dead. In this noirbased on a Patricia Highsmith novel, the question is whether he’s the kind of man who would follow through on those thoughts. Patrick Wilson stars as Walter, with Jessica Biel as his highly neurotic wife, Vincent Kartheiser as the murder investigator and Eddie Marsan as a guy who absolutely would take a human life. Andy Goddard directed.
NERUDA In 1948, the poet Pablo Neruda was also a senator in his native Chile. But when he criticized the government in no uncertain terms, he was threatened with arrest and went into hiding. In this Cold War-era drama about persecution, Neruda (Luis Gnecco) plays cat and mouse with the police prefect (Gael García Bernal) on his trail. Pablo Larraín directed.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Something to keep fans amused until “Episode VIII” in 2017. Felicity Jones (looking much younger than she did in “The Theory of Everything”) stars as the rebellion leader whose assignment is to steal the plans for the Death Star. The cast also includes Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn. Gareth Edwards (the 2014 “Godzilla”) directed.
SOLACE Anthony Hopkins stars as a retired psychic doctor who agrees to help an F.B.I. agent (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) investigate a string of homicides after having gruesome visions of the death of the agent’s partner (Abbie Cornish). But the murder suspect (a crazy-eyed Colin Farrell) may have psychic gifts of his own. Afonso Poyart directed.
THE SPACE BETWEEN US In his teens, Gardner has only ever met 15 people. That’s what comes of growing up on Mars in a settlement of astronauts from Earth. When he meets a girl online, he just has to visit her on Earth, where he finds himself a fish out of water figuratively (he’s never seen a horse before — or a crowd) and almost literally (the planet’s gravity affects his heart function). And he wants to find his father. Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman and Carla Gugino star. Peter Chelsom directed.
ASSASSIN’S CREED Who knew there were so many stuntmen in the Spanish Inquisition? In this action-adventure, based on the video game series, the fighting is highly athletic, and a present-day bartender (Michael Fassbender) is in the middle of things, via the genetic memories of his 15th-century ancestor. Big reveal: He’s descended from the Assassins, a secret society. Important point: The Assassins are the good guys, because they believe in free will. The Knights Templar are the villains. Justin Kurzel directed. With Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons.
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE André Ovredal directed this horror film about a father-and-son coroner team. Intrigued by the beautiful, murdered young woman whose body is their newest subject, they undertake what should be a routine autopsy, but frightening things begin to happen in their lab. With Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch.
JULIETA From Spain and Pedro Almodóvar, the story of a middle-aged woman in Madrid who drops everything when she hears news about her long-lost daughter, who left home at 18 and cut off contact. The daughter is well, living in Switzerland with a husband and children. As Julieta (Emma Suárez) tries to get back in touch, we see her life in flashback (with Adriana Ugarte as young Julieta). At the New York Film Festival, Stephen Holden of The Times called it “a heartening return to form” for Almodóvar.
PASSENGERS Don’t you hate it when you’re on a 120-year flight to a new life on a new planet and the hibernation pods malfunction? In this adventure, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt play the only two (of 5,000 or so) passenger-colonistswho wake up 90 years early, but they’re young and gorgeous, so things could be worse. The ship has every possible luxury, including an Art Deco bar with a charming robot bartender. But this is not a romantic comedy; they soon learn that the ship is in mortal danger. Directed by Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”).
PATRIOTS DAY This drama about the terrorist attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon, which killed three and injured hundreds, stars Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon and J. K. Simmons as men in blue, staging a major manhunt. Peter Berg directed.
SING Who wants to see yet another singing competition? “Everybody!” declares Buster Moon in this animated musical comedy. Buster is a koala in a blue suit and a red bow tie with the voice of Matthew McConaughey, and he’s sponsoring the contest only to save his almost bankrupt theater, but he does come across some notable local talent. It’s hard to know who deserves the top prize: the stay-at-home-mom pig with 25 piglets (Reese Witherspoon), the young gangsta gorilla with daddy issues (Taron Egerton) or one of the other gifted animals.
THE BAD KIDS These teenagers are considered lost causes. That’s why they’re at Black Rock Continuation High School in California to begin with. Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe’s documentary follows three of them (one is a new father), and the principal who’s determined to make a difference, through one extremely challenging school year.
I, DANIEL BLAKE It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Ken Loach’s newest drama stars Dave Johns as a widowed carpenter in Northern England recovering from a heart attack. His doctors say he can’t go back to work; Newcastle’s government agencies say he can. And it’s hard to apply for benefits online if you’ve never touched a computer. The film’s message, a BBC Radio reviewer suggested, is that bureaucratic inefficiency is actually deliberate.
A MONSTER CALLS Life could not be worse for a sensitive 12-year-old whose gentle mother has gone away because she’s seriously ill. He’s bullied at school. And he has to live with his grandmother, whose favorite farewell is “Don’t touch anything!” Luckily, a monster – in the shape of a wild, twisted, skyscraper-tall tree with fire-red eyes — is there to do his bidding. With Liam Neeson (as the monster), Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Lewis MacDougall. J. A. Bayona directed.
SILENCE Martin Scorsese’s follow-up to “The Wolf of Wall Street” visits a very different world. Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver star in this drama about Jesuit priests in 17th-century Japan, where the shogunate has banned Christianity — the idea is to get rid of all Western influence — and considers torture the best punishment.
WHY HIM? In this comedy, Ned (Bryan Cranston as a strait-laced dad) knows he should be happy that his college-student daughter has found love. He just wishes the man weren’t Laird (James Franco), a fabulously rich but clearly deranged internet genius with no social filter. Directed by John Hamburg.
FENCES If you saw the 2010 revival of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Fences” on Broadway, here it is again, in a lot of the important ways. In the 1950s, a Pittsburgh sanitation worker (Denzel Washington) reflects on the limitations of his life and remembers his glory days as a baseball star in the Negro Leagues. Viola Davis plays his strong, dutiful wife, and Jovan Adepo is his son, who thinks there must be more to fatherly love than food, shelter and clothing. Mr. Washington also directed the film; he and Ms. Davis both won Tony Awards for these roles onstage.
GOLD Kenny (Matthew McConaughey) doesn’t look like much — just another balding pawnshop customer. Then suddenly he’s sitting on top of $30 billion, the largest gold find of the decade, after an adventure in Indonesia. But when Wall Street steps in and everybody wants a piece of Kenny, finding a gold mine in a jungle begins to look like the easy part. Stephen Gaghan (“Syriana”) directed. With Bryce Dallas Howard and Edgar Ramírez.
HIDDEN FIGURES When NASA was looking for brilliant mathematicians to calculate the trajectories that would put its first astronaut into orbit, it found great minds close to home. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe star as thewomen who burst through gender and race barriers to serve as the brains on the John Glenn mission in 1962. Kevin Costner plays the white guy running the show. Theodore Melfi directed.
LIVE BY NIGHT Who knew Ben Affleck could look so dangerous in a white fedora? Mr. Affleck directed, adapted thescreenplay and stars in this Roaring Twenties drama about a police bigwig’s rebellious son who turns to crime (booze and speakeasies) and gets into trouble in Boston and Tampa, Fla. With Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper.
TONI ERDMANN The reviews for this German comic drama could be summed up by Time Out London’s rave: “Just brilliant.” It’s a father-daughter story in which a retired music teacher (Peter Simonischek) worries that his corporate-ladder-climbing offspring (Sandra Hüller) is losing her soul. Dad’s weapon against banality and hypocrisy is his rumpled and ridiculous alter ego (the title character) who wears a hideous brown wig and novelty-shop fake teeth. Maren Ade directed.
20TH CENTURY WOMEN Life is confusing for Jamie, a teenager in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1979. Luckily for him, there are three great women who can teach him the things he needs to know: his mom (Annette Bening); the punk photographer who rents a room from them (Greta Gerwig); and the friend he wishes were his girlfriend (Elle Fanning). Starring Lucas Jade Zumann as Jamie. Mike Mills wrote and directed.
PATERSON Adam Driver plays a bus driver named Paterson who lives in Paterson, N.J. This week-in-the-life drama reveals the driver as a man of routine whose only creative outlet is writing poetry, and his wife (Golshifteh Farahani) as a fireball of new projects and changing passions. The real poetry is in the details.
Compiled with the assistance of Suzanne O’Connor.