The holiday movie rush has begun

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The holiday season tends to bring a rush of serious movies — high-profile projects with Oscar buzz all over the place — peppered with a handful of just-for-fun antics. 2022 is no exception, and those who venture into multiplexes this season will find everything from a Steven Spielberg origin story to a cannibal love tale to a Whitney Houston biopic — oh, and a long-awaited sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time.

Here’s a guide to some of the season’s most anticipated titles, with something for everyone; note that release dates are always subject to change.

“The Fabelmans”: Steven Spielberg looks back on his own youth in this family drama, about a boy growing up in Arizona who dreams of becoming a filmmaker. Written with playwright Tony Kushner, with whom Spielberg has previously collaborated on “West Side Story,” “Lincoln” and “Munich,” the film stars Michelle Williams and Paul Dano. (Nov 23)

“Glass Onion: A Mystery at Daggers Drawn”: In 2019, Daniel Craig as the wonderfully soft-spoken Detective Benoit Blanc lit up the serious movie season in “Knives Out”; now he and writer/director Rian Johnson are back, along with a new cast (including Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr.) Expect silliness, in the best way. (November 23 in theaters, on Netflix December 23)

“Strange World”: Disney almost always has a family movie in theaters for Thanksgiving weekend, and this year’s version is an adventure starring a family of explorers, voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union and Lucy Liu. . (Nov 23)
‘Bones and All’: Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino’s latest sultry odyssey (“Call Me By Your Name,” “Suspiria,” “I Am Love”) is a romantic cannibalistic tale starring Timothée Chalamet, Taylor Russell, and Mark Rylance . It was awarded at the Venice Film Festival earlier this fall. (Nov 23)

“Talking Women”: Actress-turned-director Sarah Polley’s latest feature (and it’s been a while; her latest, “Stories We Tell,” was among my favorites of 2012) is an adaptation of Miriam Toews’ bestselling novel, which unfolded in an isolated religious community. Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley and Frances McDormand lead the cast. (December 2)

“Emancipation”: Can Will Smith’s career recover from The Slap at the Oscars earlier this year? He stars in this historical drama by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”), about an enslaved man fleeing the Louisiana plantation where he grew up. (December 2 in theaters, on Apple TV+ on December 9)

“Empire of Light”: Sam Mendes takes a break from blockbusters (“Skyfall,” “Spectre,” “1917”) to tell a quiet, small-scale love story set in the 1980s in an old movie theater in a British seaside town. Olivia Colman, Colin Firth and Toby Jones are part of the cast, and the great Roger Deakins is the cinematographer. (December 9)

“The Inspection”: Filmmaker/photographer Elegance Bratton, a former Marine, makes his feature film debut with this tale of a young Marine (Jeremy Pope) who faces homophobia both at boot camp and at home. Gabrielle Union and Bokeem Woodbine co-star. (December 9)

“Spoiler Alert”: Journalist Michael Ausiello’s memoir of the life and death of his partner Kit Cowan is shown on screen with Jim Parsons and Ben Aldridge; Seattle writer/journalist/activist Dan Savage co-wrote the screenplay with director Michael Showalter (“The Big Sick”). (December 9)

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”: The last gasp (maybe?) of the “Shrek” franchise, this animated adventure features the cloak-and-dagger main character (voiced by Antonio Banderas) who is dismayed to learn that he is on the last of his nine lives. (December 21)

“I want to dance with someone”: British actor Naomi Ackie plays the late R&B/pop singer Whitney Houston in the Kasi Lemmons biopic, which also features Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis, Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown and Houston’s legendary voice. (December 21)

“The whale”: Brendan Fraser is getting strong pre-Oscar buzz for his performance in Darren Aronofsky’s latest, a drama about a 600-pound man trying to connect with his teenage daughter (Sadie Sink). The film won several awards at the Venice International Film Festival. (December 21)

“Avatar: The Way of Water”: It’s been a very long wait, but James Cameron’s long-promised sequel to his 2009 megahit “Avatar” is finally here. The first of four planned sequels, it will feature 3D cinematography, special effects magic (watch out for the stunning underwater scenes) and will return performances from Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver, joined this time by Michelle Yeoh, Kate Winslet and Jemaine Clement. (December 23)

“Babylon”: Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” is set in present-day Los Angeles; his new film returns to this city, but in the past. Set in the 1920s, as a decade Hollywood transitioned from silent films to talkies, the film has a large ensemble cast led by Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Jean Smart. (December 23)

“The son”: Sequel to director Florian Zeller’s 2020 film “The Father” (which won an Oscar for Anthony Hopkins), this is a family drama starring Hugh Jackman as a father who struggles to connect to his teenage son. Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath and Hopkins co-star. (December 23)

(c)2022 The Seattle Times

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