There are no lords a leapin’ in the 12 films you must see this December, but there are plenty of gold rings – including two chances to catch Meryl Streep before the year is up.
Because all theaters aren’t open, some of the biggies (like “Wonder Woman 1984”) will premiere on streaming services. Ready for the list? Cue the 12 drummers:
1. “Mank” (Dec. 4, Netflix) – A passion project for director David Fincher, this biographical drama looks at writer Herman Mankiewicz and the making of “Citizen Kane.” Written by Fincher’s father, the film reveals a different side of genius Orson Welles and gives Gary Oldman (as Mankiewicz) another shot at Oscar.
2. “Nomadland” (Dec. 4, theaters) – Look for Frances McDormand to wow as a woman who loses everything during the recession and decides to travel through America’s west in her van. Chloe Zhao directs.
3. “The Prom” (Dec. 11, Netflix) – Meryl Streep plays a fading Broadway star who brings her friends to a small Indiana town to protest its school’s decision to ban same-sex dates at the prom. Adapted from the Broadway hit, the musical lets Nicole Kidman play a high-kicking dancer, Andrew Rannells, an out-of-work actor and James Corden, a Grade A ham. They are all trying to revive their careers in the name of community service.
4. “Let Them All Talk” (Dec. 10, HBO Max) – Meryl Streep’s second holiday treat is set on the Queen Mary 2, where she shares time with Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest and Gemma Chan.
5. “Wolfwalkers” (Dec. 10, Apple TV+) In this gorgeous animated feature, a girl hunts wolves then gets the ability to turn into one when she sleeps.
6. “The Father” (Dec. 18, theaters) – Anthony Hopkins could add an Oscar to his shelf as a man who agrees to let his daughter move in with him when aging begins to take its toll.
7. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Dec. 18, Netflix) – Part of August Wilson’s look at the Black experience over the course of a century, this drama pits Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) against her manager and producer over the control of her music. The war of wills takes place before a recording session in the 1920s. Among the obstacles: an ambitious trumpet player (Chadwick Boseman in his last performance) who has his own ideas of success.
8. “The Midnight Sky” (Dec. 23, Netflix) – George Clooney stars in and directs this look at a scientist trying to contact a team of astronauts. His message? Stay in space because Earth is in big trouble.
9. “News of the World” (Dec. 25, theaters) – Tom Hanks brings out his inner Clint Eastwood in a drama about a widower who agrees to deliver a girl to her relatives. Set after the Civil War, it puts the duo through plenty of dangers before they reach home. Paul Greengrass directs.
10. “One Night in Miami” (Dec. 25, theaters) – Oscar winner Regina King directs a powerhouse quartet in a drama about a group of notables celebrating Muhammad Ali’s victory over Sonny Listen. “Hamilton’s” Leslie Odom Jr. plays Sam Cook; Eli Goree is Ali, Kingsley Ben-Adir is Malcolm X and Aldis Hodge is Jim Brown.
11. “Wonder Woman 1984” (Dec. 25, theaters, HBO Max) – It was supposed to have been one of summer’s big releases but the coronavirus pandemic kept pushing it back. Now it’s on the schedule and could be one of the holiday’s biggest gifts. Gal Gadot returns as the powerhouse who battles crime in 1984. Along for the ride: her squeeze Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).
12. “Soul” (Dec 25, Disney+) – Music plays an instrumental part in Pixar’s latest probe of man’s psyche. Jamie Foxx provides the voice of a jazz pianist who goes to the Great Before before his soul gets sent to the Great Beyond. Listen for Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad and Angela Bassett also in the cast.