moana movie disney

Holiday gifts at the movies: ‘Moana,’ ‘Manchester,’ ‘Moonlight’

Moana, Disney’s animated South Pacific musical, attracted another 3 million moviegoers last weekend, with Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them close behind. Holiday season unwraps top-notch choices: Manchester by the Sea with Casey Affleck, Arrival with Amy Adams, musical La La Land with Emma Stone and the acclaimed Moonlight.

WORTH SEEING IN THEATERS

Jackie Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman in “Jackie”

NEW:
Jackie – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) struggles through the days after her husband’s assassination. Directed by Pablo Larraín. trailer

La La Land – Aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) chase their Hollywood dreams in refreshingly retro movie musical. Directed by Damien Chazelle. trailer

CONTINUING:
Arrival [PG-13] – Amy Adams plays a college professor drafted by homeland security to communicate with alien visitors. With Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker. trailer

Elle [R] – Black comedy-thriller of a successful businesswoman (Isabelle Huppert) who tries to track down the man who raped her. Directed by Paul Verhoeven. In French. trailer

Hell or High Water [R] – “Neo-western” about two brothers (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) who rob sleepy banks in West Texas to settle a personal score, with Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) in slow-motion pursuit. Screenplay by Taylor Sheridan. trailer

Manchester by the Sea [R] – Casey Affleck plays a young father haunted by family tragedy. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan. trailer

Moana [PG] – Animated musical adventures of a new Disney princess, Moana, who sails the South Pacific in search of a fabled island. trailer

moonlight alex hibbert barry jenkins

Alex Hibbert in “Moonlight”

Moonlight [NR] – Spell-binding love story of gay African-American coming of age in inner-city Miami. Directed by Barry Jenkins. “Like Brokeback Mountain a decade ago, Moonlight is a piece of art that will transform lives long after it leaves theaters” — Gregory Ellwood trailer

Sully [PG-13] – Tom Hanks portrays Chesley Sullenberger, the unassuming pilot who landed a stricken jetliner on the Hudson River, as he endures a post-crash NTSB investigation. Directed by Clint Eastwood from a script by Todd Komarnicki, adapting Sullenberger’s own book. trailer

MOST POPULAR

Benedict Cumberbatch Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch in “Doctor Strange”

1. Moana [PG] – Animated Disney musical about a princess searching for a fabled island in the South Pacific.
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them [PG-13] – Harry Potter spin-off about Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)in a secret community of witches and wizards.
3. Arrival [PG-13] – Lonely linguistics professor (Amy Adams) is called to communicate with aliens. Directed by Denis Villeneuve.
4. Allied [R] – Intelligence officer (Brad Pitt) meets French Resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) in 1942 behind enemy lines in North Africa.
5. Doctor Strange [PG-13] – Benedict Cumberbatch as former neurosurgeon drawn into the mystic arts.

COMING UP

pablo neruda movie

“Neruda”

December 16 Collateral Beauty – Will Smith plays ad executive who retreats from life after personal tragedy. Fine cast: Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley.

December 16 Fences – Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

December 16 Neruda – Chilean poet/senator Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) delights his public and taunts a policeman who pursues him in political exile. Directed by Pablo Larraín.

December 16 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – New installment in the Star Wars saga.

December 28Paterson – Poetry and dreams fill the life of a New Jersey bus driver (Adam Driver). From director Jim Jarmusch.

December 28Toni Erdmann – Eccentric father wins his way back into his daughter’s life (in German).

January 20The Founder – Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s.

Related:
Listen to best podcasts about the movies.
Where to watch last year’s Oscar movies on demand

FILM FESTIVAL RECAPS

September 30 – October 16New York Film Festival, New York, NY
new york film festival
2016 recap:
Opening night: The 13th, searing documentary by Ava DuVernay (director of Selma in 2014) about America’s sky-high prison incarceration rate. Featured: 20th Century Women, directed by Mark Mills. Closing night: The Lost City of Z, a period drama by James Gray set in the Amazon.
September 8-18Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada
toronto international film festival tiff
2016 recap:
Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, the retro musical with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, dominated the festival chatter. Arrival and Moonlight built momentum, and Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, made a high-profile debut.
September 2-5, 2016Telluride Film Festival, Telluride CO
Telluride Film Festival 2016
2016 recap:
Patron preview: La La Land“Writer-director Damien Chazelle revives the all-singing, all-dancing MGM musical” (Larry Gross) with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and composer Justin Hurwitz.
Premieres: Clint Eastwood’s Sully with Tom Hanks and Laura Linney, and Moonlight from writer-director Barry Jenkins.
Tributes: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Amy Adams (Arrival) and Pablo Larrain (director, Neruda).
May 11–22, 2016Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France #Cannes2016
cannes film festival palme d'or2016 recap:
Palme d’Or: I, Daniel Blake, from British director Ken Loach, about a British carpenter struggling to keep his benefits after a heart attack. Notable screenings out of competition: Woody Allen’s Cafe Society, set in 1930s Hollywood, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG starring Mark Rylance, and Jim Jarmusch documentary about Iggy Pop, Gimme Danger.
Last year’s Palme d’Or winner was Dheepan, French crime drama about three refugees who flee to France from war-ravaged Sri Lanka.
Apr 13-Apr 24, 2016Tribeca Film Festival, New York NY
tribeca film festival 20162016 recap:
Opening night: The First Monday in May, Andrew Rossi documentary goes behind the scenes as fashion mogul Anna Wintour mounts a benefit show at the Met Museum in New York.
Best Narrative Feature: Dean, directed by Dimetri Martin.
Best International Narrative Feature: Junction 28, written and directed by Udi Aloni. Best Documentary Feature: Do Not Resist, directed by Craig Atkinson. The feature slate included an anniversary celebration of Taxi Driver. The new TV track included screenings of The Good Wife, Six Feet Under, Roots and Broad City.
Mar 11-19, 2016SXSW Film Conference & Festival, Austin TX
sxsw film 20162016 recap:
Richard Linklater’s poignant college drama Everybody Wants Some!! opened the film portion of the festival. Adam Pinney’s quirky film about eccentricity and obsession, The Arbalest, won the narrative grand jury prize. Keith Maitland’s Tower, which reconstructs the 1966 sniper shootings at the University of Texas at Austin, won the top documentary prize.
Jan 22-Feb 1, 2016Sundance Film Festival, Park City UT
sundance-film-festival2016 recap:
U.S. Grand Jury Prizes – Weiner (documentary) – A behind-the-scenes look at scandal in Anthony Weiner’s New York City mayoral campaign. The Birth of a Nation (drama) – Historical drama of Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, and the brutal slave rebellion he led.
U.S. Audience Awards – Jim: The James Foley Story (documentary) – Examines the public execution by ISIS of American journalist James Foley. The Birth of a Nation (drama).
Last year’s winners –Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Wolfpack, Meru