Polynesian princesses, sexy spies, magical creatures, and more
Credit: Disney; Daniel Smith; Jaap Buitendijk

Thanksgiving may be all about food, family, and football, but it’s also one of the biggest movie-going weeks of the year. And as November comes to a close, fall movie season is fully underway — which means there are plenty of great new releases hitting theaters this holiday weekend.

Whether you’re looking for a fun way to kill a few hours with the extended family or just trying to escape the holiday madness, we’ve rounded up all the biggest blockbusters and buzziest new films, from family-friendly Disney musicals to mind-bending sci-fi. (After all, it’s hard to argue with your family about politics when you’re all sitting in a dark movie theater.)


Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Jemaine Clement

Director: Ron Clements, John Musker

Rating: PG

EW’s review: “Between The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and The Princess and the Frog, directors Ron Clements and John Musker are responsible for helming some of Disney’s most iconic animated films. With their latest effort, they turn to the South Pacific, and not only does Moanafeel like a worthy successor to Disney’s most beloved animated classics, but it pushes the genre into 2016, introducing a smart, diverse, and convincing heroine who struggles against lava monsters and self-doubt.” A-

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release


Starring: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Rating: R

EW’s review: “There’s something decidedly old-fashioned about the new Brad Pitt-Marion Cotillard spy thriller, Allied. And that ends up being a good thing. It’s the sort of twisty, romantic, smart-but-not-too-smart espionage film that Hollywood has all but given up on in recent years as it shamelessly chases after millennial hearts and minds. You get the sense that the people who made it were going for a 21st-century Casablanca with a dash of 007 sex appeal.”

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell

Director: David Yates

Rating: PG-13

EW’s review: “[J.K.] Rowling, who also wrote the script, nimbly lays out her world, but that world isn’t nearly as rich as the world of Hogwarts. And the villains (chief among them Colin Farrell’s Percival Graves) are stock cinematic baddies. Fantastic Beasts is two-plus hours of meandering eye candy that feels numbingly inconsequential. Maybe this is all necessary table-setting that will lead to bigger payoffs in chapters 2 through 5. I hope so. Because for a movie stuffed with so many weird and wondrous creatures, there isn’t nearly enough magic.” B-

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Bad Santa 2

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates

Director: Mark Waters

Rating: R

EW’s review: “That level of vulgarity (and there’s much more where that came from) certainly isn’t for everyone. Luckily, it seems unlikely that anyone averse to such humor will somehow be tricked into watching Bad Santa 2. ‘I’m not politically correct,’ is one of Bates’ very first lines. As long as you know what you’re in for, the film is a hilarious good time, a respectable continuation of what made the first Bad Santa so fun. Though Marcus’ height and Thurman’s vaguely-defined mental disorder are sometimes used as the butt of jokes, most of the film’s insults are saved for the main characters themselves, and the horrible life choices they’ve made. And it just so happens that a film of people acting awful to each other feels extra real in our chaotic, insane times.” B-

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Rules Don’t Apply

Starring: Warren Beatty, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich

Director: Warren Beatty

Rating: PG-13

EW’s review: “Hollywood icon, legendary lothario, reclusive man of mystery: It’s not hard to imagine what drew Warren Beatty to Howard Hughes. Aside from the obvious traits the two men share, the late tycoon’s wild life (Sex! Money! Madness! Mustaches!) is the stuff biopic dreams are made of — one alluring enough to become a passion project nearly four decades in the making, and pull Beatty out of de facto retirement for the first time in 15 years. … For a fuller portrait of Hughes’ glory days and descent into mental illness, you’ll have to look to Martin Scorsese’s lush 2004 epic, The Aviator; here he’s already adrift, an addled agoraphobe more fixated on banana-nut ice cream and his beloved daddy’s legacy than the daily running of his billion-dollar empire. Maybe that’s why Beatty ultimately sidelines his subject, and his own starring role, for such a sweetly forgettable trifle of a love story.” B

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

The Edge of Seventeen

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Hayden Szeto

Director: Kelly Fremon Craig

Rating: R

EW’s review: “In the pantheon of hard-R teen comedies, The Edge of Seventeen hews way closer to Heathers’ sly subversion than the locker-room boob bonanzas of Porky’s. But writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig knows her archetypes: the irritatingly perfect older sibling (Blake Jenner); the clueless mom (Kyra Sedgwick); the crush with amazing hair and no discernible personality (Alexander Calvert). Steinfield, a regulation hottie whose beauty we’re supposed to believe is somehow rendered invisible by her outsider status, often speaks with the kind of meta rat-a-tat wit that says more about self-aware screenwriting than the actual state of teendom. Thankfully, Fremon Craig’s script is smart and sensitive enough not to gloss over the real pain lurking beneath Nadine’s bravado as she deals with the aftermath of her dad’s death, her best friend’s betrayal, and the fact that the right guy (Hayden Szeto) might not be the one with the best bangs. Seventeen gets that being young can feel like The Hunger Games without the prizes; at least there’s always hope — and graduation — on the other side.” B+

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release


Starring: Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick

Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn

Rating: PG

EW’s review: “It’s not just good to be a Troll; it’s amazing. Danish toy maker Thomas Dam’s oddly endearing creations — with their squat little bodies, cottony tufts of hair, and Karl Malden noses — seem designed for a kind of pure, gnomic joy. And in DreamWorks’ wide-screen imagination, they do in fact live every day like it’s Burning Man: a child-safe orgy of body glitter, Day-Glo dance parties, and group hugs.” B+

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release


Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Rating: PG-13

EW’s review: “Do they come in peace? That’s the question at the center of every story that invites us to imagine we might not be the only sentient beings in the reach of 200 billion-or-so known galaxies. And it’s one French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) answers not quickly but with sublime style in Arrival, an alien-invasion fantasy that operates within the genre at the same time as it subverts it — large-scale movie-star sci-fi filtered through the tricky, esoteric lens of art-house cinema.” A-

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Hacksaw Ridge

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn

Director: Mel Gibson

Rating: R

EW’s review: “It seems fitting that Mel Gibson, a man who knows a few things about cinematic battlefields, has chosen to turn the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss — the WWII medic and self-proclaimed pacifist who won a Medal of Honor without ever laying his hands on a weapon — into a movie. What’s less expected is how much it feels like two: a folksy, golden-tinged first half detailing Doss’ rural Virginia childhood, his chaste romance with a pretty nurse (Teresa Palmer), and the struggle to maintain his Seventh-day Adventist faith in the face of combat, and a brutal second hour that plunges viewers directly into the visceral hell mouth of Hacksaw, a key flash point in the fight against Japanese troops.” B

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release

Doctor Strange

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams

Director: Scott Derrickson

Rating: PG-13

EW’s review: “When you strip away the Secrets of the East mumbo jumbo and psychedelic special effects, Doctor Strange is a formulaic Marvel origin story, but it’s done with high-IQ wit, all but name-checking the myth of Sisyphus and the kaleidoscopic architectural origami of M.C. Escher. (We’re a long way from the blunt-force shenanigans of HYDRA here.) Doctor Strange is thrilling in the way a lot of other Marvel movies are. But what makes it unique is that it’s also heady in a way most Marvel movies don’t dare to be. It’s eye candy and brain candy.” B+

Where to watch: In theaters, wide release


Starring: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman

DIrector: Garth Davis

Rating: PG-13

EW’s review: “Lion is one true story but two very different movies. The better one comes first. In late-’80s Central India, a 5-year-old boy named Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets separated from his older brother. He boards an empty train and is carried away, ending up in Kolkata, where no one speaks his language. Director Garth Davis films Saroo’s odyssey in long shots, over bridges, along train tracks, and by traffic-clogged streets. It’s like the whole world was created just to pass him by. Pawar is quite a discovery, with watchful eyes that can look fearful and strong all at once, and midway through Lion, he pretty much disappears. The film leaps forward two decades, to Australia, where grown-up Saroo (Dev Patel) has been raised by adoptive parents (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham).” B

Where to watch: In theaters, limited release (out Friday)