EW wants you to make good choices when going to the movies (or spending a night in Netflix-and-chilling) this weekend, and our new, recurring movie preview guide will keep you informed about the best new blockbusters, indie gems, sturdy holdovers, and fresh digital standouts up for your viewing pleasure (plus a bonus box office preview to wrap it all up).
Beep beep, ya’ll! Matt Damon and Christian Bale are pulling up to the multiplex this weekend in the driver’s seat of one of the season’s most exhilarating awards hopefuls, while Kristen Stewart leads a band of badass ladies in Elizabeth Banks‘ big screen revival of the legendary Charlie’s Angels franchise. Together, they’ll square off against icons of the ages Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen, who lead Bill Condon’s juicy thriller The Good Liar — and all three films have the potential to race laps around the box office as the traditionally lucrative holiday movie season heats up.
Below, check out EW’s coverage of the best new movies now in theaters, streaming, and on VOD — including Ford v Ferrari, Charlie’s Angels, The Good Liar, and more.
New wide releases in theaters
Ford v Ferrari
Revving up in pole position at the start of the weekend box office (see the last section of this post), Ford v Ferrari — about car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles’ real-life battle against corporate interference as they attempt to build a revolutionary vehicle for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 — is also primed for snatching Oscar attention as awards season kicks into high gear. Following an impressive debut on the festival circuit, the James Mangold-directed film stands to catch voters’ attention if it can cross the finish line on Sunday with big bucks in tow.
“This is David vs. Goliath vs. Goliath,” Bale previously told EW of the film. “You’ve got the industrial Goliath with Ford and the charismatic Goliath of reputation with Ferrari, and then this true story of the triumph of the misfits.”
- How Ford v Ferrari recreated 1966’s 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Christian Bale, Matt Damon strap in for Ford v Ferrari first look
- Christian Bale and Matt Damon explain how the passion in Ford v Ferrari is like filmmaking
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Patrick Stewart, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo
Directed by: Elizabeth Banks
Release type: Theatrical (wide)
EW grade: B- (read full review)
As the headline for EW’s third-ever digital cover asks: Who run the world? The ace cast (Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska) of Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels revival, that’s who. For the first time in history, the decades-old franchise will be told entirely from a female point of view — writer-director Banks’, to be exact. And she made sure her spy-action flick had a massive heart to go along with its spectacular dressings.
“I was adamant that there be hugging in the movie,” Banks, who plays Bosley in the film, recently told EW. “That’s what distinguishes Charlie’s Angels from James Bond, Jason Bourne, Mission: Impossible. This is what you get to do in the girl version of this movie that draws you in because it feels real. It is real. I cry at work.”
- Kristen Stewart, Charlie’s Angels fight evil with RuPaul’s Drag Race queens in new short film
- Who Run the World? Inside the first female-led installment of the Charlie’s Angels franchise
- Take a look inside the new Charlie’s Angels costume closet
The Good Liar
Helen Mirren recently told EW she thought The Good Liar‘s “very interesting script” made for “a wonderful, twisty thriller” she “thought would be fun to do” between, you know, her everyday life of being an icon.
“It’s nice to do a film about old people that’s not about Alzheimer’s or cancer, if you know what I mean,” she continued with a laugh, referencing the remarkably spectacular pace of a story about a con man (Ian McKellen) who sets his sights on a new mark (Mirren) who may or may not be more of a ferocious cat than a mouse.
“We can all be taken in, as so many of us are so often,” Mirren added of the film’s themes. “Nowadays obviously, with internet scams and fake news, almost everybody who has internet access is the victim of one scam or another. With the development of technology, it’s becoming more and more terrifying how we can have the wool pulled over our eyes.”
- Helen Mirren tells the truth about The Good Liar
- Watch Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren face off in The Good Liar trailer
- Watch Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen reenact President Trump’s call to Ukraine president
The Warrior Queen of Jhansi
Starring: Devika Bhise, Rupert Everett, Derek Jacobi
Directed by: Swati Bhise
Release type: Theatrical (wide)
Indian director Swati Bhise helms the third film of 2019 to feature the titular royal, Rani of Jhansi, who became one of the most prominent figures in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
New limited, indies, specialty, and streaming gems
Starring: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, Jon Hamm
Directed by: Scott Z. Burns
Release type: Theatrical (limited), Streaming (Amazon Prime, Nov. 29)
EW grade: A- (read full review)
Directed by frequent Steven Soderbergh producer Scott Z. Burns (Side Effects, The Laundromat) as his directorial debut, this thrilling, fact-based drama courted major Oscar buzz for Annette Bening at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It follows a U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence staff member, Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver), who assists Senator Dianne Feinstein (Bening) in her probe into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program following 9/11. The ensemble cast also includes Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, and Jon Hamm.
- Adam Driver, Annette Bening hound the CIA in riveting trailer for The Report
- The best, wildest, and most intriguing movies from the Sundance Film Festival
- 20 whistleblower movies to watch: All the President’s Men, The Report, and more
Starring: Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Taylor Russell, Sterling K. Brown, Lucas Hedges, Alexa Demie, Renée Elise Goldsberry
Directed by: Trey Edward Shults
Release type: Theatrical (limited)
EW grade: B+ (read full review)
Hailed as an emotionally moving masterwork out of its fall festival debut, Waves — about a singular traumatic event’s long-lasting impacts on a suburban family — sees rising superstar director Trey Edward Shults (Krisha) proving his versatility as he moves from apocalyptic horror (It Comes at Night) to this seamless tapestry weaving together familial strife, pulse-pounding criminal drama, and the resilience of the human spirit all in one film.
Terrence Malick — yes, that Terrence Malick, the same one who directed The Tree of Life and Days of Heaven — produced a documentary about the life of late rapper Lil Peep. Sold!
- Watch Lil Peep share sweet bond with his grandfather in exclusive clip from Everybody’s Everything doc
- Bella Thorne, Sam Smith pay tribute to rapper Lil Peep after his death at 21
Who needs Christmas carols? The sweet sounds of Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Joan Cusack, and Norm Macdonald’s voices blending together over a holiday-themed tale (Netflix’s first-ever original animated feature) are all you need to jingle your bells this winter.
- Netflix’s first original animated film, Klaus, brings holiday cheer with first trailer
- J.K. Simmons reveals he was a mall Santa before starring in Netflix’s Klaus
- Here’s everything coming to Netflix in November 2019
Feast of the Seven Fishes
Italian traditions — like Feast of the Seven Fishes‘ titular holiday meal — date back for generations, but so does Italian-American family drama. Enter Tony Oliverio (Santa Clarita Diet‘s Skyler Gisondo), a young man yearning for a yuletide romance just before Christmas in 1983 Pennsylvania. Luckily, he meets a gorgeous Ivy League student, Beth (Madison Iseman), and all seems to be falling into place — until his very Italian Great Grandma Nonnie voices dissent, Tony’s ex-girlfriend attempts to thwart their coupling, and a former flame from Beth’s past attempts to steal her affections. The resulting film about Tony’s predicament is a sweet, heartwarming period comedy that feels like an easy snuggle on a cold winter’s eve.
Starring: Brighton Sharbino, Dominic Monaghan, Will Patton
Directed by: Ben McPherson
Release type: VOD
Don’t look at the flowers, Lizzie. Look at the pretty electromagnetic pulse hellbent on wiping out humanity, instead! Such is the premise for The Walking Dead actress Brighton Sharbino’s new thriller Radioflash, which sees the 17-year-old leading her family (which includes Lost star Dominic Monaghan) to solace after a nuclear device threatens mankind’s existence.
Notable holdovers and expanding titles in theaters now
Have you ever thought to yourself: What would beloved pop star Nick Jonas look like in the throes of battle during the attack on Pearl Harbor? Well, director Roland Emmerich’s war epic Midway (reportedly produced for $100 million, making it one of the most expensive indie films of all time) is here to bring that fantasy to life via his latest, densely star-studded affair. Sure to appease both history buffs and action-hungry cinephiles alike, the film follows several United States Navy sailors and aviators as they fight through Pearl Harbor, Doolittle’s Raid, and the Battle of Midway, which served as a crucial turning point in World War II. In addition to Jonas, along for the ride are stars like Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Mandy Moore, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, and Dennis Quaid.
- Midway trailer puts Nick Jonas and Ed Skrein in World War II naval battle
- Roland Emmerich announces plans for Battle of Midway movie
- Roland Emmerich wishes he hadn’t made Independence Day: Resurgence after Will Smith’s exit
Who knew Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, and George Michael tunes go together like spiked eggnog and bickering with distant relatives around the Christmas tree? Apparently Last Christmas writer-star Emma Thompson, as she personally met with the late pop star for approval to use his songs — particularly this romantically tinged dramedy’s titular jam, initially released by Wham! in 1984 — as inspiration for a film about a drifter woman (Clarke) whose life changes for the better after she meets a peculiar, elusive, and undeniably dashing stranger (Golding) just before Christmas.
“‘Last Christmas’ is not my favorite song,” Thompson previously admitted to EW of the song that served as the film’s impetus. “[But] George Michael himself [was] a complex and brilliant artist. His poetry, his lyrics are incredibly meaningful. I just thought of an idea to do with the lyric of ‘Last Christmas’ that inspired me, and then I thought, ‘Oh, actually, so much of George’s other music really works with this idea.’ ‘Heal the Pain’ is central to the ethos of the movie. Because ‘Heal the Pain’ is about the fact that if you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone. Creative things happen so weirdly and unexpectedly, so you can be led toward something by a piece of music you actually aren’t that fond of.”
Fans are sure to be fond of the fact that, thanks to the film, a never-before-released Michael tune, “This Is How (We Want You To Get High)” now exists as part of the project’s original soundtrack.
- Emma Thompson breaks down her inspirations for Last Christmas
- Hear the previously unreleased George Michael song from Last Christmas
- George Michael gave Emma Thompson his heart (and approval) to write Last Christmas
Starring: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Merritt Wever, Julie Hagerty, Azhy Robertson
Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Release type: Theatrical (limited), streaming (Dec. 6)
EW grade: A- (read full review)
Get your tissues ready, because Oscar season is in full swing as Noah Baumbach unleashes his emotionally ruining divorce drama, starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a bitter, uncoupling pair fighting for custody of their young son.
“I mean, as an actor you can’t dream up speeches that delicious! It’s just crazy amazing,” Laura Dern, who plays Johansson’s attorney in the film (and is getting enthusiastic Oscar buzz for it), previously told EW of her part. “But let me just say, I’ve never cried so hard as when I first read the script. It wasn’t just the emotion of reading the story, it was the perfection of the screenplay. [And] being a parent, I understood this unbelievably sad, broken moment.”
- Here’s when Netflix’s awards hopefuls will hit theaters ahead of streaming
- Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver shed love and tears in moving Marriage Story trailer
- First Marriage Story reviews court major Oscar buzz for Noah Baumbach’s ‘best’ work
As we commanded in our first official Oscar predictions of the season: BongHive, assemble! The breakout prestige hit of the festival circuit, Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winner has become the darling of awards season, completely selling out every showing of its New York City theatrical bow in limited release en route to likely becoming one of the most successful foreign releases of the year for its unique social commentary on class disparity.
“I’m not a sociologist, but I think all creators are very sensitive to their surroundings and all I do is try to portray what I encounter in my daily life,” Joon-ho told EW at the Toronto International Film Festival. “Even just a second with another person, you think about that person’s class, you get to smell them, so it’s a very natural, all-surrounding thing.”
- Parasite director Bong Joon-ho discusses the film’s twisty ending
- Korean export Parasite may be the class-conscious thriller of the year
- New Parasite trailer previews Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes winner
Tomb Raider star Alicia Vikander makes another tectonic turn at the center of Netflix’s brooding thriller Earthquake Bird, which hit theaters earlier this month ahead of its streaming debut today.
“Working with Alicia was kind of a dream,” filmmaker Wash Westmoreland recently told EW of the project, which is set in 1980s Tokyo as an expat (Vikander) begins a passionate relationship with local photographer (Naoki Kobayashi) before a newcomer (Riley Keough) becomes entangled in their lives for better or worse. “The part was very demanding. About 20 percent of it is in Japanese, so we needed an actor who would actually study and learn Japanese by rote so she could pull off these scenes. Alicia has just such a high standard of excellence for everything she does, and she completely aced that part of the challenge. But also, just on a day-to-day level, she’s such a complex and interesting actress, and she always brings so much depth and nuance to every scene.”
Nov. 15-17 weekend box office preview:
The box office is in for a pump of gas this weekend as bankable movie stars (Christian Bale, Matt Damon) lend their familiar faces to an old-fashioned studio drama with big ambitions. Reportedly made for close to $100 million, Ford v Ferrari needs to burn serious rubber out of the gate if it wants to turn a profit, but this is the kind of movie manufactured to appeal across adult demographics starved for meaty spectacles that don’t involve superhero capes. It’s starry and refreshing enough to guarantee a No. 1 finish through Sunday, but don’t count out Charlie’s Angels which could pull off a stunning upset (the first two Charlie’s Angels films grossed over $523 million worldwide) despite early tracking suggesting a bow in the low-teens range.
1) Ford v Ferrari — $30 million
2) Charlie’s Angels — $16 million
3) Midway — $9 million
4) Playing with Fire — $7 million
5) The Good Liar — $7 million