This weekend, Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao puts her stamp on a Marvel sci-fi superhero epic (with Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani on board) while best actress contender Kristen Stewart plays Princess Diana in a psychological drama. Jonathan Majors and Idris Elba are Old West rivals in a Netflix Western, Tom Hanks makes a robot for his dog in a post-apocalyptic film, and an Amazon Prime documentary digs into the life and work of hip-hop star Kid Cudi.
Here’s a guide to new movies that’ll satisfy every cinematic taste:
Holiday movie preview:10 new films you can’t miss, from ‘West Side Story’ to the new ‘Spider-Man’
If you need your A-list superhero fix: ‘Eternals’
The newest superhero film chooses to avoid the usual Marvel connectivity, instead, focusing on a diverse new band of immortal beings (played by Jolie, Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden and more) sent to Earth to protect humanity from alien Deviants 7,000 years ago. After being a part of history’s seminal moments, the dysfunctional family broke up but is forced to reunite in a visually ambitious and ham-handedly earnest epic that’s too busy for its own good.
Where to watch: In theaters
If you want to watch the best movie so far this year: ‘Spencer’
Even for those who couldn’t care less about Britain’s royal family, director Pablo Larrain’s stunning and sometimes unnerving exploration of three days in the life of Princess Diana (played with fierce power by Stewart) is a must-see. Set at Christmas 1991, when Diana was on the outs with Prince Charles (a chilly Jack Farthing), she wrestles with old ghosts and present-day demons as her mettle is tested, though the love for her young sons lifts her spirits enough to realize what’s truly important.
Where to watch: In theaters
If you’re not already a Jonathan Majors super-fan: Netflix’s ‘The Harder They Fall’
Director Jeymes Samuel honors the untold stories of Black cowboys with this expertly crafted all-star Western. Majors (“Lovecraft Country”) is a magnetic presence as Nat Love, an outlaw who sees a chance to exact final revenge on his enemy Rufus Buck (Elba) when the latter man is freed from prison. Their gangs tussle, gunfights break out and secrets are revealed, but there’s a cool modern touch to the familiar tropes as well as enjoyable supporting turns from Regina King, Lakeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz.
Where to watch: In theaters and on Netflix
If you need a sci-fi dad movie with Tom Hanks: ‘Finch’
Hanks gets his own one-man show with this heartwarming and often funny post-apocalyptic film, though a robot and a dog come along for the ride as his best friends. Finch (Hanks) is a St. Louis robotics engineer who survived a solar event that made Earth a wasteland. His health, though, is in steep decline, so he creates a robot named Jeff (voiced by Caleb Landry Jones) to look after his pooch Goodyear when he’s gone and they head west to find a better home.
Where to watch: Apple TV+
If you’re in the mood for smart satire: ‘The Beta Test’
With a bit of an “American Psycho” vibe and a darkly comic bent, the clever indie thriller takes on post-Harvey Weinstein Hollywood and stars Jim Cummings (who writes and directs with P.J. McCabe) as an agent who accepts a mysterious invitation for a secret sexual meetup with an admirer just weeks away from marrying his fiancée (Virginia Newcomb). The dalliance sends the wannabe industry player on a downward spiral of paranoia and turns him into a squirrelly dude investigating what’s happening and why he was chosen.
If you live for hip-hop docs: ‘A Man Named Scott’
Robert Alexander’s fascinating film chronicles the rise of Kid Cudi (aka Scott Mescudi) but avoids playing familiar notes of other documentaries by taking a look at why the refreshingly vulnerable rapper’s songs mean so much to people. Thoughtful interviews with Ye, Lil Yachty, Shia LaBeouf and Timothée Chalamet complement Cudi’s revelations about how his struggles with anxiety, depression and substance abuse inspired his most famous songs.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
If you’re already in Christmas mode: ‘Love Hard’
In the very predictable holiday romantic comedy, Natalie (Nina Dobrev) falls for a guy on a dating app and travels 3,000 miles to find out she’s been catfished by Josh (Jimmy O. Yang). The guy (Darren Barnet) she thought she was getting to know is from the same town, though, so Josh agrees to help her get with him if she’ll pose as his girlfriend at family Christmas functions. Harry Shum Jr. steals scenes as Josh’s egotistical brother, and Dobrev and Yang get to redo “Baby It’s Cold Outside” as a less creepy number.
Where to watch: Netflix