For many people, the holiday break isn't a time for family togetherness so much as it is a chance to catch up on all the season's big movies. Here are 14 major releases you should absolutely make time to see this holiday, whether in theaters or on Netflix.
'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs' (Now on Netflix)
The good news is that the Coen Bros. are back with another kooky Western drama featuring an all-star cast. The better news is that this Western is available to stream now on Netflix. That means there's literally no excuse not to add this to your list.
'Bumblebee' (Dec. 21)
The latest "Transformers" movie should be on your to-watch list regardless of your feelings on the franchise as a whole. For hardcore fans of the Michael Bay movies, this prequel promises to showcase the origin story of the titular Autobot. For detractors, this film serves as a fresh start for the franchise, one that draws much more from the classic '80s animated series for a change.
'Creed II' (Nov. 21)
This sequel to 2015's "Creed" may be missing writer/director Ryan Coogler, but it does have one huge thing working in its favor. It features a match-up we've been waiting decades to see, as the sons of Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago go toe-to-toe in the ring.
'If Beale Street Could Talk'
Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" was the toast of the awards circuit two years ago, and it's very likely that his follow-up will do the same. "If Beale Street Could Talk" is a romantic drama starring KiKi Layne and Stephan James as a couple torn apart by a wrongful arrest and racing against the clock to reunite before their new baby arrives.
'Mary Queen of Scots' (Dec. 7)
We're always down for a good historical drama, especially with a cast this good. Saoirse Ronan stars as the titular Mary, while Margot Robbie plays her rival and cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. We have a sneaking suspicion that these two will be battling it out during awards season as much as they do in the film itself.
'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' (Dec. 14)
We're still not sold on Sony's new Spider-Man cinematic universe after having watched "Venom." That said, we're all in on this animated movie that brings together various Spider-men and women from across the multiverse. Its sense of humor and unique visual style promise to set "Into the Spider-Verse" from the increasingly crowded superhero scene.
'Vox Lux' (Dec. 14)
"A Star Is Born" isn't the only critically acclaimed musical drama hitting theaters this year. Vox Lux stars Natalie Portman and Stacy Martin as two sisters who channel a shared tragedy into a successful music career. Early buzz suggests this may well be one of the strongest performances in Portman's already successful career.
'Mary Poppins Returns' (Dec. 19)
While there's no new "Star Wars" movie to look forward to this winter, Disney has a very different belated sequel on offer. "Mary Poppins Returns" is a direct sequel to the 1964 classic, with Ms. Poppins returning to help the grown-up Banks children once more. We'd be a bit wary if not for the incredible cast, which includes Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep and even "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
'Once Upon a Deadpool' (Dec. 21_
Two "Deadpool" movies in one year is too good to be true, right? Technically, this isn't a new movie so much as an alternate PG-13 cut of "Deadpool 2." But with new scenes and a new framing sequence featuring Deadpool recounting the film's events to a captive Fred Savage, there's no reason not to give this raunchy superhero adventure another go.
'The Other Side of the Wind' (Now on Netflix)
It's tough to imagine a better Christmas present than a new film from the late, legendary director Orson Welles. The fact that it's available to stream on Netflix is just icing on the cake. Cinephiles everywhere will want to make this one a top priority.
'A Private War' (In Theaters Now)
Rosamund Pike is poised to become another frontrunner in this year's awards scene thanks to this bio-drama. Pike stars as journalist/war correspondent Marie Colvin, with Stanley Tucci, Jamie Dornan and Tom Hollander rounding out an impressive cast.
'Ralph Breaks the Internet' (In Theaters Now)
"Ralph Breaks the Internet" is the pop culture mash-up Disney fans dream of. Een as Ralph and Vanellope venture deep into the heart of the World Wide Web, the film crams in Marvel and Star Wars favorites and pretty much every major Disney princess there is. It's a movie that delivers endless fan-service even as it serves as it improves upon its predecessor in basically every way. A no-brainer for your holiday movie marathon, in other words.
'Roma' (Dec. 14)
If any movie can establish Netflix as a major awards contender alongside traditional studios, it's this one. "Roma" is the latest effort from acclaimed director Alfonso Cuaron, one partly based on his own upbringing in Mexico City. Check it out during its brief theatrical run if you can, but at the very least make sure you add it to your Netflix queue in December.
The feel-bad movie of the year is for anyone who, in our current tumultuous political climate, looks at past presidencies with wistful remembrance. (Big spoiler alert: things were just as awful.) Christian Bale -- in a transformative performance that is every bit as impressive as him being a jaguar in “Mowgli" -- gained weight, shaved his head, and Xeroxed every mannerism of former Vice President Dick Cheney. But it’s not mere mimicry; he does everything he can to inject depth and dimension into a man who could easily be characterized as a two-dimensional baddie. And writer-director Adam McKay, who last dazzled with “The Big Short,” takes things even further here, broadening the scope while maintaining a granular sense of storytelling. It’s like an evil “JFK.”