‘Babylon,’ ‘The Whale,’ ‘Glass Onion’ & More

Feb 20, 2023

We’ve already gotten the Gotham Awards and have seen the New York Critics Circle announce their winners. As we start the final countdown of 2022, many of us continue to play desperate catch-up of the year’s best, making the prospect of an entire month worth of new releases daunting. November was overloaded with quality releases week-to-week, and December is set for some of the biggest releases of the year. From kicking the month off with the violent twist on Santa Claus to the celebrated return of Brendan Fraser in a leading role, the latest feature from indie darling Joanna Hogg, to the much anticipated “Avatar: The Way of Water,” December sees 2022 ending on a big note. 
“Violent Night”David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) stars in the Santa Claus action film “Violent Night” directed by Tommy Wirkola. With a bizarre, if enticing premise, the film marries the holiday spirit with action comedy. Written by Josh Miller and Patrick Casey, the film follows a group of mercenaries whose latest mission goes awry during an attempted hostage situation when they’re faced with an unhinged version of Santa Claus. John Leguizamo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, and Cam Gigandet also star. Our film critic singled out Harbour’s performance as being one of the highlights of the film. Release Date: December 2 in theaters via Universal Pictures.
“Emancipation” Will Smith returns following his Oscar win for “King Richard” with the Apple TV+ original, “Emancipation.” Based on a true story, Smith plays the character Peter, an enslaved man who escapes from a plantation to make his way North to join the Union Army. Directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by William N. Collage, the film also stars Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Steven Ogg, Timothy Hutton, and more. Release Date: December 2 in select cinemas and then December 9 to stream via Apple TV+.
“Sr.” While known by most of the world for his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a staple of the film industry for decades, the story that Robert Downey Jr. chose to focus on in this upcoming documentary, “Sr.” is that of his late father, the notorious avant-garde and experimental filmmaker famous for underground films like “Putney Swope” and “Greaser’s Palace.” Robert Downey Sr. was a man with the history and energy which is captured by director Chris Smith in the documentary, which spans about the course of a year before his death. Our critic wrote, “Bob might be gone, but everyone involved should be proud; it’s a beautiful tribute and a wonderful farewell to a legend, father, and artist.”Release Date: December 2 to stream via Netflix.
“The Eternal Daughter”Director Joanna Hogg reunites with Tilda Swinton in their first outing together, with Swinton playing the lead (ing) role. A ghost story, “The Eternal Daughter,” follows Swinton’s Julie Hart, an artist who, along with her elderly mother, must confront old secrets once they return to their former family home. Written and directed by Hogg, our critic wrote, “The greatest trick “The Eternal Daughter” pulls is making one gradually forget that we’re basically watching a film with two Tilda Swintons.”Release Date: December 2 in select theaters via A24.

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