A Look at the Movies of December 2016

Apologies for my delayed monthly cinema summary.  It's been difficult doing these roundups in a timely fashion with my current workload, so I'll be changing direction once again on my post output, with the goal of having more consistent frequency without compromising content quality. I'm looking forward to a new start in 2017.  Thank you all for sticking around.

Without further ado, here's a list of the films in theaters during this holiday season (or in select theaters in certain cities around the world).

20th Century Women
Annette Benning, Elle Fanning, and Greta Gerwig star as three women exploring love and freedom in Southern California in the late 1970s. Billy Crudup also stars.

A police officer and an investigative reporter try to find out why a man murdered the family of the reporter's sister.

All We Had
Katie Holmes directs and stars in this story about a woman struggling to make a better life for her daughter.

Previously titled Hacker, a teenager becomes involved in online crimes, identity theft, and black market trading, gaining the attention of a dangerous, masked figure wanted by the FBI.

Assassins Creed
Based on the bestselling video game series, this action film follows the adventures of a man, played by Michael Fassbender, who discovers he is the descendant of a secret society of killers. The movie also stars Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, and Charlotte Rampling.

Au Nom de Ma Fille
This French film is based on a true story of a man trying to find justice for his daughter, 27 years after her murder.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe
This Estonian horror film deals with coroners trying to find the cause of death of a mysterious corpse.

A couple find love in Paris.

The Bounce Back
A bestselling relationship guru falls in love with a therapist.

The Brand New Testament
In this Belgian comedy, God exists and lives in Brussels.

Burn Country
Originally titled The Fixer, an exiled war journalist from Afghanistan is now covering crime for a California newspaper and uncovers local corruption.

Collateral Beauty
Will Smith stars alongside Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, and Keira Knightley in a story about a man dealing with tragedy by writing to Love, Time, and Death.

Contract to Kill
Steven Seagal is back! Here he plays a CIA/DEA enforcer investigating terrorists captured in Mexico.

The Duelist
A retired Russian army veteran in the 19th century settles duels for aristocrats.

The Dust Storm
A man reunites for a weekend with the girl who broke his heart.

The Eyes of My Mother
Tragedy strikes a lonely woman's quiet country life.

Denzel Washington directs and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson's classic play.

Frank and Lola
Michael Shannon plays the lead in this noir love story set in Paris and Las Vegas.

Friend Request
A demonic presence starts killing college student's friends after a mysterious person online is unfriended.

Matthew McConaughey seeks the valuable metal in an Indonesian jungle. The cast also includes Bryce Dallas Howard.

Harry Benson: Shoot First
This documentary chronicles the amazing career of the photographer who took pictures of The Beatles, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other icons.

Hidden Figures
This drama explores the contributions by a team of African-American women to NASA's first successful space missions.

The Hollow Point
A new sheriff of a small town along the U.S./Mexican border investigates a drug cartel deal.

I Daniel Blake
A middle-aged carpenter and a single mother both suddenly require state welfare.

A scientist with the ability to enter the subconscious mind tries to save a possessed young boy.

So many actresses have played Jacqueline Kennedy, now it's Natalie Portman's turn.

Director Pedro Almodovar's latest film is about a broken-hearted woman.

Kill Ratio
The new president of a fledgling Eastern European democracy is attacked and an American covert operative must stop one of the country's military leaders from seizing control of the fragile government.

A Kind of Murder
Patrick Wilson plays a man in the 1960s who is obsessed with an unsolved murder. Jessica Biel stars as his wife.

La La Land
This film is generating so much buzz.  Ryan Gosling is a jazz pianist in Los Angeles who falls in love with an aspiring actress, played by Emma Stone.

Live by Night
Ben Affleck directs and stars in this Prohibition-era gangster movie.

A Monster Calls
In this fantasy starring Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones, a young boy seeks help for his terminally ill mother from a tree monster.

This Chilean docudrama follows an inspector hunting for the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda who has become a fugitive in the late 1940s after joining the Communist Party.

Office Christmas Party
My wife enjoyed this comedy starring Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, and Courtney B. Vance.

The plot of this romantic space drama, starring Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Sheen, is darker than it seems.

Adam Driver stars in writer/director Jim Jarmusch's latest film.

Patriots Day
Peter Berg is a good director and he delivers a film based on the Boston Marathon bombing, starring Mark Wahlberg.

An obsessed man kidnaps his old crush and holds her captive beneath an animal shelter where he works.

Pocket Listing
Rob Lowe and Jessica Clark star as a power couple who hire a disgraced property broker, played by Burt Reynolds, to discreetly sell their Malibu villa.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I've already seen this anthology tale twice and I give it a big thumbs up.

Run the Tide
Taylor Lautner plays a young man who runs away with his younger brother when his drug abusing mother is released from prison.

Director Martin Scorsese's latest film is set in the 17th century and tells the story of two Jesuit priests, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, trying to spread the Catholic faith in Japan.

Here's an animated film for the whole family -- a koala bear tries to produce the world's greatest singing competition. The voice cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, and John C. Reilly.

The anthology horror film V/H/S spawns a feature-length spin-off based on its "Amateur Night" chapter.

An older girl convinces a freshman boy to post his fan fiction online, changing his life.

A psychic works with the FBI to hunt down a serial killer. The movie features Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Colin Farrell.

Sugar Mountain
When two brothers who are down on their luck fake a disappearance in the Alaskan wilderness, the plan doesn't go as expected. The cast includes Jason Momoa and Cary Elwes.

Toni Erdmann
A practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hardworking daughter by posing as her CEO's outrageous life coach.

Why Him?
In this comedy, a man's holiday gathering is ruined when he learns that his daughter's eccentric billionaire boyfriend is about to propose. It stars Bryan Cranston, James Franco, and Zoey Deutch.

A Winter Rose
A troubled woman must battle her self-destructive alcoholism when she suddenly becomes an international singing star. The supporting cast is interesting (Billy Zane, Edward Furlong, Paul Sorvino, George Lazenby, and Andy Dick.)

Have fun at the movies!