And now we’ve arrived at the end of the calendar year. As the final push for year-end viewing continues at a furious pace, some of the last unknown films of 2016 will finally make their way to audiences. To help focus your viewing choices, here is a list of films opening throughout the coming weeks, separated into categories of wide and limited runs. (Synopses are provided by festivals and distributors.)
If you’re interested in what still might be in a theater near you, check out our November Release Guide. For those curious what 2017 might bring, you can also visit our calendar page, which has releases through the beginning of the new year.
Week of December 2
Director: Brad Peyton
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Carice van Houten, Catalina Sandino Moreno, David Mazouz, John Pirruccello, Keir O’Donnell, Matthew Nable
Synopsis: A scientist with the ability to enter the subconscious minds of the possessed must save a young boy from the grips of a demon with powers never seen before, while facing the horrors of his past.
Director: Sophia Takal
Cast: Alexander Koch, Caitlin FitzGerald, Jane Adams, Lawrence Michael Levine, Mackenzie Davis
Synopsis: Two women, both actresses with differing degrees of success, travel north from Los Angeles to Big Sur for a weekend vacation in Always Shine, Sophia Takal’s twisty, psychological thriller. Both see the trip as an opportunity to reconnect after years of competition and jealousy has driven a wedge between them, but upon arrival to their isolated, forest retreat, the pair discovers that their once intimate friendship has deteriorated into forced conversations, betrayals both real and imagined, petty jealousies, and deep-seated resentment. As the women allow their feelings to fester, each begins to lose their bearings not only on the true nature of their relationship, but on their own identities. [Tribeca Film Festival]
Director: Akan Satayev
Cast: Callan McAuliffe, Clifton Collins Jr., Daniel Eric Gold, Lorraine Nicholson
Synopsis: Alex Danyliuk is a teenager learning the ins and outs of computer programming. When his family hits financial trouble, he turns to a life of online crime and identity theft, fueled by rage at the banking institutions’ status quo. Along the way he meets Sye, a street-wise hustler who introduces him to the world of black market trading, and Kira, a young hacker secretly working as an FBI mole. After quickly finding success in causing financial market chaos, they gain the attention of Z – a mysterious, masked figure, who’s the head of an online crime group, and a number one target by the FBI.
Best and Most Beautiful Things
Director: Garrett Zevgetis
Synopsis: Off a dirt road in Bangor, Maine, a precocious 20-year-old woman named Michelle Smith lives with her mother Julie. Michelle is quirky and charming, legally blind and diagnosed on the autism spectrum, with big dreams and varied passions. Searching for connection, Michelle explores love and empowerment outside the limits of “normal” through a provocative fringe community. Will she take the leap to experience the wide world for herself? Michelle’s joyful story of self-discovery celebrates outcasts everywhere. [SXSW Film Festival]
Director: Jaren Hayman
Cast: Kim Coates
Synopsis: Bodyguards & Protection Agents are the individuals on the front lines for the rich, famous, and powerful. These individuals deal with violence, stalkers, isolation, and potential loss of life every single day. “Bodyguards” explores the lives of bodyguards; a world most people know nothing about, while showcasing Nelson Mandela’s Bodyguards, Justin Bieber and his Director of Security, Whitey Bulger’s Protector, 50 Cent & Lil Wayne’s Bodyguard, and Ambassadors under Blackwater.
Director: Alexey Mizgirev
Cast: Franziska Petri, Julia Khlynina, Martin Wuttke, Petr Fedorov, Vladimir Mashkov, Yuri Kolokolnikov
Synopsis: A professional duellist in 19th-century Russia has second thoughts about his profession when he meets the beautiful sister of a future opponent.
The Eyes of My Mother
Director: Nicolas Pesce
Cast: Clara Wong, Diana Agostini, Flora Diaz, Kika Magalhães, Paul Nazak, Will Brill
Synopsis: In their secluded farmhouse, a mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, teaches her daughter, Francisca, to understand anatomy and be unfazed by death. One afternoon, a mysterious visitor horrifyingly shatters the idyll of Francisca’s family life, deeply traumatizing the young girl, but also awakening some unique curiosities. Though she clings to her increasingly reticent father, Francisca’s loneliness and scarred nature converge years later when her longing to connect with the world around her takes on a distinctly dark form. [Sundance Film Festival]
Goodnight Brooklyn: The Story of Death by Audio
Director: Matthew Conboy
Synopsis: From 2005 to 2014, Death By Audio served as a venue for underground music, art and a non-traditional living environment. Founders: Oliver Ackermann, Edan Wilber and Matt Conboy, endure the challenges of hosting hundreds of people a night with looming threats of building department or police raids. Under ironic circumstances, we follow them through the last days as they navigate a billion dollar company moving into their building and the associated threats and intimidation to keep residents in fear of reprisals. [SXSW Film Festival]
Director: Pablo Larraín
Cast: Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard
Synopsis: A searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. “Jackie” places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.
Director: Dito Montiel
Cast: Clifton Collins Jr., Gary Oldman, Jai Courtney Jose, Pablo Cantillo, Kate Mara, Shia LaBeouf
Synopsis: When U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer returns home from his tour in Afghanistan, he finds that the place he once called home is no better than the battlefields he fought on overseas. Accompanied by his best friend Devin Roberts, a hard-nosed marine whose natural instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later, he searches desperately for the whereabouts of his estranged son, Jonathan and wife, Natalie. In their search, the two intercept Charles, a man carrying vital information about the whereabouts of Gabriel’s family. As we revisit the past, we are guided in unraveling the puzzle of Gabriel’s experience and what will eventually lead us to finding his family.
One More Time with Feeling
Director: Andrew Dominik
Cast: Nick Cave
Synopsis: “One More Time With Feeling” began as a performance-based concept around the making of new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album Skeleton Tree, but evolved into something more complex as director Andrew Dominik delved into the personal backdrop of the writing and recording of the album. Interwoven throughout the Bad Seeds’ filmed performance of the new album are interviews and footage shot by Dominik, accompanied by Cave’s intermittent narration and improvised ruminations. Filmed in black-and-white and color, in both 3D and 2D, the result is stark, fragile and raw.
Run the Tide
Director: Soham Mehta
Cast: Constance Zimmer, Johanna Braddy, Kenny Johnson, Nico Christou, Taylor Lautner
Synopsis: When their drug abusing mother is released from prison determined to rebuild their family, Rey kidnaps his younger brother Oliver and escapes their desert home for the California coast.
Director: Gregg Bishop
Cast: Chase Williamson, Hannah Fierman, Hayes Mercure, Justin Welborn, Michael Aaron Milligan, Randy McDowell
Synopsis: A horror-thriller about Jonah, an apprehensive groom-to-be whose bachelor party turns into a nightmare when he frees a seemingly innocent victimized girl locked up in a supernatural sex club. Her ruthless handler and proprietor of the sex club will stop at nothing to re-capture his prize. Jonah struggles to rescue the girl only to discover it is he who needs to be rescued as he comes to the realization that she is a dangerous fabled predator who has chosen him as her mate.
Sky on Fire
Director: Ringo Lam
Cast: Daniel Wu, Joseph Chang
Synopsis: In this driving, non-stop action thriller, the chief security officer at a top-secret medical facility finds himself caught in an explosive battle when a young thief and his accomplices steal a groundbreaking curative medicine. After discovering the true origins of the medicine, the officer must decide who he can trust to protect the cure from falling into the wrong hands, and prevent an all-out war from bringing the city to its knees.
Things to Come
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Cast: André Marcon, Edith Scob, Isabelle Huppert, Roman Kolinka, Sarah Le Picard, Solal Forte
Synopsis: A middle-aged professor’s carefully structured life is thrown into disarray when her husband leaves her for another woman, and who finds an unlikely new companion in a former student and radical young communist.
Two Trains Runnin’
Director: Sam Pollard
Synopsis: In the “Freedom Summer” of 1964, hundreds of young people—including James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner—were drawn to the deep South to take part in the Civil Rights movement. At the same moment, two groups of young men (including guitarist John Fahey and Dick Waterman, the great champion of the Blues) made the same trip in search of Blues legends Skip James and Son House, who hadn’t recorded in decades. These two quests ended in the volatile state of Mississippi, whose governor famously referred to integration as “genocide”. Sam Pollard’s inventive, musically and historically rich film weaves together the political and cultural efforts of two groups of young people, and the changes affected by their efforts.
Videofilia (and Other Viral Syndromes)
Director: Juan Daniel F. Molero
Cast: Muki Sabogal, Terom, Liliana Albornoz, José Gabriel Alegría, Michel Lovón, Manuel Siles, Tilsa Otta, Nuria Zapata
Synopsis: “Videofilia (and Other Viral Syndromes)” begins as a teenage misfit spends her first days out of school slacking and experimenting with drugs and cyberspace. She meets Junior online. He’s an aspiring amateur porn dealer into conspiracy theories and is also convinced that the Mayan Apocalypse is happening. Once they meet in the ‘real world,’ a series of bizarre events unfold in this contemporary non-love story that portrays a post-modern Lima as a glitchy computer virus full of corruption, psychedelia and ancient ruins.
For all the films opening the week of December 9th, see the next page.