Sure, there’s certainly plenty to look forward to in the coming year, but 2021 has been an impressive one for movies—and many of the best films are either now playing in theaters or landing in the next few weeks. There’s auteur Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age dramedy Licorice Pizza, which explores the follies of youth with a tender touch; Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon, boasting Joaquin Phoenix’s most heartfelt turn yet as a middle-age radio journalist tasked with caring for his estranged 9-year-old nephew; Flee, an animated documentary about a gay Afghan refugee’s traumatic voyage to the West; and Red Rocket, a laceratingly funny character study centered on an aging adult film star trying to get his life back on track, from the talented Sean Baker. And if you’re looking for a movie to check out in theaters over the holidays—provided you’re vaxxed, of course—well, we’ve got you covered. In addition to the above, here are the films we’re anticipating most this month. WEST SIDE STORY (Dec. 10 in Theaters) Reteaming Steven Spielberg with one of the world’s greatest living playwrights in Tony Kushner, this remake of the 1961 classic supposedly rights many of the cultural wrongs of the original while infusing the song-and-dance proceedings with dazzling cinematography and even more Rita Moreno. As our own Kevin Fallon wrote, “This West Side Story is faithful and familiar—an homage. There are performances in it that explode off the screen, actors doing right by some of the greatest characters and songs ever written, and then some.” BEING THE RICARDOS (Dec. 10 in Theaters; Dec. 21 on Prime) If Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and The Newsroom have taught us anything, it’s that Aaron Sorkin’s kink is probing TV’s behind-the-scenes drama. His latest takes viewers inside one chaotic production week of the series I Love Lucy, with a red-wigged Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem assuming the guise of Desi Arnaz. Expect plenty of showy monologues, walking-and-talking, and aching sentimentality. DON’T LOOK UP (Dec. 10 in Theaters; Dec. 24 on Netflix) Though writer-director Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic Vice failed to capture the torture-loving tyrant’s insidiousness and stain on the American body politic, this commentary on our conspiracy-obsessed culture sees him on more familiar screwball ground. It follows two astronomers (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence) attempting to convince a populist president (Meryl Streep) and her team of morally bankrupt cronies (Jonah Hill, others) that there’s a comet about to strike planet Earth. Leo is a very gifted comedy actor, so it’s nice to see him grimacing in the service of laughs again. NIGHTMARE ALLEY (Dec. 17 in Theaters) This remake of the 1947 Tyrone Power cult classic comes from the fertile mind of Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro, and stars Bradley Cooper as a mischievous carny who gets mixed up with a serpentine psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) that sends him down a path of destruction. The ensemble cast also includes Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara, and Richard Jenkins. But the thrill of finally seeing Blanchett vamp it up as a noir femme fatale is the draw here. SPIDER MAN: NO WAY HOME (Dec. 17 in Theaters) Who wouldn’t pay to see one of the most delightful real-life couples, Tom Holland and Zendaya, in a web-slinging Marvel superhero extravaganza? The third film in Jon Watts’ Spidey reboot has Holland’s Peter Parker enlist the services of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to restore his secret identity after it was exposed by Mysterio. Universes will subsequently cross, causing baddies from Spidey’s past—inclu . . . read the full article here.