Other new movie releases for Dec. 21

Andy Downing



Not the sequel to Adam Sandler's “The Waterboy,” but rather the latest superhero film to emerge from the D.C. universe, starring Jason Momoa's chiseled torso.


Oh, cool, the Transformers film universe is receiving its first spin-off starring Hailee Stanfield and budget Rock (aka John Cena). (Also, for the record, this is less a shot at Cena than newfound admiration for the Rock inspired by our 2-year-old's ongoing “Moana” obsession.)

“Mary Poppins Returns”

Emily Blunt is a fairly inspired choice to fill Julie Andrews' outsized shoes, and co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda is an American treasure, so if nothing else the casting bodes well for this follow-up to the Disney classic.

“Second Act”

This appears to be a fitting title for the most-recent film from musician/actress Jennifer Lopez, who recently told NPR she considered leaving the entertainment industry as she reached what she called a “crossroads in [my] life.”

“Welcome to Marwen”

If it seems like Steve Carell is in everything this year, it's because, well, he kind of is. This tale of a man who builds an elaborate model town as a means to recover from an attack joins fellow 2018 flicks “Beautiful Boy” and “Vice” in the actor's rapidly growing filmography.


“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

This animated Spider-Man flick is being celebrated for its inventiveness and exuberance, which isn't something one reads about many superhero movies these days. Color me intrigued.


“The Favourite”

Watch the trailer for a good indication of the fast-paced farce in which “The Favourite” revels. The period itself sets up some sharp commentary on current events, but there's a sense of whimsy throughout. And, yes, plenty of dark humor. (5 stars)

“Ben Is Back”

Though it sometimes borders on melodrama, I'm a fan of how Peter Hedges tells a family's story compressed into a tight timeframe. Plus, Julia Roberts gives one of her finest performances in years as a doting mother who wants to believe her son is in recovery but can get tough when she must. (4 stars)