Spider-Man: No Way Home
Now that Marvel's superheroes have saved the Universe, their next job is obvious: they have to save the multiverse. In the third of the Spider-Man blockbusters starring Tom Holland, the teenage web-spinner accidentally opens a portal to numerous parallel realities. He finds himself up against Alfred Molina's Doctor Octopus, who fought the Tobey Maguire incarnation of Spider-Man, and Jamie Foxx's Electro, who fought the Andrew Garfield incarnation. And, who knows, he may even bump into Maguire and Garfield themselves. Sounds fun? Errr... well, apparently not. "What people will be really surprised about is that it's not fun, this film," Holland told Total Film. "It's dark and it's sad, and it's going to be really affecting. You're going to see characters that you love go through things that you would never wish for them to go through."
Released internationally on 15 December
Don't Look Up
People are often slow to react to a cataclysm, whether it's a climate emergency or a global pandemic – and it was this tendency that prompted Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice) to make his new satire, Don't Look Up. Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio play two astronomers who have calculated that a "planet killer" comet is going to smash into the Earth, killing everyone. But the US president (Meryl Streep) is just one of the many people who refuse to face the facts. The rest of the all-star cast includes Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill, Timothée Chalamet and Ariana Grande.
In selected cinemas from 10 December, and on Netflix from 24 December
The Matrix Resurrections
Almost two decades after The Matrix Revolutions rounded off the Matrix saga – or so it seemed – it's time to take the red pill once again. The story is that Neo (Keanu Reeves) has been living as plain old Thomas A Anderson, with no memory of his heroics as a robot-bashing, kung-fu-kicking messiah, and no knowledge of his relationship with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). Then, of course, everything changes. This is the first Matrix film to be directed by Lana Wachowski without her sister Lilly, and two of the series' best actors – Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving – aren't returning. Still, the action-packed trailer looks suitably eye-popping, and, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, virtual reality and the metaverse is a hot topic once again.
Released internationally on 22 December
West Side Story
The original 1961 film of West Side Story, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, is renowned as one of the finest Hollywood musicals ever made. A New York-set update of Romeo and Juliet, it was the biggest box-office hit of the year, and went on to win 10 Oscars, including best picture. Why, then, should anyone watch a new take on the same material? Well, one answer is that this West Side Story is directed by Steven Spielberg. Another answer is that Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics to Leonard Bernstein's music, has given it his seal of approval. "It's really terrific," he said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "And for those of you who know the show, there are going to be some real surprises in it, because Tony Kushner who wrote the screenplay has done some really imaginative and surprising things with the way the songs are used in the story, and the whole thing has real sparkle to it and real energy... Spielberg and Kushner really, really nailed it."
Released internationally on 10 December
Guillermo del Toro's first film as director since his Oscar-winning The Shape of Water is also his first not to feature ghosts, aliens, vampire superheroes or any other supernatural creatures. Despite having a spooky title, Nightmare Alley is a shadowy crime thriller based on a 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham. Bradley Cooper stars as The Great Stanton, a conjurer who steals a mind-reading act from a clairvoyant (Toni Collette) in a low-rent carnival. He performs it in swanky nightclubs with his loyal girlfriend (Rooney Mara), but a seductive psychologist (Cate Blanchett) is onto his game.
Released on 3 December in India, and on 17 December in the US
clairvoyant [klerˈvɔɪənt]: n. 能预知未来的人