ENTERTAINMENT
01/06/2017 01:36 pm ET Updated Jan 06, 2017

21 New Movies That Will Keep You Warm During The Cold Winter Months

Start by playing catchup on the season's Oscar contenders.

Before you decide to Netflix-and-chill your way through winter hibernation and spring’s first blossom, try going to the movies! Yes, an actual movie theater.

We have some recommendations for the most promising new releases across 2017’s first four months. Not every major title is on this list. We trust, for example, that “Fifty Shades” fans have already marked their calendars for next month’s sequel. Here is a little something for everyone, from monstrous blockbusters and outlandish thrillers to Disney reboots and intimate indies. Try ‘em out, won’t you? 

  • "Hidden Figures," "Silence" and "20th Century Women" (January)
    This month is no less lame than any typical January at the movies. You can try the new M. Night Shyamalan joint, the "xXx" th
    Fox/Paramount/A24
    This month is no less lame than any typical January at the movies. You can try the new M. Night Shyamalan joint, the "xXx" threequel, more "Resident Evil" and "Underworld" installments or the self-explanatory "A Dog's Purpose." Or not. Instead, catch up on the Oscar contenders that are expanding to wide release this month: "Hidden Figures" on Jan. 6, "Silence" on Jan. 13 and "20th Century Women" on Jan. 20. All three made our list of 2016's best movies.
  • "I Am Not Your Negro" (Feb. 3)
    Directed by Raoul Peck<br><br><strong>What to expect:&nbsp;</strong>This searing race documentary opened in Oscar-qualifying
    Magnolia Pictures
    Directed by Raoul Peck

    What to expect: This searing race documentary opened in Oscar-qualifying limited release in December. It'll get a proper bow next month, and you cannot miss it. Raoul Peck uses an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin to trace the civil rights movement through the activism of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as Hollywood's depiction of people of color. [Trailer]
  • "A Cure for Wellness" (Feb. 17)
    Written by&nbsp;Justin Haythe &bull; Directed by Gore&nbsp;Verbinski<br><br>Starring Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Jason Isaacs and
    Fox
    Written by Justin Haythe • Directed by Gore Verbinski

    Starring Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Jason Isaacs and Adrian Schiller

    What to expect: "The Ring" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski needs a hit to redeem him after the mess of 2013's "The Lone Ranger." This thriller seems like a nice bet. "A Cure for Wellness" stars mini-Leo Dane DeHaan as an executive sent to retrieve his company's CEO from a mysterious spa where treatments appear to be driving patients insane. Enticing! The trailer blends elements of "The Shining," "Inception" and "Frankenstein." It's downright terrifying. [Trailer]
  • "Lovesong" (Feb. 17)
    Written by&nbsp;So Yong Kim and Bradley Rust Gray &bull; Directed by So Yong Kim<br><br>Starring Riley Keough, Jena Malone, B
    Strand Releasing
    Written by So Yong Kim and Bradley Rust Gray • Directed by So Yong Kim

    Starring Riley Keough, Jena Malone, Brooklyn Decker, Amy Seimetz, Ryan Eggold, Rosanna Arquette and Cary Fukunaga 

    What to expect: Last year's Sundance reviews fawned over Riley Keough and Jena Malone, both of whom have magnetizing screen personas. They play one-time best friends whose brief sexual past surfaces when they reunite after three years of silence, right before one of them is about to get married. [No trailer available]
  • "Get Out" (Feb. 24)
    Written and directed by Jordan Peele<br><br>Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Er
    Universal
    Written and directed by Jordan Peele

    Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Erika Alexander and Keith Stanfield

    What to expect: Jordan Peele took a break from his "MadTV" and "Key & Peele" roots to make a traditional horror film about a very contemporary topic: racial injustice. When a young black man visits his white girlfriend's family estate, he learns that the color of his skin is not about to do his pulse any favors. [Trailer]
  • "Table 19" (March 3)
    Written by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass &bull; Directed by Jeffrey Blitz<br><br>Starring Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen
    Fox Searchlight
    Written by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass • Directed by Jeffrey Blitz

    Starring Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Craig Robinson, Amanda Crew, Tony Revolori, June Squibb and Wyatt Russell

    What to expect: We've all felt rejected at some point or another, but imagine realizing you've been seated at an entire table of rejects. That's the premise of "Table 19," a comedy about the stragglers who actually showed up after being reluctantly invited to a wedding. [Trailer]
  • "My Scientology Movie" (March 3)
    Written by Louis Theroux &bull; Directed by John Dower<br><br><strong>What to expect:&nbsp;</strong>British journalist Louis
    Magnolia Pictures
    Written by Louis Theroux • Directed by John Dower

    What to expect: British journalist Louis Theroux wanted to make a documentary about the Church of Scientology. Of course, the Church of Scientology did not share his interests. So Theroux teamed up with a former high-ranking Scientologist to stage dramatic interpretations of the cult's horrors. The church then had him followed, making Theroux's film a tit-for-tat comedic opera about one of America's most dangerous organizations. [Trailer]
  • "The Last Word" (March 3)
    Written by&nbsp;Stuart Ross Fink &bull; Directed by Mark Pellington<br><br>Starring Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, AnnJew
    Bleecker Street
    Written by Stuart Ross Fink • Directed by Mark Pellington

    Starring Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, AnnJewel Lee Dixon, Anne Heche, Thomas Sadoski and Philip Baker Hall

    What to expect: 
    We can spend all our lives trying to determine how we'll be remembered after death, often to little avail. But Harriet Lauler (Shirley MacLaine), a retired businesswoman, isn't about to leave her memory to fate. She'd like to approve her obituary, so Harriet recruits a newspaper writer (Amanda Seyfried) to do a deep dive on her salty life. [Trailer]
  • "Kong: Skull Island" (March 10)
    Written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein &bull; Directed&nbsp;by Jordan Vogt-Roberts<br><br>Starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Lar
    Warner Bros
    Written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein • Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Jing Tian and Jason Mitchell

    What to expect: 
    This marks the second movie in Warner Bros' shared Godzilla-Kong universe. The first was 2014's "Godzilla," and now "Kong: Skull Island" will reintroduce us to the gargantuan ape who once stormed the Empire State Building. (This is all leading to 2020's "Godzilla vs. Kong," of course.) "Skull Island" is set in the 1970s, with a team of explorers who discover more than uncharted territory during a Pacific Island expedition. (In case you aren't following along, it's King Kong. They discover King Kong!) [Trailer]
  • "Song to Song" (March 17)
    Written and directed by Terrence Malick<br><br>Starring Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Natali
    Broad Green Pictures
    Written and directed by Terrence Malick

    Starring Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Haley Bennett, Bérénice Marlohe and Holly Hunter (assuming Malick doesn't cut any of them out, as he's wont to do)

    What to expect: Terrence Malick has been cooking up "Song to Song" since 2011. Originally titled "Lawless" and then renamed "Weightless," this drama about artists toiling through the Austin, Texas, music scene is said to feature the narrations of Rooney Mara, who is the perfect other-worldly specimen to whisper her way through a Malick meditation. [No trailer available]
  • "Beauty and the Beast" (March 17)
    Written by Bill Condon, Stephen Chbosky and&nbsp;Evan Spiliotopoulos &bull; Directed by Bill Condon<br><br>Starring Emma Wats
    Disney
    Written by Bill Condon, Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos • Directed by Bill Condon

    Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor and Audra McDonald

    What to expect: 
    Each of Disney's recent live-action reboots was better than the last, which puts a lot of pressure on this rendition of "Beauty and the Beast." Reportedly incorporating most of the songs from the original, the movie will feature a more empowered Belle, according to Emma Watson, who, we should recognize, seems perfectly cast. [Trailer]
  • "Life" (March 24)
    Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese &bull; Directed by&nbsp;Daniel Espinosa<br><br><strong></strong>Starring Jake Gyllenh
    Sony
    Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese • Directed by Daniel Espinosa

    Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds

    What to expect: It's been a solid few years for science fiction on the big screen, so the ball's in your spaceship, "Life." We're about to rocket to Mars, where proof of extraterrestrial existence doesn't go too well. [Trailer]
  • "Wilson" (March 24)
    Written by Daniel Clowes &bull; Directed by Craig Johnson<br><br>Starring Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Isabella Amara, Judy G
    Fox Searchlight
    Written by Daniel Clowes • Directed by Craig Johnson

    Starring Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Isabella Amara, Judy Greer, Cheryl Hines and Margo Martindale

    What to expect: Oh, come on, it's Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern in a movie together. With support from Judy Greer and Margo Martindale! What more do you need? If you must know, "Wilson" is about a neurotic loner who reunites with his ex-wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time. [Trailer]
  • "The Boss Baby" (March 31)
    Written by&nbsp;Michael McCullers &bull; Directed by Tom McGrath<br><br>Starring Alec Baldwin, Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi,
    Fox
    Written by Michael McCullers • Directed by Tom McGrath

    Starring Alec Baldwin, Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel

    What to expect: This is about as literal a title as they come. There is a domineering toddler in a suit who teams up with his 7-year-old brother to stymie a devilish CEO's attempt to rid the world of love. [Trailer]
  • "Wonder" (April 7)
    Written by Steven Conrad &bull; Directed by Stephen Chbosky&nbsp;<br><br>Starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay,
    Lionsgate
    Written by Steven Conrad • Directed by Stephen Chbosky 

    Starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, Sônia Braga and Daveed Diggs

    What to expect: R.J. Palacio's debut novel of the same name was a critical and commercial hit in 2012. A real-life encounter inspired Palacio to craft the story of a young boy who refuses to let his facial deformity deny him an ordinary childhood. Now "Wonder" is in the hands of Stephen Chbosky, best known for "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." Julia Roberts, who plays the boy's mother, is choosey about her film projects these days, and we'll offer two thumbs up for picking one opposite "Room" charmer Jacob Tremblay. [No trailer available]
  • "The Lost City of Z" (April 14)
    Written and directed by James Gray<br><br>Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller<br><br><st
    Bleecker Street
    Written and directed by James Gray

    Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller

    What to expect: A hit at last year's New York Film Festival, "The Lost City of Z" chronicles the true story of a British explorer who disappeared while surveying a mysterious ancient region in the Amazon. [Trailer]
  • "The Fate of the Furious" (April 14)
    Written by Chris Morgan &bull; Directed by F. Gary Gray<br><strong><br></strong>Starring Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Jason St
    Universal
    Written by Chris Morgan • Directed by F. Gary Gray

    Starring Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Kurt Russell and Chris Bridges

    What to expect: 
    It's been a whole two years since the last "Fast and the Furious" behemoth. How did we survive? This time around, "Friday" and "Straight Outta Compton" maestro F. Gary Gray is taking over directorial duties. And Helen Mirren finally gets to fulfill her dream of starring in a Vin Diesel movie. ("I think he’s so cool," she told HuffPost in 2014.) In the series' eighth installment, the family goes hard when a criminal hacker (Charlize Theron) turns Dom (Diesel) against his crew. [Trailer]
  • "Unforgettable" (April 21)
    Written by Christina Hodson and David Leslie Johnson &bull; Directed&nbsp;by&nbsp;Denise Di Novi<br><br>Starring Katherine He
    Warner Bros
    Written by Christina Hodson and David Leslie Johnson • Directed by Denise Di Novi

    Starring Katherine Heigl, Rosario Dawson, Cheryl Ladd, Geoff Stults and Isabella Rice

    What to expect: "Obsession" meets "Fatal Attraction"? Hell yes. It's Denise Di Novi's first time behind the camera after years as a producer, including such titles as "Heathers," early Tim Burton movies and "Crazy, Stupid, Love." Katherine Heigl plays a deranged divorcée who wants nothing but hell for her ex's new wife. [Trailer]
  • "The Circle" (April 28)
    Written and directed by&nbsp;James Ponsoldt<br><br>Starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Patton Oswalt, Karen Gillan,
    EuropaCorp
    Written and directed by James Ponsoldt

    Starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Patton Oswalt, Karen Gillan, Bill Paxton and Ellar Coltrane

    "The Spectacular Now" and "The End of the Tour" are plenty confirmation that James Ponsoldt is one of today's brightest directors. It'll be fascinating to see such a humanist filmmaker take on Dave Eggers' celebrated 2013 novel, which depicts a powerful internet company with sinister intentions about individual privacy. [Trailer]
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