In theaters: 'Encanto'
The 60th animated theatrical feature from Disney is here. Featuring new songs by Oscar nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda and the voices of Stephanie Beatriz, Academy member John Leguizamo and María Cecilia Botero, Encanto centers on Beatriz's Mirabel, a young Colombian girl in an extraordinary, magical family. When the family's magical powers come under attack, it's Mirabel who must answer the call. Directed by Oscar winner Byron Howard and Academy member Jared Bush, with a screenplay by Bush and Charise Castro Smith, Encanto is both a comic musical with plenty of lighthearted moments as well as a tender and assured character study of its protagonist, voiced brilliantly by Beatriz. Only in theaters until Christmas Eve, when it begins streaming on Disney+.
In theaters: 'House of Gucci'
Four-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott's second feature in as many months—following The Last Duel—is House of Gucci, a true-crime drama starring Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, an ambitious Italian woman who marries into the Gucci fashion empire and tries to wrest control away from the family, with infamously murderous results. An impressive cast comes along for the ride down the runway, including a quintet of Academy members: Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek and Al Pacino. The film's costumes are also stellar—courtesy of Academy member Janty Yates—with Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri allowing unfettered access to the company's wardrobe. Written by Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna, with a story by Johnston.
In theaters and streaming on Netflix: 'Bruised'
Oscar winner Halle Berry (Monster's Ball) stars in—and directs for the first time—Bruised, about a down-on-her-luck MMA fighter who returns to the ring in the midst of retaking custody of her 6-year-old son. The film is buoyed by a set of strong performances—particularly Berry's in the lead role and Sheila Atim as her trainer—while Shamier Anderson, Adan Canto and Stephen McKinley Henderson are also excellent, showing Berry's talent for directing actors. After a limited run in theaters, Bruised arrives on Netflix on Nov. 24.
Pick it up on DVD/Blu-ray: 'Radio On'
This cult British road movie from 1979, shot by Wim Wenders' cameraman Martin Schäfer and written and directed by Christopher Petit, is a snapshot of a pre-Thatcherite England on the cusp of major change, and features an unbelievable soundtrack filled with tunes from Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Devo, Robert Fripp and many, many more. The movie's about a DJ, played by David Beames, on a trip from London to Bristol to investigate the death of his brother; Andrew Byatt and Paul Hollywood also star. For music fans or fans of the offbeat road movie genre—check out Wenders' seminal early work, such as Alice in the Cities, if you haven't seen it, after this—Radio On is well worth picking up.
Now on Criterion Blu-ray: 'Menace II Society'
With a new 4K restoration of the directors' cut, the Hughes brothers' breakout debut comes to Criterion this week, still as vital and arresting as it was upon its release in 1993. Featuring Tyrin Turner as Caine, a young Watts native trying to make his way through, along with Larenz Tate, Jada Pinkett Smith and a searing cameo performance from Samuel L. Jackson. The Hughes brothers—Albert and Allen, twins—were in their early twenties when they made the film, not much older than their lead character, and there's a freshness in their approach to the material that has stood the test of time. Pick it up today.