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At the Movies: A holiday trove of new big-screen & streaming flix

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"The Humans" is an indie film directed by Stephen Karan, based on his Tony Award-winning play. It's streaming on SHOWTIME. (photo courtesy A24 Films)

We begin today with another edition of Midday at the Movies, our monthly look at films and filmmaking. We're joined again by two of our favorite movie aficionados: Ann Hornaday, film critic for The Washington Post and author of the great movie-goers guide, Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies; and Jed Dietz, the founder and former director of the Maryland Film Festival and Parkway Theater.

Our guests discuss a new survey showing American moviegoing crowds have still not returned to their local moviehouses in pre-COVID numbers — and the polls suggest that a sizeable percentage of them might never return.

We also consider a few of the best new holiday-season releases, including Belfast, director Kenneth Branagh's semi-autobiographical memoir of growing up amid the sectarian violence of Northern Ireland in the 1960s, currently at The Charles and area theaters only; The Humans, an indie gem from director/playwright Stephen Karam (based on his Tony Award-winning play) that's now streaming on SHOWTIME; and The Power of the Dog, director Jane Campion's powerful western drama starring Benedict Cumberpatch, now showing at The Parkway and streaming on Netflix.

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In "The Power of the Dog," Benedict Cumberpatch stars as a charismatic but domineering rancher. Now in theaters and streaming on Netflix (photo courtesy Netflix)

Ann Hornaday joins us on our digital line.
Jed Dietz joins us on Zoom.

Some other notable new releases we didn't have time to talk about are:

Cmon C'mon, a moving drama about the relationship between a troubled journalist and his young nephew, shot in moody black and white by director Mike Mills, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Norman, and now playing at the Charles and local theaters;

House of Gucci, director Ridley Scott's lavish tale of decadence, betrayal and murder in the family of the legendary designer, starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Al Pacino, now at the Parkway and other local theaters;

Get Back, director Peter Jackson’s 3-part, 8-hour documentary about The Beatles, now streaming on Disney Plus; and

West Side Story, director Steven Spielberg's long-awaited remake of the 1957 hit Broadway musical (later an Oscar-sweeping 1961 film) featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a new screenplay by Tony Kushner. The film opens in theaters (only) on December 10.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.