All films open Wednesday, Dec. 21, unless otherwise noted.
Assassin's Creed If you haven't heard, Hanukkah happens to coincide with Christmas this year. Think about that before you buy a ticket to holiday-release fantasy Assassin's Creed, because its female lead is Marion Cotillard – who, let us remember, is one of those anti-Semitic 9/11 truthers who believe all the Jews were warned to stay away from the Twin Towers. If that doesn't bother you, have a great time with this big-screen video game adaptation, in which a modern-day criminal discovers his connection to an assassin who operated in the time of the Spanish Inquisition. You remember the Spanish Inquisition: Nobody expected it. Except the Jews, of course, because they get warned about everything. (PG-13)
Fences Denzel Washington directed and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a former Negro League ballplayer now working as a garbageman. The late Wilson himself provided the screenplay, although Lincoln's Tony Kushner did some subsequent rewrites that failed to net him screen credit. Don't you kind of love it when it's the white guy who gets screwed for a change? (PG-13; opens Sunday, Dec. 25)
Jackie It's Natalie Portman in the pillbox hat as the story of Jackie Kennedy gets the art-house event-picture treatment. Learn how our beloved first lady fought to protect her family and her husband's reputation in the days after Dealey Plaza. (R)
Passengers Don't you hate it when you wake up early? So do Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, who are roused from suspended animation 90 years too soon and have to find a way to occupy themselves on the space vessel they're traveling in. Job One turns out to be protecting their still-sleeping fellow astronauts from an unexpected threat to the ship. Those late risers, they manage to avoid all the hard work; I just hope they aren't expecting anyone to save them a space bagel. (PG-13)
Sing Good news: Somebody finally figured out that The Voice is not, in fact, a contest between singing cartoon animals. With that understandable misconception cleared up, the way is paved for Sing, in which a bunch of crooning critters compete to save an endangered theater. The production information promises a full 85 popular tunes, so I'm thinking one of them's gotta be "Me So Horny." Maybe there's a rapping salmon in there somewhere? (PG)
Why Him? It isn't the holiday season without a Focker-esque story of hatred by association. But now, apparently, the market has matured to the point where it's the dad (Bryan Cranston) we're supposed to sympathize with as he struggles not to murder the walking gaffe machine (James Franco) his daughter has hooked up with. In a novel twist, said crass beau is actually a billionaire who made his money in the tech business. So shouldn't he be sucking up to Ivanka? (R; opens Friday, Dec. 23)
City of Dead Men An American tourist in Colombia gets more than he bargained for when he throws in his lot with a bunch of squatters living in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. So how much was he bargaining for, exactly? (NR)