'Welcome to Marwen,' 'Serenity' and other new movies to see in theaters

By Jordan Hoffman and staff

Brave the chilly temps and make your way to the cineplex this weekend.

From the return of a beloved British nanny, a new comedic take on a classic detective and the return of Lego heroes, dragons and more, here are the new films you need to know about this winter.

‘The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part’ (Feb. 8)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Not everything is awesome as we return to the brick world of Emmet (Chris Pratt) and Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). The baby bricks Duplo have turned Bricksburg into a dystopian nightmare and it's up to the familiar crew to save the day with new pal Rex Dangervest (also Pratt), who is basically combination of the actor's many film roles, including a raptor trainer and cowboy. (Feb. 8)

‘Miss Bala’ (Feb. 1)

Photo Credit: CTMG

"Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke helms this timely thriller about crime taking place across borders and a woman who gets drawn into that world. Starring Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Mackie and Ismael Cruz Cordova.

‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ (Jan. 25)

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Kerry Brown

A spin on the King Arthur/Excalibur tale from the point of view of a modern British boy. The lead is played by Louis Serkis (son of Andy) and the director is Joe Cornish, making his long awaited follow-up to the John Boyega-led "Attack the Block." Patrick Stewart has a supporting role, and if he gets to give some kind of Knights of the Round Table speech, that alone is worth the price of admission.


‘Serenity’ (Jan. 25)


Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway co-star in a crime thriller. Alas, this has nothing to do with "Firefly," but the director's last one was the Tom Hardy-alone-in-a-car movie "Locke," so expectations are high. (Jan. 25)

‘A Dog’s Way Home’ (Jan. 11)

Photo Credit: James Dittiger

Bryce Dallas Howard voices a pooch that travels 400 miles to reunite with her owners. Ashley Judd and Edward James Olmos co-star, presumably as humans. The director, Charles Martin Smith, also made "Air Bud" so the dude knows his dogs.

‘The Upside’ (Jan. 11)

Photo Credit: STXfilms / David Lee

Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart co-star as a handicapped millionaire and his street-wise caretaker in this American remake of one of the most successful French movies ever made. (Also, based on a true story.) It's a little bit predictable, but Cranston and Hart have comedy chops. Trivia: this movie is one of the last Harvey Weinstein productions and had a successful premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in 2017, just days before his alleged criminal past caught up with him. The movie sat on a shelf for over a year.

‘Hellboy’ (Jan. 11)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate

The weirdest indie comic is back on the big screen, this time with unshorn horns. David Harbour is the lead this time and "The Descent" director Neil Marshall is giving it an R-rated spin. Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane and Daniel Dae Kim co-star.

‘Escape Room’ (Jan. 4)

Photo Credit: David Bloomer

From the "why didn't I think of that?!?" files, a horror film set at one of these increasingly popular amusement facilities. Logan Miller co-stars as one of the imperiled teens.

'Vice' (Dec. 25)

Photo Credit: Annapurna Pictures/Greig Fraser

Director Adam McKay and Christian Bale re-team after "The Big Short" for another feel-bad look at another recent American scandal: the career of Vice President Dick Cheney, played by Bale, above. Steve Carell is Donald Rumsfeld, Tyler Perry is Colin Powell and Sam Rockwell is George W. Bush.

'Holmes & Watson' (Dec. 25)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures/Giles Keyte

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly reunite for the first time since "Step Brothers." They wear old-timey suits and solve mysteries. What more could you want?

‘Second Act’ (Dec. 21)

Photo Credit: STXfilms/Barry Wetcher

Jennifer Lopez headlines this rom-com about a women who gets a second chance at a career after faking a resume. Also starring Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, Treat Williams and Milo Ventimiglia.

'Welcome to Marwen' (Dec. 21)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures

Based on a true story (and the well-received documentary "Marwencol"), Steve Carell is an artist who, after a brutal attack, creates an imagined World War II-era Belgian town out of toys. Robert Zemeckis directs, and the special effects look intense.

'Bumblebee' (Dec. 21)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Stop-motion animator and heir to the Nike throne Travis Knight directs a script co-written by the woman responsible for the awesome "Edge of Seventeen" in this prequel to the Michael Bay films. All this is to say we have no idea what to expect from this one. It may ... actually be good? Anyway, Soundwave is in it and actually looks like a boombox, so it's already among the best in the series.

'Aquaman' (Dec. 21)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Atlantean abs come to life in the latest DC Comics film as Jason Momoa reprises his "Justice League" character, Aquaman. Amber Heard is Mera and Nicole Kidman has a few scenes as Queen Atlanna. Early trailers suggest they may be going for a humorous approach, which may be appropriate for a superhero whose primary power is talking to fish.

'Cold War' (Dec. 21)

Photo Credit: Lukasz Bak

A big success at the Cannes Film Festival, this Polish black-and-white drama about doomed love across the wide scope of 20th century history is a bona fide contender for an Oscar for best foreign language film.

'Mary Poppins Returns' (Dec. 19)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Jay Maidment

Emily Blunt stars as the umbrella-toting nanny in Walt Disney's latest. Lin-Manuel Miranda (!) and Meryl Streep (!!) are her sidekicks singing new Marc Shaiman-penned songs. It can't be any worse than "Hook"!

'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' (Dec. 14)

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Animation

Giving Lego Batman a run for its money, "ultimate" Spider-Man Miles Morales meets up with Peter Parker and every other radioactive arachnid-bit teen in the Marvel multiverse in what looks to be the most deep-cut, fan-servicing superhero feature film.

'Green Book' (Nov. 21)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures/Patti Perret

A major front-runner for the Oscars, Mahershala Ali is a Jamaican-American classical pianist on tour of the Deep South in the 1960s. A tough guy New Yorker, Viggo Mortensen, is his chauffeur. Racial tension turns to friendship in a way that often does in prestige pictures released in November. "Green Book" won the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival, a very good harbinger of how it will resonate in general release.

'Robin Hood' (Nov. 21)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate Films/Larry Horricks

Yes, there just was a "Robin Hood" in 2010, but this one has Taron Egerton. Co-stars include Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn and "50 Shades of Grey" star Jamie Dornan.

'Ralph Breaks the Internet' (Nov. 21)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Because "The Emoji Movie" wasn't enough, we've got another movie with Spotify jokes coming our way. John C. Reilly returns as the giant-with-a-heart-of-pixelated-gold Wreck-It Ralph, with Sarah Silverman's Vanellope von Schweetz at his side. People are already buzzing about a satirical scene with the "real Disney Princesses." (Note: the movie is released by Disney.)

'Instant Family' (Nov. 16)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne become foster parents in a film that looks just corny enough to work. Byrne, after all, is a comedy genius and Wahlberg can be funny (I'm looking at you, "Ted" and, yes, "Ted 2") plus the odds are strong that by the end of this picture everyone will be reaching for a Kleenex. We're only human! Tig Notaro has a supporting role, further evidence that this is one that needs attention.

'At Eternity's Gate' (Nov. 16)

Photo Credit: Lily Gavin

(Van) Gogh beyond the ear! Willem Dafoe gives it his all as the mad-brilliant painter Vincent Van Gogh during his final years in Arles. Rupert Friend plays Vincent's brother Theo, Oscar Isaac is Paul Gaugin and light is "The Light!" Artist-turned-director Julien Schnabel, who made "Basquiat" earlier in his career, is at the helm.

'Widows' (Nov. 16)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Steve McQueen, director of "12 Years a Slave," has cashed in his Oscar-winning chips to make a juicy, female-led heist picture. When four armed robbers get killed on the job, their widows (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo) step in to complete the task. While this may not win as many awards as McQueen's last, it is guaranteed to be the film that launches a thousand GIFs.

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ (Nov. 16)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/Jaap Buitendijk

The Newt Scamander saga continues! Eddie Redmayne's magizoologist, and his pals Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterson), her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), along with a younger Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), take on evil mage Gellert Grindelwald.

'Overlord' (Nov. 9)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Allied paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines find something even more terrifying than the Wehrmacht: the Undead! Nazi experimenters have turned French prisoners into a zombies and, I dunno, this movie is either going to be great or entirely inappropriate. It's from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production shingle, so it'll at least have some lens flare. Jovan Adepo from "The Leftovers" and the guy who plays Euron Greyjoy on "Game of Thrones" star.

‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ (Nov. 9)

Photo Credit: CTMG

Claire Foy takes on the role of Lisbeth Salander in this continuation of the franchise adapted from the Stieg Larsson characters, this one drawn from a thriller by David Lagercrantz, who took over the series after Larsson passed away in 2004. Here, hacker Salander and reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) take on some government officials gone bad. Also starring Lakeith Stanfield and Sylvia Hoeks.

‘Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch’ (Nov. 9)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Benedict Cumberbatch is the latest to voice the tiny-hearted Dr. Seuss mean green Grinch. You should know this story by now.