Welcome to L.A. Weekly’s Movie Guide, your look at the hottest films in Los Angeles theaters this week — from indie art house gems and classics to popcorn-perfect blockbusters and new movies garnering buzz. Check here every week before you make your big screen plans.
Greta Gerwig tackles the Louisa May Alcott perennial with Little Women, a period adaptation of the 1868 novel about four young sisters carving out their individual paths to happiness in a society with rigid expectations for women. Saorise Ronan stars as Jo, the role that shot Katherine Hepburn to stardom in 1933, and the winning cast includes Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep and Timothée Chalamet.
Just Mercy tells the story of Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), the attorney who represented Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), an inmate wrongfully accused of murder. His 1988 conviction involved police coercion and perjury. Destin Daniel Cretton handles the powerful subject matter with his customary sensitivity with actors. Brie Larson plays Eva Ansley, who together with Stevenson became the co-founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Spies in Disguise is a family-friendly animated feature cooked up by Blue Sky Studios and distributed by Disney through 20th Century Fox. Will Smith lends his voice to the role of Lance Sterling, a super spy whose gadget backfires and turns him into a pigeon. Now reliant on his young scientist sidekick Walter (Tom Holland), he must continue his duties fighting a cybernetic supervillain while cooing like a dove. Troy Quane and Nick Bruno directed.
Invisible Life is Brazil’s 2019 Oscar selection for Best International Film. The movie, an Amazon Studios original, is set in Rio de Janeiro in 1950. Eurídice and Guida, 18 and 20 years old respectively, are sisters living with their parents. Their conservative father forces them to live apart from each other and they lose all contact. Karim Aïnouz directs with great empathy for these two young women who slowly find the strength to take charge of their lives. Laemmle Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., Sawtelle, Fri., Dec. 20, various showtimes; $9-$13. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.