Scheduled to open in area theaters next week, early on Wednesday (Nov. 22) to beat the Thanksgiving rush, are:
Coco: The latest from Pixar-Disney tells the story of Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), a boy who dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) ... never mind his family's longstanding ban on music. To prove his talent, Miguel sets out on odyssey of discovery and finds himself in the Land of the Dead via what's billed only as "a mysterious chain of events."
The Man who Invented Christmas: The story of how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real-life inspirations with his own imagination to create "A Christmas Carol," whose characters becomes part of the action, including, of course, Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) himself. Jonathan Pryce, Simon Callow and Miriam Margoyles co-star.
Roman J. Israel, Esq.: Set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system, a drama with Denzel Washington as the titular driven, idealistic D.A. whose life is upended when a turbulent series of events challenge the activism that has defined his career. Colin Farrell costars as the ambitious, monied lawyer who recruits Roman to his firm.
S'no kidding: As part of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra's annual Holiday Pops in the Heartland concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, the orchestra will provide live a musical soundtrack to a screening of the animated film adaptation of Raymond Briggs' classic holiday book, The Snowman. Tickets are $5-$60 at the BCPA box office.
Dress for success: Time to get out of the doghouse for the November edition of Dress-Up Movies at the Normal Theater, the big animated hit, The Secret Life of Pets, being unleashed, free, at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Thumbs on trigger: It’s never too early to get your festival passes for the annual spring Ebertfest at Champaign’s Virginia Theater. The 1,000 passes are known to routinely sell out within a couple months of their release. Next year’s fest, marking its 20th anniversary, is April 18-22, with the passes priced at $150, and now on sale via the Virginia box office (217-356-9063) and website (www.thevirginia.org). The tickets cover all 12 or more screenings over the five-day event, sponsored by Ebert's widow, Chaz. Individual screening sales begin April 2, at $13 and $15 each.