Thaddeus J. Mixson as ‘Nick Carver,’ Genneya Walton as ‘Joy Carver,’ Madison Thomas as ‘Holly Carver,’ Tracee Ellis Ross as ‘Carol Carver,’ and Eddie Murphy as ‘Chris Carver’ star in "Candy Cane Lane."
CNN  — 

Whether you’re a lover of the holidays or not, this time of year is always a good one for cinephiles, because it’s when the last high-profile awards contenders come out, as well as a few dependable lowbrow cheesy holiday titles to round out the bunch.

This year was quite out of the ordinary, though, since we almost didn’t make it to this point – twin strikes in Hollywood for much of the year put several major projects on hold, with release dates consequently shuffled and delayed.

Nonetheless, the movie release calendar for the rest of this year is duly packed, so if you’re in the mood for something new, in a theater or at home, check out these upcoming titles. There’s a nice mix of holiday-themed content and not to choose from:


Robbie Amell and Leighton Meester star in EXmas.

Following the tried-and-true formula of holiday-timed rom-coms, this frothy title is a change of pace for former “Gossip Girl” Leighton Meester and heroic hunk Robbie Amell, who star as exes who end up spending the holidays together and – you guessed it – finding that maybe they shouldn’t have called it quits in the first place.

“EXmas” is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

‘Best. Christmas. Ever!’

(from left) Brandy Norwood and Jason Biggs in "Best. Christmas. Ever!"

This one features Brandy Norwood and Heather Graham, in essentially the same format as above but instead of exes, they’re ex-friends. But amid the holiday cheer and all the Christmas sweaters, they won’t remain that way for long.

“Best. Christmas. Ever!” is streaming on Netflix.

‘Silent Night’

Joel Kinnaman in "Silent Night."

For those of you who like a little blood and shoot-em-up with your figgy pudding and mistletoe, Joel Kinnaman is on John McClane duty in this dialog-free, John Woo-directed revenge thriller that looks sure to be a major palate cleanser from the rest of the holiday fare. After turning heads as Colonel Rick Flag in both “Suicide Squad” movies, Kinnaman stars here as the survivor of a drive-by shooting hellbent on exacting revenge against those who killed his child. Not to be confused with last year’s “Violent Night,” but kinda in the same general wheelhouse (minus David Harbour as Santa Claus).

“Silent Night” is currently playing in theater nationwide.

‘Candy Cane Lane’

(from left) Thaddeus J. Mixson, Genneya Walton, Madison Thomas, Tracee Ellis Ross and Eddie Murphy in "Candy Cane Lane."

If you like some magical realism with your holiday movies (and who doesn’t?), Eddie Murphy and Tracy Ellis Ross has you covered with this festive caper that looks like what would happen if the model town in “Beetlejuice” came alive at Christmastime.

“Candy Cane Lane” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

‘Godzilla Minus One’

And then there’s the kaiju (that’s Japanese for city-stomping monsters, to the uninitiated) lovers out there, who will surely welcome this import from the country that inspired Legendary Entertainment’s Monsterverse, which most recently dropped “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” on Apple TV+. From the trailers alone, “Minus One” looks like a return to the fundamentals of what makes Godzilla such a lasting, menacing cultural figure.

“Godzilla Minus One” is currently playing in theaters nationwide.

‘Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé’

Beyoncé performs onstage during the "RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR" at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 30, 2023 in London, England.

The one and only. After a record-breaking world tour, the countless Beyoncé worshippers who didn’t get tickets to a concert now have a chance to experience the spectacle in a movie theater. The album for which this tour was named shows Queen Bey in peak form, and the shows do not disappoint. Christmas is definitely coming early this year.

“Renaissance: A film by Beyoncé is currently playing in theaters nationwide.