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Published November 23rd 2016
Jedis and demi-gods dueling with dancers, dogs and spies?
The biggest month for movies is finally here. After our last-minute scrambling for Christmas presents, we're rewarded with a feast of film on Boxing Day. Ease into your favourite cinema to share Jaffas and Fantales in front of the silver screen where imaginary worlds replace the reality of Christmas lunch left-overs and boisterous bargain-bagging shoppers. If you can't wait till the last week of the year, look out for the bonus choices at the end of this list.
In December, Jedis, spies, demi-gods and dancers will tempt us into the cinema. Read on to discover the best movies premiering in Australia in December 2016.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (image by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - December 10
Classification rating pending One year after Star Wars: The Force Awakens / Star Wars 7 hit cinemas to become the 3rd highest grossing film of all time (behind Avatar and Titanic), Rogue One will premiere. The first of many planned spin-off space operas set in the Star Wars universe, it occurs shortly before Star Wars: A New Hope (the original film premiering in 1977). Introducing a new cast of rebels, rogues, mystics, pilots and soldiers, the intrigue revolves around the dastardly plans for a new superweapon, the Death Star. Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, Dark Knight Rises), akin to Robert Oppenheimer with a cruel streak, leads the development of the project for the evil Empire as Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones (The Tempest, Inferno), a Rebel risk-taker with a colourful history, attempts to steal the plans and foil the husky-voiced Emperor. The film also stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal), Diego Luna (The Terminal), Forest Whitaker (The Butler), Donnie Yen (Ip Man) and Alan Tudyk (Dodgeball, A Knight's Tale).
Classification rating pending In the dangerous streets of a Nazi-controlled North Africa, a spy and a resistance fighter fall in love. Retreating to the safety of London, their romance is condemned as Max Vatan (Brad Pitt (Oceans Eleven, Seven, Benjamin Button) is challenged to kill his new wife (Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night, Dark Knight Rises) after she's accused of spying for the Nazis. Forced to choose between the Allies and his love, he'll need to fight to live through WW2 with his love intact. Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back To The Future) directs the taut tension in this historical drama with a screenplay by Stephen Knight (Locke, Eastern Promises).
Moana - December 26 Rated PG as some scenes may scare young children Since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was premiered in 1937, Disney has created dozens of animated films to enthral children of many generations. Their 56th feature, Moana, set 2000 years ago on a fabled Polynesian island in our warm South Pacific ocean, is a mythical adventure based on Fijian, Samoan and Tahitian culture. Moana Auli'i Cravalho (), the 16-year-old daughter of her tribe's chief sails on a solo voyage to find Maui Dwayne Johnson (The Scorpion King, Furious 7, Game Plan), the demi-god, to reunite the heart of Te Fiti. A special edition of The Lion King was dubbed in the Zulu language in 1994. Moana has also been translated to be enjoyed by the local cultures which the film is based upon. It is the motion picture to be translated into Tahitian. The film also stars Nicole Scherzinger (Men in Black 3), Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors, Star Wars 2, 3), Alan Tudyk, Jemaine Clement and (Rachel House).
Classification rating pending Based on a true story, Red Dog was the most popular Australian film of 2011 and the 8th highest-grossing of all time. Red Dog, a kelpie/cattle dog cross rescued in Dampier, he was loved by many in the town, journeys on a series of adventures before returning to face his nemesis, Red Cat. Red Dog: True Blue is the prequel, a comedy-drama for the family, featuring his life as a younger canine, bonding with a boy on a cattle station. The film stars Levi Miller (Pan), Bryan Brown (Australia, Gorillas in the Mist), Jason Isaacs, Hanna Mangan Lawrence and Thomas Cocquerel.
La La Land - December 26
Rated MA 15 for strong sexual references and coarse language
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in their most ambitious love story, their third outing, in La La Land, the euphemism for Los Angeles. Desperate to become a famous actress, Mia (Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man, Birdman), meets Sebastian (Ryan Gosling (Ides of March, Driver, Gangster Squad), a jazz man playing in a stereotypical, smoky jazz club. As fortune smiles on their careers, will their love fall apart? It's a story as old as humanity, but Emma and Ryan's singing and dancing, blending Singin' in the Rain with Whiplash (including a slightly calmer J. K. Simmons (Whiplash, The Words, The Men Who Stare at Goats), will be a compelling twist on a classic genre.
Other films to look out for before Xmas Day include: Mad Max: Fury Road (Black & Chrome Edition) - December 2 – a special edition of the Oscar-winning sequel to George Miller's iconic dystopian trilogy. While the colours of the original release were strikingly vivid, the sharp black and white tones make this the "best version of the movie" according to George.
Office Christmas Party - December 8 - Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston lead this Christmas comedy about an office party certain to breach our WHS laws about chaos in the workplace. Watch it to see how not to treat your co-workers.
Golden Years - December 8 – In an age when seniors rally against pension cuts and rude youth, this gang of geriatrics take action, robbing banks to feel alive again. If only they'd found the magical swimming pool in Cocoon instead.