7 excellent films to watch this week in December
One of the most anticipated sequels of the year finally hits cinemas this week, whilst on the small screen, there are enough blockbusters, awards winners and family favourites to make sure no one gets bored this Christmas holiday. Enjoy!
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Avatar: The Way of Water (cinemas)
Thirteen years since the original Avatar became the biggest movie of all time, this sequel rejoins the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri and their teenage children) on the Na’vi planet of Pandora. But the peace they fought for in the previous film hasn’t lasted, since boisterous Colonel Miles Quaritch is back on their tails, now in his own avatar form and even more powerful than before.
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The Way of Water is long (over three hours!) and ponderous and probably isn’t quite as mind-blowing as its creator James Cameron would like us to believe, but it’s naturally another major technical achievement. See it on the biggest screen possible. It’s just a pity that the script and acting aren’t as impressive as its visuals.
The Amazing Maurice (Sky Cinema)
Based on the book ‘The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents’ by the late, great Terry Pratchett, Maurice is a streetwise ginger cat who comes up with a money-making scam by befriending a group of self-taught talking rats. However, when they reach the stricken town of Bad Blintz, they meet a bookworm called Malicia and their little con soon goes down the drain. Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, Himesh Patel and Gemma Arterton provide voices in this charming and hilarious treat for the Christmas holidays.
Call Jane (rent on all major platforms)
Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Mara, Chris Messina and Wunmi Mosaku star in this gripping true story of ‘The Janes’, an underground collective of women who, in Chicago during the 1960s, came together to secretly provide nearly 12,000 women and girls with safe and secure abortions. Banks is especially captivating as Joy, a married woman whose own situation puts her in contact with The Janes, even though her comfortable middle-class lifestyle seems a long way from their activism. Meanwhile, Sigourney Weaver - as group leader Virginia - radiates pure strength and class, as always.
Black Adam (rent/buy on all major platforms)
Mr Showbiz Dwayne Johnson blasts back onto the screen in this latest superhero blockbuster from DC. The wrestling megastar plays the title character, an ancient hero with anger issues who is resurrected in the present day, proving almost too much for the authorities. Is he better off restrained or could his powers actually be useful? Featuring crossovers with other DC films such as Shazam! and Justice League, this is a typically explosive (and expensive) action pic that ticks all the boxes for comic book fans, even if it never hits the sublime heights of its Marvel rivals. Co-starring Pierce Brosnan.
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The Banshees of Inisherin (Disney+)
Irish acting heavyweights Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason reteam fourteen years after the cult favourite In Bruges for this hilariously absurd comedy set on a remote island in the 1920s. Colin plays Pádraic, a sweet-natured farmer whose best friend Colm (Gleason) suddenly announces one day that he no longer wants to be friends. Why? Colm has just had enough. What follows is a brilliantly bonkers look at male friendship and how misunderstanding can spiral out of control, set against the backdrop of the stunning Aran Islands. Hilarious, profound and a big favourite at all the upcoming awards ceremonies.
Emily (buy on all major platforms)
Emma Mackey - so great in Netflix’s Sex Education and soon to feature alongside her lookalike Margot Robbie in the Barbie movie - stars as Emily Brontë, author of Wuthering Heights and one of the legendary Brontë sisters from Victorian West Yorkshire. Famously, Emily only wrote one novel before dying at the tender age of thirty, but this film brilliantly explains what inspired her: the wildness of her surroundings up on the moors, an ever-present threat of illness and a steamy affair with local clergyman. Admittedly that last bit is made-up for the film, upsetting a few Brontë fans along the way, but this passionate movie still wows, expertly capturing the never-ending allure of this family of writers from two centuries ago.
Moonage Daydream (rent/buy on all major platforms)
Prepare yourself for a music documentary like no other, as this look at the late, great David Bowie isn’t so much about his life story, it’s more about trying to get into his brilliant brain and follow his artistic process. Yes, you might be frustrated by all the unanswered questions (and the lengthy running time) but Moonage Daydream is also a kaleidoscopic, surreal and immersive ride, celebrating Bowie the showbiz chameleon. And when you’re investigating someone so restlessly creative as the iconic ‘Life on Mars’ singer, anything straightforward just wouldn’t have felt right.
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