The holiday season has snuck up on us, and with it comes one of the best months of movies you’ll find at the multiplex this year. So to help you plan your seasonal cinema viewing, here are six hot films to keep you warm this December.
Official Synopsis: When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers.
All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.
Why you should check it out: There are probably many Christmas films you could see during this Holiday season, but why not get into the spirit with a Christmas horror film? Along with some intense moments, there is some comedy mixed in with some of the festive frights. If you are looking for something different than Charlie Brown or a Reindeer with a deformity for a nose, than give Krampus a go.
Release Date: December 4, 2015
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Official Synopsis: Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens follows Rey (Daisy Ridley) as she meets up with a former Stormtrooper named Finn (John Boyega) and they eventually join The Resistance.
Returning characters include Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).
Why you should check it out: Do I even need to write anything here? Whatever you do, see if you can get a ticket to see it on AVX or on an IMAX screen at some point during the Christmas season. Leave your light-saber at home as they will not allow you to wear a mask or bring in any weapons. Wookies are okay though.
Release Date: December 18, 2015
The Hateful Eight
Official Synopsis: Eight hard-bitten gunslingers find themselves trapped together in a way station deep in the snow-capped mountains of Wyoming.
Why you should check it out: Quentin Tarantino. Is there any other reason? Tarantino claims that this will be his last project, but he also said at one point that he would never film The Hateful Eight and here we are. It’s nice to see the director go back to the Western genre and with the likes of Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern and more, it’s a cast that should keep you captivated.
This highly anticipated film is on a limited release on Christmas Day. It’s meant to be seen in 70mm film and there are only a handful of theatres that can accommodate that. Here in Vancouver you can check it out in 70mm at the Park Theatre. Keep in mind this film is 3.5 hours long and includes a Tarantino intermission.
Release Date: December 25, 2015 (Limited)
Wide Release: January 8, 2016
Official Synopsis: In 1952, Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) is shopping at a New York department store for a Christmas present for her seven-year-old daughter. She’s helped by young clerk Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara). They develop a relationship, which leads to a romantic affair.
Meanwhile, Carol’s husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) desperately tries to save their marriage, even though he knows his wife’s attraction to women, while Richard (Jake Lacy) hopes Therese will agree to marry him, despite her indifference towards spending her life with him. Based on the 1952 romance novel by Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt, written under the pseudonym Claire Morgan.
Why you should check it out: The early buzz is out and this has Oscar written all over it. Many have speculated that Cate Blanchett and even Rooney Mara could both get nominations. Besides the early positive reviews, the story is what will captivate you. Put this on your list as there is no doubt this will be an award darling. It will be in limited release starting on December 11 so you need to find a theatre that will be showing it. Look for it on a wider release on Christmas.
Release Date: December 11, 2015 (Limited Release Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver)
Wide Release: December 25, 2015
Official Synopsis: The true story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who first discovers CTE — a football-related brain trauma — in a pro player. He brings it to the attention of the National Football League, but finds they want to hide the truth.
Why you should check it out: This is based on a GQ article called “Game Brain,” by Jeanne Marie Laskas. It shows the truth behind concussions suffered by football players. Repeated hits to the head have been blamed for poor mental health and even the death of some former professional football players.
The study also spurred a large lawsuit by former players against the NFL. Although the film focuses on the National Football League, the ripple effects of the study have trickled down into all contact sports like hockey, soccer, MMA and boxing. This film will no doubt be controversial due to the fact that it shines an ugly light on the NFL. Whether you are a sports fan or not, this is a worthy true story.
Wide Release: December 25, 2015
VOD (Video on Demand)
Official Synopsis: In the heat of the summer lays a lonesome house in the countryside where nine year old twin brothers await their mother’s return. When she comes home, bandaged after cosmetic surgery, nothing is like before and the children start to doubt whether this woman is actually who she says she is. What ensues is a terrifying struggle with fatal consequences.
Why you should check it out: Sure it’s not very Christmas of me to recommend a horror film, but Goodnight Mommy is one of the best films of the year, and it’s now available on Itunes and other Video on Demand services. This is not full of guts and gore, instead it’s a psychological thriller that will creep you out. Give this a watch before Hollywood takes it and remakes it.
Available on VOD
There are too many great films this month. Here are a few more. Click on them to see their trailers.
Make sure to tune into our new podcast Flix Anonymous heard every Friday on Vancitybuzz.com and Leagueofmanchildren.com. Steve Stebbing and I provide more detailed reviews on new films along with some of our recommendations.