Movies Not to Miss: December 2014 | News & Features | Cinema Online
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Movies Not to Miss: December 2014

Writer: Casey Lee


Which of these are you going to watch?

It's hard to believe that the year is coming to an end with so many movies left to see and with so little time. Some movie buffs may sigh that the year will end without having seen many award contenders at our cinemas, which is a sad fact for this December.

Aside from a few must sees from Hollywood, however, December has turned out to be a month for those who look towards more eastern fares. Fans of Asian and local movies would most likely be kept inside cinema halls this December and we think that should spread some cheer around.

So before we let 2014 go, we certainly won't be letting it go without a bang with these movies not to be missed for this December!


Rentap

Two brothers who are into Parkour are enlisted by a journalist to take down a group of gangsters to stop the troubles they are causing.

When we first saw the trailer of "Rentap", we do admit that we felt intrigue to see a Parkour movie from Malaysia. Director Simon Long seems to have put together some attention-grabbing visuals with not an entirely objectionable story and a likeable cast, so it has managed to make itself a curiosity. All we want "Rentap" is to be able to get our hearts racing and show some standards in the local Parkour scene.

General Release Date: 4 December


The Crossing (Part 1)

Based on the true story of the Taiping that made its fateful voyage from Mainland China to Taiwan during the civil war in 1949, "The Crossing" tells of the lives and loves that were affected by the difficulties of the time that led them onboard the ship.

The much awaited next great epic from director John Woo since "Red Cliff" that has already been called Asia's answer to James Cameron's "Titanic". Other that the scale at work here, which is certainly comparable with James Cameron's, it is the unbelievable cast that has been assembled, from Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kenshiro, Huang Xiaoming, Tong Dawei to special appearances from Korea and China, easily making this one of the biggest Asian movies not to be missed this year, or the next.

General Release Date: 4 December


Paddington

Based on the beloved children's book by Michael Bond, a talking bear, named Paddington, is given shelter by an English family after being lost at a train station in London. While Paddington tries to fit himself in the British life, his uniqueness catches the attention of a taxidermist.

We bet anyone who grew up with the Paddington books are excited to see this, and we must say that director Paul King seems to have captured the spirit of the talking bear and his adventures pretty well in the trailers. Once voiced by Colin Firth, we still like Ben Whishaw's take of "Paddington" all the same. Not that it can't be made better with an evil Nicole Kidman, and we are confident that this childhood adaptation probably won't end up like "The Smurfs".

General Release Date: 11 December


Gone Girl

Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, Nick Dunne is a journalist who loses his job from a downsizing. Moving back to his hometown with his wife Amy, who had a great future ahead of her in the city, Nick and Amy were to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary together, when Amy never turns up. Disappeared without a trace when the authorities can't find her, Nick's innocence and desperation to find her comes into question, and puts a spotlight on the cracks of his marriage to reveal something darker.

Once thought to be gone from Malaysian cinemas, we were much glad to hear that "Gone Girl" was finally given the seal of approval, allegedly with all of its scenes intact, for a December release. It may be too late to warn you against reading any reviews that can spoil this mystery thriller for you, but we are still going to watch it to see how David Fincher manipulates us with his great cast. We've heard many great things about Rosamund Pike's performance that is worth noting come awards season, but we also expect no less from Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry. The only other advise we've heard before going to see "Gone Girl" is don't bring your wife with you.

General Release Date: 11 December


Women Who Flirt

Although they been close since university, Xiao Gong has never paid much attention to the affections of Zhang Hui to concentrate on his studies. After graduation, even as Zhang Hui continues to stay close as she can with Xiao Gong in Shanghai, Zhang Hui is shocked to learn that Xiao Gong has found himself a new girlfriend from Taiwan. Spurred by her friends, Zhang Hui is taught on how to flirt with men in order to steal her love back.

Based on the Luo Fu Man novel, "Women Who Flirt" already sounds like a lovely movie for the Chinese-speaking couple who needs a date movie this December, even if they aren't there to follow up on director Pang Ho-cheung after his "Aberdeen" that was also shown this year. We aren't sure what are we more attracted to, whether it is to see a dense Huang Xiaoming, a sweet Sonia Shu, or an adorable Zhou Xun as hard as she tries not to be.

General Release Date: 11 December


Manisnya Cinta Di Cappadoccia

All Ifti Liyana wants is a happy relationship and marriage to a man who is sincere and honest, even if she is being courted a wealthy suitor. When the relationship hits the rocks, Ifti takes a vacation in Turkey where she stumbles onto an acquaintance who may give her what she wants, minus the luxury.

If you are not into the 2-girls-and-1-guy love triangle in "Women Who Flirt" then you could try to switch it around in "Manisnya Cinta Di Cappadoccia". Based on the novel "Manisnya Cinta", if there is one director who knows how to spin an enjoyable Malaysian rom-com, then it has to be Bernard Chauly, who last brought us (the award-winning) "Istanbul Aku Datang" (and Lisa Surihani is in here too!).

General Release Date: 11 December


The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

With the successful reclamation of Erebor by Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and his companions from the dragon Smaug, the hold of the dwarves on their homeland is not fully secured. With new threats rising from Mordor, the other races of Middle Earth slowly converge on the slopes of the misty mountain that will lead to a new confrontation as the darkness returns.

Another year brings an end to another trilogy set in Peter Jackson's Middle Earth. Just like how it was with "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" undoubtedly promises to be the most epic entry in the "The Hobbit" trilogy just as "Return of the King" was to the first trilogy. Although we are very much eager to see Smaug unleashing his fury after being chased away from the mountain, we can't wait to see the titular battle that is said to run for 45 minutes of its runtime. Epic battles here we come!

General Release Date: 18 December


Ophilia

Three skinheads are on the run from the notorious gangsters of Kuala Lumpur when they accidentally killed the negotiator who is suppose to mediate the peace. In order to make things right again, the three friends must pay a compensation fee of RM75,000 or they could lose more than their hides.

December is becoming a month of firsts for Malaysian movies. With "Rentap" becoming probably the first Parkour-themed movie from Malaysia, "Ophilia" has gladly laid the claim to be the first Malaysian skinhead-themed movie in its trailer. Still skinheads are probably a breath of fresh air from the glut of gangster movies we have here, and director Raja Mukhriz Raja Ahmad Kamaruddin seems to have done justice to this subculture with the cast. We suspect that this could be a sleeper hit.

General Release Date: 18 December


Gangster Pay Day

Ghost is a retired triad member who wants to live on the straight and narrow by opening up a teahouse in Hong Kong. However, as old friends and rivalries come to know of Ghost's humble establishment, they tempt Ghost back to the triad to get him involved in shadier dealings.

It has been a while since we've had a legitimate triad movie that had the gritty seriousness of living in the dangerous criminal underworld and "Gangster Pay Day" seems to have the right violent tones to scratch that itch. Amazingly headed by Anthony Wong, who we haven't seen been this hard-boiled since the "Young and Dangerous" series, we look forward to this second feature by director Lee Po-cheung to let 2014 have a gangster movie to remember by, even if Charlene Choi is in it.

General Release Date: 18 December


The Golden Era

Based on the life of Chinese writer Xiao Hong, from her aspiring to her final days, that made one her one of the most contemporary writers of Chinese literature during the 1930s.

"The Golden Era" is the next feature by director Ann Hui after her heartfelt "A Simple Life" that won numerous awards at the 2011 Golden Horse. Although Ann Hui only returns with the Golden Horse for Best Director with "The Golden Era", it is still noteworthy to watch it for the nominated performance of Tang Wei that makes it the official submission of Hong Kong for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

General Release Date: 18 December


Terbaik Dari Langit

After failing to make the big time, a filmmaker reunites with his old friends who have been apart for 15 years to go on a roadtrip and shoot his next feature involving UFOs.

After an impressive debut with last year's "KIL", supporters of Malaysian movies have surely been waiting to see director Nik Amir Mustapha's next work, which has descended with "Terbaik Dari Langit". This time with a stronger cast and a deeper story to tell about friendships (and the state of the Malaysian movie industry?), we hope that "Terbaik Dari Langit" will more add more reasons why Nik Amir Mustapha should be on the watchlist of local talents that can set new heights for Malaysian independent movies.

General Release Date: 25 December


Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb

When the magic of the tablet that brings the exhibits of the museum to life is starting to fade, museum security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) must travel to London in order to uncover the secrets of the tomb it was found in, in order to revive the tablet before all the exhibits are blown away to the sands of history forever.

It is not quite surprising that the "Night at the Museum" series deserved a third installment and it is quite fortunate that it has been made. Already blessed with an entertaining cast that keeps getting better with the addition of Ben Kingsley and Rebel Wilson, "Secret of the Tomb" sadly is one of the last appearances we will see of Robin Williams, which is probably reason enough to watch this if we were not looking for some fun on Christmas.

General Release Date: 25 December


Wayang Boy

A boy from India comes to Singapore and gets in touch with the world of the Chinese opera at his school. When the opera club is on the verge of being shut down by the school's principal for the lack of members, the advising teacher is given one last chance if he is able to recruit enough students to make a performance.

It is not every day you would have a non-Chinese lead in a Chinese speaking movie and that's the sort of thing that makes "Wayang Boy" unique when we first saw the trailer. Mixing the issues of racial stereotypes with the issues of modern values versus traditional ones just puts a lot more spinning plates for this Singaporean film to balance, but it would certainly be a fun and meaningful comedy if director Raymond Tan manages to pull it off.

General Release Date: 25 December


The Taking Of Tiger Mountain

Based on the classic novel "Tracks in the Snowy Forest" by Qu Bo, a team of brave and skilled soldiers are tasked to take out the bandits in the northern mountains of China.

December is the month for Chinese epics and it is hard not to equate the name of director Tsui Hark with such large scale epics. Even if his recent outings in fantasy periods could have used a stronger story base, "The Taking of Tiger Mountain" would most likely not suffer that problem, and it can't be hurt by the performance of Zhang Hanyu.

General Release Date: 25 December


Cinema Online, 30 November 2014


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