Movies Not to Miss: December 2015

Movies Not to Miss: December 2015

Which of these are you going to watch?

Another month and another year of movies are coming to an end. 2015 has been another great year of movies, both local and international blockbusters, but the best of them is yet to come. We know many of you have been waiting for this month to come all year, and the internet hasn't done anything to subside any of that hype. You know which movie we are talking about.

However, that doesn't mean there are no other movies that deserved to be watched. While the Hollywood award season is still looming around the corner with only a few of the potential contenders making an appearance in this month's schedule, the award season around the East Asian region have recently concluded, and we are proud to count a few winners making our way.

Still, there is definitely nothing wrong looking for a simple Christmas movie for the holiday season and there are a few to choose from, so here are our picks of movies you should see this December!

Johnny Utah, a rookie FBI agent, is assigned to infiltrate a group of extreme sports enthusiasts who have been behind a string of unprecedented corporate heists that are performed through elaborate stunts.

It's hard to find a candidate that could take our breaths away like the practical effects and high-stakes stunt work in this year's "Mad Max: Fury Road" (we aren't buying the realism of "Fast 7" one bit), but if there was one challenger that came close in holding our breaths from start to finish, it is the trailer of this "Point Break" remake. While we don't expect much from the threadbare plot and a leading cast of unknowns (at least when compared to one with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron), this second directorial outing for Ericson Core is clearly putting all of his energy into capturing the incredible stunts done on land, air and sea, if his cinematography experience from "The Fast and the Furious" is going to help.

General Release Date: 3 December

When Max and his extended family have come together for Christmas, the dinner is celebrated without any of the cheeriness of the holidays. Snowed-in and without electricity, the dysfunctional family will have to put up with each other until everything is back to normal, when they are visited by someone who they think has come to spread some Christmas joy...of death.

December, if you still remember, is still the month of Christmas and no thanks to Star Wars, we only have one Christmas title to put on our list this year. Based on the Austrian myth of the evil counterpart to Santa Claus, director Michael Dougherty puts the horror spin to Christmas, having done the same to Halloween with his 2007 cult hit "Trick 'r Treat". This will be a good scare for the naughty kids, but we don't imagine that it would be appropriate to bring them to see this anyway.

General Release Date: 3 December

In 1820, the whaling ship Essex, led by Captain Pollard Jr., is confronted by an enraged bull sperm whale while on a voyage. As man and beast prove who is stronger on the high seas, the obsession to kill the whale overcomes the little shreds of humanity left in the crew.

There have been a couple of 'grand experience' movies out this year. Whether it's freezing on the slopes of "Everest", or getting our knees weak from "The Walk", but there is still one more to set us off for this year. Based on the non-fictional book by Nathaniel Philbrick about the sinking of an American whaling ship in 1820, "In the Heart of the Sea" is the cinematic retelling of that voyage that would inspire one of the greatest American literature; "Moby Dick". With a strong script writing team that has Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and a crew of bankable actors ranging from Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson, led by a starved Chris Hemsworth, "In the Heart of the Sea" may once again set director Ron Howard in sight of that elusive third Oscar, after missing that boat in 2014 with "Rush".

General Release Date: 3 December

Returning to Macau after searching for his birth mother and widowed after her husband's death, Man Cho is unexpectedly reunited with Kwan Ho with feelings that were left unsaid. After so many years of being apart in a city that has barely changed, has Man Cho and Kwan Ho's feelings for each other changed, or has it already faded in the passing time?

Taiwan have become the masters of the nostalgia driven genre and once again proved their dominance with "Our Times", but it's about time a new player comes in to put a little variety in the field. The much anticipated follow-up after his unexpected hit "The Way We Dance", it is Hong Kong's director Adam Wong turn to show how the sugar coated memories of our best days can shrivel into the bitter pill of adulthood that can only be crushed by the sophistication of city life as major as Hong Kong. Starring Miriam Yeung, who has had a wonderful year of performances, and Jan Lamb, while their younger selves are played by a bright young cast, this opener for the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival is sure to put a deeper cut on youthful love and dreams die, and the entrapment we find ourselves unknowingly as working adults.

General Release Date: 10 December

When the Little Red-Haired Girl moves into the neighbourhood where Charlie Brown lives, he is smitten by her and works up the courage to let his true feelings known, with the encouragement and teasing of his friends. Meanwhile, Snoopy finds a typewriter and begins writing a novel of a flying ace during World War I.

While strictly not a sequel to "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie" is made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that wonderful Christmas tradition. Although it is the first Peanuts movie the world has seen in 35 years, it has kept true to its cartoonish roots, thanks mostly to the descendants of Charles Schulz, who only allowed Blue Sky Studios to use CG graphics to enhance, rather than replace, the look and feel of what a Peanuts movie should be. This is another throwback to those who grew up with Charlie Brown, and not a bad way to spend Christmas together with the family who have or have not seen a Charlie Brown movie.

General Release Date:
10 December

Growing up during the 1990s when Indians from the estates are forced to find a new livelihood in the cities, "Jagat" follows the life of Appoy who is 12 year old as he grows up in the harsh circumstances, surrounded by his abusive father and uncles, a drug addict and a local gangster.

The respective local filmmaking industry may have found their definitive movie these past years. The Chinese have done it with "The Journey", and the Malays have topped theirs with "Polis Evo". And after watching the trailer, we firmly believe that "Jagat" deserves to be the one for the Malaysian Indian filmmaking industry. Produced by Dato' Seri Anandan and Myskills Foundation, "Jagat" is not looking to imitate some Kollywood extravaganza, but to show a dirtier and darker side of life suffered by the Indian estate community in the 1990s. The man to tell this story is no slouch either, as director Shanjhey Kumar Perumal is a winner of the BMW Shorties in 2009, and presented "Jagat" as a short film in 2010.

Already setting itself apart from your average Malaysian movie, technically and aesthetically, from the trailer alone, we are even more hearten to see how the writing and performance (from a cast made mostly of new actors) will unfold to complete this potential masterpiece. "Jagat" will have a lot to say to its audience, and it is something that needs to be heard by an audience that is as diverse as its cast. Besides, any local movie that has the guts to have the same release date as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", truly deserves to be supported by all races. So this is a cry for Malaysian movie fans to watch this while you still can, as the galaxy far far away won't be gone in a couple of weeks.

General Release Date: 17 December

30 years after the defeat of the Emperor and his Empire, a mysterious lightsaber brings together a scavenger, Rey and a stormtrooper of the First Order, Finn, as their fates are intertwined when they set out to find its owner. As old friends reunite and new enemies appear, is there a new stirring in The Force?

Is there anything more that hasn't been said? People have been counting down the days to the 7th episode of Star Wars instead of Christmas this year since the first trailer moved every fanboy to tears. We already know that you have bought your advance tickets, pulling Force pranks, and you are probably still finishing up that Star Wars costume that would make a 501st Legionnaire blush. Whether you have already figured out the real identity of Kylo Ren or where the heck is Luke Skywalker, all will be revealed in good time when 17 December comes, and we also know that you'd wished it would come sooner.

General Release Date: 17 December

As Ip Man continues his life in Hong Kong, new troubles affecting his community forces the hand of the Wing Chun grandmaster, which will lead to the uncovering of a young and talented potential who will become his greatest disciple.

Since his last appearance as Ip Man in 2010, many have followed and tried to make the role of the grandmaster as their own. But when it comes to displaying the flourishing elegance of Wing Chun, none have yet come close in doing it as the person who brought the name Ip Man into the mainstream; Donnie Yen, which is why this second sequel after 5 years is all the more anticipated by those who want to see the martial side of Wing Chun. Understandably the biggest showdown would be between the lightning fists of Donnie Yen against the power fists of Mike Tyson, but we are also excited to see Yen crossing punches and swords with Zhang Jin, and passing his teachings to Danny Chan who will wear an all too familiar face.

General Release Date:
24 December

After proving his valor in battle against the traitor Macdonwald, Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, is told by three witches that prophecy dictates him to be the next king of Scotland. In celebration of his victory, King Duncan of Scotland chooses to have a feast at Macbeth's castle which sets the prophecy in motion.

Shakespeareans will have more reason to celebrate this Christmas, especially if they like it soaked in blood, treachery and witchcraft. Director Justin Kurzel's latest adaptation of the tragic Scottish thane who shall be king hereafter has already been hailed as one of the finest cinematic telling of the source material in many years. A competitor for the Palm d'Or and currently in the running for 6 British Independent Film Awards, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard have damn near made this a spotless must-watch for anyone who can recite the lines from the Shakespeare tragedy.

General Release Date: 31 December

On 5 August 2010, a century old gold and copper mine at the Atacama Desert in Chile collapses and traps 33 miners along with it. Now known as 'the 33', local authorities and the families of the miners rush to make every effort to rescue the miners, while the miners live through each day without knowing if they will all make it out alive.

Based on the Copiapó mining accident in 2010, when 33 miners were trapped under a collapsed gold and copper mine for over two grueling months, this one fits into the Christmas season for sending the miracle of hope. Pieced together from the real-life accounts of the actual miners who were trapped, Antonio Banderas leads the mining crew in this docudrama by "Girl in Progress" director Patricia Riggen. On a sad note, "The 33" is one of the last movies scored by James Horner before his untimely death this year.

General Release Date:
31 December

Liu Ye, more famously known as Lao Pao Er, was a notorious but respected gangster in Beijing. When Liu's son gets into trouble with the local drag-racing scene and Liu is forced to speak up for him, he is mistreated by the younger generation of gangsters and their new leader; a mistake that deserves a lesson in humility.

We have seen many actors making that transition to director, but it is rare to see one that goes vice versa. Director Feng Xiaogang not only goes in front of the camera for this gritty gangster drama, but has even managed to come up with a surprising win at the recent Golden Horse award for Best Actor, beating out competition from seasoned actors like Aaron Kwok (whose "Port of Call" that earned him the nomination in that category is also being shown this month). Needless to say, this is one to see for the performance of the director-turned-actor, and to witness the strange rise of what could be a name to add in the list of great Chinese actors.

General Release Date:
31 December

Related Movies:
Point Break (03 Dec 2015)
Krampus (03 Dec 2015)
In The Heart Of The Sea (03 Dec 2015)
Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (10 Dec 2015)
She Remembers, He Forgets (Cantonese) (10 Dec 2015)
Jagat (Tamil) (17 Dec 2015)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (17 Dec 2015)
The 33 (31 Dec 2015)
Macbeth (07 Jan 2016)
Mr. Six (Mandarin) (Not Showing)

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