Tom Hanks, Star Wars, comedies, biopics and a spaceship drama. Here’s our guide to the top films showing at the cinema this month. This year’s obligatory Christmas movie is pretty hilarious…

Sully

At the age of 86, Clint Eastwood shows no sign of stopping, and this—the 35th film he’s directed—shows off his flair for dramatic tension. The “Sully” of the title is Captain Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), who made headlines in 2009 when the Airbus he was flying out of New York was the victim of a bird strike, forcing an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Although lauded as a hero, Sullenberger is haunted by the incident and harshly questioned by the authorities, who claim that ditching in the river was unnecessary and dangerous.

The flashback structure of the movie is a little awkward and the accuracy of the crash investigation is questionable, but this is still an amazing story, skillfully told and acted—even though you don’t want to watch it before you jet off on holiday. TB

 

 

Passengers

Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pine co-star as passengers on a spaceship transporting thousands of people to a colony planet. When they’re woken early, that have to work out what’s gone wrong with the ship and reconcile their growing feelings for each other. Like 2014’s Interstellar, this combines sci-fi spectacle with intimacy in a script that’s apparently been exciting interest for several years. TB

 

 

Why Him?

The title refers to the question many parents have asked when meeting their daughter’s new boyfriend—in this case, the wealthy but profane and overbearing Laird Mayhew (James Franco). The wonderful Bryan Cranston and Megan Mullally star as the horrified parents, who their besotted daughter (Zoey Deutch) tries to win around during their five-day visit, while Laird plans a proposal… TB

 

 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The success of last year’s The Force Awakens has certainly whetted the public appetite for more Star Wars material, and now comes this prequel, set before the events of the original 1977 film. Felicity Jones and Diego Luna star as members of the Rebel Alliance, who plot  to steal the plans for the Galactic Empire’s Death Star. Gareth Edwards—of Godzilla and Monsters fame—directs. TB

 

 

Collateral Beauty

Another Christmas, another painfully earnest drama set in New York. Will Smith is Howard Inlet, an advertising executive struggling with the tragic loss of his daughter. Over the course of the film, he meets three people representing different elements—Keira Knightley (“Love”), Jacob Latimore (“Time”) and Helen Mirren (“Death”)—who help him move on. Not for everyone. TB

 

 

Office Christmas Party

Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston lead the cast in comedy chaos in the Hollywood’s annual obligatory seasonal offering. Zenotek CEO Carol Vanstone (Aniston) flies in unannounced to close the Chicago branch managed by her hard-partying brother Clay. To save everyone’s jobs he and his Head of Technology (Bateman) need to close a make-or-break deal with a hard-to-please client. And the only thing they can think of is to host a party like no other. Packed with stereotypes about HR managers, sibling rivalry, geek love, and unlimited innuendo this is laugh-out-loud hilarious! FG

 

 

Bleed for This

A fun, exciting, nicely paced film that makes you want to pump some iron! Based on the true story of boxer Vinny Pazienza, who made a remarkable comeback after a near-fatal car accident, it follows a well-trodden storyline, but does so with great taste and gusto. Miles Teller is phenomenal as the charismatic boxer and it seems like he’s just getting warmed up for the many meaty roles to come! EM

 

 

Snowden

Director Oliver Stone’s docudrama centres on recent history as he examines why the hero/whistleblower/traitor Edward Snowden, a young National Security Agency analyst, chose to copy and leak classified files. This compelling biopic looks for clues in Snowden’s early life–from soldier to CIA operative–to try to explain the rational behind the actions that shook the world. Look out for Rhys Ifans as Snowden’s mentor. FG

 

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