Films for the festive season

Here are 11 movies to catch during the year-end holidays.

For little tots

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP

Director: Walt Becker
Cast: Jason Lee and Tony Hale and voice talents of Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, Christina Applegate and Anna Faris

What: In this fourth instalment of the Alvin And The Chipmunks film series, the chipmunks go on a road trip in an attempt to stop their friend Dave from proposing to his girlfriend as they are afraid of losing him.

When: Opens Dec 24

Watch this if you like: Any of the previous Alvin And The Chipmunks movies, and if incessant squeaky talking and singing does not give you a headache

SNOOPY AND CHARLIE BROWN: THE PEANUTS MOVIE

Director: Steve Martino
Cast: Voice talents of Bill Melendez, Noah Schnapp, Rebecca Bloom and Kristin Chenoweth

What: Snoopy, Charlie Brown and his gang return to the big screen for the first time in 35 years in this new film adaptation of Charles M. Schulz's classic comics strip Peanuts, this time with 3D computer animation. In this film, a pretty new girl arrives in town and Brown is immediately smitten. He dreams of talking to her, but keeps backing out from shyness.

When: Opens tomorrow

Watch this if you like: Schulz's Peanuts comics strip

Tis the season

KRAMPUS

Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner

What: In European folklore, the Krampus is a horned demon which appears during the Christmas season to punish misbehaving children. In this film, an angered Krampus visits a family who have lost their Christmas spirit. Sounds like a standard Christmas movie about learning to believe in the holidays again, but the trailer makes it out to be a rather intense horror film as the demon stalks and scares the living daylights out of the naughty family members.

When: Now showing

Watch this if you like: Gremlins, (1984), Black Christmas (1974) and other Christmas-themed horror films

LOVE THE COOPERS

Director: Jessie Nelson
Cast: John Goodman, Olivia Wilde, Diane Keaton, Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried and Alan Arkin

What: Four generations of the Coopers come together for their annual Christmas gathering. Every member is as dysfunctional as the next, which means this will be a holiday filled with highjinks and craziness.

When: Opens tomorrow

Watch this if you like: Christmas movies with starry ensemble casts, such as The Family Stone (2005) and Love Actually (2003)

DADDY'S HOME

Director: Sean Anders
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Linda Cardellini

What: Brad (Ferrell) wants nothing more than for his stepchildren to see him as their dad. Just as he is winning their approval, their estranged birth father Dusty (Wahlberg) visits. Given that Dusty is a lot more macho and cool than the mild-mannered Brad, he faces some stiff competition for the children's attention.

When: Opens Dec 31

Watch this if you like: The Other Guys (2010), the comedy that also starred Ferrell and Wahlberg as unlikely friends

For action lovers

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

Director: J. J. Abrams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

What: You would have to be living in a galaxy far, far away if you have not heard of this movie, one of the most highly anticipated films in recent years. In this seventh instalment of the iconic sci-fi film series, set 30 years after the end of Return Of The Jedi (1983), a new generation of characters including Finn (Boyega) and Rey (Ridley) will be introduced, while original cast members Ford and Fisher will return.

The plot is shrouded in secrecy, but much fan speculation has been made about Hamill's hero Luke Skywalker being villainous, given how conspicuously he has been left out of promotional materials so far.

When: Opens Dec 17 Watch this if you like: Any of the Star Wars movies. Or to see what the hype is about.

IP MAN 3

Director: Wilson Ip
Cast: Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Max Zhang Jin and Mike Tyson

What: Wing chun expert and Bruce Lee's mentor Ip Man (Yen) returns in another action-packed instalment of the popular film series. Look out for the much-anticipated showdown between wing chun and heavyweight boxing when Ip Man is challenged to a fight by a man played by real-life boxing legend Tyson.

When: Opens Dec 24

Watch this if you like: The Ip Man movies, especially now that Yen is back in the role after others such as Anthony Wong portrayed the part in other films

THE VANISHED MURDERER

Director: Lo Chi Leung
Cast: Lau Ching Wan, Jiang Yiyan, Li Xiaolu, Rhydian Vaughan and Gordon Lam Ka Tung

What: A female prisoner (Jiang) miraculously manages to escape from jail. Meanwhile, a string of bizarre suicides starts happening. It is up to police inspector Song (Lau) to piece the puzzle together and figure out if they are somehow related.

When: Opens tomorrow

Watch this if you like: Murder mystery movies, including its predecessor, The Bullet Vanishes (2012)

For thinking types

SUFFRAGETTE

Director: Sarah Gavron
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter and Meryl Streep

What: Laundress Maud Watts (Mulligan) gets caught up in a suffragette riot by accident in the early 20th century in Britain, which kick-starts her drive to fight for women's right to vote.

Opens: Dec 31

Watch this if you like: Uplifting human rights dramas powered by strong women, such as Made In Dagenham (2010)

LIFE

Director: Anton Corbijin
Cast: Dane Dehaan, Robert Pattinson, Ben Kingsley and Joel Edgerton

What: Based on real events, this film follows late Life magazine photographer Dennis Stock (Pattinson) and his unlikely friendship with heart-throb actor James Dean (Dehaan). When Stock photographs Dean at the farm where the star grew up, he thinks he is capturing Dean's beginnings. Little did he know he would end up shooting some of the actor's final photos before he died in a car accident.

Early reviews of the film have been positive, with many critics heaping praise on the leads' performances.

When: Dec 31

Watch this if you like: Biopics about deep, intriguing friendships, such as Brian's Song (1971)

For date night

BEFORE WE GO

Director: Chris Evans
Cast: Chris Evans and Alice Eve

What: Captain America's Evans makes his directorial debut with this romantic drama, in which he plays a man who helps a stranger recover her purse after she gets robbed.

When: Opens Dec 17

Watch this if you like: Indie romances about two strangers walking and talking, such as Before Sunrise (1995).

yipwy@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on December 9, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.