What to watch over the Christmas period

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Film reviews by Gavin Miller.

With the Christmas film season on the horizon, here’s a close look at the Yuletide cinematic treats to get your movie-going fill throughout December . . .

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Released: December 16

This has got a tough act to follow after last year’s The Force Awakens – but this first separate standalone Star Wars since Disney’s acquisition of the franchise should still do major business.

Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is in the hot seat for this first major spin-off (a young Han Solo film is already in the works as the second) which chronicles the infamous story touched upon in the original Star Wars film where a group of fearless Rebellion soldiers brave it all to attain the plans for the Empire’s iconic super weapon the Death Star.

Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) stars as impetuous reluctant hero Jyn Erso, who teams up with a group of Rebel Alliance members, including Diego Luna’s (Elysium) intelligence officer Cassian Andor and Clone Wars veteran Saw Gerrera (Arrival’s Oscar winner Forest Whitaker), to take on the seemingly impossible task set briefly before the classic 1977 original film.

It has been mooted to be a darker Star Wars experience more akin to The Empire Strikes Back, but as that is my favourite film of all time, that’s good by me...

MOANA

Released: December 2

Early reviews have been glowing for this latest in-house Disney animation (which alongside Rogue One will undoubtedly cement The Mouse House’s record-breaking year) which sees Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson star as Demi-God Maui, who joins a young woman – Auli’i Cravalho as the title character – who uses her navigational skills to set sail for a fabled island for the ultimate adventure.

SULLY

Released: December 2

Tom Hanks headlines this true story – helmed by Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby) – based on the exploits of famed airline pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger, who became a hero after landing his damaged plane (after both engines blew out) on New York’s Hudson River saving all 155 passengers and crew on board. The Dark Knight’s Aaron Eckhart co-stars as his first officer.

SNOWDEN

Released: December 9

Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone (JFK) helms this biographical drama about famed ‘whistle blower’ Edward Snowden (The Dark Knight Rise’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who leaked the NSA’s alleged illegal surveillance techniques into the public domain. Divergent star Shailene Woodley co-stars in this movie which saw thousands of classified documents infamously leaked to the press.

PASSENGERS

Released: December 21

Man of the moment Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World) and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games quadrilogy) ‘dream team’ in this sci-fi adventure romance as two passengers on a spacecraft - housing thousands of sleeping inhabitants – travelling to a distant colony planet.

After a malfunction in the sleep chambers the duo wake up 90 years too early.

COLLATERAL BEAUTY

Released: December 26

Will Smith stars as a man who questions the universe after experiencing a life tragedy – writing to Love, Time and Death in the process. After receiving unexpected answers he sees these things interlock as he receives unexpected answers in this drama from the director of The Devil Wears Prada.

An all-star cast includes British faves Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren, alongside Ed Norton.