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15 Films to See In December

Written by on December 2, 2015 


It’s the last month of the year, which means many are already chiming in on their favorites of the year. However, there’s still a strong batch of films waiting to be seen, as evidenced in our final monthly preview of 2015. Check out our top 15 recommendations below, and return in the coming weeks as we highlight our cinematic favorites in a wide range of categories from the last 12 months.

Matinees to See: The Lady in the Van (12/4), The World of Kanako (12/4), Every Thing Will Be Fine (12/4) Boy and the World (12/11), Dreams Rewired (12/16), Concussion (12/25), and Joy (12/25).

15. Krampus (Michael Dougherty; Dec. 4th)


Synopsis: A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.


Why You Should See It: While arriving with oddly little buzz, any film starring Adam Scott and coming from Michael Dougherty, whose anthology Halloween offering Trick ‘r Treat was an unexpected blast, will still get my attention. Spinning a dark, comedic tale of the anti-Claus, hopefully this is a Christmas surprise. Either way, we’ll find out very soon.

14. Youth (Paolo Sorrentino; Dec 4th)


Synopsis: A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday.


Why You Should See It: It feels strange to recommend a film I didn’t like a great deal, but one may connect with Youth, and, like Sorrentino’s other films, it does have some noteworthy visuals. We said in our review, “Youth is narratively uneventful, striving to be a film of grand ideas,” adding, “All of the dialogue is so transparently subservient to the film’s thematic concerns, it’s very rare for any of it to feel authentic. It’s also overloaded with a grating self-referentiality that borders on the self-pitying, as these artists lament the hardships of the creative process and the pain of being misunderstood (or, rather, underappreciated).”

13. Life (Anton Corbijn; Dec. 4th)


Synopsis: A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.


Why You Should See It: Yes, Life can often be a touch too bland (see our review), but Dane DeHaan and Robert Pattinson respectably try their hardest to make something out of the material. Convincingly portraying James Dean and Dennis Stock, respectively, their chemistry makes Life worth seeing, even if the visual edge that Anton Corbijn displayed in his earlier films is oddly missing here.

12. In the Heart of the Sea (Ron Howard; Dec. 11th)


Synopsis: Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.


Why You Should See It: It boggles the mind why Warner Bros. would move this from a less competitive March opening to the week before a new Star Wars film, but hopefully it’s not to bury it, rather signaling that it’s a worthwhile awards-season drama. With cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle and the strong ensemble of Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, and Brendan Gleeson, we’re looking forward to some nautical adventure.

11. The Big Short (Adam McKay; Dec. 11th)


Synopsis: Four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.


Why You Should See It: One would think a film starring Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carell would be arriving with a bit more attention, but nonetheless we’re looking forward to The Big Short. A dramatic turn for Anchorman director Adam McKay (the strands of which can be seen in The Other Guys) with a response that, so far, has been decent, it’ll arrive in theaters next week.

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