Here are all the major international movies to catch in Chinese theaters this December.*
December 6: Ad Astra
Brad Pitt didn’t make it to our screens as Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but fans of the actor will get to see him don a spacesuit as a disaffected astronaut searching for his missing father in space. Director James Gray stated that he wanted to make a film which showed the most realistic depiction of space travel in a movie. The film has been hailed as visually thrilling and currently holds a rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 358 reviews.
December 6: Jumanji: The Next Level
With largely the same cast as the first Jumanji outing in the reboot series, but with notable additions like Awkwafina, Danny Glover, and Danny DeVito, Jumanji: The Next Level sees Spencer and friends (and family) enter the world of Jumanji once more. With new tasks and new avatars on hand, this sequel to the fun family adventure film will see the crew attempt to defeat and escape from the game forever.
December 6: Wild Goose Lake
Image via Memento Films/IMDb
We’ve been hearing about Diao Yinan’s noirish South China film, which made at appearance at this year’s Cannes Festival, for a long time. So, it’s going to be nice to finally sit back and see the director’s much-praised visual stylings this December. At around this time last year, another gorgeous film, Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Bi Gan, stole headlines. Perhaps Diao’s latest feature will do the same.
December 6: Made In India
Image via Yash Raj Films/IMDb
A title that Chinese viewers can certainly relate to, Hindi-language film Made In India was first released in 2018. The film follows the story of a young tailor who, by some stroke of luck, starts his own thriving small-scale clothing business with his wife.
December 7: Ride Your Wave
Image via IMDb
This romantic Japanese animation takes place by the sea, as a young girl, Hinako, moves to a new town to attend university and to surf. She meets and falls in love with a firefighter, who tragically dies in a surfing accident. Distraught, Hinako struggles to move forward until she finds the image of her lost love in the water. The ensuing supernatural romance that the pair engage in is not enough to sustain Hinako, and she must learn to move on with her life.
December 7: Saturday Fiction
Image via United Entertainment Partners/IMDb
Speaking of films we’ve been waiting to see (reference Wild Goose Lake above), ‘Sixth Generation’ director Lou Ye’s latest, Saturday Fiction, has torn critics right down the middle. Starring the fantastic Gong Li, the film uses pre-Pearl Harbor Shanghai and the spy games that were going on at the time as its focus. Like Wild Goose Lake, this one looks gorgeous, but critics say that the story and lack of clarity let it down. See for yourself.
December 13: Downton Abbey
Image via Focus Features/IMDb
The smash-hit British TV series comes to Chinese cinemas this month. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and many of our favorite members of the Crawley family and staff, the film takes place in 1927 with the impending visit of the British King and Queen to the family’s estate. Tensions break out between the Crawley’s and the royal family’s party over things like inheritance issues (rich people problems), as well as the presence of an assassin.
December 20: Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
The last outing in the sequel trilogy sees a few more familiar faces return to the epic franchise. Billy Dee Williams and Ian MacDiarmid reprise their roles as Lando Calrissian and Darth Siddious, respectively. Elsewhere, we get to see the outcome of the ongoing love/hate relationship between main characters Kylo Ren and Rey (Skywalker?!?).
December 20: Ip Man 4: The Finale
Image via Shanghai Bona Cultural Media/IMDb
The final outing in the successful Ip Man series sees Donnie Yen reprise his role as the legendary Wing Chun master. Apparently this will be Yen’s final kung fu movie, as he sets his sights on bigger and different roles. Ip Man arrives in San Francisco in the US, where his pupil Bruce Lee, played by Danny Chan again, has upset the local martial arts community by setting up a Wing Chun school.
December 20: The Story of Racer
Image via Douban
Should anyone other than Han Han make a driving film? Whatever your own personal answer to that question is, this documentary focuses in on three very different drivers, teasing out the motivations that are driving (pun intended) them towards motor sport success.
December 27: Lost in a Cave Dwelling
Image via Douban
One of a number of delayed films set to be released this month, this one initially set to be released in June, Lost in a Cave Dwelling focuses on a writer called Zhang who is seeking inspiration from real-life horror stories. Does that sound like a recipe for disaster to you? Yep, us too. Zhang, her boyfriend and her friends are best by supernatural phenomena and ghosts as reward for their curiosity.
December 29: Liberation
Image via Douban
Apparently intially set to open in Chinese cinemas in October, though perhaps disturbed by the opening of another patriotic film in the form of My People, My Country, Liberation finally makes it to Chinese cinema screens at the end of this month. Based on real events, the story takes place during the Battle of Pingjin in 1949. Lauded filmmaker Li Shaohong is joined by Chang Xiaoyang in the director’s seat, while Wallace Chung and Philip Keung star.
December 31: Adoring
Image via Douban
If there’s one thing that young professionals love, it’s pets. This might spell the beginning of a zany new zeitgeist of films in which ensemble casts come together to discuss themes surrounding the cute pet dog, instead of their latest fling. Six different stories fold into one, combining themes of love, family, friendship and more. Looks simply adorable.
* Release dates subject to change.
[Cover image via Lucasfilm Ltd./IMDB]
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