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Christmas 2013: the best films in cinemas

Ten movies to get you through the festive season

1/10

Christmas movies don’t get much more cockle-warming than this. Hollywood Mr Nice Guy Tom Hanks plays well, er, Hollywood Mr Nice Guy Walt Disney. With plenty of spoonfuls of sugar, this is the story of uncle Walt’s testy relationship with ‘Mary Poppins’ author Pamela Travers (Emma Thompson, stealing it with a battleaxe impersonation). The film equivalent of a sweet sherry.

Perfect for… watching with mother.

Open in UK cinemas Nov 29

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2/10

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale ‘The Snow Queen’ is the inspiration for Disney’s big Christmas movie. But apart from the witchy Snow Queen (more of a Snow Tween), it looks like they’ve ditched Andersen’s disturbingly dark plot – about a little boy who has a shard of an evil mirror lodged in his heart. Instead, expect the usual winning formula of sassy wisecracks and sparky adventures.

Perfect for… keeping the little ’uns entertained over the lonnggg holidays.

Open in UK cinemas Dec 6

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3/10

Right, so enough with the merriment and dancing dwarves. The second instalment of the Middle Earth trilogy means business, as Shire-loving Hobbit Bilbo and his bearded gang of noble shortarses head to Lonely Mountain to rescue their loot from the dragon Smaug. Tolkien fans, you’ll have to avert your eyes as Peter Jackson heads further off piste – adding some elvish romance to the spiders and marching orcs.

Perfect for… sneaking away from the family on Boxing Day.

Open in UK cinemas Dec 13

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4/10

What is it about Harry Hill’s silly nonsense (we mean it in the nicest possible way) that makes it work on toddlers, grannies and everyone in between? The teatime TV treasure brings his schtick to the big screen for the first time. And if the trailer is anything to go by (Matt Lucas breakdancing, assassin chickens, Julie Waters on a mobility scooter and a vomming hamster) expect maximum loopiness.

Perfect for… all the family.

Open in UK cinemas Dec 20

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5/10

The world waits on tenterhooks. Will the sequel add up to more than Will Ferrell’s silly, stream-of-consciousness weirdness, infantile erection gags and cutting-edge animal news? We sincerely hope not. Set a few years ahead of the original, Ron and the gang are washed up in San Diego and head to New York.

Perfect for… getting into the Christmas spirit.

Open in UK cinemas Dec 20

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6/10

If you’re reading this thinking, okay, here’s the next big thing in Japanese anime, stop reading now. If, however, you spend a lot of time around little people, you’ll have a depressing amount of knowledge of the kids’ virtual world. The creators of the online game have found another way to part kids from their pocket money – a big-screen outing. The plot, if anyone’s interested, finds the six little fuzzies on the hunt for a rare egg stolen by Dr Strangelove.

Perfect for… giving the kids a treat and yourself a migraine.

Open in UK cinemas Dec 20

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7/10

It started as a TV mini-series on the Beeb. Next came a animationic stage extravaganza at the O2. Now we get the 3D animated movie. Judging from the trailer, this is a blatant case of dinothropomorphism. It’s the story of Patchi, a pachyrhinosaurus who looks a little bit like a gremlin – green face and punky mohawk. The trailer promises an experience ‘so real you’ll believe you’re there’. Which might be pushing it a bit, but the animation does look incredible.

Perfect for… bored-stiff kids of all ages.

Open in UK cinemas Dec 20

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8/10

Reviews have been so-so of Ben Stiller’s new comedy based on James Thurber’s classic American short story. The film has been in the pipeline for years, with Jim Carrey, Owen Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen all attached at one time or another. Stiller directs and stars as Walter Mitty, the regular guy whose delusions of heroism include saving children from burning buildings. More, ahem, seasoned members of the family may remember the 1947 version.

Perfect for… watching with the oldies.

Open in UK cinemas Dec 26

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9/10

What’s the perfect cure for a hangover? Hair of the dog? Vitamin C and a fry up? No! A classic war film. Colin Firth is here to deliver us from evil on New Year’s Day with this WWII drama based on the true story of Eric Lomax – a British prisoner of war tortured by the Japanese while building the Burma railway. Nicole Kidman co-stars as Lomax’s wife. It’s been described as ‘“The Bridge on the River Kwai” meets “Brief Encounter”’.

Perfect for… taking the edge off New Year’s Day hangovers.

Open in UK cinemas Jan 1 2014

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10/10

If the Christmas movie season was an office party, ‘American Hustle’ would be downing tequila shots at the bar and twerking on the dance floor. Directed by David O Russell, it’s a fictional take on a notorious 1980s sting, involving the FBI, a conman and politicians up to no good. Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale strut about the trailer sporting open-neck shirts, bad haircuts and hilarious ’taches. All that’s missing are ‘Scarface’-style mountains of cocaine.

Perfect for… carrying the party on till January.

Open in UK cinemas Jan 3 2014

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It’s that time of year when cinemas fill with people of all ages, all looking to escape leftovers and rubbish television. But what to watch? We've scoured the films in UK cinemas over Christmas 2013 and picked the best movies to suit every taste and age. There are comedies with Harry Hill and Will Ferrell. There’s the return of ‘The Hobbit’. And there are family-friendly charmers like ‘Saving Mr Banks’ and ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’. Think of it as a Christmas gift, from us to you.

The best Christmas films of 2013

Saving Mr Banks

Christmas movies don’t get much more cockle-warming than this. Hollywood Mr Nice Guy Tom Hanks plays well, er, Hollywood Mr Nice Guy Walt Disney. With plenty of spoonfuls of sugar, this is the story of uncle Walt’s testy relationship with ‘Mary Poppins’ author Pamela Travers (Emma Thompson, stealing it with a battleaxe impersonation). The film equivalent of a sweet sherry.

Read more
Knightsbridge

Frozen

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale ‘The Snow Queen’ is the inspiration for Disney’s big Christmas movie. But apart from the witchy Snow Queen (more of a Snow Tween), it looks like they’ve ditched Andersen’s disturbingly dark plot – about a little boy who has a shard of an evil mirror lodged in his heart. Instead, expect the usual winning formula of sassy wisecracks and sparky adventures.

Read more
Knightsbridge

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Right, so enough with the merriment and dancing dwarves. The second instalment of the Middle Earth trilogy means business, as Shire-loving Hobbit Bilbo and his bearded gang of noble shortarses head to Lonely Mountain to rescue their loot from the dragon Smaug. Tolkien fans, you’ll have to avert your eyes as Peter Jackson heads further off piste – adding some elvish romance to the spiders and marching orcs.

Read more
Knightsbridge

The Harry Hill Movie

What is it about Harry Hill’s silly nonsense (we mean it in the nicest possible way) that makes it work on toddlers, grannies and everyone in between? The teatime TV treasure brings his schtick to the big screen for the first time. And if the trailer is anything to go by (Matt Lucas breakdancing, assassin chickens, Julie Waters on a mobility scooter and a vomming hamster) expect maximum loopiness.

Read more
Knightsbridge

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

The world waits on tenterhooks. Will the sequel add up to more than Will Ferrell’s silly, stream-of-consciousness weirdness, infantile erection gags and cutting-edge animal news? We sincerely hope not. Set a few years ahead of the original, Ron and the gang are washed up in San Diego and head to New York.

Read more
Knightsbridge

Moshi Monsters: The Movie

If you’re reading this thinking, okay, here’s the next big thing in Japanese anime, stop reading now. If, however, you spend a lot of time around little people, you’ll have a depressing amount of knowledge of the kids’ virtual world. The creators of the online game have found another way to part kids from their pocket money – a big-screen outing. The plot, if anyone’s interested, finds the six little fuzzies on the hunt for a rare egg stolen by Dr Strangelove.

Read more
Knightsbridge

Walking with Dinosaurs 3D

It started as a TV mini-series on the Beeb. Next came a animationic stage extravaganza at the O2. Now we get the 3D animated movie. Judging from the trailer, this is a blatant case of dinothropomorphism. It’s the story of Patchi, a pachyrhinosaurus who looks a little bit like a gremlin – green face and punky mohawk. The trailer promises an experience ‘so real you’ll believe you’re there’. Which might be pushing it a bit, but the animation does look incredible.

Read more
Knightsbridge

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Reviews have been so-so of Ben Stiller’s new comedy based on James Thurber’s classic American short story. The film has been in the pipeline for years, with Jim Carrey, Owen Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen all attached at one time or another. Stiller directs and stars as Walter Mitty, the regular guy whose delusions of heroism include saving children from burning buildings. More, ahem, seasoned members of the family may remember the 1947 version.

Read more
Knightsbridge

The Railway Man

What’s the perfect cure for a hangover? Hair of the dog? Vitamin C and a fry up? No! A classic war film. Colin Firth is here to deliver us from evil on New Year’s Day with this WWII drama based on the true story of Eric Lomax – a British prisoner of war tortured by the Japanese while building the Burma railway. Nicole Kidman co-stars as Lomax’s wife. It’s been described as ‘“The Bridge on the River Kwai” meets “Brief Encounter”’.

Read more
Knightsbridge

American Hustle

If the Christmas movie season was an office party, ‘American Hustle’ would be downing tequila shots at the bar and twerking on the dance floor. Directed by David O Russell, it’s a fictional take on a notorious 1980s sting, involving the FBI, a conman and politicians up to no good. Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale strut about the trailer sporting open-neck shirts, bad haircuts and hilarious ’taches. All that’s missing are ‘Scarface’-style mountains of cocaine.

Read more
Knightsbridge

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