So here are the Hollywood films currently playing in Shanghai during Christmas time, and a couple that we'll be looking forward to in January 2017.
Opens: December 8
Mel Gibson. Hmmm. Really? Hacksaw Ridge tells the unusual true story of WWII hero Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), whose bravery and beliefs had got him through a most gruesome battlefield whilst saving many soldiers' lives to boot -- single-handedly, without carrying a gun. The story itself is remarkable enough, but the intense action scenes and intriguing storytelling take its incredible-ness to another level. People are giving Mel Gibson good reviews for this one -- the film recently just received three Golden Globe nominees.
It's a Mel Gibson film so expect violence and brutality. And catharsis. Plenty of catharsis. The Chinese cut didn't get censored much but a naked butt scene was cut. It's supposed to be a very good one too. Such a shame.
Opens: December 9
Is there any vehicle that Tom Hanks can't operate with award-worthy aplomb and poise? In Clint Eastwood's latest, Hanks plays some bad-ass facing "an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation." Another remarkable film based on a true story. Critics have given it rave reviews, saying it's "a porterhouse of a movie that touches your heart". This alongside Hacksaw Ridge are two films that we'll be seeing on a lot of year-end list action this month.
The Great Wall
Opens: December 16
Speaking of investigations and things that might destroy one's career and reputation, The Great Wall, a fantasy / action blockbuster about our most iconic landmark and some monsters, apparently didn't live up to its expectations of greatness. It's currently clocking in at 5.4/10 on Douban. The film is directed by Zhang Yimou and stars a handful of Hollywood big names including Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe and Pedro Pascal, in addition to the hottest celebrities in China: Andy Lau, Lu Han, Eddie Peng ... and Jing Tian, a young actress whose recent career trajectory has stirred up many questions about her background.
But hey, Hacksaw Ridge appears to be getting more attention in terms of box offices afterThe Great Wall was released. Didn't see that coming, uh. Take a look at the trailer (featuring a BGM that's awfully close to Sicario's) and decide if you want to go watch it or not.
Opens: December 23
Also featuring a pretty decent cast but generally unfavorable reviews, Marauders is an action-crime-thriller starring Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista, and Adrian Grenier. The film follows a bank robbery case to dramatic effect. Intrigue. Deception. Conflict. Entanglement. Judging from audience and film critics' comments, the plot might be a bit too complex for its own good, but it's got some pretty intense action scenes. Go see it if you're a fan of heist flicks.
Opens: December 24
On Christmas Day we'll be expecting Pierce Brosnan's thriller I.T. in cinemas. The former Bond plays a successful businessman whose company and "smart house" have been hacked by a vindictive IT guy. A cyber crime film that sounds ...rather familiar. It currently has a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ooof. Here's the trailer.
Still showing at the cinema: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them -- a really well-made Harry Potter spin-off with great visuals and action scenes; and another fantasy film, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, worth catching if you're a Tim Burton fan. Both of them probably won't beat Disney's Moana as the perfect family movie for the season -- a visually stunning and unconventional hilarious movie.
As for films to watch out for in the next coming month: Bridget Jones's Baby, Rogue One, and Laika's highly-praised stop motion Kubo and the Two Strings will arrive in theaters on January 1, 6, and 13. All really worth to watch on a big screen, especially the latter two.