What's new in cinemas this Boxing Day

IT'S Boxing Day and, over the past 24 hours, you've already spent way too much time with family members you wouldn't normally hang out with.

You still don't understand what the hell your sister's boyfriend does for a living and you're over being asked why you're not in a relationship.

It's time to lock yourself in a dark air conditioned room and eat junk food. If you can't ditch the family, that's OK.

Aunty Marg will be shooshed by a fellow cinema goer if she tries asking again why you don't want to move back to your hometown.

Here are the big movies that hit screens today.

LA LA LAND

Named best film by the New York Film Critics Circle earlier this month, Damien Chazelle's original musical La La Land was generating Oscar buzz before it even hit theatres.

In the musical, Emma Stone plays an aspiring actor in Los Angeles who falls in love with a jazz musician, played by Ryan Gosling.

The A-list performances and razzle dazzle of the original songs in the charming romance are expected to secure the flick a number of nominations during the 2017 awards season.

It's also been a favourite among critics, with Deadline calling it "a gorgeous romantic fever dream of a musical".

News.com.au review: La La Land is the movie you need after a bruising year

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling please critics in La La Land.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling please critics in La La Land. Supplied

ALLIED

It's credited as the movie that broke up Brad Pitt's marriage with Angelina Jolie. But critics say the on-screen romance between Pitt, who plays a Canadian special agent, and Marion Cotillard as a fellow operative isn't strong enough to compel an audience, let alone break up a marriage.

In the World War II romantic thriller, the pair pose as a married couple while carrying out a mission before falling in love. While the secretive romance is meant to be full of passion, it's left many unsatisfied.

"Sluggish pacing throughout saps most of the tension, but the real issue is the absence of a solid foundation for the central romance," The Hollywood Reporter wrote.

But the New York Times did make a good point about the flick: "You also get to look at beautiful people in (and half out of) beautiful clothes. The fundamental things apply."

News.com.au review: Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard just didn't have it

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard don’t convince critics in Allied.
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard don’t convince critics in Allied. Supplied

MOANA

This computer-animated Walt Disney flick is one for the family. And looking at its success overseas - it's already grossed more than $183 million worldwide - it's set to be huge here. The seafaring film follows Moana, the daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe, who sets off in search of a demigod (voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) to save her people. It's equal parts heart and humour - all done in breathtaking animation.

News.com.au review: What Disney got right in Moana

The characters Maui and Moana in a scene from the movie Moana.
The characters Maui and Moana in a scene from the movie Moana. Disney

RED DOG TRUE BLUE

It first charmed Australian audiences five years ago, and now it's back with a prequel.

Red Dog True Blue has a whole new cast - including a new pup, Phoenix, who plays a younger Red Dog.
Still set in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia, the prequel follows 13-year-old Mick (Levi Miller) who's sent to his grandfather's cattle station.

After a cyclone hits, Mick finds a pup in a flood and their love is immediate. When he's sent to boarding school, he decides to run away with the dog.

"It's actually respecting the first film and not exploiting it and continuing the story in a really interesting way," director Kriv Stenders said of the idea to do a prequel.

Levi Miller with Phoenix, the dog, in Red Dog: True Blue.
Levi Miller with Phoenix, the dog, in Red Dog: True Blue. Supplied

WHY HIM?

This is a dirty and dumb movie filled with toilet humour. And it's actually pretty funny.

We watch a dad travel with his family to visit his daughter at college, only to find she's shacked up with her outlandish tech billionaire boyfriend. Chaos ensues.

The humour could have easily been exhausted quickly. But Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) - who play the parents - have a way of bringing more to such an easy level of comedy.

And James Franco is pretty good at playing an unlikeable dropkick.

News.com.au review: The key to Why Him? is low expectations

James Franco nails the role of a very unlikeable boyfriend.
James Franco nails the role of a very unlikeable boyfriend. Youtube

SING

Yep, another kids movie. But this one has a seriously all-star cast. Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane and Scarlett Johansson are just a few of the big names lending their voices to this animated musical.

We follow Buster Moon (voiced by McConaughey), a koala who owns a failing theatre who tries to save it by holding an American Idol-style singing competition.

It's from the same people behind Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets - so even though it's a kids flick, adults will get a kick.

Matthew McConaughey voices koala Buster Moon in Sing.
Matthew McConaughey voices koala Buster Moon in Sing. Supplied

A UNITED KINGDOM

The largely forgotten true story about Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), a Prince of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) who fell in love with a white English woman (Rosamund Pike) and puts everyone's noses out of joint - including the British and South African governments. It's a solid and engaging historical drama about two people in an impossible situation.

News.com.au review: The love story that became a global scandal

Against all odds.
Against all odds. Supplied

- News.com.au



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