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Avatar 2 to Cirkus, the 8 Biggest Movies in December


Avatar: The Way of Water is undeniably the biggest theatrical showing this year — with a reported budget rivalling that of Avengers: Endgame — as it transports you back to the majestic vistas of Pandora, teeming with awe-inspiring sea creatures and vegetation. James Cameron’s much-awaited sequel has expanded on the scale and runtime with Avatar 2 being 3 hours and 10 minutes long, making it his second-longest film since 1997’s Titanic. Avatar: The Way of Water releases December 16 in cinemas. A little later, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out sequel brings back Daniel Craig in the role of detective Benoit Blanc, as he heads to Greece to peel back the layers of another mystery. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery drops December 23 on Netflix.

Coming to local fare, we’ve got Ranveer Singh leading the pack with Cirkus, a period comedy film from director Rohit Shetty that sees Singh appear in a dual role, in what’s billed as an adaptation of the 1982 film Angoor. Cirkus releases December 23 in theatres nationwide. Then there’s Freddy, a romantic thriller that puts Kartik Aaryan in the shoes of a lonely, shy dentist, who moonlights as a killer. Directed by Shashanka Ghosh (Veere Di Wedding), Freddy is out December 2 on Disney+ Hotstar.

The month of December has even more great titles in store for us, including Park Chan-wook’s (Oldboy) latest movie Decision to Leave, which finally heads over to Mubi in India, after receiving critical acclaim at the film festival circuit. Decision to Leave will finally be available for streaming starting December 9.

Every Movie, Web Series, and Original Coming to Netflix in December

For your convenience, we have curated the biggest December 2022 releases coming to Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Mubi, and theatres, which you can check out below.

Qala

When: December 1
Where: Netflix

Thematically similar to psychological dramas such as Black Swan and Blonde, Qala follows an eponymous playback singer (Triptii Dimri) in a pre-independence era, who struggles with an identity crisis at the peak of her career. Her hard-won success is frequently downplayed by her mother’s (Swastika Mukherjee) disdain, who compares the young artist to a courtesan, only worthy of performing before folks from the film industry. The insults only grow harsh as the competition enters in the form of Jagan (Babil Khan), a new talent, adept at the craft of classical music.

As jealousy and feelings of replacement start mounting within the recording studio, Qala gives in to pressure, unable to distinguish real life from show business — to the extent that she begins hallucinating Jagan’s presence in her life. The period film accurately portrays the age-old mental attitude of her peers, who ignore requests for help as simply a sign of exhaustion, instead of much-needed therapy.

Qala marks the second collaboration between Dimri and director Anvitaa Dutt, following 2020’s supernatural thriller Bulbbul. The film also stars Amit Sial (Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega), Amit Trivedi, Girija Oak, Kausar Munir, Samir Kochhar (Four More Shots Please!), Swanand Kirkire, and Tasveer Kamil. You’ll notice some of them are musicians, but it was bound to happen with all the harmonious pieces present in the movie.

Watch the Trailer for Qala

Triptii Dimri in and as Qala
Photo Credit: Netflix

Freddy

When: December 2
Where: Disney+ Hotstar

Kartik Aaryan (Luka Chuppi) plays a shy, loner dentist, Dr. Freddy Ginwala, in this romantic thriller, whose favourite pass time is painting model aeroplanes and spending time with his pet turtle — his only best friend. There’s only one problem though. At night, his hobbies take an unusually twisted turn, where he turns into a killer, who seems to have a knack for extracting pearly white teeth from his victims.

Aaryan reportedly gained 14kgs to play the role of an innocent dentist.

The Ekta Kapoor-produced Freddy enlists Alaya F (Jawaani Jaaneman) as his wife/ romantic interest, who at one point witnesses his true colours, causing her to get strangled and fall victim to his heinous interests.

The film also stars Tripti Agarwal as Alaya’s mother and Jeniffer Piccinato in lead roles. Ghosh directs off a screenplay by Parveez Sheikh (Queen).

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

When: December 9
Where: Netflix

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and stop-motion legend Mark Gustafson reimagine Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of the fabled wooden puppet boy Pinocchio, in a dark, enchanted adventure that adds a touch of father-son conflict into the mix.

Set in the 1930s, during the rise of fascism in Benito Mussolini’s Italy, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio introduces Mister Geppetto (David Bradley) as a lonely woodcarver grieving over his dead son. As the tale goes, he creates a long-nosed wooden child, who is brought to life by an otherworldly spirit — only to regret it soon enough.

Pinocchio’s (Gregory Mann) rowdiness is too much for the old man to handle, as the former creates havoc in his path and tries blending in with onlookers, adamant on the idea that he’s a real boy. Evil lurks in the form of Count Volpe (Christophe Waltz), the owner of a carnival crew, who in fact, is an amalgamation of the cunning anthropomorphic Fox and Cat from the original story. With three villains fused into one, things are only bound to get worse for our hero.

Mistaking his father’s disciplinary acts for hatred, Pinocchio set out alone into the world, ending up in a fascist training camp, meeting Mussolini himself, and talking to the Wood Sprite (Tilda Swinton), the Sphinx-like personification of Death.

As indicated before, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is practically built, using miniature puppets and lighting effects, that are in stark contrast to Disney’s digitally forged, chirpy version.

The film also stars the voices of Finn Wolfhard as bully Candlewick, Ron Perlman as his father Podestà, Cate Blanchett as Volpe’s mistreated monkey Spazzatura, and Burn Gorman as The Priest, Geppetto’s former client.

Watch the Trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

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This new version of Pinocchio’s story is set during the rise of fascism in Benito Mussolini’s Italy
Photo Credit: Netflix

Decision to Leave

When: December 9
Where: Mubi

If your view of Park Chan-wook’s filmography is characterised by brutal, visual violence and sexual themes, Decision to Leave is a far more subtle take, filled to the brim with symbolism that bashes into your head the idea of what makes a twisted romance film. Wanting to break away from misjudgements — as seen in Thirst, and The Handmaiden — the celebrated filmmaker, this time, has taken an alternate route, putting the larger love story at the forefront, while the murder mystery simply looms in the background.

Decision to Leave follows an insomniac detective Hae-Jun (Park Hae-il), who while investigating a man’s death in the mountains, starts feeling attracted to the victim’s wife (Tang Wei) — or rather, the unsettling, composed manner in which she carries herself. This kicks off a relentless sleuthing process, driven by obsession, manipulation, and heartbreak, where the goal is no longer about pinning down evidence and more about conveying his feelings for her.

The film, which is a dialogue-driven union between Chan-wook’s two halves of his career — violent pleasures, and violent romanticism — was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. And while that accolade went to Triangle of Sadness, he managed to lift the trophy for Best Director, after being nominated several times in his tumultuous career.

Avatar: The Way of Water

When: December 16
Where: Theatres

Set more than a decade after the events of the 2009 film, Avatar: The Way of Water catches up with Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri’s (Zoe Saldaña) family, who now face a new threat in the form of human-piloted mecha-robots. Pushed away as outcasts, our heroes must now try convincing the shoreline Metkayina clan to teach them the ways of water, forging bonds with sentient sea creatures, and preparing for war.

Sigourney Weaver, who played the late Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar, returns in the sequel, though this time, she’s playing Kiri, the adopted child of Sully. The trailer for Avatar 2 suggested she was able to hear a “mighty” heartbeat that was either a woman’s or that of an ocean creature — could there be an odd connection with Grace?

Stephen Lang and Matt Gerald, who were also killed off in the original Avatar film, are also listed in the cast lineup. New additions to Avatar: The Way of Water include Cliff Curtis as the Metkayina leader Tonowari, Kate Winslet as their spiritual leader Ronal, Bailey Bass as the trusting native Tsiriya, Britain Dalton as Sully’s second-oldest child Lo’ak, and Jamie Flatters as the oldest son Neteyam.

The likes of Edie Falco, Brendan Cowell, Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement, Oona Chaplin, Vin Diesel, and CJ Jones have undisclosed roles in Avatar: The Way of Water.

Avatar 2 just finished its post-production last week, with advanced ticket bookings in India already live across online ticket vendors.

The expensive Avatar sequel has a lot riding on its shoulders, with director Cameron confirming that it has to end up being the “third or fourth highest-grossing film in history,” for it to break even commercially.

Watch the Trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water

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Kate Winslet as Ronal (L) and Cliff Curtis as Metkayina leader Tonowari (R)
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios

Govinda Naam Mera

When: December 16
Where: Disney+ Hotstar

Govinda Naam Mera follows the antics of a dysfunctional family, headed by a good-for-nothing background dancer Govinda Waghmare (Vicky Kaushal) and his abusive wife Gauri (Bhumi Pednekar), who best each other by juggling love life through extramarital affairs.

But when the latter refuses Govinda’s proposal for divorce — so he could freely spend time with his girlfriend Suku (Kiara Advani) — he takes matters into his own hands, presumably killing her and turning into a murder suspect. That’s another problem on his agenda, in addition to rising debts, and being on the verge of losing his house.

While his girlfriend has been going around town informing friends and cops about the murder, no one seems to believe her, owing to the lack of a body. Plus, it’s not far-fetched to think that Gauri possibly ran off with her unnamed boyfriend (Viraj Ghelani).

Shashank Khaitan (Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania) wrote and directed the film under Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions banner. Govinda Naam Mera was originally meant to be a theatrical premiere — following which it would end up on Amazon Prime Video thanks to a new deal with Dharma — but is now a direct-to-digital release on Disney+ Hotstar.

Watch the Trailer for Govinda Naam Mera

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Vicky Kaushal in a still from Govinda Naam Mera
Photo Credit: Disney+ Hotstar

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

When: December 23
Where: Netflix

Rian Johnson’s hilariously bigger follow-up to Knives Out brings us to Greece this time, where tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) is hosting a murder-mystery party at his lavish residence.

Invited to the annual tropical getaway are his nearest and dearest friends, and also detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), who cannot seem to catch a break after someone ends up dead. In classic whodunnit fashion, everyone is a suspect, there’s lurking danger of another killing, and sadly for Blanc, there are a lot of puzzles this time around.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery features an ensemble cast including Janelle Monáe as Miles’ ex-business partner Andi Brand, Kathryn Hahn as the governor of Connecticut Claire Debella, Leslie Odom Jr. as head scientist Lionel Toussaint, Kate Hudson as a former supermodel-turned fashion designer Birdie Jay, and Jessica Henwick as her assistant Peg. The film also ropes in Dave Bautista as a Twitch streamer and “men’s rights activist”, accompanied by Madeline Cline as his girlfriend.

Leading up to its release, director Johnson stressed that Glass Onion was never meant to be a direct sequel, but a standalone entry featuring a new set of faces and location(s), akin to how author Agatha Christie threw her original character Hercule Poirot onto unfamiliar settings, and let him prod around anew.

Cinematographer Steve Yedlin returns to lend his expertise with editor Bob Ducsay — both previously worked with Johnson on Star Wars: The Last Jedi as well.

Watch the Trailer for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

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Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Photo Credit: Netflix

Cirkus

When: December 23
Where: Theatres

Ranveer Singh reunites with filmmaker Rohit Shetty in Cirkus, reportedly a remake of the 1982 film Angoor, though it’s calling itself an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play “The Comedy of Errors.” Angoor was based on that too.

Cirkus follows two pairs of identical twins, who reunite as adults after being separated at birth. Naturally, Singh will be playing a dual role, leading the local circus and trying to bring the extinct culture back to the public. Joining him are Jacqueline Fernandez (Ram Setu) and Pooja Hegde (Beast), playing love interests.

The film was initially planned to release last Christmas, but production had to be delayed due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cirkus also stars comedic legend Johnny Lever, Sanjay Mishra (Masaan), Mukesh Tiwari (Gangaajal), Ashwini Kalsekar, Murali Sharma, and Varun Sharma (Fukrey) as the second twin pair.


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