Your blockbuster movie guide

Boxing Day traditionally kicks off the busiest time of year in Australian cinemas, as audiences flock to screens to see the Hollywood studios’ big ticket items for the year.

This year, as well as blockbusters like The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and Big Hero 6, comedy fans will no doubt be excited about Bill Murray’s turn as curmudgeonly gambler cum babysitter in St. Vincent and Timothy Spall’s spectacular dramatic performance as the great British painter J.M.W. Turner in the Mike Leigh directed Mr Turner.

Here’s TND’s top Boxing Day films for 2014.

· The must-see films of 2014
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Hamish Blake parodies Humans of New York
The sleeper hits of 2014 you should be watching

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Robert Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom

Even if you think Peter Jackson has bastardised J.R.R Tolkien’s classic novel The Hobbit, which many critics do, with his three big budget films, this is ‘the’ movie to see this Boxing Day. In the final instalment of The Hobbit trilogy of films, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) finds himself fighting for his life on the edge of war as the dragon, Smaug, reeks havoc on the world. Instead of saving civilisation, the dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Amritage) chooses his treasure over honor, but then the battle of five armies begins … The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has already cleaned up at the US box office, expect the same in Australia.

St. Vincent

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Director: James Marsh
Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Jaeden Lieberher, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd

Although the prospect of Bill Murray applying his anarchic, wise-ass schtick to the role of a highly inappropriate babysitter may sound like the stuff of riotous comedy, St. Vincent is surprisingly low key. From the outset it’s clear that Murray’s Vincent is a cantankerous old boozer. He’s pretty much dropped out of society, lives in a tip and keeps everyone at arm’s length. He’s not interested in making nice with his new neighbour Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), much less her school kid son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Despite his reluctance for company, especially that of children, Vincent sees dollar signs when the opportunity to babysit Oliver arises. A desperate Maggie is forced to work long hours to make ends meet and no other option seems available to her. And so begins timid little Oliver’s education into the world of bars, hookers and gambling. Read more at

Mr Turner

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Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Paul Jesson, Marion Bailey

Mr Turner reunites British greats Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall in a cinematic portrait of eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (Spall), who died in 1851. While Leigh fans will be well used to his usual heavy dramas about modern British life (Secrets & Lies, All or Nothing), this period drama has been hailed a masterpiece, both for Spall’s performance, which won him best actor at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and the attention to detail Leigh went to in an effort to capture the essence of the great artist and the time – Spall spent two years learning to paint before he started the role for authenticity’s sake. Mr Turner is an early Oscar favourite.

Big Hero 6

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Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Starring: Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney

Set in a future where Japanese and North American cultures have fused to deliver San Fransokyo, a techno utopia, young Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a boy genius who tinkers around with his li’l robot invention that he enters into underground robot fighting for cash. Despondent that his younger brother doesn’t put his formidable intelligence to good use, Tadashi (Daniel Henney) takes Hiro to his university lab where the greatest scientific minds generate the next wave in invention and wonder. Shortly thereafter tragedy strikes which places Hiro front and centre in the path of a new evil set to destroy the city. Enlisting the help of some friends and a giant, blow up robot we are introduced to the Big Hero 6Read more at

The Water Diviner

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Director: Russell Crowe
Starring: Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko, Yilmaz Erdogan

Hindsight is 20/20 in The Water Diviner, a passion project from Russell Crowe that addresses not only the ANZAC experience but also the perspective of their enemies, the Turks. Crowe plays Connor, a father of three young soldiers who go missing in action during the Battle of Gallipoli. Heartbroken, he travels there years later to “bring them home”, becoming involved with an Istanbuli hotel owner, played by ex-Bond girl Olga Kurylenko. Crowe also produced and directed the film. Cheesy romance plot aside, The Water Diviner provides an interesting insight into the relationships between the young men sent to fight each other in someone else’s war.

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