Wonder Woman, A Call to Spy and Boxing Day movies to get excited about

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984. Picture: Supplied
Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984. Picture: Supplied

Coronavirus has delayed the release of some movies and diverted others to streaming and pay-TV services. But there's still a variety of Boxing Day offerings for filmgoers. There are two sequels - one animated, one superhero - but also drama, documentary, and foreign-language films. One of the striking things about this year's Boxing Day films is how many were made by and focus on women.

Wonder Woman 1984

What is it? The sequel to Wonder Woman (2017) and probably the most anticipated Boxing Day potential blockbuster (there aren't as many big releases as usual this year: thanks, coronavirus).

What's it about? In 1984, warrior demigod and Amazon princess Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) comes into conflict with two foes - tycoon Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and friend-turned-enemy Barbara Ann Minerva aka Cheetah (Kristen Wiig). She is also reunited with her love interest, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).

Wait, Steve Trevor?! Yes, spy and pilot Steve apparently died in the earlier film, which was set during World War I. But he is back, looking hale and hearty and like a fish out of water in the 1980s.

How did this happen? Well, we're in the DC Universe, where just about anything is possible. Even Superman died and came back.

Anything else? Director of the first film Patty Jenkins returns and is one of the writers credited for story and screenplay.

Who might like it? Comic-book movie fans who enjoyed the well-received predecessor.

A Call to Spy

What is it? In the vein of Hidden Figures, this film calls attention to the unheralded women who contributed significantly to a field where men are the usual focus.

What's it about? During World War II, Britain's Special Operations Executive recruits women into the intelligence services to help them engage in "ungentlemanly warfare" (eg sabotage and resistance).

Who's the focus? Romanian immigrant Vera Atkins (Stana Katic) heads the program to find and engage women who can help with these dangerous activities in France, among them the one-legged, French-speaking American Virginia Hill (Sarah Megan Thomas, who also wrote and produced) and wireless operator Noor Inayat Khan (Radhika Apte).

Anything else? The film was directed by Lydia Dean Pilcher (Radium Girls).

Who might like it? Anyone interested in World War II history and women's achievements.

End of the Century

What is it? The feature debut of Argentinian writer-director Lucio Castro, in Spanish and Catalan.

What's it about? On holiday in Barcelona, Ocho (Juan Barberini) encounters Javi (Ramon Pujol). After the two men hook up, it emerges they met before - 20 years earlier.

Anything else? The film is set in three different time periods, real and imagined.

Who might like it? Art-film aficionados who enjoy gay relationship dramas.

How to be a Good Wife

What is it? A French satire directed and co-written by Martin Provost.

What's it about? In rural France in the 1960s, Paulette Van der Beck (Binoche) operates a finishing school to help young ladies become perfect homemakers and wives. When her husband dies, Paulette discovers he blew their money and must take full control of the school. But the times they are a-changing.

Anything else? The cast includes Yolande Moreau, Marie Zabukovec and Pauline Briand.

Who might like it? Fans of French films, Binoche and those interested in the culture change of the 1960s.

Nomadland

What is it? Writer-director Chloe Zao's adaptation of a book by Jessica Bruder.

What's it about? When her company town dies after its plant closes, widowed Fern (Frances McDormand) learns to adapt as she becomes one of many people living a nomadic existence in a trailer, a life of seasonal jobs and passing friendships.

Anything else? Many of the actors are people from Bruder's non-fiction book.

Who might like it? Fans of McDormand (Fargo) and people seeking a glimpse into a different society.

Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles

What is it? A food porn documentary directed by Laura Gabbert.

What's it about? In 2018, London restaurateur and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi accepts a proposal from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is to create a display of elaborate pastries inspired by what might have been served during the heyday of the court of Versailles for a one-day event as part of their "Visions of Versailles" exhibit.

Anything else? Gabbert's earlier documentary City of Gold was also about food, focusing on Los Angeles Times food columnist Jonathan Gold's advocacy for the city's underdogs chefs.

Who might like it? Foodies and Francophiles.

This story Boxing Day movies to get excited about first appeared on The Canberra Times.