The Hunger Games, and other must-see family films this season

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay ' Part 2. Picture: PA
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay ' Part 2. Picture: PA
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WHEN it’s cold, rainy and and cabin fever’s setting in, there’s only one thing to do - make a beeline for the cinema. Susan Griffin rounds up the family-friendly movies to while away an afternoon this winter

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 (12A)

It’s based on the novel trilogy about a reluctant heroine, Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from one of 13 impoverished Districts who, after winning the death match known as The Hunger Games, leads a rebellion against the tyrannical leader of the wealthy Capitol. The third book was split into two movies with this marking the final instalment. Proving why she’s the world’s highest paid actress, Jennifer Lawrence is a tour-de-force in her final outing as the rebel with a cause.

Released November 19

The Good Dinosaur (U)

In this wonderful animated movie, an asteroid never hits Earth, which leaves the dinosaurs free to roam the plains. A young dinosaur by the name of Arlo comes across a small cave boy, calls him Spot and the two new friends embark on an adventure as Arlo tries to make his way home.

We’d say so, given that it’s from the brilliant and creative minds at Pixar who’ve brought us the likes of Inside Out, Finding Nemo and Toy Story.

Released November 27

Christmas With The Coopers (PG)

What’s the plot?: Four generations of the Cooper family unite for their annual Christmas get-together, but it looks like unexpected arrivals and events will prevent them having the perfect time.

Even if the story’s not groundbreaking, the likes of John Goodman, Diane Keaton and Olivia Wilde should ensure it stays on the right side of schmaltz. Pop on your Christmas knit, sit back and embrace the festivities.

Released Dec 1

Victor Frankenstein (12A)

In this reimagining of the famous tale, the focus isn’t so much on the monster but the relationship between medical student Frankenstein and his assistant Igor, a bullied hunchback with a brilliant mind, who he saves from a circus.

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe make splendid sparring partners. Like Sherlock (the director Paul McGuigan has helmed episodes), it’s fast-paced, beautifully shot and with just the right amount of scares.

Released December 3

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG)

Prepare to be taken back to a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars returns to the big screen. As you’d expect, the plot is being kept under wraps, but we have gleaned that the action’s set three decades after 1983’s Return Of The Jedi. With the likes of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher making a return, excitement has already hit fever pitch.

Released December 17

Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (U)

It’s the first feature-length movie based on the four-legged pooch Snoopy and his best-friend Charlie Brown. In their big-screen debut, Charlie attempts to win over the new girl in class, ably assisted by his loyal hound. The tale’s been given the 3D treatment and looks set to be a heart-warmer this winter, while Snoopy’s antics should have the smaller members giggling with glee.

Released December 21

Daddy’s Home (12A)

A step-father’s forced to fight for the kids’ affections when their cool but absent father reappears on the scene. Given the success of cop spoof The Other Guys, Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell have proven they make an appealing double-act. Ferrell does his hapless thing. It might be predictable, but it still raises a smile.

Release December 25

In The Heart Of The Sea (12A)

An epic telling of the sinking of the 19th century American whaling ship Essex. When a sperm whale attacks the boat, the crew are left shipwrecked and forced to endure all sorts of horror in their fight for survival. This seafaring yarn is helmed by Ron Howard and boasts the likes of Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Ben Whishaw among its motley crew.

Released December 26

Goosebumps (PG)

What’s the plot?: In this comedy, which is based on the best-selling book series, a teenage boy joins forces with his next door neighbour when every monster her author father has created, escapes from their books and wreaks havoc on their small town. Jack Black is on scene-stealing form as the reclusive author, and older kids and teens will enjoy the ‘light horror’ premise.

Released Feb 5