From blockbuster sequels to starry musical biopics, the last month of the year promises plenty of cinematic surprises to come.

Ever since John McClane lit up Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, there’s always been room in the festive calendar for some alternative Yuletude action. Filling that niche this year is Violent Night, a bloody action-comedy featuring Stranger Things’ David Harbour as Santa Claus as he takes on a house full of mercenaries, in the spirit of Christmas. Time for some season’s beatings.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Out Now, Netflix)

2022 has been lousy with Pinocchio adaptations, such as an ill-fated live-action remake on Disney+. This version, however, well warrants a look. Co-directed by fantasy master Guillermo del Toro, this stop-motion re-interpretation of the classic tale takes a darker tone set in 1930s Italy, which promises to explore themes of fascism and oppression. Big names in the voice cast include Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett.

Avatar: The Way of Water (16th December, Cinemas)

In a notably quiet Christmas for big movies, James Cameron has come to fill the void. Thirteen years after the original became the highest-grossing film of all time, Cameron is finally ready to return to Pandora with the first of four massive sequels. The trailers promise a glossy and eye-wateringly expensive dive into the oceans of the fictional planet as the Na’vi square off against invading humans again. Hold off on drinking beforehand – this one runs for well over three hours.

Fresh off a week-long preview run at cinemas, Rian Johnson’s long-awaited whodunit sequel to Knives Out hits Netflix just in time for Christmas. At the coldest and darkest time of year, this follow-up swaps out chilly Massachusetts for sunny Greece, as a new cast of suspects including Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista gathers for a mystery presided over once more by Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit Blanc and his remarkable Southern accent.

The Favourite revived interest in the modernised feminist costume drama a few years back, and Corsage arrives to cinemas firmly within that tradition. Vicky Krieps, who shot to fame from her performance in Phantom Thread, stars as Empress Elisabeth of Austria, a woman out of time struggling to navigate her duties within a rigid patriarchal system in 19th century Austria-Hungary. Having arrived at Cannes, keep an eye out for this one as the International Feature race at the Oscars heats up.

Why not finish out your 2022 with some fresh existential dread? Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to the acclaimed Marriage Story takes a very different tack, adapting Don deLillo’s classic postmodern novel about modern American ennui and “airborne toxic events”. Among the cast for this take on the “unadaptable” source is Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig and Don Cheadle. All that, and there’s an original LCD Soundsystem song in the credits.