Movies to watch out for

From animation to adult drama, there's plenty of films on offer these holidays.

January 1

Dragon Rider: Young silver dragon Firedrake secretly sets off on a journey with forest brownie Orrel to find the Rim of Heaven, a mysterious haven for dragons. Along the way they meet orphaned Ben who claims to be a dragon rider. They are also being hunted by Nettlebrand, a dragon-eating monster created by an alchemist to track down and destroy every dragon. This German animated fantasy is based on the book by Cornelia Funke and its English-language voice cast includes Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Felicity Jones, Freddie Highmore and Patrick Stewart.

The Dry: Federal agent Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returns to his home town to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, who allegedly killed his wife and child before taking his own life. He stays to investigate. Based on the novel by Jane Harper.

January 7

Dreambuilders: In this Danish animated film, Minna resents her new stepsister Jenna. She discovers that people's dreams and fantasies are created and directed by tiny creatures and decides to infiltrate Jenna's mind and put in some new ideas. What could possibly go wrong?

Maya the Bee: The Golden Orb: This German-Australian co-production is the third in a series of animated films inspired by the 1912 book by German author Waldemar Bonsels. Maya and her friend Willy must deliver an orb to its new home atop the mysterious Bonsai Peak. But the "orb" hatches and out comes a little princess. As well as this responsibility they must confront battling insect tribes and other challenges.

Promising Young Woman: Writer-director Emerald Fennell's dark comedy thriller is about barista Cassie (Carey Mulligan), a traumatised medical school dropout who spends her nights entrapping sexually predatory men. What will happen when former classmate Ryan (Bo Burham) re-enters her life? Fennell worked on the series Killing Eve.

Spread Your Wings: Christian (Jean-Paul Rouve), a scientist, and his teenage son collaborate on a project to save an endangered species by teaching them a new migration route. This French-Norwegian film is based on a true story.

Summerland: During World War II, reclusive British folklore investigator and myth debunker, Alice (Gemma Arterton) is haunted by the memory of a broken love affair. Her life is changed when she takes in young Blitz evacuee Frank (Lucas Bond) and they begin to bond. Written and directed by playwright Jessica Swale.

A scene from Penguin Bloom.

A scene from Penguin Bloom.

January 14

Ammonite: In Victorian England, the relationship between paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) and Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan), the unhappy wife of a domineering man, deepens into love. Writer-director Frances Lee's previous film was God's Own Country.

The Dig: This film directed by Simon Stone is an adaptation of John Preston's novel based on the discovery of important Anglo-Saxon relics at the Suffolk site Sutton Hoo in 1939. It also looks at the personal lives of the archeologists involved. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James and Ben Chaplin.

Music: Aussie musician Sia wrote and directed this story of newly sober Zu (Kate Hudson) who finds out she is to become the sole guardian of her half-sister Music (Maddie Ziegler), a young girl on the autism spectrum.

My Salinger Year: This Canadian-Irish film is based on the memoir of American author Joanna Rakoff (Margaret Qualley) about her experiences working as an assistant to Margaret (Sigourney Weaver), the literary agent of J.D. Salinger, publicity-shy author of the classic novel The Catcher in the Rye.

January 21

Penguin Bloom: Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts) is a young mother who suffers a near-fatal accident leaving her unable to walk. She, her husband (Andrew Lincoln), three sons and her mother (Jacki Weaver) are struggling to adjust to their new situation when an unlikely ally enters their world in the form of an injured baby magpie they name Penguin.

January 28

High Ground: In Arnhem Land in the 1930s, Aboriginal man Gutjuk (Jacob Junior Nayinggul), in a bid to save the last of his family, teams up with ex-soldier Travis (Simon Baker) to track down dangerous warrior Baywara, who is also his uncle.