Want to know what’s coming to a cinema near you this December? Look no further…
SUNDAY 2 DECEMBER
The Image Book (Jean-Luc Godard)
This latest from French film pioneer Godard was awarded the first ’Special Palme d’Or’ in the history of the Cannes Film Festival. It is a video essay and examine the Arab world through western eyes. No easy watch.
TUESDAY 4 DECEMBER
My Hero Academia: Two Heroes
Anime TV spin-off, pushed back a week from its November release.
WEDNESDAY 5 DECEMBER
Die Hard (John McTiernan)
Celebrating thirty years of the least-likely Christmas film in cinema, here’s a chance to catch Bruce Willis take on Alan Rickman in hostage thriller Die Hard.
Home Alone (Christopher Columbus)
John Hughes wrote the part of Kevin McCallister with nine-year-old Macaulay Culkin in mind, but did you know that between takes the child star took to napping on the floor?
FRIDAY 7 DECEMBER
Await Further Instructions (Johnny Kevorkian)
Here’s a novelty: a Christmas film with a December release! David Bradley is the best known of Kevorkian’s cast, playing the senior member of the Milgram family, who wake on the big day to find their house enveloped by a mysterious black substance.
Kedarnath (Abhishek Kapoor)
A Hindu-Muslim love story, Kedarnath portrays how a Muslim pithoo saves a Hindu tourist from the Uttrakhand floods at the pilgrimage, and the love that eventually develops between them.
Meteors (Gurcan Keltek)
Turkish co-production with the Netherlands. When meteors begin to fall on a Kurdish town, its residents find themselves coming into contact with their fragmented past.
Mug (Małgorzata Szumowska)
Mateusz Kosciukiewicz plays a man who goes through something of an identity crisis after having a face transplant. Polish darkly comic drama.
Return of the Hero (Laurent Tirard)
In 1809 France, Captain Neuville is called to war and so must leave his fiancée at home. Things go awry when the sister of this soon to be bride attempts to cheer her up by faking letters from the front line.
Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
What with Black Panther, Blindspotting and now Sorry to Bother You, Oakland is having a terrific year in terms of cinematic prominence. Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson star in this alternate reality comedy about a telemarketer who discovers the key to success.
The Old Man & the Gun (David Lowery)
Earlier this year, Daniel Day Lewis bowed out of from acting and here Robert Redford joins him. It’s a terrific swan song for the Oscar-winning veteran star, who may yet continue to work behind the camera.
The Snowman and the Snowdog (Hilary Audus)
Back in 2012, Channel 4 aired this sequel to Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman. Six years on, a limited cinema release offers younger viewers the chance to catch it on the big screen.
Theatre of War (Lola Arias)
Feature documentary coinciding with the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Falklands war. Personal testimonies have been given an arthouse twist by Arias via innovative reenactment filmmaking.
Tides (Tupaq Felber)
A London Film Festival offering, Tides sees a group of men meet for a barge-based reunion. Expect a character study of love, life and loss.
Tulip Fever (Justin Chadwick)
An artist falls for a married Dutch woman in Chadwick’s long awaited adaptation of the book by Deborah Moggach. It’s a quiet dumping for the troubled production, much to the chagrin of Moggach.
White Boy Rick (Yann Demange)
Matthew McConaughey headlines this true-story crime drama about playing the father of Richie Merritt’s Rick Wershe Jr., a Detroit teen recruited by the FBI in the eighties, only to pay a terrible price. Think: American Made but much muted.
WEDNESDAY 12 DECEMBER
Aquaman (James Wan)
Having made his debut in last year’s surprisingly okay Justice League, Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry gets his a solo venture. Surely the final superhero movie of the year…right?
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman)
Nope, here’s another one! Perhaps riffing on the confusion surrounding Marvel and Sony’s sprawling Spider-Man relationship, this animation features multiple versions of the character…and a pig too. With Shameik Moore, Nicolas Cage and Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali.
FRIDAY 14 DECEMBER
An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo)
Almost four hours long, Hu Bo’s drama revolves around the legend that an elephant in the northern Chinese city of Manzhouli spends all hours of the day simply sitting and ignoring the world.
Free Solo (Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)
Stunning documentary from the National Geographic. Alex Honnold is a free soloist climber on the cusp of achieving his dream of climbing the 3,000ft El Capitan rock in Yosemite.
It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra)
For our money, the best Christmas film ever made. Quite something for a schmaltzy downer that bombed on release in 1946.
Keepers of the Flame (Nuala O’Connor)
Not the Spencer Tracy drama from 1943 but a new documentary concerning the Irish civil war.
Khrustalyov, My Car! (Aleksei German)
A re-release for German’s 1998 drama about a military doctor (Yuriy Tsurilo’s General Klenski) who is arrested in 1953 Russia, after being accused of participating in the ‘doctors’ plot’.
Lizzie (Craig William Macneill)
Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevigny lead this biographical thriller. Sevigny plays Lizzie Borden, who, in 1892, was accused of axe murdering her father and stepmother. It’s a role recently performed for television by a camped up Christina Ricci but expect this to be a much darker work.
Mortal Engines (Christian Rivers)
Philip Reeve’s novel gets a big screen treatment, under the watchful eye of producer Peter Jackson. Speaking of eyes, we’re a touch concerned that Hera Hilmar’s protagonist has both of hers in tact – in the book, she’s much more disfigured.
The House that Jack Built (Lars Von Trier)
The latest from the man behind Dogville and Melancholia sees Matt Dillon play a super smart serial killer. With Uma Thurman as Lady 1. Flattering.
The Last Movie (Dennis Hooper)
Hooper made his name with Easy Rider in 1969 and almost lost it again with The Last Movie two years later. Whilst struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, the American dreamer was convinced by cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky to turn his conventional film into a head scratcher. The studio was horrified.
SATURDAY 15 DECEMBER
CBeebies Christmas Show: Thumbelina
The annual CBeebies’ Christmas Show is a treasured thing by viewers of the channel. Whilst Thumbelina will air, as ever, a couple of days before Christmas, this cinema release offers tots the chance to catch it early.
THURSDAY 20 DECEMBER
1985 (Yen Tan)
Either the hotly anticipated sequel to George Orwell’s classic tale or the story of a closeted young man who has bad news for his conservative family when he returns home for the holidays.
FRIDAY 21 DECEMBER
Mary Poppins Returns (Rob Marshall)
In the wake of the wonderful Saving Mr Banks, Emily Blunt has said her take on the practically perfect nanny will be more in line with the character imagined by P. L. Travers. The writer would have probably hated this sequel regardless. Watch the magical trailer here!
Papillon (Michael Moer)
Based both on Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1973 film of the same name and the two autobiographies of French convict Henri Charrière, Papillon stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek, who will like still be rocking audiences in screen eleven.
Polina (Valerie Muller and Angelin Preljocaj)
Two years after its release in France, Muller and Preljocaj’s adaptation of the Bastien Vivès graphic novel finally reaches the UK. Must have been on someone’s Christmas list.
Zero (Aanand L. Rai)
Indian romantic drama about an unmarried thirty-eight-year-old man who finds companionship with a NASA scientist who has cerebral palsy. The coupling becomes a triangle, however, when a superstar comes knocking.
WEDNESDAY 26 DECEMBER
Bumblebee (Travis Knight)
Could the latest Transformers film finally win round critics? The first in the series not to be directed by Michael Bay, Bumblebee seems to be aiming for adventure over excessive action, which may work in its favour.
Holmes and Watson (Etan Cohen)
One could argue that there are too many Sherlock Holmes adaptations currently floating around. Fans of screen step-brothers Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly would probably disagree. Slapstick, my dear Watson.