Christmas time…mistletoe and wine…and films. Film contributor Adam Marshall lays his mince pies on this year’s Christmas presents from the Ritzy.
Saving Private Ryan; Catch Me If You Can; The Terminal. Admittedly, there’s a steady downward curve to the catalogue of previous Spielberg and Hanks collaborations. But BRIDGE OF SPIES (from 27 Nov) looks set to buck that declining trend. All the classic tropes of old school Cold War thrillers are present – Soviet spies, U2 planes and English actors putting on Russian accents (the can-do-no-wrong Mark Rylance, no less). Plus, the Coen brothers are among the writing credits. Is that the sweet scent of Oscars I’m detecting?
The smell of gold mantelpiece fodder grows even more overwhelming with CAROL (from 27 Nov). Cate Blanchett’s practically a shoo-in (again) for her role in the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt. The ever-splendid Blanchett is the object of sexual affection of a young female photographer (played by the formerly Dragon Tattooed Rooney Mara), in this stylish 50s-set drama which tells the story of their forbidden, taboo-bending love affair.
One of cinema’s traditional yuletide roles is to distract ungrateful littluns from the trauma of not receiving all the presents they wanted from Mr Claus. Well, for a couple of hours at least. Enter Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR (from 18 Dec). Almost Philip K. Dickian in plot, it asks the question I’m certain we’ve all pondered from one time to another: ‘What would the world be like had that darned asteroid not obliterated the dinos from the face of the earth?’ Those Jurassic reptiles would start befriending cave boys, of course. Or so hypothesises Disney. This is the first year that two Pixar films have been released in the same twelve months – we truly are a blessed generation.
The daughter of a Scottish farmer comes of age in the early 1900s. I know that plot summary will have you running to the nearest telephone to book front row tickets for the first screening possible, but just wait one moment. SUNSET SONG (from 4 Dec) is the great auteur Terence Davies’ romantic drama set in pastoral splendour north of the border. If Davies’ dreamy nostalgia doesn’t capture your interest, then Peter Mullan’s typically menacing performance probably will. Or perhaps the chance to glimpse the next step in Agyness Deyn’s burgeoning big-screen career.
Did you really think I’d go the whole article without mentioning them…those five magic words – STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (from 17 Dec). Nothing I can say will help to add anything to the expectation and excitement for the seventh instalment in THE seminal sci-fi movie franchise. And besides, when you discover that my favourite so far is Return of the Jedi, you probably wouldn’t listen anyway.
Still after more sweet shelter from the December frost? Try odd couple road comedy GRANDMA (from 11 Dec), the long overdue THE PEANUTS MOVIE (from 18 Dec) or the second finest Christmas movie of all time, DIE HARD (11 & 12 Dec) – I’ll leave you to figure out the best…