Previews: The Man Who Invented Christmas Trailer, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including The Man Who Invented Christmas trailer, Phantom Thread, Daddy’s Home 2 and more…

The Man Who Invented Christmas Trailer

Here is the first The Man Who Invented Christmas trailer. The film stars Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens, and tells the story behind the classic A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri, the film also stars Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, and Miriam Margolyes. The Man Who Invented Christmas hits UK screens on 1st December 2017.

Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built Trailer

This looks suitably chilling. Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built is inspired by true events, and is about Winchester fortune heiress, who keeps construction going on her house for decades. The film stars Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, and Sarah Snook. Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built is set for release in UK cinemas on 2nd March 2018.

Daddy’s Home 2 Clip

Here is a clip from upcoming comedy sequel Daddy’s Home 2. A follow-up to 2015’s Daddy’s Home, the film sees the return of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s characters as they celebrate Christmas. This time, they are joined by their own dads, played by John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. Daddy’s Home 2 is out in UK cinemas on 22nd November 2017, with previews on 18th and 19th November.

Darkest Hour Poster

Here is one of the latest posters for Darkest Hour. Directed by Joe Wright (Pan, Anna Karenina), the film is about the lead up to Britain entering World War II. Gary Oldman is unrecognisable as Winston Churchill. He is joined by Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, and Ben Mendelsohn. Darkest Hour hits UK screens on 12th January 2018.

Phantom Thread Trailer

Here is the trailer for the eagerly anticipated Phantom Thread. The film is the second collaboration between writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Daniel Day-Lewis. The film is about a fashion designer who falls in love with a young woman, who becomes his  muse. The film also stars Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps. Phantom Thread is out in UK cinemas on 2nd February 2018.

Journey’s End Trailer

Journey’s End is based on the play and novel of the same name. The film is about a company on the front-line trenches in France during World War I. Journey’s End stars Sam Claflin (My Cousin Rachel), Asa Butterfield, and Toby Jones. The film is set for release on 2nd February 2018.

Film Review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls is an emotional fantasy drama. It is a film about storytelling, and it is wonderfully crafted.

Conor is struggling to deal with his mother’s illness, whilst having a tough time at school. When a monster comes to visit him just after midnight, hoping to teach Connor the truth through stories…

Based on novel by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls it perfectly blends a genuinely emotional drama with fantasy elements. The two compliment each other very well in director J.A. Bayonne’s capable hands. The story unfolds at a good pace, as Connor must come to terms with his mother’s illness. The opening dream sequence gives a small taste of things to come, and is a startling beginning.

A Monster Calls has an feel of A Christmas Carol in its set up of the repeated visits. It is refreshing to watch a family film that deals with serious issues without shying away or sugarcoating themes. Some aspects are predictable, but the film is crafted in a way which makes this not matter.

The film is a combination of live action, CGI and animation. The animated sequences are wonderfully rendered, give a real fantasy tone to the film. There is a lot of symbolism in the film. There are also repeated motifs, which tie in neatly to the overall narrative. The score works well, although it is slightly overblown in the finale. These scenes are emotional enough without requiring the extra push. Indeed, some of the scenes without it are the most effective.

Lewis McDougall delivers an impressive performance as Conor. Sigourney Weaver also puts in a good turn as his grandmother. Liam Neeson is a great choice for voicing the monster. Performances throughout the film are strong.

A Monster Calls conveys the difficulty in facing uncomfortable truths in unfortunate circumstances. J.A. Bayona has delivered a poetic and engaging film.

A Monster Calls is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.

God Bless Us, Everyone

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Instead of doing a traditional ‘best Christmas movies’ list, I thought I would put a slight spin on it. Below are my top three Christmas films, my top three films set at Christmas (where the main plot revolves around something other than Christmas) and my top three films screened at this time of year (but that have nothing to do with Christmas).

Traditional Christmas Films

1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

What is Christmas without The Muppet Christmas Carol? A surprising faithful adaptation of Dickens’ perennial classic (albeit with Muppets and songs), Brian Henson’s 1992 film is heart warming. Tiny Tim is one of the most endearing characters in film history, while the songs and humour make The Muppet Christmas Carol a festive essential.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas

With beautiful imagery, a great score by Danny Elfman and a charming plot, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas has become a Christmas staple. Jack Skellington does what we all secretly want to do; take over Christmas. Kidnapping the Sandy Claws is not the standard Christmas fare, however it is an awful lot of fun.

3. Scrooged

Another version of A Christmas Carol makes my top three, but for good reason. Yes, the very ending of the film descends into a reservoir of schmaltz. However up to this point, Scrooged is most amusing in its rendition of the Dickens tale by way of a television executive in late 1980s New York. It also features the cutest human Tiny Tim in the form of Calvin.

Films Set At Christmas

1. Batman Returns

‘Come what may, Merry Christmas Mr Wayne’. Batman Returns, set against the backdrop of the festive season, is rather a tragedy. But a fine comic book film, with the festive season rearing its head again and again. Gotham’s own Santa Claus turns about to be not as charitable as you would hope.

2. Gremlins

Subversion is the order of the day in Joe Dante’s Gremlins. The Bedford Falls-esque town is terrorised by small malevolent creatures in this black, Christmas-set comedy. Gizmo is one of the hottest characters ever committed to the silver screen, who wouldn’t want him as a Christmas present?

3. Die Hard

The ultimate Christmas-set action movie, Die Hard is nothing short of iconic. The office Christmas party goes awry, and only one man can save the day. No matter how bad your Christmas Eve may be, it’s a certainty that John McClane’s is worse.

Films Screened At Christmas

1. Labyrinth

I first saw Labyrinth on 24th December 1989. I am not sure if Labyrinth is one of my favourite films because I saw it on Christmas Eve, or if Christmas Eve is my favourite day because that was when I first saw Labyrinth. Whichever way, Labyrinth is a glorious 1980s fantasy musical.

2. The Wizard of Oz

I first saw The Wizard of Oz as a toddler around Christmastime. Needless to say, I was terrified by the Wicked Witch, and confused as to why mother was letting me watch a horror movie at such a young age. Wizard of Oz became a classic because of its constant scheduling in the Christmas period, something that still holds true today.

3. Singin’ in the Rain

My first viewing of Singin’ in the Rain was on Christmas Day. It is another film which has nothing to do with Christmas but is frequently screened in the holiday period. It is easy to see why; memorable tunes, some great comedy and the beguiling talent of Gene Kelly.