Ho! Ho! Ho!
December is here and Christmas has definitely arrived at the cinema. Over the next few weeks, expect plenty of big blockbusters and a splattering of Christmas films too. Let's hope for much cheer and merriment and not too many turkeys!
Anyhow, let's get on with the pudding shall we ….
Black Sea (15)
The notion that every generation deserves its submarine flick is true … although perhaps it is even more than every other generation. Claustrophia, high tension, isolation … submarine flicks touch the human psyche on the big screen.
Jude Law plays the rogue captain who pulls together an international crew to seek out Hitler's Treasure in the Black Sea - the prize is the cause of greed, desperation and ultimately survival.
This is though a bit more than just a sub thriller though - it is also part social commentary, part heist, part adventure - all rolled into one.
The ambitious setup is in the capable hands of Kevin MacDonald, a director who knows how to craft a great tension filled thriller.
Reviews have been a little on the mixed side which is surprising considering the director who has a magnificent track record. Even if it is not a classic, the pedigree on board is enough for me to think it sounds like a grand adventure worth investing time in.
St. Vincent (15)
It's always a good day when Bill Murray returns to the big screen. It is an even better day when the actual film is worth something.
In St. Vincent, a young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend …. enter Bill Murray, an war veteran with a set of questionable traits including alcohol and gambling, as the man who moves in next door. The setup and premise is a good one and as role models go for young kids, an obnoxious Bill Murray is unbearable.
As with all Bill Murray flicks, you go to see Murray, but even some of his less funny efforts push the credibility of such a statement. On this occasion, I hope this is the sort of material that will actually match up to his comedy genius, and with capable support from Melissa McCarthy Naomi Watts and Chris O'Dowd I look forward to this one.
Get Santa (U)
Christmas film number one this week. Jim Broadbent plays Santa who is discovered in London by a young kid called Tom. He has crash landed whilst trying a new sleigh but he is arrested and thrown in prison. Christmas is in danger and it is up to Tom and his father Steve (Rafe Spall) to save the day and get him back to Lapland.
Whilst the trailer doesn't allude to it being in the great pantheon of yuletide films of years gone by, there is a bumbling charm about the premise and, given its Britishness, will hopefully revel in the knowing silliness of it all as well.
…. And Broadbent as Santa - that's an obvious bit of genius casting, surely!
Just in time for the festive season, frantic and silly kids entertainment comes in the form of penguins on a big adventure in the Madagascar universe which has proven so successful.
The penguins in question are covert spies joining forces with an undercover organisation called The North Wind. Led by handsome Agent Classified voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch they are tasked with stoping Dr. Octavius Brine, voiced by John Malkovich, from destroying the world as we, errr they, know it.
From the plot line, it is definitely looking to have fun, if nothing else, educating the young'uns about the great action films (and cliches) that they have to look forward to when they grow up.
Elsewhere this week, The Electric is showing What We Do In the Shadows (15), a droll sounding comedy which follows the lives of three flatmates who are just trying to get by, and they also happen to be immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. They balance the vampiricism with the mundane like paying rent and keeping up with the chores. At the mac, they are showing Leviathan which has been getting some terrific reviews (100% positive of Rotten Tomatoes) and is a Russian tale on a grand scale offering trenchant, well-crafted social satire - described as chilling, beautiful and rebellious. It is also the Russian nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Oscars.
That's it from me. As always, complaints, queries, quibbles or just festive cheer are always much appreciated at @timmy666 on twitter.
Until next week, keep things cinematic!