Our final monthly London film events roundup of 2016 includes Elf screenings, Die Hard in 70mm, quizzes and festivals. Here are all the cinema treats happening in the capital this December.
For a more up-to-date guide, check out the best film releases, screenings and seasons of March 2017.
There are no two ways about it, 2016 was an absolute shit of a year. Brexit, Donald Trump, and Honey G staying in X Factor for as long as she did proved to rational people that there is, in fact, no more rationality in the world. It’s all just a maelstrom of crap, misogyny, hate and website clicks.
Depressingly (if that word can even be used anymore since the yardstick for what’s depressing these days keeps shifting) ‘post-truth’ is the OED’s word of the year – and you thought life was bad when ‘selfie’ held that title in 2013.
Just when we want to forget it all, even just for one second, and get lost in some of the good things that life has given us: Bowie, Cohen, Wilder, Rickman, Wood, 2016 goes and takes them as well. K bye then!
But, like I said, we’re so close. Close to the finish line, close to a hopefully better 2017. To help us crawl over the line without breaking down we must turn to the Christmas heroes who can never be taken away from us: John McLane, Frank Cross, Billy Ray Valentine.
We must turn to the films that ramp up catharsis to maximum levels and attend as many foreign film festivals as possible (who knows when Trump will build his wall or where it will even end). So with that in mind, here is our modest round-up of all the good film stuff happening in London in the month of December.
We’re close guys. So close.
Film Festivals and Seasons:
Black Star [Oct-Dec]
BFI’s season of film, TV and special events celebrating black screen talent enters its final month. Films include classics such as In the Heat of the Night, Paris is Burning and Bird. Various strands focus on black actors in every genre, from blaxploitation icons like Mario van Peebles and Pam Grier, to emerging talent like John Boyega and Lupita Nyong’o. There’s also a nationwide re-release of John Singleton’s seminal Boyz n the Hood.
Tickets: BFI Black Star
Russian Film Week [30th Nov – 4th December]
Russian Film Week will celebrate the designation of 2016 as the UK-Russian year of language and literature as well as Russia’s “Year of cinema”, by showing the most exciting and critically acclaimed Russian films from the past 18 months.
Tickets: Russian Film Week
Nordic-Baltic film festival [1st-11th December]
The fifth edition of the festival celebrating films from the far north has expanded to include Baltic cinema alongside the best Nordic cinema. New dramas and documentaries from countries such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be showcased.
Tickets: Nordic-Baltic Film Festival 2016
French Film Festival [3rd Nov-7th December]
Now in its 24th year, the French Film Festival goes national with the best of contemporary and classic French-speaking cinema showcased in independent cinemas up and down the UK. London locations include the Barbican Centre, Ciné Lumière and Regent Street Cinema and these will show new releases such as The Death of Louis XIV and Willy 1er.
BFI’s Christmas season [December]
Showing a wide selection of Christmas films, ranging from classics such as Billy Wilder’s The Apartment to cult ones like Bad Santa, BFI’s Christmas season runs all month.
Pop Up Screen’s Cinema in the Snow [8th-18th DEC]
Pop Up Screens, which does outdoor film screenings in the summer and immersive cinema experiences in the winter, is going all out this Christmas with a Cinema in the Snow programme at the Hackney Showroom. Classic Christmas movies line-up includes Elf, Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street and The Muppets Christmas Carol. And obviously Love Actually.
Guests are invited to wear Christmas jumpers and donate at the venue towards the Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper campaign.
Tickets: Pop Up Screens
Repertory Screenings and Reissues:
Gremlins 70mm [2nd-3rd December], Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Place (the film’s very own Zach Galligan will be on stage before and after the screening giving autographs and taking photographs. Merry Christmas!)
The Muppet Christmas Carol [4th December], BFI, Southbank. (If you think it’s way to early to get into the Christmas spirit – although Christmas starts basically in August now – Bad Boys, Blue Velvet and Paterson are also on that day)
ROH Live: Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker [8th December], Picturehouse Central, Piccadilly.
House of Vans’ 90s Christmas: Edward Scissorhands and Jack Frost [10th December], House of Vans, Southbank, (Psssst, it’s FREE. Merry Christmas!)
Trading Places & Scrooged DOUBLE FEATURE [12th December], Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Place (it’s one ticket for both films!)
It’s A Wonderful Life [17th December], Nomad Cinema, Bloomsbury (Every ticket comes with free popcorn and a cocktail!)
The Shop Around The Corner [16-20th December], BFI, Southbank (Fact Attack: this is an adaptation of the Hungarian play ‘Parfumerie’. Elements of both play and film were updated in You’ve Got Mail)
Die Hard 70mm [23rd/27th December], Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Place (Which reminds us, if you dread that long Christmas dinner with terrifying relatives and having to explain why you live with five cats instead of being in a loving relationship with a human, check out our Die Hard Guide to Surviving Christmas Day. Yippee Kai Yay motherfucker!)
Elf/It’s A Wonderful Life [24th December], Regent Street Cinema, Regent Street (In case you missed the fifteen million other pre-Christmas screenings of these films)
Footloose [28th December], Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Place (Dance off that holiday weight with insanely 80s American dance moves – yes, that’s a thing, I think. There are cowboy boots so it must be a thing.)
Berlin Philharmonic New Year’s Eve Concert [31st December], Picturehouse Central, Piccadilly.
When Harry Met Sally [31st December], Prince Charles Cinema, You Know Where It Is! (You’ll come there that day because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible… or at a predetermined time, like say 6.30pm. That’s when you get a free party popper and champagne at least.)
You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat [13th December] Hackney Attic, Hackney
BFI Film Quiz [14 December] BFI Imax, Southbank
New films due out in December:
Bleed For This [2nd december]
Often referred to as one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history, Bleed For This is a biopic of Vinny Paz, a boxer who plays it fast and loose but also doesn’t know when to quit. Even a life-threatening accident that severs Vinny’s spinal chord cannot stop the dude from boxing. Despite a great cast and incredible true story, Bleed For This is ultimately a bland comeback film you’ve seen a million times before.
Chi-raq [2nd december]
Released in America last year, Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq focuses on a group of women in Chicago’s Southside who unite together following a gang-shooting and withhold sex until their partners stop the warring.
Moana [2nd december]
Moana, the latest Walt Disney animated picture, is set on a Polynesian island and follows the eponymous princess’ mythical adventure involving ancient gods and… The Rock.
Sully [2nd December]
Clint Eastwood’s Tom Hanks-starring Sully is based on the book by American aircraft pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who in 2009 was forced to crash land a plane in New York’s Hudson River.
Office Christmas Party [7th December]
Jennifer Aniston plays the CEO of a company who has decided to shut down her brother’s (T.J Miller) branch just before Christmas. He, along with Jason Bateman, proceeds to organise a no-holds-barred Christmas office party to impress a particularly important client.
Birth of a Nation [9th december]
Nate Parker’s telling of the 1813 Virginia slave rebellion focusss on its organiser Nat Turner, his background as a literate slave and bible preacher and ultimate uprising.
Snowden [9th december]
One guess as to who this film is about. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked information about the US government’s mass surveillance operations.
The Pass [9th December]
Russell Tovey and Arinzé Kene play two academy footballers and life-long friends who are rooming together the night before a huge game when they can have a shot at impressing the manager and go on to sign a lucrative contract. Tension, repression and anger all bubbling in a small room, it was one of the highlights of this year’s London Film Festival.
Star Wars: Rogue One [16th December]
One year on from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we have the very first Star Wars franchise cinematic spin-off: Rogue One. Set in the time after Episode III but before Episode IV, Rogue One is all about the Rebel Alliance’s attempt to steal the plans for the Empire’s Death Star.
Passengers [21st December]
Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt play two people who by accident get into the same Uber. Just kidding, they play two people on a 120-year voyage to a colonised planet, who accidentally wake up with 90 years still left on the clock.
Why Him? [26th December]
Brian Cranston plays a dad who is less than happy with his daughter’s boyfriend of choice, James Franco’s potty-mouthed billionaire. Some alpha-male chest beating ensues.
Collateral Beauty [30th December]
Following a tragedy, Will Smith’s New York professional retreats from everyone he loves and writes letters to Death, Time and Love. Soon, they all start replying.
Still on General Release:
Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson is a profound, sweet and contemplative film that finds duality in the minor details of everyday life.
Indignation, a film which opens with the most blunt of narrations, slowly uncoils to become another rushed and vague adaptation of a Philip Roth novel.
Your Name’s originality and inventiveness would be an enjoyable breath of fresh air in of itself. But this combined with a central romance that is at once sweetly adolescent and philosophically considered, means the film is elevated to something particularly special.
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