Welcome to this week’s #AtTheFlix. The festive season has arrived! Cue to the usual mix of Christmas films, hefty blockbusters and a cinematic blend to either make you reach for a celebratory mug of glogg or make you scream, “bah humbug”. Let’s take our weekly look at what’s hitting the big screen in Birmingham over the next week.
Victor Frankenstein (12A)
The first sizeable adaptation of Mary Shelley’s eponymous novel since Kenneth Branagh’s underrated version of Frankenstein, pitches James McAvoy as Victor Frankenstein alongside his assistant played by Daniel Radcliffe.
A big link to this film is Sherlock – not only is the film is directed by talented Sherlock regular Paul McGuigan but also features Mark Gatiss and Andrew Scott amongst others.
Sadly all this talent a good movie does not make! Judging by the less than favourable reviews, the impressive cast is not matched by the material – a film guilty of taking, or more arguably grabbing, influences from films that are nearly all superior than this. Just be grateful then for the many superior Frankenstein films that have been made over time!
In the spirit of Christmas horror films, the title Krampus immediate evokes a hint of dark, knowing humour. Hoping that its execution matches the title, Krampus tells the story of a boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.
In horror fan circles, the anticipation for this film is palpable – it looks like it might actually being able to deliver a blend of flat out nastiness along with humour – in the year that saw the passing of Wes Craven, Krampus seems like the sort of fare that he would have appreciated along with a fun factor – it could be seen as something of companion piece to something like A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Night Before, The (15)
I like much of what Seth Rogan does. He has ability to make ‘all’ audiences laugh and in this Christmas comedy, brings a festive mix to the usual stuff you’d come expect from Seth Rogan films – the bromance of three long-time friends, the flat out ‘crude’ situations mixed and with tenderness and affability and a hefty dollop of pathos to boot.
His scripts never pretend to be anything that they’re not and even if some of his efforts don’t land consistently, a curate’s egg of a Rogan film still packs something to make you chuckle. Furthermore, with The Night Before, Rogan might also have an ability to bring folks to the cinema who ordinarily wouldn’t watch Christmas films – a film that celebrates Christmas through a Rogan blender, quite literally.
Christmas With The Coopers (12A)
From a distance, I approach such a flick with a sense of trepidation – a large ensemble cast, a Christmas family theme and a comedic undercurrent, this feels like one of those ‘by committee’ studio affairs in the vein of Valentines Day or New Years Eve that I would ordinarily run a mile from watching.
The plot involves four generations of the same family convening for their annual Christmas Eve get together. Then some stuff happens and things go wrong, but it brings everyone back stronger than ever in that ‘oh so typical’ Yuletide kind of way.
The big issue is that the whole thing seems so full of clichés that even when I read the predictable plot, it incurs a sense of impending tedium. Joy is not a word I’d apply here ….
… Then again I might be wrong!
BFI Love: A Brief Encounter at Moor Street Station (PG)
With tickets available from Friday to Sunday, and selling fast, the mac invite you to Moor Street Station for the classic love tale between a housewife and a factor! This seems like a joyous experience combining the splendour of Moor Street Station, an iconic film and some festive cheer.
Does anyone know if Terence Davies’s Sunset Song (15), out this week, is being shown in Birmingham?
That’s it from me this week. As always any queries, please drop me a line on twitter @timmy666. Until next time, have a great week at the cinema.