7 must watch moves to enjoy over Christmas
Is Christmas stressing you out? Don’t worry. There are a bunch of great movies on offer this week to help make your festive season a little more relaxed. Happy viewing and Happy Christmas!
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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
Daniel Craig and his questionable Deep South accent are back for this Knives Out follow-up - the first of two sequels for which Netflix paid an absolute fortune (a cool $469 million to be precise). Thankfully for everyone, Glass Onion is an absolute joy. Not following on directly from the last story, detective Benoit Blanc and a new cast of extremely colourful characters are invited to a party on a Greek island by a tech billionaire called Miles Bron (Ed Norton).
WATCH: Daniel Craig returns as Benoit Blanc
Suffice it to say the celebrations don’t quite go to plan. Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr and an especially flamboyant Kate Hudson co-star, along with a stunning setting that makes the whole experience not just a brain tickler but also very easy on the eye. Cluedo was never this glamorous!
The Pale Blue Eye (cinemas)
There are very few things better than an eerie whodunnit to enjoy during the winter season and The Pale Blue Eye is up there with the best of them. Set in 1830, Christian Bale plays Augustus Landor, a veteran detective investigating a series of murders at the Military Academy in West Point, New York. He is helped in his job by a young cadet at the academy called (and if you know your classic literature, you’ll know this name) Edgar Allan Poe.
The result is a brilliantly moody mix of fact and fiction, with Christian Bale as wonderfully intense as always. Meanwhile, Edgar Allen Poe is played with a wild-eyed eccentricity by Harry Melling - you might remember him as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films back in the day. Clever stuff. Gillian Anderson, Lucy Boynton, Timothy Spall, and Robert Duvall co-star.
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Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (cinemas)
British actor Naomi Ackie stars as the American legend in this sparkling biopic that’s superb at showing the Whitney behind the famous smile and outfits. We know her professional life was a triumph but behind closed doors things were more problematic and I Wanna Dance With Somebody doesn’t hide away from the singer’s issues.
Co-star Stanley Tucci plays Whitney’s record label mentor Clive Davis and since the real Clive is also a producer this does occasionally feel a film about how wonderful a person he is. It’s also one of the most conventional biopics of recent years (unlike, say, Rocketman). But with those songs, that story, and Naomi Ackie tearing up the screen, there’s still a lot to enjoy.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (Sky Cinema)
Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) becomes aware that the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen, making his debut in the series) is plotting to gain control over the wizarding world. Knowing he cannot stop him alone, Dumbledore enlists the help of everyone’s favourite magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead a team against him. These prequels still might not be as good as the original Harry Potter series that inspired them but Jude Law is on good form as the iconic wizard, giving us a fun insight into what made him the Hogwarts headmaster that we know and love.
The Duke (Sky Cinema)
If a film stars Jim Broadbent and Dame Helen Mirren you can pretty be sure you’re in safe hands and The Duke is thankfully no exception to that rule. Set in Newcastle in 1961, this is the true story of the wonderfully eccentric, strong-minded Kempton Bunton, a man who made the headlines when he confessed to stealing a famous portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. Why did he do it? To raise awareness about benefits for OAPs, briefly turning Kempton into a folk hero. Unsurprisingly, Jim Broadbent is a joy in this, so full of great lines and a charmingly eccentric outlook on life, with Helen Mirren his supportive but more sensible other half.
Strange World (Disney+)
Disney’s latest animation centres on the Clade family - a group of explorers who have to set aside their differences when they find themselves journeying deep underground and discovering some very peculiar things beneath the surface of their beloved home town. Those underground scenes are spectacular too, a riot of vibrant colours and weird creatures, whilst the plot is enjoyably fast and zippy, packing a real punch with its eco-friendly and open-minded message. Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Dennis Quaid and Jaboukie Young-White provide the voices.
British star Georgina Campbell hit big in 2022 with this clever and creepy story of a woman who finds the rental property she’s booked in a rundown area of Detroit already has someone staying there. Odd - but nothing as odd as what follows! A hit with both critics and audiences, Barbarian is a scarily unpredictable tale of hidden secrets and a disturbing past. You have been warned! Bill Skarsgård and Justin Long co-stars.
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