And yes, there is a Christmas film in our cinema listings for November.
ARRIVAL Fri 11 Nov
Tired of men with dressing gowns and magic powers, or flying robots hitting each other? Well, Denis Villeneuve is outlining his mission statement to reimagine a sci-fi blockbuster right here. Ahead of his Blade Runner movie, he’s whipped out this contemplative look at the age-old alien invasion scenario. Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, it sees humanity faced with the bewildering sight of several huge ships hovering above our planet’s surface. Rather than shooting to kill straight away, mankind is trying to communicate with the visitors (at least for a while). But if they’re here to eat us all or issue NASA with a ticket for littering outer-space, nobody knows. Tense, slightly abstract and joyously intelligent, this makes a welcome change from the dumb and patronising lexicon of Hollywood schlock.
BAD SANTA 2 Weds 23 Nov
It’s only a month until Christmas, and so the deluge of festive films begins. In a sequel to the wonderfully inappropriate 2003 original, Billy Bob Thornton brings us another bad-tempered instalment of seasonal offensiveness. Full of cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie Soke and his angry little sidekick Marcus are conspiring to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. Only this time there’s a cheery 250-pound youngster and Willie’s awful mother along for the ride. But none of this gang had considered our anti-hero’s feelings for the curvaceous and prim Diane, the charity director with a heart of gold and libido of steel. Will he get want he wants this year? Only Santa knows the answer.
THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN Fri 25 Nov
Directed and written by newcomer (and James L Brooks mentee) Kelly Fremon Craig, here comes a fresh look at teenage high school life. With starring roles for Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick, the man-candy comes in the form of Blake Jenner, who recently starred in Richard Linklater’s triumphant comedy Everybody Wants Some. High school junior Nadine is already awkward, but then her older brother begins dating her best friend Krista. Neither Nadine’s well-meaning (but ultimately useless) mother, nor her history teacher and reluctant-sounding board can stop her feeling lonelier than ever. Then she begins a friendship with an equally uncomfortable boy, and realises life might not be so crap after all…
A UNITED KINGDOM Fri 25 Nov
Before we get too comfy with the baby steps we’ve taken regarding racial tolerance, along comes a picture which reminds us society was quite different only short time ago. Directed by Amma Asante, and starring David Oyelowo with Rosamund Pike, this romantic drama is based on the true-life relationship between Sir Seretse Khama and his wife Ruth Williams Khama. Unfortunately, post-war Britain isn’t ready for an Anglo-African romance. Everything possible is done to keep the couple apart. South Africa isn’t happy with the high-profile pairing, and it must be appeased or Britain risks losing their supply of gold. Set against a background of a collapsing empire, governmental interference and old-fashioned bigotry, this is a story some would like to forget.
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