It’s the first week of December, and that of course means Christmas films, of which there are several. There’s also Harry Potter with a Hunchback, a biopic about a woman who escaped the Gestapo, and an early 20th Century Scottish coming of age story. All in, not a bad week.
The first week of December just wouldn’t be complete without a Christmas film. Fortunately, we get a bunch this week, with the first, Christmas with the Coopers, being released on Tuesday. Unfortunately, despite its pretty neat sounding cast – Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms, Diane Keaton, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin – the film appears to be about as good as can be expected from a Christmas film that isn’t Elf (that is, not too good).
Onto the real stuff now, with this week’s biggest release – Victor Frankenstein. A re-telling of Mary Shelley’s famous horror story (or, like, not-quite horror, horror wasn’t really a thing back then) starring James McAvoy as the eponymous Dr. Frankenstein, and Daniel Radcliffe as his assistant Igor. Essentially an origin story (yaaayy!), the film looks at Igor’s relationship with Frankenstein before the whole “monster thing” happened. It hasn’t received much in the way of praise, but is probably still worth a watch. It is released on Thursday.
Next up as a little British film, The Honourable Rebel (you can tell it’s British because honourable is spelled correctly). Starring Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones), the film is a biopic, telling the story of Elizabeth Montagu, a filmmaker-y, actor-y person who escaped from the Gestapo (in the Second World War, obviously) and worked as a secret agent in Switzerland. There aren’t any reviews out yet, so who knows what the film will be like, but if the premise intrigues you, go see it. It receives a limited release on Friday.
Another smaller film, this time American black comedy/horror Krampus. The film stars Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation, Step Brothers), Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine), and David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), and is directed by Michael Dougherty, who wrote X-Men 2 and Superman Returns. It tells the story of a boy who accidentally summons a Christmas demon to his home – fun for all the family! The film is released this Friday.
Another kinda biggie this week is The Night Before. Starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Anthony Mackie, The Night Before is the third Christmas film of the week, a comedy about three friends who have an annual tradition of spending Christmas together. The film, directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), is probably going to be one of those that is funny, right up until actual emotion sneaks up on you and grabs you unaware. It’s received fairly positive criticism so far, and is released on Friday.
Wrapping things up this week is another small British film by the legendary Terrence Davies. Sunset Song, based on the novel of the same name by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, follows a young Scottish farm girl, in a coming of age story set just before the outbreak of the First World War. Starring Agyness Davies (Clash of the Titans), alongside Peter Mullan (Children of Men, Harry Potter) and Kevin Guthrie (Sunshine on Leith), the film premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival where it received mild praise. The film sees a limited release on Friday.