Festive Movie Round-Up

With this year’s multiplexes clogged up by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Cats, those in search of a more Christmassy movie will need to look elsewhere. Thankfully, in London, the BFI Southbank always pulls out some Yuletide specials from its proverbial stocking. This year is no different, with screenings of Tim Burton’s stop-motion animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas and Joe Dante’s Gremlins, in which malevolent critters overrun a quaint American town on the eve of the holiday season.

For those seeking a more traditional Christmas movie, the BFI is also showing Scrooge, the 1961 black-and-white movie starring Alastair Sim as the mean-spirited humbug-spitting anti-hero of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. There’s also the chance to see Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas. And, yes, it wouldn’t be Xmas without Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Intriguingly, there is also a season devoted to the TV pantomime – including, for those born in the 1970s, a chance to relive their youth, with the Crackerjack Xmas special.

In Glasgow, meanwhile, at the city’s Glasgow Film Theatre, there are screenings of Jon Favreau’s modern Christmas classic Elf with Will Ferrell and The Muppet Christmas Carol, another spin on the Dickens perennial with Michael Caine as Scrooge. Another film beloved by kids, the John Hughes-scripted Home Alone, also shows; for those who enjoyed Joe Pesci’s return in The Irishman, here’s a chance to see him in comic mode.

Looking for a bit of twinkly luxury? The Luna Winter Cinema offers up the opportunities to watch films in plush locations ranging from St. George’s Hall in Liverpool to Kensington Palace in London. Among the films coming up – aside from numerous screenings of Elf – there’s a chance to see Jim Carrey in How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Jude Law and Cameron Diaz (remember her?) in festival romance The Holiday.

If you’re in Bristol, you’ll also be able to catch The Muppet Christmas Carol, playing in the Auditorium of the Bristol Old Vic. And those living in Manchester have an enormous array of choice, including screenings of The Snowman at The Bridgewater Hall, accompanied by The Hallé orchestra performing Craig Armstrong’s score. The King Street Townhouse also features showings of The Polar Express, Santa Claus: The Movie and Four Christmases. Wherever you are, it won’t be hard to find some Christmas spirit on the silver screen this December.

James Mottram

1. Still from
The Holiday (2006).