Give yourself the gift of cinema this Christmas

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Danny Scott takes you through this season’s big releases

Christmas is the season when you sit at home and feel … homesick.  Spending time cooped up with your family can make you pine for Christmas as it used to be. However, the chances are that you experienced this ‘remembered’ Christmas through film, not real life.

Therefore, what better way to escape (or enjoy time with) the family this festive season than a trip to your local picture house.

Danny Scott takes you through this season’s big releases

Christmas is the season when you sit at home and feel … homesick.  Spending time cooped up with your family can make you pine for Christmas as it used to be. However, the chances are that you experienced this ‘remembered’ Christmas through film, not real life.

Therefore, what better way to escape (or enjoy time with) the family this festive season than a trip to your local picture house.

Hugo

This year’s highest profile family-friendly release is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo – released 2 December.  A 2 or 3D celebration of the cinema, Hugo sees our eponymous, orphaned hero (Asa Butterfield) living in the clocks of the Gare du Nord.  His only companion is a mechanical boy whose mystery will lead him to Georges Méliès (Sir Ben Kingsley) the real-life father of cinema.  A film magician whose work Scorsese looks to celebrate in this homage to cinema.  So far, critics have universally admired this adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by author Brian Selznick but some have accused it of lacking the magic it seeks to celebrate.

The Artist

The magic of silent cinema will be recreated for modern audiences when The Artist opens on the penultimate day of 2011.  This silent film depicts a 1920s Hollywood star, eclipsed by the advent of sound and the young dancer he falls for, and is another to reaffirm one’s love of the art form. Director  Michel Hazanavicius said: “When I first told people about my idea for this movie, they just laughed at me.  Friends, actors, producers – they all laughed.  They’d say, ‘OK, OK, but what do you really want to do?’”.  But, make it he did with only one word spoken and his film has slayed critics and reportedly reignited producer Harvey Weinstein’s love of cinema.  So much so that he bought the release rights for America and plans an assault on the Oscars.

New Year’s Eve

The Artist probably won’t be joined at the Oscars by New Year’s Eve (Garry Marshall – Pretty Woman, Valentine’s Day).  An ensemble cast, including Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, all look for their slice of interweaving love or magic on Hogmanay.  Reviews suggest this is one to avoid at all costs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPEljGWwoGY

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The buzz around The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (released Boxing Day) is altogether more positive.  Director David Fincher is on a hot streak following A Social Network and has teamed up with the screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Schindlers’ List, American Gangster, Mission Impossible) to adapt Steig Larsson’s worldwide bestseller for English-speaking cinema audiences.  Many cinephiles groan when American studios remake successful foreign language films but in this case a talented director, writer, and great cast, including Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, mean expectations are high.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYyKUM1NQ8c

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Anticipation also surrounds Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows; the follow up to the surprising hit of winter 2009.  Guy Ritchie is once again in the director’s chair in charge of Robert Downey Jr who is back as Conan Doyle’s famous detective with Jude Law as Dr Watson.  They are joined in their fight against Moriarty by Noomi Rapace (the original, Swedish, Girl with a Dragon Tattoo) in a caper which looks like it will keep action, and slow-motion fight sequence, fans happy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNxhpNpnAkk