Twinkling lights tarting up the town? Check. Temperatures plummeting to sub-zero, snow-inducing depths? Check. John Lewis and Marks and Spencers into marketing overdrive? Check. It can only mean one thing – Christmas is right around the corner. All over Scotland, cinemas are celebrating with a bumper pack of new releases, and Edinburgh’s twin independent strongholds of the Cameo and the Filmhouse have produced five apiece for your viewing pleasure. Here’s what’s in store this December:
Michael Haneke / France, Austria, Germany / 2017 / 107 mins
From the man who brought us 2009’s creepfest The White Ribbon and 2012 Oscar fodder Amour comes an intense, anxiety-ridden study of a family on the brink of a breakdown, with the volatile migrant crisis in Europe as its backdrop. So something to get you into the Christmas spirit, then. Too much to hope the title isn’t ironic?
James Franco / USA / 2017 / 103 mins
How good does a movie have to be to achieve cult status and get its own making-of parody? Well, either pretty damn good or downright terrible, in the case of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 monstrosity The Room. Here, James Franco and Seth Rogen dissect the movie’s production with predictably juvenile and hilarious results.
David Gordon Green / USA / 2017 / 119 mins
From the ashes of disaster, hope and courage can often spring. That’s what’s on the menu in this biopic of Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the 2013 Boston marathon bombing, as he struggles to put the pieces of his splintered life together after the tragedy.
Dave McCary / USA / 2017 / 97 mins
When his favourite children’s TV show Brigsby Bear Adventures comes to an abrupt end, fully-grown man James Pope decides to enlist the help of his friends to finish the series himself. From the director of Epic Rap Battles from History and a regular SNL writer comes this offbeat, goofball comedy about making your way in the world.
Takashi Miike / Japan, UK / 2017 / 140 mins
An incredibly impressive 100th feature film for the director, Blade of the Immortal is an adaptation of the popular Hiroaki Samura manga series of the same name. After being damned to immortality, a samurai must dispatch 1,000 do-badders before his soul will be safe. Epic stuff.
Joshua Z Weinstein / USA / 2017 / 82 mins
Fresh from a showing at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Menashe is a father-son story that looks at societal pressures inside the Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn. Balancing humour and pathos without becoming sentimental or schmaltzy, the film is a rare insight into a world seldom depicted on the silver screen.
Rian Johnson / USA / 2017 / 152 mins
You know it’s Christmas when Hollywood wheels out the big family blockbusters – and they don’t come much blockier or bustier than the Star Wars franchise. Having finally tracked Luke Skywalker down to a ramshackle abode atop a remote precipice, Rey must now set about solving the riddles and mysteries of The Force.
Ai Weiwei / Germany / 2017 / 140 mins
Award-winning artist Ai Weiwei puts forced displacement under the spotlight in this staggering documentary. Encompassing 23 countries and touching on the common story of 65 million people, Human Flow recognises the sheer lunacy of allowing such a situation to come about in the 21st century – as well as the enduring spirit of those affected.
Joachim Trier / Norway, France, Denmark, Sweden / 2017 / 116 mins
Thelma is a nice Norwegian girl who just wants to escape the pressures of her strict family. Running for the bright lights of Oslo, she discovers feelings inside herself she never knew she was capable of – as well as some uncanny supernatural powers, to boot. Unsettling all the way.
Aaron Sorkin / USA / 2017 / 140 mins
Truth is certainly sometimes stranger than fiction, and the real-life account of an Olympic skier who became wanted by the FBI after running the world’s highest-stakes poker game is testament to that old adage. A fascinating story told with deft direction and exemplary acting.