Northwest Film Event Highlights – December 2013

‘Tis the season to gorge on movies you’ve seen a million times before, but this month’s film calendar isn’t all nostalgia. Cornerhouse serve a slice of alternative Yuletide cinema, while San Diego’s premier newsreader pitches up at MediaCityUK

Feature by Simon Bland | 02 Dec 2013

It’s Christmas, a time for giving gifts and eating too much – however, the season of goodwill isn’t always fun and frolics. Manchester’s Cornerhouse explores Santa’s dark side this December with a season of twisted festive films. The Other Side of Yuletide... An Alternative Christmas resurrects Robert Montgomery’s eerie film noir Lady in the Lake (14 Dec), the dreamlike The Curse of the Cat People (16 Dec), sinister Ealing effort Dead of Night (21 Dec), and the devilish The Queen of Spades (15 Dec), while the sobering WWII story A Midnight Clear (19 Dec) offers a rare moment of reflection during this month of festive excess.

Meanwhile, as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens on UK screens on 13 Dec, you can take a refresher course on Middle Earth (if you have 601 minutes to spare) with FACT Liverpool’s epic Lord of the Rings marathon on 8 Dec. Once you’re done, why not welcome Santa to the town with an IMAX screening of Robert Zemeckis’ immersive The Polar Express on Christmas Eve at Manchester’s Printworks? After all, you wouldn’t want to make his naughty list.

Wait a minute... this just in: Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team are coming to Manchester. That’s right, Jameson Cult Film Club are giving us Northerners the chance to hear the next big quotable lines early with a preview screening of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (14 Dec). The Jameson team plan to transform their MediaCityUK studio setting into a fully-functioning newsroom, complete with cocktails and salon-quality hair makeovers. Naturally, this is kind of a big deal (sorry) and sure to be more exciting than having ribs for lunch (so sorry). As such, tickets will be dished out at random via an online Facebook ballot – 60% of the time, it works every time – so best get applying at Jameson Cult Film Screening Facebook page.

Back to Christmas. What’s that famous festive phrase? “Ho, Ho, Ho! Now I’ve got a machine gun”? It is according to John McClane. He’ll be infiltrating FACT this month along with a selection of seasonal faves: The Nightmare Before Christmas (13 Dec), Batman Returns (14 Dec), Die Hard (15 Dec), Trading Places (17 Dec) and Gremlins (18 Dec) – there’s lots on offer but if you’re strapped for time we recommend two Dickens adaptations, the Chrimbo classics The Muppet Christmas Carol (14 Dec) and Scrooged (19 Dec). If you really want to overdose on that warm fuzzy Christmas feeling, however, the Home Alone 1 & 2 double bill on 22 Dec is simply unmissable. Merry Christmas, you filthy animals.