This year’s highly-anticipated heritage drama doesn’t shy away from depicting the background to the delightful innocence of Winnie-the-Pooh. After the success of ‘Saving Mr Banks’, ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ follows, with a similarly raw sadness behind the magic. Domhnall Gleeson’s performance as author AA Milne is both charming and heartbreakingly convincing. Struggling with PTSD from the trenches, Milne is determined to publish an anti-war piece upon his return from the horrors of the 1917 battlefront, much to the dismay of his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie). It is well known that it is taken from Milne’s son Christopher Robin’s innocent imagination. So, one of Britain’s best-loved tales was created, though the progression from an idea to an international sensation was hardly the fairy-tale it seemed to be. The new found popularity of the fictional sensation turns their lives upside down, causing an uncomfortable family dynamic that threatens the innocence of Christopher Robin that fuelled the fiction itself. Who will protect Christopher Robin’s childhood?
“It’s those dusty shafts of optimistic light that endure, bathing the film in a reassuring glow” (Guardian) (research Grace Atkins) Milne is in the safe hands of Domhnall Gleeson, as are we. Don’t miss a Tigger step.
An ode to 19th century icon Vincent van Gogh in his own colours.
Set a year after his apparent suicide, Armand (Douglas Booth) a postmaster’s son, sets off to deliver a last letter to his brother Theo, only to find Theo has also passed away. Armand takes it upon himself to investigate the mystery surrounding Vincent’s death. Was he murdered? He starts interviewing those who knew him as well as anybody might: his paint supplier (John Sessions), his doctor (Jerome Flynn) the doctor’s daughter (Saoirse Ronan) and a boatman (Aidan Turner). All provide conflicting accounts, creating a fractured portrait that never resolves into a clear picture.
Painstakingly made over seven years, directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman recreated the paintings of Van Gogh with actors, then employed 125 artists to paint over 62,450 frames in the artist’s style.
‘The world’s first fully painted film’, every frame is a pastiche of a van Gough canvas. Landscapes pulse and throb, swirl and scintillate. Sometimes Vincent’s iconic images are coyly referenced, though happily the film stops short of the sunflowers.
“One of the most beautiful films of 2017” (Empire) (research Emma Filippedes). One of the most stunning big screen films of any year. Cancel the paint. Come.
“What follows is true” flashes on the screen in the opening shot, that truth is revealed to be a clean, easily digestible replica bathed in honeyed cinematography and sentimentalised adulation.
A tea-broker who contracted polio in Kenya in the late 1950s, just a year into married life, the paralysed Robin Cavendish was put on a respirator and given months to live. But more than 20 years later, thanks to a wholegrain blend of resourcefulness, gumption and an upper lip so stiff it could have supported his own bodyweight, he is still going strong.
Andy Serkis takes time out from mo-capping goblins and apes to direct this non-prescription pick-me-up about overcoming adversity. It may all sound like Oscar bait, there’s a sneaking suspicion that any able-bodied actor playing a disabled role has hidden an acceptance speech somewhere about the wheelchair, but Andrew Garfield's performance is so obviously sincere that it blasts away such scepticism. It's hard not to be moved by a man's selfless actions to help thousands of people in need and to provide them with the mobility they need. (research Jack Whiting) Come and breathe it in.
Writer and director Armando Iannucci returns in impeccable form with his hilariously skewed history lesson, detailing the events leading up to and the chaotic aftermath of the infamous Soviet leader’s demise.
Steve Buscemi heads up a stellar cast as Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the Communist Party who is granted the daunting task of organising Stalin's state funeral. With every move under fierce scrutiny from Vyacheslav Molotov (of explosive ‘cocktail’ fame, played by a menacingly Pythonesque Michael Palin) police chief Lavrentiy Beria and Jeffrey Tambor’s idiotic George Malenkov, a power struggle emerges within the Kremlin.
Those familiar with superb political send-up The Thick of It and its feature adaptation In the Loop will instantly recognise the hallmarks of Iannucci’s writing; tinges of sharp-witted dialogue and streaks of extreme profanity littered throughout, making for a brilliantly bizarre pageant of madness.
Smartly drawing parallels between the politics of certain contemporary leaders and those of long-dead oppressive regimes, The Death of Stalin entertainingly and successfully argues that once you strip away the banners, badges and bravado, they are hard to tell apart.
“Acted with icy and ruthless force by an A-list lineup who squeeze every gorgeous horrible drop.” (Guardian) (research Chris Coetsee) Don’t miss a drop. Terrifying and delicious.
Just when you thought the shrieking tones of millions of kids screaming Let It Go had finally silenced, we're delighted to inflict the torture all over again.
While we're waiting on that eventual and inevitable full-fat Frozen sequel, here's a reminder of where the phenomenon began. Having been forced to isolate herself because of her icily magical powers, Princess Elsa shuns her sister Anna's attentions for fear that she may harm her. But when an outbreak of eternal winter sends Elsa into exile, Anna is in hot pursuit, aided by (among others), Olaf. Speaking of the lovable snowman, he gets his own mini adventure in this wonderful little spinoff. Aided by Sven (the clumsy reindeer from the film), Olaf must venture out of the icy kingdom and bring back with them the tradition of Christmas to the two sisters.
Unlike the main feature, the short has no shame in directly channeling the spirit of the holidays; with new songs to learn, and plenty of Christmas cheer, it's a perfect way to kick-start the winter season. (Jack Whiting)
Leave all your Christmas cheer at home; no one is walking in the air, no moonlit sky; only death and despair. Welcome to 2017's The Snowman.
Taken from Jo Nesbø’s hugely popular book series, Michael Fassbender is Nesbø’s loose-cannon detective Harry Hole, an alcoholic liability whose actual methods of investigation involve stumbling on information much more than figuring it out.
As Harry and partner Katrine (the understated, screen-beauty Rebecca Ferguson) rifle through years of missing-persons reports, we’re introduced to a whole grotto’s-worth of carrot-noses. There are forlorn-looking snowmen and irked-looking snowmen; flashbacks featuring Val Kilmer as a detective predecessor uncovering remote mountaintop snowmen. At one point there’s even a snowman bearing the severed head of Chloe Sevigny!
Director, Tomas Alfrederson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor) is no stranger to the cold, and has crafted a serviceable, workmanlike thriller, ticking off surviving plot points as though filling in some I-Spy Book of Scandinavian Crime clichés, complete with gruesome imagery, and set in the freezing cities of Oslo and Bergen, locations that always look remote, islanded and forbidding. Bring a scarf. (research Jack Whiting) It is far too thrilling to fall asleep, knitting one in row D.
It only took about 30 years for Blade Runner to cement itself as one of the greats; largely ignored upon release. No such qualms here, this is an instant classic.
The same number of years has passed in Philip K. Dick's sci-fi future, we follow LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling) as he tracks and executes rogue 'replicants', originally designed to serve us. These automata, who have developed their own consciousness, simply want to live as we do. But K soon uncovers a secret that could plunge society into chaos. All the clues lead to Harrison Ford's… Deckard.
Expanding upon the themes of the original including intimacy; our attachment to memories and how it defines our humanity, 2049 is a philosopher’s wet dream.
Every frame of this mesmerising, meticulous mindbender is a visual feast to gorge on; the dystopian landscapes stretch out from the screen, piercing your eyeballs; the soundtrack is not so much music as a collection of ambient rumbles that perfectly accompany the slick cinematography. It's a slow-burn film noir, and one of the great (non) sequels of our time. (reseach Jack Whiting) If you have, this is not the time to miss it twice. If you haven’t, you will want that ‘wet dream’ over again. Come.