Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Published November 29th 2020
Romantic Movies To Gangster And Horror This Christmas
If you're running out of movies to watch, here are some of the new film releases to look out for during December 2020. From British festive gangster action to a Scottish rom-com featuring a former Doctor Who, there's plenty of choices.
Want some gangster action with a Christmas theme, try out this new independent Brit flick starring Bradley Taylor, Cary Crankson, Nathaniel Martello-White and the long-awaited movie return of Frank Harper.
Recently released from prison, Mark (Taylor) attempts to reconnect with his daughter and hopes to give her a Christmas to remember, but going straight is never that easy.
Brit gangster festive action in Silent Night
Struggling to find work, he falls in with his wacky, former cell-mate Alan, played by Crankson, which results in Mark returning to a life of crime for one last job for ruthless gangster Caddy.
Frank Harper returns to the movie screen in the hard man role he does so well, following on from Billy Bright in The Football Factory and Dog in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. This time he stars as Caddy and hasn't lost any of his menacing screen presence.
Silent Night is directed by emerging British filmmaker Will Thorne, who said he loved the ritual of watching Christmas movies so much that he wanted to create something that was "uniquely British, cinematic and entertaining in the hope people would want to return to it".
Thorne added: "After the year that we've all had, I'm pretty sure what we need right now is a South London hitman movie set at Christmas!"
Distributor: Lightbulb Film Distribution and Break Em Films
Release Date: In UK Cinemas from December 11, on Digital Download from December 14vand on DVD from December 28. Find It At: cinemas near you or digital platforms.
A Christmas Carol
With a slight twist on the original Charles Dickens masterpiece, this version follows a Victorian family as they prepare a toy-theatre for their annual performance of A Christmas Carol.
The audience enters the imagination of one of the children and quickly the cardboard stage transforms to reveal a magical world containing real dancers and stylised sets.
Adding originality to this well-known tale is that the characters are portrayed by dancers and voiced by a cast of famous actors including Martin Freeman, Carey Mulligan, Simon Russell Beale, Daniel Kaluuya and Andy Serkis.
Famed theatre actor Simon Russell Beale is the voice of Scrooge who is even joined by the voice of legendary actress Lesley Caron as The Ghost of Christmas Past and Dame Sian Philips as The Narrator.
The premise is two strangers, who have both had bad break-ups, end up stranded in the Scottish Highlands together on Christmas Eve.
They team up to try and get home to Glasgow in time for Christmas but find themselves holed up with a motley crew of guests at a Glencoe inn trying to avoid Christmas.
Based on the acclaimed 2015 short film Perfect Strangers, it's a heartwarming tale, although more rough around the edges than the usual slick Hollywood romcoms, but there is a charm to it.
It's strange to see former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy and Emmerdale's Joe Sugden - Frazer Hines - with Scottish accents as some of the guests. Plus there is Clare Grogan, famous for Gregory's Girl, and Sanjeev Kohli, of Still Game, among the extra additions in this gently comic film.
Lost At Christmas is set in the remote Scottish town of Fort William on Christmas Eve and moves on to the picture-postcard snowy Moors of Glencoe, so this is sure to do no end of good for Scottish tourism too.
Distributor: Blue Finch Film Releasing and Magic Monkey Films
Release Date: December 4 in cinemas and December 7 on digital download
Find It At: cinemas near you or digital platforms like iTunes and Google.
You couldn't get further away from Christmas cheer with this latest horror flick from Danse Macabre.
The Ringmaster sees two young women working the night shift at a secluded gas station unwittingly become the stars of a terrifying show streamed live on the dark web.
The Ringmaster is not for the faint hearted
The pair, played by Anne Bergfeld and Karin Michelsen, are not only held captive by a sadistic ringmaster and his cohorts but forced to play a game of life and death as an unseen audience decide their fate.
Directed by Soren Juul Petersen, the movie is based on Finale - a best-selling Nordic noir novel by Steen Langstrup.
It's a horror with very dark themes, so not for the faint-hearted but has received 8 nominations and four awards including Best Feature - Horror Hound (USA), Best Feature - Moscow Horror Fest (Russia) and Best Feature - Motor City Nightmares (USA).
Distributor: Danse Macabre
Release Date: DVD and digital release on November 30. In cinemas from December 2.
Find It At: cinemas near you or Digital Platforms: Sky Store, Virgin Media, Talk Talk, Sony, I-Tunes, Amazon, Google, Microsoft. DVD Available: Asda, Tesco, Morrisons & HMV
Finding Steve McQueen
This new heist comedy set has lots of appeal with its throwback to the 1970s and a winning cast led by Vikings and Raised by Wolves star Travis Fimmel.
Based on the true story of the Youngstown mob and the biggest bank heist in American history, it weaves likeable characters, a comic script and plenty of car chases into this 91 minute film.
Amongst the line-up is Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and William Fichtner, so you know you are in safe hands. The premise is about a gang of likeminded thieves who plan a heist to steal $30 million in illegal campaign contributions from President Nixon's secret fund - but the FBI is on their trail.
Director Mark Steven Johnson moves the action between 1980 and the heist in 1972 with flashbacks and romance that keep the momentum moving.
Character-led, Finding Steve McQueen manages to offer more than the usual straight action heist movie - plus there's some great fashions and cars to enjoy too.
Distributor: The Movie Partnership
Release Date: November 16 on digital download
Find It On: iTunes, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Sky Store, Sony, TalkTalk, Virgin, Rakuten & BT