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Now showing at City Screen Picturehouse 13-17,Coney Street,York,Yorkshire YO1 9QL 0871 902 5726

  • Babette's Feast
  • Bolshoi Ballet Live: The Nutcracker
  • Elf
  • Frozen (Sing-A-Long Version)
  • Home Alone
  • It's A Wonderful Life
  • Kon-Tiki
  • Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb
  • Paddington
  • Royal Ballet Live Encore Screening: Alice's Adventures In Wonderland
  • Saving Santa
  • The Berlin Philharmonic's New Year's Eve Gala Concert 2014: Live Satellite Transmission
  • The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
  • The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies 3D
  • The Homesman
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death

Babette's Feast 4 stars

movie title

Martine and her sister Philippa preside over a 19th century Christian ministry. The congregation is dwindling in numbers but the siblings remain devoted to the Lord. Babette Hersant turns up at their door unannounced, bearing a letter from Philippa's one time paramour, opera singer Achille Papin, who recommends Babette as a housekeeper. Martine and Philippa agree to employ Babette and she rewards the sisters with unstinting devotion.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, World
  • CastStephane Audran, Jean Philippe Lafont, Birgitte Federspiel, Bodil Kjer.
  • DirectorGabriel Axel.
  • WriterGabriel Axel.
  • CountryDen
  • Duration104 mins
  • Official site
  • Release14/12/2012 (selected cinemas)

In 1987, Babette's Feast became the first Danish production to win the coveted Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film. To mark the 25th anniversary, Gabriel Axel's pastoral drama returns to cinemas to cast its spell over a new generation. Martine (Birgitte Federspiel) and her sister Philippa (Bodil Kjer) preside over a 19th century Christian ministry. The congregation is dwindling in numbers but the siblings remain devoted to the Lord. Babette Hersant (Stephane Audran) turns up at their door unannounced, bearing a letter from Philippa's one time paramour, opera singer Achille Papin (Jean-Philippe Lafont), who recommends Babette as a housekeeper. Martine and Philippa agree to employ Babette and she rewards the sisters with unstinting devotion. So much so, when Babette wins a small fortune on the lottery, which would allow her to return home, she spends it instead on a feast to thank her employers for their kindness.

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Sunday 21st December 2014

Bolshoi Ballet Live: The Nutcracker 3 stars

The world renowned company performs the seasonal ballet to Tchaikovsky's magical score, choreographed by former Bolshoi Artistic Director Yuri Grigorovich, broadcast live from the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Marie is stunned when the toys come to life on Christmas Eve. Then The Mouse King and his army declare war and Marie is caught in the crossfire between the mice and valiant forces led by a nutcracker in the shape of a soldier.

  • GenreDrama, Family, Fantasy, Special
  • DirectorVincent Bataillon.
  • CountryRus
  • Duration140 mins
  • Official site

The world renowned company performs the seasonal ballet to Tchaikovsky's magical score, choreographed by former Bolshoi Artistic Director Yuri Grigorovich, broadcast live from the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Marie is stunned when the toys come to life on Christmas Eve. Then The Mouse King and his army declare war and Marie is caught in the crossfire between the mice and valiant forces led by a nutcracker in the shape of a soldier.

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Sunday 21st December 2014

Elf 3 stars

Buddy has been raised as an elf at the North Pole. Unfortunately, since he was born to a human mother, Buddy is far too big for his surroundings and he constantly wreaks havoc in his miniature home. Desperate to find people like himself, Buddy leaves for New York City where he learns that his biological father is a penny-pinching curmudgeon whose only concern is his bank balance. Surrounded by people who don't believe in Christmas or indeed Santa Claus, Buddy resolves to bring the magic back to the festive season.

  • GenreAction, Children's, Comedy, Drama, Family, Family, Romance, Thriller
  • CastEdward Asner, Will Ferrell, James Caan.
  • DirectorJon Favreau.
  • WriterDavid Berenbaum.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration96 mins
  • Official site
  • Release14/11/2003 (London); 28/11/2003 (nationwide)

At one time or another, we have all felt lonely and isolated, as if we simply don't fit in. Buddy (Will Ferrell) has felt that way his entire life. Abandoned by his parents as a baby, he spent his formative years at an orphanage, until one Christmas Eve, he escaped his crib and crawled undetected into Santa's bag of toys. Accidentally carried back to Santa's workshop in the North Pole, Buddy was quickly taken under the wing by an elderly elf (Bob Newhart), who raised the youngster as his own. Buddy has grown up learning the elfish ways, including how to make toys for the world's children, but his size - he is three times larger than everyone else - and innate clumsiness make him more of a liability than a help. Santa Claus (Edward Asner) loves Buddy with all of his heart, but he is painfully aware that humans doesn't belong at the North Pole. And so he encourages Buddy to travel to New York City to meet his father biological father, Walter (James Caan), a penny-pinching publisher of children's books who cares more about his ailing empire than his family. At first, Walter doesn't believe that Buddy is his son - he thinks the young man is an imposter with eyes on his publishing firm. However, Walter reluctantly invites Buddy to his plush Manhattan apartment, where the elf discovers he has a new mother called Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and a 10-year-old step-brother called Michael (Daniel Tay), who doesn't believe in Santa or Christmas. Buddy's visions of New York as a picture postcard paradise of sugar plums and ice skating are rudely shattered and the elf savant quickly realises that festive spirit is in depressingly short supply. Surrounded by people who don't believe in Christmas or indeed Santa Claus, Buddy resolves to bring the magic back to the holiday season, and in the process, he reunites with his dad and forges a romance with a cute department store worker called Jovie (Zooey Deschanel). Elf is a hugely enjoyable and extremely fluffy slice of sugar-frosted family entertainment, spreading tidings of comfort and joy. Screenwriter David Berenbaum borrows liberally from other festive favourites including Miracle On 34th Street, A Christmas Carol and even Jingle All The Way to fashion a heart-warming parable about errant fathers and the over-commercialisation of yuletide. Ferrell exudes a childlike innocence in the lead role which endears Buddy to us as he struggles to get to grips with life in the big city. His enthusiasm for life is infectious and despite everything that life throws at him, Buddy always tries to make the best of a bad situation. He soon learns that his North Pole skills can be useful: like when he and Michael find themselves caught in the middle of a snowball fight, and Buddy unleashes a devastating salvo which sends the other kids running for cover. The fish-out-of-water comedy is well judged too, including a hilarious skit involving Buddy's first encounter with a midget. "I didn't know you have elves here..." he giggles, unaware that his comments are being taken as an insult in the current climate of rampant political correctness. There's also a disgusting moment when Buddy gathers together lumps of chewing gum stuck under railings in the street and pops them in his mouth, believing the gum to be free sweets, just like in Santa's grotto. The friction with Caan's modern day Ebenezer Scrooge thaws nicely as the film progresses, beginning with open hostility ("He's certifiably insane," shrieks Walter to the doctor who carries out a DNA test on Buddy) which is tempered only by Emily's desire to see her husband reunite with his son. "You can't just throw him out in the snow," she tells Walter, when the old coot considers ejecting Buddy from his life for a second time. "But he loves the snow," replies Walter dryly, "he's told me 50 times." The romantic subplot is a bit flimsy despite some nicely awkward scenes between Buddy and Jovie ("My tongue swells up when I'm around you," he tells her nervously as a sign of his affection). It's great to see screen veterans Asner and Newhart in supporting roles and director Jon Favreau drizzles on the schmaltz for the rousing, feelgood finale.

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Tuesday 23rd December 2014

Frozen (Sing-A-Long Version) 4 stars

As children, Anna and Elsa love to play together, taking full advantage of Elsa's ability to create ice and snow from her fingertips. An accident late one night convinces the King to wipe Anna's memory so she forgets about her sibling's hidden talents. Many years later, Elsa unwittingly reveals her powers to the locals and is branded a witch. She flees to the snowy mountains to a castle forged in ice. Anna gives chase and encounters a hunky ice trader called Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Romance
  • CastKristen Bell, Josh Gad, Ciaran Hinds, Jonathan Groff, Alan Tudyk, Santino Fontana, Idina Menzel.
  • DirectorChris Buck, Jennifer Lee.
  • WriterJennifer Lee.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration108 mins
  • Official sitemovies.disney.com/frozen/
  • Release07/02/2014

Loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Frozen proves that Disney's animated heroines have unquestionably come of age. Long gone are the rose-tinted days when princesses waited patiently for Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet or save them from a grim fate.

Now, the spunky, independent and self-assured young women are just as smart and resourceful as their male counterparts and they don't need the love of a man to affirm their self-worth.

Frozen is a terrific fairy-tale adventure that melds old-fashioned values with state-of-the-art visuals and a rousing musical score with infectious songs by husband-and-wife team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

Every beautifully coloured and crafted frame is crammed with wit and joy, drawing in audiences of all ages to the story of two sisters battling against the elements and their fears to claim their rightful place on the throne.

Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck don't let the pace flag and the 108 minutes pass in a blur of laughter, tears and frost-bitten action sequences that look stunning in 3D with all of the computer-generated snowflakes fluttering before your eyes. You won't need to wrap up warm because the story casts an irresistible warm glow that should thaw even the most cynical and jaded heart.

As children, Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) love to play together, taking full advantage of Elsa's ability to create ice and snow from her fingertips. An accident late one night convinces the King (Maurice LaMarche) to wipe Anna's memory so she forgets about her sibling's hidden talents.

At the same time, Elsa retires from public gaze, fearful that she will hurt someone else with her powers. When the King and Queen are subsequently lost at sea, Elsa reluctantly emerges to claim the throne.

Alas, on her coronation day, Elsa's gloves come off and the locals witness her extraordinary abilities and brand her a witch. She flees to the snowy mountains to a castle forged in ice. Meanwhile, Anna gives chase, leaving the kingdom in the hands of her trusted sweetheart, Prince Hans (Santino Fontana).

En route, Anna meets hunky ice trader Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his loyal reindeer Sven and a blissfully naive talking snowman called Olaf (Josh Gad).

Frozen is one of the best animated features to canter out of the Disney stable in years. Warm-hearted, uplifting and constantly surprising, it's a timeless fable that will appeal to both boys and girls thanks to uproarious comic relief from Olaf, who is too cute for words.

Bell and Menzel add vim to their plucky heroines, the latter singing the film's stand-out song, Let It Go. As an added treat, Frozen is preceded by a black and white Mickey Mouse short, Get A Horse, that seems to hark from a bygone era but has a wicked sting in the tail.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 21st December 2014

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Home Alone 3 stars

Beloved 1990 blockbuster family comedy about a young boy called Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) who is accidentally left behind when his family leaves for a Christmas holiday in France.

  • GenreAdventure, Comedy, Family, Film
  • CastMacaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern.
  • DirectorChris Columbus.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration95 mins
  • Official site

Obnoxious Chicago family go to Paris on holiday, leaving behind their cutest, most put-upon member Kevin at home - alone. Comedy written and produced by John Hughes, whose first film was Mr Mom (1983) and who brought us National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

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Monday 22nd December 2014

It's A Wonderful Life 5 stars

Reissue of Frank Capra's masterful Yuletide drama, revolving around suicidal family man George Bailey, who ponders a life without his beloved wife Mary and children. Thankfully he is saved in the nick of time by a guardian angel called Clarence. "You see George, you've really had a wonderful life," says the spirit, "Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"

  • GenreChildren's, Classic, Drama, Family, Romance
  • CastJames Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore.
  • DirectorFrank Capra.
  • WriterFrances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration129 mins
  • Official site
  • Release14/12/2007 (selected cinemas)

Frank Capra's life affirming 1946 fable stars James Stewart as suicidal family man George Bailey, who ponders a life without his beloved wife Mary (Donna Reed) and children, but is thankfully saved by guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers). "You see George, you've really had a wonderful life," says the spirit, "Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?" It's A Wonderful Life is one of the best films ever made and the perfect festive treat. Stewart, as the suicidal father who is dragged back from the brink by an all-knowing, all-seeing angel, has never been better, and the direction and pacing throughout is virtually flawless.

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Sunday 21st December 2014
Wednesday 24th December 2014

Kon-Tiki 3 stars

movie title

Thor Heyerdahl is an adventurer and ethnographer, who disputes the prevailing theory of the era that people from the west migrated to Polynesia. He believes instead that people from South America settled in Polynesia. To prove his theory, Heyerdahl constructs a large balsa wood raft using materials that would have been available to the indigenous people 1500 years ago and embarks on the 4300 nautical mile journey from Peru to Polynesia across the Pacific Ocean.

  • GenreAdventure, Drama, Historical/Period, World
  • CastPal Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann.
  • DirectorJoachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg.
  • WriterPetter Skavlan.
  • CountryUK/Nor/Den
  • Duration112 mins
  • Official site
  • Release19/12/2014 (selected cinemas)

Co-directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, Kon-Tiki dramatises a real-life 1947 expedition across the Pacific Ocean to the Polynesian Islands from South America. Thor Heyerdahl (Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen) is an adventurer and ethnographer, who disputes the prevailing theory of the era that people from the west migrated to Polynesia. He believes instead that people from South America settled in Polynesia but fellow experts rubbish his proposition because they believe it would be impossible for an ancient civilisation to undertake a voyage across the ocean. To illustrate his point, Heyerdahl constructs a large balsa wood raft using materials that would have been available to the indigenous people 1500 years ago and embarks on the 4300 nautical mile journey from Peru to Polynesia across the Pacific Ocean. Accompanied by a crew of five men, Heyerdahl spends three months on the waves, encountering storms, sharks and other perils.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 19th December 2014
Saturday 20th December 2014
Sunday 21st December 2014
Monday 22nd December 2014
Tuesday 23rd December 2014
Wednesday 24th December 2014

Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb 3 stars

movie title

Plucky security guard Larry Daley discovers the magical Tablet Of Ahkmenrah is gradually losing its powers. Recognising the repercussions for his display case friends, he scours the globe for a solution. His epic quest leads to the British Museum in London where Larry and his chums - Wild West cowboy Jedadiah, Roman general Octavius, Theodore Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, interpreter Sacagawea, Neanderthal man Laa and Dexter the mischievous capuchin monkey - seek out Ahkmenrah's father Merenkahre, who fashioned the original tablet.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastSteve Coogan, Owen Wilson, Dick Van Dyke, Rami Malek, Dan Stevens, Sir Ben Kingsley, Rebel Wilson, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais.
  • DirectorShawn Levy.
  • WriterDavid Guion, Michael Handelman.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration98 mins
  • Official sitewww.nightatthemuseummovie.com
  • Release19/12/2014

It's time to say goodbye. The third chapter of the blockbusting Night At The Museum franchise has lost two of its greatest special effects - Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams - in the past 12 months. So it's fitting that Secret Of The Tomb should be an action-packed adventure punctuated with dewy-eyed farewells and warm-hearted reminiscence.

Shawn Levy's picture is a fitting swansong, reuniting most of the protagonists from the original for a final transatlantic hurrah. The script adds father-son bonding to the mix and a new Neanderthal called Laa (Ben Stiller), who is partial to munching on polystyrene foam.

For the most part though, familiarity with the series' larger-than-life characters breeds contentment. The third chapter opens in 1938 Egypt, where adventurer Robert Fredericks (Brennan Elliott) and his 12-year-old son CJ (Percy Hynes-White) stumble upon a burial chamber.

"If anyone disturbs this tomb, the end will come!" proclaims one superstitious local. Undaunted, Fredericks empties the site of its priceless artefacts, dividing the treasures between New York and London.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, the magical Tablet Of Ahkmenrah, which brings to life the exhibits of the American Museum Of Natural History, is losing its power. Security guard Larry Daley (Stiller) recognises the repercussions for his display case chums and enlists the help of museum director Dr McPhee (Ricky Gervais) to ship the tablet to the British Museum in London, home of pharaoh Merenkahre (Sir Ben Kingsley), who fashioned the tablet in honour of his son Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek).

Larry heads for the British capital with his son Nick (Skyler Gisondo) and several stowaways: Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Roman general Octavius (Steve Coogan), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), interpreter Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Laa and Dexter the capuchin monkey.

Aided by dashing Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and hindered by local security guard Mindy (Rebel Wilson), Larry races against time to restore the tablet's lustre before the magic dissipates forever.

Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb milks our affection for the characters without exhausting our good will. There's nothing innovative in the third film but good humour and sweetness prevail, and the script continues to have fun juxtaposing the modern and ancient worlds like when Sir Lancelot asks Nick, "Have you ever held a blade?" and the teenage responds, "Only in World Of Warcraft."

London looks splendid through Levy's lens, accompanied by a predictable yet rousing chorus of The Clash, and an extended cameo by a Hollywood superstar during the frenetic denouement is a treat. Stiller seems to have tears in his eyes for most of the second half, relying predominantly on co-stars to lasso the laughs.

When Williams' waxwork President acknowledges the end is nigh and softly remarks, "You have to let us go," it's hard not to get a little lump in your throat.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 19th December 2014
Saturday 20th December 2014
Sunday 21st December 2014
Monday 22nd December 2014
Tuesday 23rd December 2014
Wednesday 24th December 2014

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Paddington 4 stars

movie title

A young Peruvian bear with a passion for the British heads to London in search of a new home. At Paddington train station, he meets a boy called Jonathan Brown and his parents, who offer the lovable creature, christened Paddington, a temporary haven. At large in a strange city, Paddington wreaks havoc in the Brown household. Then an evil museum taxidermist named Millicent glimpses the wondrous bear and realises that he would make the most perfect addition to her collection.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Family, Family
  • CastHugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw, Nicole Kidman, Imelda Staunton.
  • DirectorPaul King.
  • WriterPaul King.
  • CountryUK/Fr
  • Duration95 mins
  • Official sitewww.paddington.com
  • Release28/11/2014

More than 50 years after he first appeared in print, author Michael Bond's beloved bear Paddington has finally arrived on the big screen in his first star-packed family adventure. Upcoming director Paul King's film lovingly weaves the traditional tenets of the duffel-coat wearing bear's story into a modern narrative.

Like the books, the film starts in deepest, darkest Peru, where a well-mannered three-foot bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) lives with his elderly Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon). In their youth, Lucy and Pastuzo were visited by a kindly English explorer who left his red hat with his furry friends.

When their home is threatened, Aunt Lucy packs her nephew off to the safety of London to track down the explorer, who has promised that there will always be a home for them in the capital.

Of course, after sailing the oceans in a boat filled with supplies of his treasured marmalade, the bear finds London isn't actually that friendly. In fact it's pretty miserable what with the drizzly weather and glum commuters pushing and shoving their way out of Paddington station and ignoring his pleas for a home.

"Sorry, we haven't got time for this," cries worrywart Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville), while his moody daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris) exclaims she's "embarrassed" to be near the small grisly, who has a 'Please look after this bear' sign around his neck.

Luckily, warm-hearted Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) and son Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) vow to take the furry chap home for the night. Naming him Paddington after the station where they found him, the Browns introduce their guest to kindly housekeeper Mrs Bird (Julie Walters).

But disaster soon strikes when Paddington tries to freshen up in the bathroom, resulting in a flood, two earwax-stained toothbrushes and a sharp telling off. Determined to find the explorer, Mrs Brown takes Paddington to see her friend Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent), an antiques dealer who might have clues to his existence.

In doing so, they attract the attention of cranky curtain twitcher Mr Curry (Peter Capaldi) and a slimy associate of villainous taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) who is hell-bent on "stuffing that bear". With Millicent determined to get her mitts on Paddington to display him in the Natural History Museum, the Browns find themselves on a humdinger of a cat and mouse chase to try and keep their furry friend safe.

As comforting and sweet as Paddington's beloved marmalade, King's delightful adaptation has heaps of heart and enough humour and carefully plotted cameos to ensure everyone more than grins and bears his adaptation.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 19th December 2014
Saturday 20th December 2014
Sunday 21st December 2014
Monday 22nd December 2014
Tuesday 23rd December 2014
Wednesday 24th December 2014

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Royal Ballet Live Encore Screening: Alice's Adventures In Wonderland 3 stars

Christopher Wheeldon's magical ballet takes a tumble down the rabbit hole with inquisitive Alice and other characters from Lewis Carroll's imagination. Christopher Wheeldon conducts Lauren Cuthbertson as the eponymous heroine opposite Federico Bonelli in dual roles as Jack and The Knave Of Hearts at the Royal Opera House in London.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Special
  • CastLauren Cuthbertson, Federico Bonelli.
  • DirectorChristopher Wheeldon.
  • CountryUK
  • Official sitewww.roh.org.uk/cinemas

Christopher Wheeldon's magical ballet takes a tumble down the rabbit hole with inquisitive Alice and other characters from Lewis Carroll's imagination. Christopher Wheeldon conducts Lauren Cuthbertson as the eponymous heroine opposite Federico Bonelli in dual roles as Jack and The Knave Of Hearts at the Royal Opera House in London.

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Monday 22nd December 2014

Saving Santa 3 stars

Santa has been forced to innovate, employing hundreds of elves to create smart technology like a time machine that will allow the red-suited figurehead to deliver perfectly wrapped gifts to every home in a single night. When a power cut causes a blackout and removes the hologram that protects the location of Santa's workshop, a humble elf called Bernard battles nasty Nevill Baddington to protect Santa's closely guarded secrets.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastTim Conway, Pam Ferris, Ashley Tisdale, Martin Freeman, Tim Curry.
  • DirectorAaron Seelman, Leon Joosen.
  • WriterRicky Roxburgh.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration82 mins
  • Official site
  • Release29/11/2013 (selected cinemas)

A plucky elf is the only person standing between a very happy Christmas and global catastrophe in Leon Joosen and Aaron Seelman's festive computer-animated comedy. Santa (voiced by Tim Conway) used to operate out of a small workshop with a few elves to help him deliver presents to the children of the world. The holiday has grown massively in size and Santa has been forced to innovate too, employing hundreds of elves to create smart technology like a hologram to hide the North Pole from prying eyes and a time machine that will allow the red-suited figurehead to deliver perfectly wrapped gifts to every home in a single night. One elf, Bernard (Martin Freeman), dreams of joining the ranks of these noble inventors so that he might one day escape his current duties of cleaning out the stables. He thinks his latest creation, a memory machine, is the ticket to glory. Unfortunately, the machine causes a blackout at the North Pole and the hologram protecting its location fails. Suddenly, Santa's nefarious enemy Nevill Baddington (Tom Curry) and his equally despicable wife Viera (Pam Ferris) know where the workshop is and they plot to steal all of Santa's closely guarded secrets. Only Bernard can stop the Baddingtons but he will have to risk everything, including his life, to protect the festive holiday and everything sacred it stands for.

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Saturday 20th December 2014

The Berlin Philharmonic's New Year's Eve Gala Concert 2014: Live Satellite Transmission 3 stars

Musical.

  • GenreMusical, Special
  • CastMenahem Pressler.
  • DirectorSir Simon Rattle.
  • CountryGer
  • Official site

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 19th December 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies 3 stars

movie title

The company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield fails to slay the dragon Smaug in his Lonely Mountain lair. The majestic creature takes to the skies and Bilbo Baggins watches in horror as Smaug prepares to incinerate Lake-town and its residents. Bard the Bowman possesses the last remaining black arrow and is the only thing standing between the dragon and total annihilation. Elsewhere, Gandalf is imprisoned at Dol Guldor by the Necromancer, who unleashes legions of orcs upon the Lonely Mountain.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Fantasy
  • CastSir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Hugo Weaving, Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • DirectorPeter Jackson.
  • WriterFran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson.
  • CountryNZ/US
  • Duration144 mins
  • Official sitewww.thehobbitblog.com
  • Release12/12/2014

Almost 13 years to the day since director Peter Jackson first transported us to Middle Earth, the Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker completes his tour of duty of JRR Tolkien's novels. It has been a long and sometimes gruelling slog since The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. Giddy expectation has crashed and burned, with only a few smouldering embers for ardent fans to stoke in the hope that Jackson might redeem himself with this concluding chapter of The Hobbit trilogy.

Alas, The Battle Of Five Armies bids farewell to the hobbits, dwarfs and elves with a whimper rather than a bang. The script occasionally deviates from Tolkien's source text, contriving one superfluous and protracted interlude with elvish allies Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) to provide a flimsy bridge between the two series.

Jackson's mastery of action sequences is beyond doubt - the two set pieces, which bookend this film, are executed with flair, precision and a miasma of impressive digital effects.

However, all that technical sound and fury without comparable emotional heft makes for increasingly wearisome viewing. We should be thankful this concluding jaunt is the shortest of the six: a mere 144 minutes.

The company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) including Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) watches in horror as the mighty dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) incinerates Laketown. As the flames rise, Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) prepares to launch the last remaining black arrow at the beast.

His children seek cover with elf warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and badly injured dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner). Nearby, the Master of Laketown (Stephen Fry) and snivelling henchman Alfrid (Ryan Gage) make their escape in a barge laden with gold.

At Dol Guldur, Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) escapes from the clutches of the Necromancer (Cumberbatch again) and beats a hasty path to the mountains, where various tribes will converge. "You must summon our friends, bird and beast - the battle for the mountain is about to begin!" bellows the wise wizard.

As the fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance, Thorin sacrifices everything in his selfish pursuit of the mythical Arkenstone.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies follows a similar template to earlier pictures, resolving plot strands including the forbidden romance of Tauriel and Kili as the blood flows in brutal fight sequences. Comical interludes with Alfrid seem to jar with the darker tone that pervades this chapter, including the inevitable loss of at least one hero in the melee.

Freeman's performance provides a flimsy emotional fulcrum while co-stars battle with their characters' demons or hordes of bloodthirsty orcs. As the end credits roll, accompanied by an original song from Billy Boyd who played Pippin in The Lord Of The Rings saga, we feel a sense of relief rather than sadness.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 19th December 2014
Saturday 20th December 2014
Sunday 21st December 2014
Monday 22nd December 2014
Tuesday 23rd December 2014
Wednesday 24th December 2014

This film is also showing at:

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies 3D 3 stars

movie title

The company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield fails to slay the dragon Smaug in his Lonely Mountain lair. The majestic creature takes to the skies and Bilbo Baggins watches in horror as Smaug prepares to incinerate Lake-town and its residents. Bard the Bowman possesses the last remaining black arrow and is the only thing standing between the dragon and total annihilation. Elsewhere, Gandalf is imprisoned at Dol Guldor by the Necromancer, who unleashes legions of orcs upon the Lonely Mountain.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Fantasy
  • CastMartin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Hugo Weaving.
  • DirectorPeter Jackson.
  • WriterPhilippa Boyens, Fran Walsh, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson.
  • CountryNZ/US
  • Duration144 mins
  • Official sitewww.thehobbitblog.com
  • Release12/12/2014

Almost 13 years to the day since director Peter Jackson first transported us to Middle Earth, the Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker completes his tour of duty of JRR Tolkien's novels. It has been a long and sometimes gruelling slog since The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. Giddy expectation has crashed and burned, with only a few smouldering embers for ardent fans to stoke in the hope that Jackson might redeem himself with this concluding chapter of The Hobbit trilogy.

Alas, The Battle Of Five Armies bids farewell to the hobbits, dwarfs and elves with a whimper rather than a bang. The script occasionally deviates from Tolkien's source text, contriving one superfluous and protracted interlude with elvish allies Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) to provide a flimsy bridge between the two series.

Jackson's mastery of action sequences is beyond doubt - the two set pieces, which bookend this film, are executed with flair, precision and a miasma of impressive digital effects.

However, all that technical sound and fury without comparable emotional heft makes for increasingly wearisome viewing. We should be thankful this concluding jaunt is the shortest of the six: a mere 144 minutes.

The company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) including Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) watches in horror as the mighty dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) incinerates Laketown. As the flames rise, Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) prepares to launch the last remaining black arrow at the beast.

His children seek cover with elf warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and badly injured dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner). Nearby, the Master of Laketown (Stephen Fry) and snivelling henchman Alfrid (Ryan Gage) make their escape in a barge laden with gold.

At Dol Guldur, Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) escapes from the clutches of the Necromancer (Cumberbatch again) and beats a hasty path to the mountains, where various tribes will converge. "You must summon our friends, bird and beast - the battle for the mountain is about to begin!" bellows the wise wizard.

As the fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance, Thorin sacrifices everything in his selfish pursuit of the mythical Arkenstone.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies follows a similar template to earlier pictures, resolving plot strands including the forbidden romance of Tauriel and Kili as the blood flows in brutal fight sequences. Comical interludes with Alfrid seem to jar with the darker tone that pervades this chapter, including the inevitable loss of at least one hero in the melee.

Freeman's performance provides a flimsy emotional fulcrum while co-stars battle with their characters' demons or hordes of bloodthirsty orcs. As the end credits roll, accompanied by an original song from Billy Boyd who played Pippin in The Lord Of The Rings saga, we feel a sense of relief rather than sadness.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 19th December 2014
Saturday 20th December 2014
Sunday 21st December 2014
Monday 22nd December 2014
Tuesday 23rd December 2014

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The Homesman 3 stars

movie title

Mary Bee Cuddy owns a ranch and a sizable plot of land in 1850s Nebraska, where she is an active member of her close-knit community. Three local women - Arabella Sours, Theoline Belknap and Gro Svendsen - show signs of insanity and Reverend Alfred Dowd proposes that one of their husbands should take the wives to Iowa to a home run by Altha Carter. When the men fail to get behind the plan, Cuddy volunteers for the dangerous mission.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Western
  • CastTommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep, Miranda Otto.
  • DirectorTommy Lee Jones.
  • WriterTommy Lee Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley Oliver.
  • CountryFr/US
  • Duration123 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/TheHomesmanMovie
  • Release21/11/2014

A frontier woman's work is never done in Tommy Lee Jones' bleak and compelling feminist western. Not only does a mid-19th century miss have to cook and clean, she is also expected to pretty herself to attract a surly suitor to waltz her down the aisle in a society where men and pistols hold sway.

In the case of The Homesman's unconventional, spunky heroine, she also has to till the land, manage finances and compensate for a town full of cowardly, incompetent husbands, who put their own needs ahead of the women by their side.

Based on the novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout, Jones' film trots through the parched prairies and rolling hills of the 1850s Midwest in the company of two unlikely saviours. One is a middle-aged spinster, whose grit, resolve and straight-talking principles mark her as a rebel of her sex; the other is a grizzled claim jumper of ambiguous intent, who narrowly avoids swinging by his neck.

In a pleasing subversion of gender and genre stereotypes, it's women who drive the narrative, who act rather than react, and ultimately leave an indelible mark on our heart.

Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) owns a ranch and a sizeable plot of land on the outskirts of a close-knit Nebraska community. Suitors repeatedly reject her because they consider her ugly but Cuddy continues to plough her own furrow.

Three local women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) show signs of insanity and Reverend Alfred Dowd (John Lithgow) proposes that one of the husbands should take the wives to a mission in Iowa run by Altha Carter (Meryl Streep). When the gutless spouses fail to get behind the plan, Cuddy volunteers to drive the wagon instead.

"You're as good a man as any man hereabouts," Reverend Dowd compliments her. En route, Cuddy rescues a claim jumper called George Briggs (Jones) from hanging on condition that he helps escort the three women to the Missouri River.

The unlikely travelling companions head east, encountering a shady hotel proprietor (James Spader), a thieving cowboy (Tim Blake Nelson) and a young woman (Hailee Steinfeld) as yet unmarked by the lawlessness of the era.

The Homesman repeatedly takes risks with tone, pacing and plotting, some of which don't pay off, but Jones' gambles lasso our attention. Swank is breathtaking in a textured role that should be rewarded with an Oscar nomination next year, and she is strongly supported by the writer-director.

Jones doesn't shy away from the horrors faced by women, catalysed by nightmarish scenes of rape and infanticide. Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, who galloped to Brokeback Mountain with Ang Lee, captures the stark, untamed beauty of the godforsaken land in stunning images that linger in the memory.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 23rd December 2014
Wednesday 24th December 2014

The Muppet Christmas Carol 3 stars

Kermit The Frog and co put their comedic spin on Dickens's festive fable in which miserly money lender Ebenezer Scrooge learns a valuable lesson about seasonal joy from the Ghost Of Christmas Past, the Ghost Of Christmas Present and the Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Family, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • CastMichael Caine, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Steve Whitmire.
  • DirectorBrian Henson.
  • WriterJerry Juhl, Charles Dickens.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration90 mins
  • Official site
  • Release18/12/1992

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th December 2014

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The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death 3 stars

Set 40 years after the first film, Tom Harper's horror sequel continues the reign of terror of the vengeful ghost, which haunted the rooms and hallways of Eel Marsh House. At the height of the Second World War, stern headmistress Jean Hogg (Helen McCrory) and caring young teacher Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) abandon their school in London to evacuate a group of pupils to the safety of the countryside. Dr Rhodes (Adrian Rawlins) leads the school party to its new home: the dilapidated Eel Marsh House. Unaware of the dark history of their refuge, the teachers and pupils set into a routine but one young boy, Edward (Oaklee Pendergast), is bullied by his classmates. The spectre of the house latches onto Edward and exacts revenge on one tormentor then turns her attention to the rest of the interlopers. Aided by a handsome pilot called Harry Burnstow (Jeremy Irvine), who is stationed nearby, Eve musters her courage to save her young charges from harm but the grip of the malevolent ghost slowly tightens.

  • GenreDrama, Horror, Romance, Thriller, War
  • CastJeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, Phoebe Fox, Oaklee Pendergast.
  • DirectorTom Harper.
  • WriterJon Croker.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration98 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/TheWomaninBlackAngelofDeath
  • Release01/01/2015

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 23rd December 2014
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