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My Pick Of Movies On TV This Christmas

Tuesday 18 December 2012, 17:34

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

I've been browsing through the huge array of films in the Christmas Radio Times. Here are my favourites over the holiday period.

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Films on TV this Christmas 2011


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    Comment number 1.

    I'm really looking forward to The Girl, I love Hitchcock but have yet to see any biopic of him. Also In Bruges never fails to amuse, and it will be great if more people get to see Moon, although I'm not sure how well received it will be...

    And isn't The Great Escape on this Christmas!? For me, tunnels, "good luck" and Steve McQueen are as synonymous with Christmas as mince pies, stockings and and cold silences after a good family row!

    Hope you have a good Christmas Mark.

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    Comment number 2.

    Let me think. I can either watch Twilight or I can gnaw my own leg off.

    Oh well, it makes a change from turkey again!

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    Comment number 3.

    Wot? No love for Silent Running?


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    Comment number 4.

    Daddy my Daddy....pass the tissues! No Great Escape? surely this year Mcqueen will jump the barb wire fence!

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    Comment number 5.

    I LOVE Lord of the Rings and make it a tradition to watch the films every year at Christmas. I have seen the Hobbit in 2D yesterday and it's absolutely stunning and very funny. As for King Kong i just watched it recently and I have to say, no matter what the classic film was at the time, the main characters are a hundred times better in the remake.

    I watched both versions of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and I have to say I enjoyed the original more but I can see why people would like the remake: it looks slicker, maybe the music is somewhat better or some people just find the lead actress more attractive in the remake? I hate English language remakes and avoid them usually at all costs.

    In Bruges is pretty much the only English language film set in Belgium and even then it's rather cynical about the place (much to my delight, being half-Belgian myself). It's just one of those films I can watch on a rainy day and then think of the sun later.

    Robin Hood is just another one of Ridley Scott's recent 2.30h build-ups without payoffs. I like the man's work but he should hire a better editor if all his films are from now on going to be better uncut on DVD.

    Tobey Jones as Hitchcock is just showing one side of the late director. None of the two Hitchcock portrayals manage to have a happy medium because people are very complex in real life.

    Happy Christmas, Mark

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    Comment number 6.

    No mention of Silent Running at 12.55pm on Film Four on Dec 30th? Mark I'm very surprised at you.

    I will be trying my hardest to get my rowdy teenage sisters to watch this magnificent film.

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    Comment number 7.

    Where's the love for "Rare Exports" (Sun 23rd Dec. 01:00 on Channel 4), enjoyably daft alternative origin for the Claus. Would make a great kids adventure if it wasn't for the occasional grue, and of course the fact that it would probably cause social services to appear after your kids attack the next Santa they see in self defence. (you could beg off that you were only trying to cheer them up after showing them Audition -- Sat 29th Dec. 01:20 Film4, but that might make matters worse).

    MacGuffin alert! Of the Hitch's, The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes are particularly worth mentioning to those who haven't seen them. Unfortunately a certain channel has the inferior non-Alfred remakes of both in heavy rotation, so sadly they may be better known to a younger generation. I'm afraid that based on the make-up and anticipation of the acting chops has me more interested in the Toby Jones effort.

    Is it really worth mentioning a film as abysmal as the Ridley Scott Robin Hood just to get off a tired joke about Crowe's accent? Some unfortunates are bound to think it's a recommendation. (To be honest, I'm resisting the urge to make tired jokes about Scott doing a "he's a replicant" cut of Robin Hood, that would explain the accent, at least).

    Carry On? Not half, topping the league table for actors on the Freeview Films Site (www.viewfilm.net):
    Upcoming Actor Appearances:
    Joan Sims 13
    Kenneth Williams 12
    Charles Hawtrey 11
    Sid James 11
    Sidney James 9
    Bernard Bresslaw 9
    Robin Williams 8
    Peter Butterworth 8
    Jim Dale 8

    Which one of these names just doesn't belong...

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    Comment number 8.

    I love watching your blog Mark, but I must draw your attention to the fact that although Russell Crowe's accent in Robin Hood is indeed awful, the one thing it does not do is take us on a "full tour of the English countryside from the top of Scotland to the tip of Land's End"...In future maybe you could substitute English for BRITISH!! This, on the BBC too...you should be ashamed!

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    Comment number 9.

    There's a reason we needed to see another version of The Millenium films - the Swedish versions are rather poor. Rapace is nothing like Salander in the book and, well, actually nothing in the Swedish versions are remotely similar to the books. At least Fincher and Zaillian had the common courtesy to remain faithful to the source material and still keep things relatively cinematic as opposed to looking like a TV movie.

    The simple truth is, Fincher did a superb job of adapting GWTDT and I for one have my fingers crossed that he chooses to direct ...Played With Fire.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas, Mark and thank you for recommeding Amour on your radio show recently. One of the most brilliant films I think have ever encountered so for that, I am eternally grateful.

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    Comment number 10.

    I saw The Hobbit last night, and it completely lived up to all my expectations. If you loved LOTR, you'll love this, no question about it. However Mark, my take on the length of it, and the discussion about the story being "stretched out" by Jackson, is simply this: Tolkein himself "stretched out" the story, by years later writing hundreds of pages of extra material, the Appendices in LOTR (book), The Silmarillion, etc., that filled in the backstory of many characters, and created an overarching pseudo-history of Middle Earth. Only after having read everything (and had Tolkein not died, no doubt there would have been even more material) do The Hobbit and LOTR become, not two separate stories, but simply events in a continuous tale.

    I doubt very much that Peter Jackson wants to spend the rest of his life filming Tolkein, so he's clearly taken this opportunity to film a significant part of this backstory, so that it helps bring the two tales closer together, as Tolkein originally intended, and so that it runs as a cohesive, and sequential, narrative. So sure, if you want to be pedantic about it, the "extra" stuff isn't in The Hobbit (book), but it is in Tolkein's universe, and The Hobbit (film) will be all the better, and make much morse sense as a prequel to LOTR (film), for its inclusion.

    And I also think it's unfair to judge a known trilogy until you've seen all 3 parts. I'm certainly looking forward to the other films. And I'm looking forward to sitting down and watching all six films in a row sometime:)

    Incidentally, I saw the 3D version last night, which hadn't been my original intention, as I hate 3D, but it was down to timing. I'm a bit confused as to how many versions of this film are out there: I know there's a 60 frame-per-second version, which shows off Jackson's much-vaunted new technology, and I know there's a standard 24 frames-per-second version, which, apparently has a more 'cinematic' feel. But having read a few reviews where people say you can see every stitch in clothing, and brightly-lit, crystal-clear clarity etc, the film I saw didn't have any of that, but was still in 3D, and yet looked more cinematic and closer in feel to the LOTR films: I saw none of the new tech in evidence. So, was this a third format, or was it just down to the inadequacies of my local cinema? I suspect the latter. But in any case, next time I see it, it will be the 2D version: I don't think 3D adds anything to a film whatsoever.

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    Comment number 11.

    You missed out Scrooged! The best Christmas film ever. "If you can't work late I can't work late. If I can't work late I CAN'T WORK LATE!"

    Off topic but I know one of your BIGGEST bugbears; have a look at the linked article about video games as the new video nasty. It’s a well written piece that puts some perspective on the specific media who write them.


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    Comment number 12.

    I noticed Film 4 are also showing Oldboy and Bronson. Not very Christmas though but both excellent films.

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    Comment number 13.

    [ 7. Brian - New Forest ] I spotted Rare Exports as well, tucked away in the early hours of Sunday morning. Worth a mention not only because it is a great little film but because the first time I heard of it was this time last year on this blog!

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    Comment number 14.

    Where's 2046? That's got three or four Christmases in it.
    Nevermind, I hope I can catch at least one version of A Christmas Carol this year......

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    Comment number 15.

    Merry Christmas Mark Kermode (and fellow MK-Blog-readers)!

    I agree, I love the tv guide ("you got the tv guide, you don't need a tv!") over xmas as part of the party-game discussions amid eating another of too many chocolates and rich food and different colored liquid. That said, I remember one abysmal year where the tv stations totally let everyone down with an apauling line-up of movie fodder, so I'm also happy I can get hold of additional movies and tv series to pad out any misses now we are "forward to the future". The memory of that year still hurts... I'm almost choking up just thinking about it. The best xmas was one time Kurosawa season was on channel 4 and I taped the lot of them by contrast, at very early hours in the night, stopping for ads etc! Already got my supply of vids etc to pad out this year.

    This year looks good as show-cased: Need: 1) Big blockbusters such as T2, Die Hard 2) Big BB series ie 1,2 & 3 throughout the festive period 2) Hitchcock is good as it's slow and polite - a different but suitable pace to xmas, as if the world makes perfect sense afterall! - but god forbid I hate the carry on movies: They make the brits look really (I won't say it) imo. That old not unfounded reputation of emotionally repressed, worse than any horror film. Never been too keen on the family genre movies: too sickly sweet, but I appreciate tons love those movies. Instead of The Railway Children, how about "Flowers In The Attic" - the biggest family downer-movie if ever I saw one? You can't beat Bollywood for musicals imo, much better than the singin's in the rains and ilk.

    Finally I'd recommend "Trading Places" for comedy at xmas. "Rare Exports", will look into. Cheers!

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    Comment number 16.

    UP and Airplane

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    Comment number 17.

    I mostly enjoyed the recent remake of 'King Kong' apart from some of the scenes on the island, where everything tried to eat everything else, these were a diversion from the main event, Kong, himself.

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    Comment number 18.

    There is one reason to remake TGWTDT: while the original is brilliant, second and third films in the original trilogy were very dull and could do with better versions.

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    Comment number 19.

    Hello! I haven't posted here before, although I have read previous comments. This Christmas I'm looking forward to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequels, as while I enjoyed the English language remake, I want to see the originals.

    You mention "Carry On Cleo", but what about "Carry On Screaming"? A great send up of Hammer movies.

    I'd heard a lot of good things about "In Bruges", so that's another one to enjoy catching up with.

    And finally, one you didn't mention (shame!), one of the best adaptations of Dickens' timeless classic.... "The Muppet Christmas Carol"!

    Happy viewing, Mark.

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    Comment number 20.

    Thanks Old Softie ( with cutting edge)
    Your recommendations as ever are spot on ! Have a merry one
    and a Film-Packed New Year


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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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