fbpx

Tag: Mads Mikkelsen

Editorials

Best Christmas Movies of the Past Decade

December 21, 2020
Christmas Films Collage

It’s Christmas time again. Time to watch some Christmas movies. But while classics, like It’s a Wonderful Life, are great; watching the same films constantly can get boring.

So today we’re giving you some new holiday films to watch by recommending the best Christmas movies from the past decade. To ensure a wide variety of selections the films will be recommended by genre.

Best New Christmas Animation: Arthur Christmas

On Christmas Eve a child’s present gets misplaced. But Santa (Jim Broadbent) and his cold, technical son Steve (Hugh Laurie) aren’t interested in its delivery. So, Santa’s clumsy other son Arthur (James McAvoy), Grandsanta (Bill Nighy), and elf Bryony (Ashley Jensen) decide to do something.

Arthur Christmas is charming. Updating the Santa story for modern audiences with Aardman’s trademark whimsicalness. The voice work is stellar. Bill Nighy’s and Jim Broadbent’s older Santa’s are particularly great, and James McAvoy’s Arthur is infectiously endearing. The modern and traditional Christmas designs blend wonderfully. And its message of unity taking Christmas into the future is incredibly meaningful. Arthur Christmas will put a smile on everyone’s face.

James McAvoy as the endearing Arthur Christmas
James McAvoy as the endearing Arthur Christmas [Credit: Columbia Pictures]

Best New Christmas Drama: The Hunt (2012)

In this Danish drama, teacher Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen) is falsely accused by his student Klara (Annika Wedderkopp) of doing something heinous. As a result, his friends, colleagues, and neighbours turn on him and his family. 

The Hunt is much darker than your average Christmas film, but the holiday setting adds a poignant edge as people begin casting stones at Lucas. The writing is hard-hitting while also making everyone recognisably human in their actions. And Mads Mikkelsen gives one of his best performances. The Hunt shows that innocent people are capable of doing cruel things to each other. But that we are also capable of something more.

Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt
Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt [Credit: Danmarks Radio]

Best New Christmas Romance: Carol

Carol is about shy wannabe photographer Therese (Rooney Mara) and Carol (Cate Blanchett), who is fighting a custody battle. When they meet in the store where Therese works, there is instant electricity between them. Which over the course of the holiday becomes a relationship. But can their love survive the time they live in?

Carol is a beautiful movie to watch around the holidays. The cold snowy backdrop beautifully contrasts the warm central relationship (Blanchett and Mara are fantastic), the festive red and green hues in the production design, and the themes of love and togetherness perfectly fit the holiday setting. So, if you want to get lovey-dovey this year, snuggle up and watch Carol.

The decades best holiday romance, Carol
The decades best holiday romance, Carol [Credit: The Weinstein Company]

Best New Christmas Comedy: Tangerine

Tangerine follows transgender sex workers Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) on Christmas Eve as they scour Los Angeles for the pimp who broke Sin-Dee’s heart.

Tangerine is a foul-mouthed inversion of traditional Christmas films. There’s no snow, Santa, and little jollity. The characters spend their time mostly hurling abuse at each other. But because of that Tangerine feels refreshing. It shows us the lives of groups seldom represented in popular culture, in a very real way (Tangerine was filmed on an iPhone making it look more grounded). But it’s also scathingly funny and heartbreakingly moving thanks to a great script and the very talented unknown leads. Which is worth celebrating.

Christmas Eve in Tangerine [Credit: Duplass Brothers Productions]
Christmas Eve in Tangerine [Credit: Duplass Brothers Productions]

Best New Christmas Horror: Better Watch Out (2016)

This holiday horror focuses on Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) who is babysitting Luke (Levi Miller) while his parents are out. But things take a turn after it becomes clear that someone wants to get in the house. For what reason? You will never suspect. 

Despite the generic setup and some cringy moments, Better Watch Out is a treat to watch unfold, as its standard narrative soon gives way to something more engaging. The beautiful festive design (full of fairy lights and popping bright colours) and fun performances, especially that of Levi Miller, are also more than enough to keep you invested. By the end, you will be satisfied with this winter wonderland whirlwind.

Festive frights in Better Watch Out
Festive frights in Better Watch Out [Credit: Storm Vision Entertainment]

Best New Christmas Musical: Anna and the Apocalypse  

It’s almost the Christmas holidays and Anna (Ella Hunt) has decided to go travelling when she leaves school, against her father’s (Mark Benton) wishes. But when zombies invade her hometown, she must work with her friends to save their loved ones.

Anna and the Apocalypse is a musical, horror, comedy, high school drama that works surprisingly well. The small-town comedy and zombie horror fit together perfectly. The drama feels earned thanks to the great writing and well-done performances. The music is a great extension of the character’s personalities. And the Christmas setting makes for some lovely set design, gags, and Christmas inflected musical numbers. A real treat for music lovers.

Christmas gets gory in Anna and the Apocalypse [Credit: Blaze Griffin]
The holidays get gory in Anna and the Apocalypse [Credit: Blaze Griffin]

So ends our list of some of the best Christmas movies of the past decade. Please tell us your favourite festive movies from the last 10 years in the comments.

Also Read: Who Did It Better?: The Grinch

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.


Editorials

Must-See Films at London Film Festival 2020

September 24, 2020
London Film Festival - Big Picture Film Club

The London Film Festival has announced its program for October 2020. And will be offering the opportunity for many new people to view their program. Because many of the festival selections will be available not only on BFI Player during the festivals run but also in cinema events across the UK.

But which films should you check out? Today I am going to suggest seven films on the festival roster to look forward to. And tell you why they should be on your watchlist. Let’s begin.

Another Round (Druk) (Drama)

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg has reteamed with The Hunt‘s Mads Mikkelsen for this drama about four high school teachers. Their aim – to see if life is improved by maintaining a consistent alcohol blood level. With a killer premise, helmed by a great director and one of today’s best actors, Another Round should be an interesting ride. And if it’s half as good as The Hunt, audiences will definitely be pleased.

Mads Mikkelsen getting drunk in Another Round [Source: IMDb]

The Cheaters (Classic Crime)

The festival also includes some restored and recovered films for classic film lovers. One of the more interesting ones being the oldest film at the festival. Made by filmmaking pioneers the McDonagh’s sisters and restored by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia; it follows the story of an embezzler’s daughter falling for the son of her father’s worst enemy. 1929s The Cheaters is one of Australia’s major surviving silent films. And audiences can now see it as originally intended.

The Cheaters restored at the London Film Festival [Source BFI]
Romance and crime in Australian classic The Cheaters [Source: BFI]

Friendship’s Death (Classic Sci-Fi)

Another older entry in the London Film Festival’s program is this science fiction film about an alien android named Friendship (Tilda Swinton). Who lands on earth in the midst of the Jordanian Black September War. And begins debating with a journalist about if humanity is worth saving. Swinton is one of the all-time greatest actresses. So the opportunity to see an early performance from her in even more detail, thanks to a restored print, is too great to refuse.

Friendship's death at the London Film Festival [Source: Mubi]
An early performance from Tilda Swinton in Friendship’s Death [Source: Mubi]

Mangrove (TV)

The latest project from Steve McQueen, the Oscar-winning director behind great films like 12 Years a Slave. Mangrove is part of McQueen’s Small Axe series. Which is based on the real experiences of the London West Indian community. It focuses on the trial of nine activists falsely accused of inciting a riot at Notting Hill’s Mangrove restaurant. With McQueen’s involvement and the current political climate regarding race and the police, this looks to be a hard-hitting; important watch.

Mangrove at the London Film Festival [Source Empire]
On trial in Steve McQueen’s Mangrove [Source: Empire]

Relic (Horror)

There has been a lot of buzz around Relic since its Sundance debut earlier this year. The film centres on a mother and daughter as they try to look after their grandmother. However, the grandmother’s house slowly begins to be infiltrated by supernatural forces that seemingly parallel the onset of the grandmother’s dementia. It has already been compared to Hereditary and The Babadook. So, if you’re looking for an atmospheric, symbolic horror film, Relic will be right up your alley.

Relic at the London Film Festival [Source Signature Entertainment]
The poster for Relic [Source: Signature Entertainment]

Ultraviolence (Documentary)

This documentary explores various deaths that have occurred at the hands of the UK police force. As well as the heart-break many families have suffered because of it. This doc may be too much for some. With a warning given on the festival website, due to footage of real violence. But in a year that has seen worldwide condemnation of police violence, Ultraviolence looks to shine a light on the dark side of UK law and order.

Ultraviolence [Source YouTube]
The movie that according to the trailer, “the police and politicians will not want you to see”. [Source: YouTube]

Wolfwalkers (Animation)

The latest offering from Cartoon Saloon, who previously made Oscar Nominee’s Song of the Sea and The Breadwinner; Wolfwalkers is the beautiful animated story of Robyn, who journeys with her father from England to Ireland to destroy the wolf population. But Robyn’s resolve is soon tested when she befriends Mebh, an Irish wolfwalker (someone who becomes a wolf when they sleep). With gorgeous designs, an intriguing story, and an acclaimed studio backing it, Wolfwalkers could be another awards contender in the making.

Wolfwalkers [Source Hollywood Reporter]
Robyn and Mebh in Wolfwalkers [Source: Hollywood Reporter]

So ends our list of London Film Festival films to look forward to. You can find more information about these and other festival film screenings on their online program. And lastly please share your thoughts on these films if you get the opportunity to see them.

Also Read: BAFTA: Steering Towards Greater Inclusion

Like this article? Get the latest news, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox.