For those who like nothing better than to spend Christmas catching up with great films, Film4 has an unmissable line-up that begins before the actual holidays kick in and then keeps going, with more than just leftovers, through to the New Year.
You’ll find plenty of highlights in our new Christmas promo as it whisks you through a cinematic wonderland that includes the premiere of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, World’s End pals Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Paul, the Studio Ghibli magic of Spirited Away, Emma Stone in whipsmart high-school comedy Easy A, inventive Scandinavian horror adventures Troll Hunter and Rare Exports, and some Will Ferrell comedy to continue the Anchorman 2 excitement.
To get you started, here at the blog you’ll find 12 further holiday highlights:
- More Studio Ghibli animation – both in the afternoons and late-night – with Porco Rosso, My Neighbour Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle and Grave Of The Fireflies, My Neighbours The Yamadas and Arrietty.
- - Fresh from its recent cinematic re-release, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the Hollywood epic Cleopatra. I won’t take up any more of your time here as the film is long enough as it is.
- - Three brilliant documentaries – the Oscar-nominated Waste Land, the inspiring table-tennis tale Ping Pong and the moving heavy-metal roadtrip Mission to Lars.
- - A double-bill from director David O. Russell, whose livewire new film American Hustle is in cinemas over the holiday period. Catch his Oscar-winning drama The Fighter and his controversial debut Spanking the Monkey.
- - Your tastes may run to edgier fare than Hollywood hits but it’s those blockbusters that bring people together, making them perfect Christmas viewing. Gather round for the likes of Transformers, Titanic, Iron Man, Mission Impossibles 2 and 3, and the J. J. Abrams version of Star Trek.
- - We’ve solved the dilemma of what to do on New Year’s Eve by giving you the chance to stay in with a classic saga – The Godfather and The Godfather Part II runs through the night from 2013 to 2014, starting at 9pm
- - Go your own way at Christmas and embrace some cult classics. There’s the button-pushing indie drama Compliance, tough Korean animated film The King of Pigs, the Film4-produced avant garde horror film Berberian Sound Studio and, from the 70s, the cool road-movie Vanishing Point. You’ll find more where they come from if you stay up late every night.
- - Film4 has always been home to great directors and there are plenty at work over the holidays. David Fincher’s acclaimed The Social Network, David Lynch’s vivid romance Wild At Heart, John Carpenter’s debut film Dark Star, Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Star Wars’-prototype The Hidden Fortress, Stanley Kubrick’s satire Dr. Strangelove and the late Tony Scott’s hard-hitting action-thriller Man On Fire.
- - Don’t be too down-hearted if you don’t get what you wish for – there’s still plenty to smile about as we bring you a wide-range of comedy for Christmas. Paul, Easy A and Sightseers are covered in the promo, with more laughs coming from Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places, the goofy double of Airplane and Airplane II on two consecutive evenings, Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in Four Christmases, and Bill Murray offering a cynical response to Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future in the beloved Scrooged.
- - Talking of ghosts, this is a good time of year to stay up late and shiver (even if you are wearing your new Christmas jumper). The promo gives you a glimpse of the mischievous mini-monsters in the Guillermo Del Toro-produced Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, but there’s also creepy business from Gremlins director Joe Dante in The Hole, intense Australian suspense in Red Hill and weird goings-on in Italy in Berberian Sound Studio, while Korean classic The Host proves that it’s not only in Troll Hunter that you’ll find monsters living under bridges.
- - There’s always talk of the football season taking a winter break, but thankfully such a thing has never come to pass. Film4 is doing it’s bit to keep the beautiful game on your screens during Christmas with the ever-popular wartime adventure Escape to Victory. Pele and Bobby Moore team up with Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone in this one-of-a-kind footie favourite.
- - Finally, we have to come back to Sightseers as our final seasonal highlight, even though it is featured in the promo and elsewhere on the site. Director Ben Wheatley has had an amazing year with the much-talked about release of his fourth film A Field In England, so it’s only fitting he should feature prominently on the channel as the year draws to a close. Sightseers is hilarious, scary, strange and subversive – and definitely something a bit different for Christmas. If you only find time to watch one film during the holidays, make sure that you mark Sightseers – 9pm on Boxing Day – as the one not to miss.