“When you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
When it comes to New Year viewing choices, there are few better options than cheering on Billy Crystal as he dashes across town to reach Meg Ryan before the clock strikes midnight.
Of course, for many of us, NYE was less When Harry Met Sally and more When Sam Ryder Met Mel C — but as we stumble blearily into 2023, there’s plenty of cinematic escapism to ease us in, from Sam Mendes’ love letter to cinema to Tom Hanks getting in touch with his inner Grinch.
Now, repeat after me: “Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash — but I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie…”
A Man Called Otto
Loveable, cuddly Tom Hanks plays against type — to begin with at least — as an old grump in urgent need of redemption and life lessons in this comedy drama.
The story centres on Otto Anderson (Hanks), a curmudgeonly widower who spends his time haranguing neighbours, delivery drivers, shop assistants and anyone else who hoves into view.
When a young family moves in next door and refuses to be put off by his hard-nosed exterior, the self-styled grouch finds himself reluctantly reconnecting with the world around him.
Empire of Light
An interracial relationship between two cinema workers in an English coastal town forms the heart of this homage to the magic of the big screen from 1917 director Sam Mendes.
Set in the early 1980s, the film centres on Hilary (Olivia Colman) and her fellow employees at the Empire, an ailing art deco cinema on the south coast — among them projectionist Norman (Toby Jones) and lecherous boss Mr. Ellis (Colin Firth — it’s obviously a big week for cinema’s nice guys playing nasty).
When young new recruit Stephen (Micheal Ward, Blue Story) joins the team, he and the troubled Hilary begin an unlikely romance.
|Cert 15, 115 mins|
|Cineworld, City Screen, Everyman, Vue|
|From Mon Jan 9|
This true-life period drama follows a Black woman’s campaign for justice after her teenage son was murdered while visiting his family in Mississippi.
When 14-year-old Emmett Till is kidnapped and killed — for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Money, Mississippi in 1955 — his mother Mamie Till-Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler) insists that the world should be made aware of the horrific attack, with images of her son’s brutally maimed body causing the lynching to gain international notoriety.
Deadwyler (seen recently in western The Harder They Fall) has received huge acclaim for her performance, while director Chinonye Chukwu is the woman behind 2019’s highly rated prison drama Clemency.
If your brain’s still in a bit of a festive fog and keeps asking why you can’t just watch Die Hard again, this Antonio Banderas revenge thriller might be your best bet this week.
Banderas plays Miami mob enforcer Cuda — the best in the business, naturally — who discovers that his boss has branched out into cyber-sex trafficking.
Seizing his chance at redemption, he goes on an all-guns-blazing rampage to save a young runaway who has been captured and trafficked by his nefarious employer.
|Cert 18, 90 mins|
|From Fri Jan 9|
Whether or not Tom Hanks will need to clear a bit of space in his awards cabinet for his performance in A Man Called Otto remains to be seen — but you can catch his Oscar-winning turn as the altogether more affable Forrest Gump at Everyman this week.
It’s showing on Sun 8th and Tues 10th as part of their Throwback season, with a complimentary drink and hot dog or pizza included in the ticket price (though sadly no box of chocolates).
There’s a very different cinematic epic on offer at Vue in the form of The Godfather, showing on Sat 7th, Tues 10th and Thurs 12th.
Highly acclaimed period drama Corsage — starring Vicky Krieps of Phantom Thread fame — continues at both City Screen and Everyman this week, and you can also catch it at Vue on Weds 11th.
With a new Puss in Boots film heading our way next month, Vue are gearing up by bringing his old mucker Shrek back to the big screen, with all four of the films showing over the next few weeks — you can catch his first outing on Sat 7th and Sun 8th (tickets standard price).
Meanwhile, your budget family-friendly options this week come courtesy of Cineworld, who are showing the all-singing, all-dancing Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and the ever-popular Minions: The Rise of Gru on Sat 7th and Sun 8th (tickets £2.50).
From Mission: Impossible to Ocean’s Eleven, heists are a reliable source of intrigue, suspense and nerve-wracking tension on the big screen — and South Bank Community Cinema are kicking off their winter season with a classic of the genre in the form of 1955’s Rififi.
This highly influential French film noir follows four crooks who team up to ease the stock-taking burden on an exclusive Parisian jewellery store — with the gang’s daring heist, filmed in near-silence, forming the film’s centrepiece.
Widely regarded as one of the all-time great crime movies, the film bagged director Jules Dassin the Best Director award at Cannes.
The film shows at Clements Hall, South Bank on Fri 6th at 8pm (doors 7:30pm) — tickets are £4 (cash only), and SBCC advise that it’s best to book in advance by e-mailing [email protected].