Bad Santa 2 leads the new cinema releases & trailers w/e November 25th 2016

Bad Santa 2 This weekend there are NINE new films out for you to choose from: sequel comedy in Bad Santa 2, wartime drama in Allied, indie drama in Paterson, chess champion documentary in Magnus, horror for Korea in The Wailing, and for Japan in Creepy, twee death drama in Mum’s List, mid-20th century drama in A United Kingdom, and one to miss for sure in Almost Christmas.

Bad Santa 2 reminded me that I’d never got round to seeing Bad Santa, until today. We all have films we keep meaning to see – especially since I loved director Terry Zwigoff‘s 2001 movie Ghost World, and I can’t believe it’s thirteen years old. Then again, so was Finding Nemo, and I only saw that for the first time recently.

This Red Band trailer features plenty of strong language. The plot centres around Willie (Billy Bob Thornton), fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, teaming up once again with his angry little sidekick, Marcus (Tony Cox), to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve.

This time, the director is Mark Waters, who’s made nothing I’ve ever wanted to see, and the cast includes Kathy Bates, Christina Hendricks and Brett Kelly, and I love how the hashtag on the poster is #ThisIsBS.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Allied tells the story of intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt, right), who, in 1942 North Africa, encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Later, reunited in London, their relationship is threatened by the extreme pressures of the war.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis (The Walk, Back To The Future Trilogy), from a script by Steven Knight (Pawn Sacrifice, Peaky Blinders), the cast also includes Lizzy Caplan, Matthew Goode, Raffey Cassidy, Charlotte Hope and Jared Harris, and at one minute long, it gives enough of a flavour of the movie without giving away too much, like so many trailers these days. Based on what I’ve seen, it looks pretty good, and Zemeckis rarely puts a foot wrong., so I’ll certainly check this out.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Paterson (Adam Driver – Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey – they share the name. Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer.

He goes home to his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). By contrast, Laura’s world is ever changing. New dreams come to her almost daily, each a different and inspired project. Paterson loves Laura and she loves him. He supports her newfound ambitions; she champions his secret gift for poetry. The history and energy of the City of Paterson is a felt presence in the film and its simple structure unfolds over the course of a single week. The quiet triumphs and defeats of daily life are observed, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, I very much like the look of this, although with much bigger films in the cinemas at the moment, it’ll get overshadowed by those, sadly.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


A documentary about Magnus Carlsen, who went from child prodigy to chess genius – and currently world chess champion, directed by Benjamin Ree and also featuring Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand. Watching this trailer, and seeing Magnus beat a room full of chess players in one go while he’s wearing a blindfold!!! I’m in!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The Wailing (aka Goksung)

A stranger arrives in a little village and soon after a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman is drawn into the incident and is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.

Written and directed by Hong-jin Na, and starring Jun Kunimura, Jung-min Hwang and Do Won Kwak, the trailer for this Korean horror movie shows it to look decent, but will it work for the entire two-and-a-half hours?

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!


Takakura is a former detective. He receives a request from his ex-colleague, Nogami, to examine a missing family case that occurred 6 years earlier. Takakura follows Saki’s memory. She is the only surviving family member from the case. Meanwhile, Takakura and his wife Yasuko recently moved into a new home. Their neighbor, Nishino, has a sick wife and a young teen daughter. One day, the daughter, Mio, tells him that the man is not her father and she doesn’t know him at all.

Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and starring Hidetoshi Nishijima, Yûko Takeuchi and Toru Baba, here’s another horror movie – this one from Japan – but it’s not as effective as The Wailing, and I’m not sure if there’s enough in this to last the full 130 minutes.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!

Mum’s List

A dying mother’s life lessons to the husband and sons she left behind. Based on the best-selling novel by St John (Singe) Greene, the film is the story of Singe and Kate, a couple from North Somerset, whose lives were turned upside down when Kate was diagnosed with an incurable breast cancer. Over her last few days, she created her list: writing her thoughts and memories down, to help the man she loved create the best life possible for their two sons, after she was gone.

Written and directed by Niall Johnson, and starring Rafe Spall, Emilia Fox and Elaine Cassidy, it looks a bit too light to have any real weight to such a heavy topic.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

A United Kingdom

Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana (David Oyelowo) causes an international stir when he marries a white woman (Rosamund Pike) from London in the late 1940s.

Directed by Amma Asante, and also starring Jack Davenport, this film is getting all the critical plaudits – and is released in time for Oscar/BAFTA season, but it doesn’t look like my sort of movie.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Almost Christmas saw its trailer released in April… pardon? Yes, spring hadn’t long been attempting to start, and Hollywood decided that mid-April was the perfect time to start trailing their Christmas films… 251 days before Christmas, so it was NOT almost Christmas!

The plot – if any of this type of film ever has one (and they don’t) – centres around a dysfunctional family which gathers together for their first Thanksgiving since their mother died. Hence, it’s not yet Christmas and it’s only ‘almost Christmas’ because Thanksgiving comes a few weeks before that date.

Written and directed by David E Talbert, based on this trailer, those phoning it in included Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Mo’Nique, Romany Malco, Nicole Ari Parker, JB Smoove, Gabrielle Union and Danny Glover, who casts a derisory remark at the seemingly only white man in the cast. That’s the acceptable face of racism in Hollywood.

This looks about as funny as trapping ALL my fingers in the car door. Over and over again.

Almost Christmas is also known as A Meyers Christmas, as well as “Give this a miss”.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!