If you are in Joburg for the December holidays and are looking to catch up on the latest hyped about films while they’re still on the big screen, here’s our pick of some of the year’s best to look out for at Joburg cinemas.
Bong Joon-Ho’s darkly hilarious and twisted thriller about a poor family living in a basement in Seoul who gradually ingratiate themselves into the web of needs and whims of a rich Korean family, is one of the most talked about Korean films of the decade. After winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, the Oscar buzz surrounding this intense and utterly thrilling film is palpable. The plot is a minefield of deliciously unexpected twists and turns, so we highly recommend steering well clear of spoilers before watching.
Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema: The Nutcracker
Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre is renowned for its innovative and spellbinding ballet productions. This December Cinema Nouveau presents the Bolshoi’s The Nutcracker, an enchanting all-time Christmas favourite showing in HD on the big screen. Join Marie and her enchanted nutcracker toy on a magical adventure of sugar plum fairies, talking animals and great armies of toys all joined together in an epic battle against the dastardly Mouse King.
Set to one of Tchaikovsky’s most unforgettable scores, The Nutcracker is an annual festive fixture on the Bolshoi Theatre programme. A flawless, colourful production with one of the most memorable scores in ballet, Bolshoi’s The Nutcracker is ideal Christmas season entertainment for all the family.
Showing at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank: December 21, 22, 25 and 26.
Perfect holiday season fodder, this star-studded whodunnit pays homage to Agatha Christie’s classic murder mysteries. Set in a gothic New England mansion, a family gathers to celebrate the 85th birthday of their cantankerous patriarch who dramatically drops dead in his study after dinner. Critics have been falling over themselves to praise the A-list ensemble cast which includes Jamie-Lee Curtis, Toni Colette, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson and Daniel Craig as the laconic cigar-smoking chief detective.
Showing at Cinema Nouveau Rosebank and Ster Kinekor Cresta until December 26.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Also known as Star Wars IX, the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy is the final film in the epic Star Wars film franchise and promises a final end to the decades-long saga of space wars fought between the forces of the evil empire and the rebel alliance, and perhaps even an answer to the eternal question of what actually is ‘the force’ anyway.
At the end of the last film Han Solo’s son Kylo Ren killed the evil emperor Snoke (with the help of Luke Skywalker protege Rey) and then pronounced himself supreme leader, while Rey battled with her feelings towards her troubled sensei Luke Skywalker and her strange and deep connection to Kylo. The forces of the resistance for their part were seriously depleted, with the very last remainders of our heroic team of rebels fleeing the battlefield in the Millenium Falcon in the final minutes of the last film, vowing to ‘rebuild’ and keep fighting to the death to save the universe from the dark side.
One of the biggest blockbusters of the year, Star Wars is showing at all major Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor cinemas.
MEANWHILE ON NETFLIX….
Last year Alfonso Cuaron’s sublime Roma swept up the world’s film critics onto a wave of excitement about Netflix’s ability and desire to start churning out big hit movies that would challenge the traditional movie studio model. This year Netflix doubled down on its commitment to serious film making and this December among the many major new films showing on the online streaming platform, these two, in particular, are garnering some serious buzz.
Noah Baumbach’s latest dramedy may as well be called Divorce Story, dealing as it does with the devastating and emotionally draining process of getting divorced. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johanssen play the unhappy couple in what is widely agreed to be among the career-best performances for both actors. As the film slowly unwinds they gradually become further and further estranged from each other, consumed with both anger and confusion, regret and resilience in a brilliantly scripted storyline that will have you pondering the mistakes and missteps made by each party long after the film has finished.
While the subject matter is at times intensely sad (as the end of a marriage can only be) the film also mixes plenty of wit and genuinely laugh-out-loud comic moments, including great turns from the perfectly cast divorce lawyers played by Ray Liotta, Alan Alda and Laura Dern.
Martin Scorcese’s latest epic crime saga follows the life and times of Frank Sheeran (played by Robert De Niro), a mafia hitman in mid-20th Century Philadelphia, whose colourful crime career becomes intertwined with that of corrupt union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), and a rogue’s gallery of other volatile characters including local mobster crime boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci).
At 209 minutes long, this is one of the longest movies Scorcese has ever made and The Irishman has come under criticism simply for its running time of more than three and half hours (Scorcese’s iconic Goodfellas is a whole hour shorter). If you prefer Netflix for chewing up series, you’ll be pleased to see some clever people on the internet have come up with a way to watch the film as an easily digestible four-part mini-series instead.