Aardman Triumphs Over Vampires

Art & Culture


Now that Arthur Christmas has knocked Breaking Wind off the top of the UK charts, perhaps this is cause for a little local celebration. Especially when AC has also kept Happy Feet 2 in second place, establishing the fact that UK audiences prefer homegrown animation to that American stuff.
Not that we should get too excited about a film that was financed with American money, but it's still an encouraging sign that a UK film can be no 1 after 3 weeks of being no 2, from where you would usually expect it to slip downwards. The other main British film is My Week With Marilyn, which has fallen a long way short of the popularity of The King's Speech, unsurprisingly. I can't help thinking that the distributors of MWWM knew that despite appearances, they didn't have a film of the same quality and didn't put as much money into promoting it as they would have if it had been something special. Which it isn't.
Looking at the screening times for multiplexes, it becomes increasingly obvious that 3D has an unexpected side effect of reducing the number of films available for audiences to watch. Arthur Christmas, Happy Feet Two and Puss In Boots (opening tomorrow) are all released in both 2D and 3D, meaning that there are separate screening times for each version. This means that there are only 8 films available in an 8 screen cinema, and 4 of them (that's half, Einstein) are only being shown once, mostly after 9pm. This is hardly what I call a choice, especially when the only other film with several screenings is Breaking Wind. What is a serious film fan to do?
As I find myself saying far too often, this is not a good time of year for films. The holidays are approaching, and kids' films swamp the screens. Everything that might be good is shunted till the post-Christmas period, on the basis that we're all shopping, packing presents or going to parties for the next 17 days. Which is why Sherlock Holmes 2 aka Travesty Of Justice (my title, you understand), is the only major release next week. Assuming you don't regard Alvin & The Chipmunks 3 as a major release.
As soon as Xmas is done and dusted, we get David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (eager anticipation) and Mission Impossible 4 (Tiny Tom trying to prove he's still the toughest hombre on the planet). But my biggest thrill is the release of The Artist on Dec 30th. This is one of those films that is impossible to describe in such a way as to make it attractive, but which is so irresistible once you see it, that you will bore everyone to death about how much you like it. Big hit, Oscars, the whole shebang. And that's a promise.

Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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'Arthur Christmas' is currently on at The Rio Cinema in Dalston. To find out when and to prebook tickets, check their website.