Welcome to your roundup of the week's new releases. Here's what you can expect.
What's the story? Based on the New York Times bestseller, Wonder tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to find their compassion and acceptance, Auggie's extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can't blend in when you were born to stand out.
The Man Who Invented Christmas
What's the story? Starring Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast) as Charles Dickens, The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the true story of how the iconic author came to write the seminal yuletide novel A Christmas Carol in only six weeks. Set in 1840s London, Dickens had been struggling to come up with fresh ideas after the failure of his last three works. However, when he's inspired by the vision of a story that would fire the hearts of humanity, he set out to write and self-publish a book that would reignite his career - in just six weeks. As the likes of Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer) and The Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future start coming to life in his head, Dickens created a masterpiece that gave birth to the Christmas we know and love today.
Bolshoi Ballet 2017: The Nutcracker (Sunday 3rd December)
What's the story? As the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, Marie's wooden nutcracker doll comes to life and transforms into a prince! Soon joined by her other toys that have also come to life, Marie and her prince embark on a dreamy unforgettable adventure. A holiday tradition for the whole family, The Nutcracker sweeps the Bolshoi stage for two hours of enchantment and magic. Along with Tchaikovsky's cherished score and and some of the Bolshoi's greatest artists, The Nutcracker remains a treasure not to be missed! Captured live on Dec 21, 2014, Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Choreography: Yuri Grigorovich, Libretto: Yuri Grigorovich (after E.T.A. Hoffmann and Marius Petipa).
ROH 2017/18: The Nutcracker (Tuesday 5th December)
What's the story? The young Clara creeps downstairs on Christmas Eve to play with her favourite present – a Nutcracker doll. But the mysterious magician Drosselmeyer is waiting to sweep her off on a magical adventure. After defeating the Mouse King, the Nutcracker and Clara travel through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy treats them to a wonderful display of dances. Back home, Clara thinks she must have been dreaming – but doesn’t she recognize Drosselmeyer’s nephew? Peter Wright’s nigh-on definitive production for The Royal Ballet ranks as one of the most enduring and enchanting versions of The Nutcracker. With its festive period setting, dancing snowflakes and enchanting stage magic, Lev Ivanov’s 1892 ballet has become the perfect Christmas entertainment, with Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous, sugar-spun music the most recognizable of all ballet scores. Loosely based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the ballet opens with a lively Christmas party, its Victorian setting captured in opulent detail by Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs. Wright’s choreography ingeniously incorporates surviving fragments of the ballet’s original material, including the sublime pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince. But in emphasizing the relationship between Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, the production also gains a touching subtext of first love.
Subtitled Movies for Juniors: The Muppet Christmas Carol (Wednesday 6th December)
What's the story? Brian Henson directs his late father's creations in the Charles Dickens classic, the best known (and most oft-filmed) Christmas story of all time. Michael Caine plays the old miser Scrooge with Kermit as his long-suffering but ever-hopeful employee Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as Cratchit's wife, and a host of Muppets (including the Great Gonzo as an unlikely Charles Dickens) taking other primary roles in this bright, playful adaptation of the sombre tale. Or at least it starts brightly enough--the anarchic humour soon settles into mirthful memories and a sense of melancholy as the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future take Scrooge on a journey of his lonely, wasted life. Michael Caine makes a wonderful Scrooge, delightfully rediscovering the meaning of life as fantastic creations from Henson's Creature Shop (developed specially for this film) take the reins as the three ghosts. While the odd mix of offbeat humour and drama undercuts the power of Dickens's story, this kid-friendly retelling makes an excellent family film that adults and children alike can enjoy. In English with English subtitles.