This Week’s Movie Menu (11 – 17 December 2023)

Only a couple of weeks to go until the big day – but before Christmas can arrive, we’ve got at least one whole week of new film releases to get through, including a long-awaited Claymation sequel, the second part of a major adaptation, and even the roaring return of a legendary screen monster…

Movie of the Week

 

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (2023, dir. Sam Fell)

CAST: Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey, Romesh Ranganathan, Daniel Mays, David Bradley, Jane Horrocks, Imelda Staunton, Lynn Ferguson, Josie Sedgwick-Davies, Miranda Richardson, Nick Mohammad, Peter Serafinowicz

CREW: Sam Fell (director), Karey Kirkpatrick, John O’Farrell and Rachel Tunnard (writers), Leyla Hobart and Steve Pegram (producers), Harry Gregson-Williams (composer), Charles Copping (cinematographer), Stephen Perkins (editor)

PLOT: After escaping the clutches of Mrs. Tweedy (Richardson) and her farm, Ginger (Newton), Rocky (Levi) and the rest of the chickens have found a peaceful sanctuary where they can live freely. However, when Ginger and Rocky’s spirited daughter Molly (Ramsey) becomes curious about life beyond the sanctuary, she ends up being taken to a heavily-guarded chicken facility with sinister intentions, forcing Ginger and her flock to stage a perilous break-in…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Aardman’s classic animated comedy Chicken Run finally gets a follow-up several years after first winning the affections of audiences everywhere
  • Many of your favourite plasticine characters are back, including fearless lead chicken Ginger and her American rooster partner Rocky, as well as the ever-optimistic Babs and even the cranky Fowler
  • You can expect some different voices coming out of them, including Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi who replace Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson as Ginger and Rocky respectively
  • The stakes are still pretty severe, as like in the first film it’s well established that this is still a world where chickens can meet pretty gruesome fates
  • Anyone with fond memories of that first film will be delighted by the ever-amusing Aardman humour that has carried on over into this new sequel

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is streaming exclusively on Netflix from Friday 15 December 2023

What’s Showing in Cinemas This Week?

 

Godzilla Minus One (2023, dir. Takashi Yamazaki)

CAST: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe, Yuki Yamada, Munetaka Aoki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Sakura Ando, Kuranosuke Sasaki

CREW: Takashi Yamazaki (director, writer), Minami Ichikawa, Kazuaki Kishida, Keiichiro Moriya and Kenji Yamada (producers), Naoki Satô (composer), Kôzô Shibasaki (cinematographer), Ryûji Miyajima (editor)

PLOT: In post-war Japan, a giant mutated lizard known as Godzilla begins to wreak havoc on the country, which has already been devastated by the effects of the war…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • The iconic giant monster is taken back to his post-war Japanese roots for a thrilling new sci-fi blockbuster
  • Its release commemorates the 70th anniversary of the first film, which became an instant monster movie classic upon its release in 1954
  • A number of impressive effects have been used to bring this iteration of Godzilla to life, with all of his familiar powers – including that famous atomic breath – very much intact
  • There is still a compelling human story also going on at the same time, which more than other Godzilla films takes great dramatic prominence amidst all the kaiju action
  • While it’s not related to the American MonsterVerse version of Godzilla (who can currently be seen in Apple’s new show Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, and will be teaming up again with Kong in next year’s Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire), this should give you plenty of standalone action worthy of the giant lizard himself

Godzilla Minus One is showing in cinemas from Friday 15 December 2023

 

The Three Musketeers: Milady (2023, dir. Martin Bourboulon)

CAST: François Civil, Vincent Cassel, Pio Marmaï, Romain Duris, Eva Green, Lyna Khoudri, Louis Garrel, Vicky Krieps, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Alexis Michalik, Patrick Mille, Ivan Franek, Ralph Amoussou, Thibault Vinçon

CREW: Martin Bourboulon (director), Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière (writers), Dimitri Rassam and Jérôme Seydoux (producers), Guillaume Roussel (composer), Nicolas Bolduc (cinematographer), Stan Collet (editor)

PLOT: After his beloved Constance (Khoudri) is kidnapped right in front of him, D’Artagnan (Civil) is forced to team up with the untrustworthy Milady de Winter (Green) to save her from a terrible fate. Meanwhile, as war is declared and D’Artagnan’s fellow Musketeers Athos (Cassel), Porthos (Marmaï) and Aramis (Duris) are called to service, a devastating secret threatens to emerge and disrupt the alliance…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • The second part of director Martin Bourboulon’s ambitious two-part French-language adaptation of the classic Alexandre Dumas story has arrived to complete the story
  • It was shot back-to-back with the first part, subtitled D’Artagnan (released earlier this year), across a 150-day shoot on a combined budget of €72 million
  • As the title suggests, there is a greater focus this time on Eva Green’s femme fatale Milady de Winter, and her own path toward notoriety
  • It doesn’t neglect the endeavours of the titular musketeers either, with all of them going through some deeper arcs as the drama becomes more serious
  • Filled with the same level of innovative action and suspense as the first half, this ends the ambitious new take on a glorious high note

The Three Musketeers: Milady is showing in cinemas from Friday 15 December 2023

 

What Happens Later (2023, dir. Meg Ryan)

CAST: Meg Ryan, David Duchovny, Hal Liggett

CREW: Meg Ryan (director, writer), Steven Dietz and Kirk Lynn (writers), Jonathan Duffy, Lauren D. Smith Ireland, Kristin Mann and Kelly Williams (producers), David Boman (composer), Bartosz Nalazek (cinematographer), Jason Gourson (editor)

PLOT: Willa (Ryan) and Bill (Duchovny) are two ex-lovers who find themselves stranded overnight together at a regional airport after it is snowed in. As their flights are delayed indefinitely, they take the time to reconnect and wonder if their unexpected reunion is a mere coincidence or the world of something more magical…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Rom-com icon Meg Ryan returns to the genre that made her famous with a delightful magical-realist tale of love
  • She also directs and co-writes in addition starring alongside David Duchovny, with whom she has a considerable spark of chemistry
  • There are some unexpectedly heightened moments that will have you second-guessing the nature of this seemingly normal setting and predicament
  • With this being Ryan’s first acting role after an eight-year absence, it’s even more impressive that she’s able to slip right back into the fold with impeccable ease
  • It’s a delightful callback to old-fashioned rom-coms that relied on love and maybe something a bit more enchanted for the warm feelings they emit

What Happens Later is showing in cinemas from Friday 15 December 2023

 

The Lost Boys (2023, dir. Zeno Graton)

CAST: Khalil Gharbia, Julien de Saint Jean, Eye Haïdara, Jonathan Couzinié, Matéo Bastien, Samuel Di Napoli, Amine Hamidou, Nlandu Lubansu, Terry Ngoga

CREW: Zeno Graton (director, writer), Clara Bourreau (writer), Priscilla Bertin, Valérie Bournonville, Judith Nora and Joseph Rouschop (producers), Olivier Boonjing (cinematographer), Arnaud Bellemans and Nobuo Coste (editors)

PLOT: Joe (Gharbia), an inmate at a youth detention centre, meets new inmate William (de Saint Jean) and develops an intimate bond with him. However, since the facility forbids physical touch, they must find a way to love one another under the strict regime they are imprisoned under…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Not to be confused with the vampire film series of the same name, this Belgian/French film with the title The Lost Boys is a much more intimate and passionate affair
  • It is the feature debut of short film director Zeno Graton, who here tells a politically resonant story of forbidden love
  • The film takes a devastating look at the invasive prison system in place for young offenders, which puts harsh restrictions on basic human desires
  • It gained strong praise after showing at international festivals in Berlin, London and Toronto
  • Your heart will be torn up and then put back together by the tenderness that is felt in every frame

The Lost Boys is showing in cinemas from Friday 15 December 2023

 

Monica (2023, dir. Andrea Pallaoro)

CAST: Trace Lysette, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Browning, Joshua Close, Adriana Barraza

CREW: Andrea Pallaoro (director, writer, producer), Orlando Tirado (writer), Christina Dow, Eleonora Granata-Jenkinson and Gina Resnick (producers), Katelin Arizmendi (cinematographer), Paola Freddi (editor)

PLOT: Monica (Lysette), a trans woman, returns home for the first time since leaving as a teenager, to take care of her dying mother Eugenia (Clarkson). Her arrival triggers an emotional wave of reactions within the family, and a path towards healing and acceptance for Monica herself…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • This powerful family drama offers a truly emotional look at the deeply fractured nature of this particular unit
  • Trans actor Trace Lysette gives an absolutely astonishing lead performance that ranks among the year’s finest
  • She received an 11-minute standing ovation following the film’s world premiere at the 2022 Venice Film Festival
  • Director Andrea Pallaoro gives her film a stunning visual look that compliments the inner feelings of its titular character
  • It is a vital piece of trans-centric cinema that deeply humanises the trans experience

Monica is showing in cinemas from Friday 15 December 2023

 

Every Body (2023, dir. Julie Cohen)

CAST: Sean Saifa Wall, Alicia Roth Weigel, River Gallo

CREW: Julie Cohen (director), Toomy Nguyen and Molly O’Brien (producers), Amanda Yamate (composer), Leah Anova and Kate Phelan (cinematographers), Kelly Kendrick (editor)

PLOT: Three individuals who identity as intersexual set out to overcome childhood prejudices, and unauthorised gender correctional surgery, to live their lives as happy, healthy adults…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • An uplifting documentary that celebrates the “I” in LGBTQIA, Every Body explores the fundamental right to live freely as one wishes to live
  • Julie Cohen, a co-director of the Oscar-nominated documentary RBG, brings as much love and passion to her subjects here as she did for the late Supreme Court Justice
  • We see how much control was placed over these people’s lives as children, when they were not allowed to express themselves as much as they currently are
  • A major focus is on the controversial gender correctional surgery that was often performed without the child’s consent, which numerous figures in the film seek to end for future intersexual children
  • It is, above all, a rousing and pleasing film which will put a massive smile on your face

Every Body is showing in cinemas from Friday 15 December 2023

 

The Shift (2023, dir. Brock Heasley)

CAST: Kristoffer Polaha, Neal McDonough, Elizabeth Tabish, Rose Reid, Sean Astin, John Billingsley, Jason Marsden, Nolan North, Emily Rose, Paras Patel, Jordan Walker Ross

CREW: Brock Heasley (director, writer, producer), Ken Carpenter (producer), Dan Haseltine and Matthew S. Nelson (composers), Edd Lukas (cinematographer), Chris Witt (editor)

PLOT: After a mysterious encounter with a man who calls himself The Benefactor (McDonough), Kevin Garner (Polaha) finds himself shifted to a totalitarian alternate reality. When he runs afoul of The Benefactor, Kevin must try and find a way to shift back to his own reality…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Angel Studios, the distributor behind the surprise summer box office hit Sound of Freedom, presents an all-new sci-fi thriller
  • Its plot of travelling through alternate universes, as well as its mild Christian undertones, amusingly makes this the faith-based Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • Kristoffer Polaha leads a cast that includes character actors like Neal McDonough and Lord of the Rings veteran Sean Astin
  • Writer-director Brock Heasley expands upon his 2017 short film of the same name
  • With an emotional core and a profound sense of optimism, this is a sci-fi movie with plenty of humanity

The Shift is showing in cinemas from Friday 15 December 2023

What’s Showing At Home This Week?

 

The Family Plan (2023, dir. Simon Cellan Jones)

CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Saïd Taghmaoui, Maggie Q, Zoe Colletti, Van Crosby, Ciarán Hinds, Miles Doleac, Joyner Lucas

CREW: Simon Cellan Jones (director), David Coggeshall (writer), David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg (producers), Kevin Matley (composer), Michael Burgess (cinematographer), Tim Porter (editor)

PLOT: Dan Morgan (Wahlberg), a former government assassin, has left his violent life behind and has settled into a quiet suburban lifestyle with his wife (Monaghan) and their children. However, when enemies from his past manage to track him down, Dan coerces his family into an impromptu cross-country road trip to Las Vegas, where he must protect them without revealing his former life…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • Mark Wahlberg juggles high-stakes action with family mishaps in this amusing action-comedy for the whole family
  • Wahlberg also produces with Skydance head David Ellison, for a new release that Apple can boast on its streaming platform
  • Fun supporting turns from Michelle Monaghan, Wahlberg’s Three Kings co-star Saïd Taghmaoui and a villainous Ciarán Hinds fill out the lively narrative
  • There are some impressively choreographed action set-pieces set in unlikely locations like a grocery store or a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip
  • It’s something that just about everyone can enjoy as the lead-up to Christmas threatens to become too overwhelming

The Family Plan is streaming exclusively on Apple TV+ from Friday 15 December 2023

 

Finestkind (2023, dir. Brian Helgeland)

CAST: Ben Foster, Toby Wallace, Jenna Ortega, Tommy Lee Jones, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Aaron Stanford, Scotty Tovar, Tim Daly, Lolita Davidovich, Clayne Crawford, Lonnie Farmer, Fernanda Andrade, Charlie Thurston, Meghan Leathers, Brian McDonald, Chris Matacunas, Rebecca Gibel

CREW: Brian Helgeland (director, writer), Gary Foster, David Glasser and Russ Krasnoff (producers), Carter Burwell (composer), Crille Forsberg (cinematographer), Stuart Levy (editor)

PLOT: Tom (Foster) and Charlie (Wallace) are half-brothers who reunite for a summer on their father’s (Jones) fishing boat. When the brothers find themselves in legal trouble, mysterious young woman Mabel (Ortega) points them in the direction of a violent crime family, whom they strike a deal with to pay off their debts. However, it isn’t long before the brothers find that they are in over their heads, and have put themselves and the ones they care about in danger…

FIVE REASONS TO BE EXCITED:

  • This tense crime thriller is the understated jolt of energy that you’ve been looking for
  • Oscar-winning L.A. Confidential screenwriter Brian Helgeland directs and writes the film, after previously finding success with the Tom Hardy gangster flick Legend
  • The main cast is made up of powerful character actors like Ben Foster and Tommy Lee Jones, as well as fresher faces like Toby Wallace and Wednesday star Jenna Ortega
  • With its setting in the world of commercial fishing, you can expect some ocean-set scenes that are as thrilling as the ones on land
  • With some nail-biting twists and dangerous turns, you’ll be hooked (fishing pun intended) from beginning to end

Finestkind is streaming exclusively on Paramount+ from Saturday 16 December 2023

That’s about it for this week – be sure to come back next week for a whole new set of movies to work up an appetite for!

Want to see our past menus?

Want to find a specific film?

Search for it in the box below:

Lisa Frankenstein (2024, dir. Zelda Williams)

A misunderstood teen resurrects a handsome corpse…

Spaceman (2024, dir. Johan Renck)

A lonely astronaut makes an unexpected connection on a solo mission…

American Star (2024, dir. Gonzalo López-Gallego)

An aging hitman travels to Fuerteventura for a final mission…

Dune Part Two (2024, dir. Denis Villeneuve)

Paul Atreides leads the Fremen of the desert planet Arrakis on a defiant mission…

Wicked Little Letters (2024, dir. Thea Sharrock)

In 1920s Littlehampton, a series of vulgar letters rock the community…

Perfect Days (2023, dir. Wim Wenders)

A Tokyo toiler cleaner leads a carefully structured life…

Memory (2023, dir. Michel Franco)

A woman has a surprise encounter with an old high school classmate…

Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son (2024, dir. Lorna Tucker)

Filmmaker Lorna Tucker explores the UK’s ongoing homeless crisis…

Bob Marley: One Love (2024, dir. Reinaldo Marcus Green)

Reggae musician Bob Marley rises to prominence throughout the world…

Madame Web (2024, dir. S.J. Clarkson)

A clairvoyant paramedic protects a trio of young women from a mysterious assailant…

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