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9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films

(Picture: Rex/Shutterstock, Gene Page/AMC)
Isn’t Christmas just great? Lots of food, lots of drinks ..

9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films
(Picture: Rex/Shutterstock, Gene Page/AMC)

Isn’t Christmas just great? Lots of food, lots of drinks and lots of presents – everything is coming up roses. Christmas movies however, that’s another story…

There are undoubtedly some Christmas movie greats, classics even. But really, how many times can anyone watch Love Actually and still enjoy it?

All available to stream during the holidays, we bring you the Alternative Christmas Watch List – a look at the all the best new films and boxset binges available to watch at home this festive period, without a single reference to Christmas.

Did someone say scrooge?


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

9 films to watch
(Picture: Marvel)

James Gunn gets the band back together for more swaggering superhero fun, and this time everything is turned up to 11. Our ragtag intergalactic heroes – Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooer) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) – are on the run from a grudge-holding race known as the Sovereign when Quill’s long-lost, god-like dad Ego (Kurt Russell) enters the picture. There’s also time for Gamora to reignite her rivalry with cyborg sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), while space pirate (Yondu Michael Rooker) has a munity on his hands.

Lego Batman

9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films
(Picture: DC Entertainment)

The super-awesome Lego Movie gets an even more super-awesome spin-off as the Caped Crusader (voiced to sardonic perfection by Arrested Development’s Will Arnett) swings into action to save Gotham City from The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) and an army of mega-villains pulled form every film franchise under the sun. This time though, Batman won’t be going it alone. There’s a feisty new police commissioner (Rosario Dawson) in town, and she’s had enough of Batman and his massive ego running around unsupervised. There’s also another spanner in the works as big Bats accidentally agrees to take custody of an impossibly chipper character (Michael Cera) desperate to be his sidekick. But what the heck kind of superhero name is Robin?

Beauty And The Beast

9 films to watch
(Picture: Disney)

PS: We may have told a little fib, as we must confess there is a very brief Christmas moment in this film but it’s just too good that we couldn’t not include it. Definitely not a Christmas movie though!!

Directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), this lavish, live-action retelling of the classic Disney animation certainly doesn’t skimp on spectacle. It’s a full-on, bells (get it?) and whistles musical, and all the beloved set-pieces are present and correct. Particularly effective are the central Be Our Guest dinner sequence and the raucous tavern singalong with the narcissistic Gaston (a spot-on Luke Evans) and his adoring sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad). Emma Watson’s Belle and Dan Stevens’ Beast are also backed up by a big-name voice cast that includes Ewan McGregor as Lumière, Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts and Sir Ian McKellen as curmudgeonly mantel clock Cogsworth.


9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films
(Picture: Paramount Pictures)

Academy Award Nominee Best Picture, Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington), a 1950s Pittsburgh sanitation worker. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, Troy creates further tension in his family when he squashes his son’s (Jovan Adepo) chance to meet a college football recruiter.


9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films
(Picture: Columbia Pictures)

Astronauts (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds) aboard the International Space Station are on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As members of the crew conduct their research, the rapidly evolving life-form proves far more intelligent and terrifying than anyone could have imagined.

Box Set Binges

The Walking Dead Season 7

9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films
(Picture: Gene Page/AMC)

The all-conquering post-apocalyptic drama returned in autumn for its eighth season and if you missed it the first time around this Christmas is the perfect chance to catch up with the life and times of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the residents of Alexandria, the Kingdom and the Hilltop as they prepare for an all-out war with the brutal Saviours and their maniacal, baseball-bat-wielding leader, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

The Wire Seasons 1-5

9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films
(Picture: HBO)

David Simon’s Emmy Award winning drama stars Dominic West as detective Jimmy McNulty, who along with his fellow investigators attempts to infiltrate a West Baltimore drug ring headed by the elusive Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris) and his lieutenant, Stringer bell (Idris Elba).

Big Little Lies Season 1

9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films
(Picture: HBO)

With a cast including Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, this is a show with plenty of stars. With a number of high-profile, ruthless women vying for power, tensions are already high in Monterrey, Mexico. Throw in a complex murder investigation and some very complex relationships and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Twin Peaks: The Return

9 films and TV shows the Grinch in your life can watch instead of Christmas films
(Picture: Showtime)

Twenty- five years ago, a quaint north-western town was turned upside down when the body of homecoming queen Laura Palmer was found, launching an unforgettable murder investigation.

All these films and TV shows are available to stream this Christmas through NOW TV.

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‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist

“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..

“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.

Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.

More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.

The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.

Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)

The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.

Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”

“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.

In a theater, the tendency with a movie so dependent on a central mystery might be to become antsy. At home, “Antebellum” is worth seeing, not only because of what it has to say about America’s past and present, but as a reminder of the often yawning gap between an intriguing idea and a fully realized film.

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‘Chemical Hearts’ director Richard Tanne on the film’s ‘bittersweet’ ending and what he hopes fans take away from the movie

“Chemical Hearts” director Richard Tanne spoke to Insider about the film’s “bittersweet” ending and ..

“Chemical Hearts” director Richard Tanne spoke to Insider about the film’s “bittersweet” ending and what he hopes fans take away from it.

“I think it’s gonna disappoint some people, and maybe all people on a certain level, ” the 35-year-old filmmaker told us. “It’s bittersweet. But that’s OK.”

The film, based on Krystal Sutherland’s 2016 book “Our Chemical Hearts” and now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, centers on 17-year-old high school senior Henry Page (Austin Abrams), who finds himself drawn to a mysterious and secretive new transfer student named Grace Town (Lili Reinhart).

“Chemical Hearts” is told from Henry’s perspective, chronicling his first heartbreak after he falls in love with the person he thinks Grace is.

Tanne, who wrote the screenplay, said that he was impressed by how the story goes ‘a little bit deeper than your average teen romance’

“I loved how it embraced the dark side of being young, the pain and the grief and the loss, the idea of crossing the threshold from being an adolescent to an adult for the first time,” he told us.

By the end of the movie, Henry learns about Grace’s tragic past. On their last day of senior year, the characters don’t end up together. Instead, they prepare to explore different futures, with Henry heading off to a school for writing and Grace taking a year off to continue therapy.

Even though fans might be disappointed by the love interests splitting, Tanne said that ‘not everything has to be escapist’

“Sometimes, younger people watching movies don’t know that it’s OK to have unhappy endings because they’re fed a steady stream, a steady diet of escapist happily ever after movies,” he told us. “And that’s OK.”

He added: “There’s a place for those, I’m not knocking them. But I just wanted to make something that didn’t talk down to the younger audience. I wanted to make something that either meets them at their level or asks them to reach a little bit higher or dig a little bit deeper.”

Tanne said that having to confront that ‘bittersweet ending’ could also be useful to viewers

The director described the conclusion as bittersweet because “there’s hope at the end, maybe not for their relationship, but for other aspects of their lives.”

“Maybe it will be helpful for young people to see that and walk away with the same sting that Henry has, but to know that it’s going to be OK, to know that Henry will be OK,” he said.

Abrams, who was 22 when he filmed the movie, told Insider that hopefully, audiences will empathize with Henry.

“I think in terms of I supposed how he’s navigating relationships, I feel like hopefully at least anyone can relate to that,” he said.

Abrams told Insider that Henry and Grace’s relationship status at the end speaks to the film’s realistic nature

Abrams shared similar sentiments as Tanne, telling us that they tried to “portray the characters as honestly as possible,” which ties in to the conclusion.

“I think there are some people that meet one person and that’s who they’re with for the rest of their lives, who actually are Henry’s parents in the movie,” the 23-year-old actor told us.

“But then there are other people, and I think it’s probably a larger number, that are going to be in multiple relationships and some of them, a lot of them aren’t going to go well. I hope that that’s an aspect of the movie that people are able to relate to.”

Abrams added that he’s “perfectly fine” letting fans decide for themselves what their main takeaways are from “Chemical Hearts.”

“I hope that maybe they take away things that I didn’t even think of, because everyone’s different and at a different point in their life and hopefully will be able to relate to it in different ways.”

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Julia Sawalha furious after being told she is ‘too old’

Julia Sawalha has said she has been “plucked, stuffed and roasted” after being told that she would n..

Julia Sawalha has said she has been “plucked, stuffed and roasted” after being told that she would not be cast in the forthcoming sequel to the hit Aardman Animation film Chicken Run as her voice sounded “too old”.

In the original film, released in 2000, Sawalha voiced the lead role of Ginger, the plucky hen who inspires her fellow egg-layers to escape from a farm when they are threatened with being turned into pies. News of the development of a sequel first emerged in 2018, and Netflixs involvement was announced in June. It is due to be directed by Sam Fell (ParaNorman) and start production in 2021.

Sawalha posted a statement on social media saying she was told a week ago that she was not wanted for the sequel. “The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds too old and they want a younger actress to reprise the role.”

She added: “Usually in these circumstances, an actress would be given the chance to do a voice test in order to determine the suitability of their pitch and tone, I however was not given this opportunity. I am passionate about my work and I dont go down without a fight, so I did my own voice test at home and sent it to the producers … However, they stated, We will be going ahead to recast the voice of Ginger.”

Sawalhas protest follows reports that Mel Gibson, who voiced the character of daredevil rooster Rocky, would not be involved in the sequel. While Rocky is named as a character in the official plot synopsis for Chicken Run 2, the role is due to be recast. Variety magazine reported that Gibson was told that as “the sequel will revolve around younger chickens, therefore casting younger voice actors” was necessary. The report also claimed that Gibsons history of controversial behaviour, including an accusation of antisemitic comments by actor Winona Ryder, which Gibson denies, played no part in the recasting.

Sawalha added: “I feel I have been fobbed off with the same excuse … To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless.”

No official announcements have been made for the Chicken Run 2 cast, but original film cast members Jane Horrocks and Lynn Ferguson have been added to the films IMDb page.

Aardman has been contacted for a response.


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