Each week, we round up the most exciting film events happening in London over the coming week, from pop-ups and one-offs to regular film clubs, outdoor screenings and festivals. Here’s this week’s festive top five…
The Prince Charles Cinema’s month of festive favourites continues with the cosy, terribly British 1951 version of Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’. It’s fronted by the splendidly aloof Alastair Sim, who feasts on Dickens' best lines ('I expect you want the whole day off tomorrow?'), greets each new ghost with a weary shiver, and handles his giddy rebirth with aplomb. The Tiny Tim scenes can be a little bit cringeworthily sentimental, but overall this is a log fire of a movie: familiar and warming.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Mon Dec 21, 3.55pm. £8, £4 concs.
Backyard Cinema at Winterville: 'Lethal Weapon'
This classic buddy action movie kicks off during the festive season, hence its placing in Winterville’s stuffed-like-a-turkey strand of seasonal flicks. After a Kim Basinger lookalike walks off the top of a multi-storey block, investigating detective Danny Glover – a family man, just turned 50 and keen to see 51 – is given the dubious pleasure of having Mel Gibson as his new partner. However, he soon comes to appreciate the virtues of having this 'lethal weapon' at his side.
Victoria Park, Grove Road, E3 5TB. Sat Dec 19, 7.30pm. £16.50.
Meet Me in St Louis
A technicolour ode to the joys and tensions of living side-by-side with your fellow man. In a snow-globe rendering of St Louis, Missouri circa 1903, the affluent Smith clan must face the prospect of ripping up their ancestral roots to chase future fortunes. The film has only a whisper of a plot, preferring to amass the simple pleasures of life (flirting with neighbours, riding the trolley, Christmas with the folks) into a single romantic vision of a perfect society.
Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent St, W1B 2UW. Wed Dec 16, 2pm. £11, £10 concs.
Pop-Up Screens Cinema in the Snow: 'A Christmas Story'
This festive tale is beloved in the USA, but less known over here. But surely everyone remembers how they felt at primary school when a literary masterpiece came back marked with a C+? This and other crimes perpetrated by the adult world are exposed in this nostalgic tale of young Ralphie's quest to ensure that his Christmas presents include a much-coveted BB air rifle. Delightfully entertaining, with a wryly amusing narration to keep the adults smirking.
20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, W11 2QA. Sat Dec 19, 1pm. £20.
If you’re fed up of having your cockles warmed but still feel like watching something appropriately snowy, this is the movie for you. Melissa Leo is Ray, a woman who will go any distance to ensure the future of her children – even if it means bending the law. Underfed, underpaid and virtually unemployed (her shifts at the Yankee Dollar discount store are not keeping the family afloat), we join her at a low ebb after her no-good husband scuttled off to Atlantic City with the final payment for her dream mobile home. Teetering on a financial precipice, Ray becomes embroiled in a people-trafficking scam.
Genesis Cinema, 93–95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ. Tue Dec 15, 7pm. £5.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.