Finnegan On Films: Some Festive Fun And Compelling Drama On The Box

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, says it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas in the movies schedules for the weekend…

As the Festive Season is almost upon us, the weekly film selections take on that traditional touch of tinsel decorations.

Nativity Rocks! (Saturday 6.35pm RTE1) is the fourth instalment of this particular franchise returning to its roots in the fictional St Bernadette’s Primary School.

It does not have the most demanding of plot lines, which involves the staff and pupils working together to perform a spectacular rock-themed music themed nativity, a Syrian child refugee named Doru looking for his father and a stray dog, so there is a strong referencing of family.

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What it does have are a host of familiar faces (Hugh Dennis, Anna Chancellor, Craig Revel Horwood and Simon Lipkin) which means that there is plenty of energy, brio and a unique view of the birth of Jesus.

If all you want for Christmas is a film heavily influenced by the music of George Michael, Last Christmas (Saturday 9.05pm RTE2) is the film for you.

Kate (Emilia Clarke) is working as an elf in a Covent Garden Christmas Shop while trying for her big showbiz break.

However, she also has a strong self-destructive streak and a poor relationship with her family.

She meets an enigmatic stranger Tom (Henry Golding) whose influence changes her approach to life in unexpected ways.

Also starring Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson, who also co-wrote the screenplay, this depends on the charm of both leads and is good Saturday evening fare set in a London that only exists in Christmas films.

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Speaking of quirky romances, Frankie and Johnny (Saturday 9.30pm TG4) is the story of an ex-convict Johnny (Al Pacino) who has a love of cooking and fine literature.

He gets a job as a cook in a diner, where he meets and falls for Frankie (Michelle Pfeiffer) a lonely and emotionally wounded waitress.

This is a delightful romantic film, thanks in no small part to the talents of the two leads from Scarface in a very different type of film, a supporting cast including Hector Elizondo, Nathan Lane and Kate Nelligan, a wonderfully witty and clever screenplay by Terrence McNally and an original score from Marvin Hamlisch.

I can promise there is absolutely no Christmas spirit in evidence in There Will Be Blood (Monday 9.30pm TG4).

It is, however, a truly epic period drama centred on a magnificent and mesmerising performance by Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview.

His public persona as a family man hides a ruthless and relentless greed for land and wealth at any cost during the California oil boom at the turn of the twentieth century.

However, local Preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano in a duel role as twins Paul and Eli) is not convinced and the two are set for an inevitable confrontation.

Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, this won multiple major awards, most especially for Daniel Day Lewis, but also for the stunning cinematography by Robert Elswit.  Enjoy and Stay Safe!

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