Festive Film Guide
Put down that copy of Radio Times and get into the holiday spirit with these Christmas classics screening all around Northern Ireland
You know it's Christmas when the Coca Cola ad comes across your TV screen, right? Then comes the Christmas present lists, the sound of Cliff Richard echoing through a shopping centre or a two hour wait for a two minute sit on Santa’s lap. Ah, what we do to ourselves every year, or for others for that matter.
Perhaps what is needed is a good old Christmas movie to take you away from the crazier side of the season. I love a good Christmas movie: It's a Wonderful Life, Elf and Santa Claus the Movie (don't judge) being some of my all-time favourites. What's even better is how screens across the country are embracing the festive spirit.
From the Newry Arts Centre, Bushmills Inn to Strand Arts Centre, Belfast, a whole bundle of feel-good films will offer some much-needed escapism this side of December 25. Let us take you through them...
Queen’s Film Theatre
QFT is always a good idea and with the addition of a Christmas movie, I can imagine it being an even more special experience. The Queen’s University based cinema is getting behind the Christmas season with old black and white classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Meet me in St.Louis, then timeless flicks like Home Alone, Die Hard, Miracle on 34th Street and The Nightmare Before Christmas hitting screens too.
For dates and timings visit here: queensfilmtheatre.com/Whats-On.
Belfast Film Festival
Belfast Film Festival will be celebrating Christmas with a special screening of It’s a Wonderful Life at the Great Hall, Campbell College. I really can’t think of a nicer place to watch the James Stewart classic, amidst the beautiful architecture and ambience of this unique setting.
For more info visit here: www.belfastfilmfestival.org
Image via Campbell College on Facebook
Strand Arts Centre
It seems It’s a Wonderful Life is a popular screening choice this year and that is no surprise given it is one of the most well known Christmas movies. Strand Arts Centre will be showing it and other favourites, including a sing-a-along Muppet Christmas Carol and a less obvious choice of Batman Returns.
Visit here for more details: www.strandartscentre.com/movies
If it’s a lazy Sunday you are after then Courtyard Cinema, based in the courtyard outside White’s Tavern in Belfast’s city centre, is a good shout. In the Sundays leading up to Christmas they will be showing Groundhog Day, Home Alone and Gremlins. All screenings are free and include free popcorn, chicken wings and blankets. Sold.
For more information visit here: www.facebook.com/courtyardcinema/
Veering towards a more alternative Christmas movie, the team at Banterflix are putting on a screening of Black Christmas at the Hudson Bar in Belfast’s city centre this Christmas. It is definitely not one for the faint-hearted!
Sunday December 18, 8-11pm
Movie House Cinemas
For a more epic Christmas movie experience (or just more legroom) then the Movie House will have a special run of Christmas movies showing throughout December. A handy option for post Christmas shopping.
For more details visit here: http://www.moviehouse.co.uk/Blog/115/christmas-movie-season
Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Set suitably in the Rail Gallery, Pop Up Film Club's screenings of The Polar Express are sure to kick off December with some steam-powered winter magic. The kids can roam free amongst the beautifully restored engines, enjoy some hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies or sweets and might even be surprised by a visit from Santa himself.
Tickets are selling fast, so book soon to avoid disappointment: www.popupfilmclub.co.uk
Newry Arts Centre
Another Jimmy Stewart Christmas classic, Newry Arts Centre will have a special one off screening of Shop Around the Corner in its intimate theatre in the lead up to Christmas.
Shop Around the Corner, Wednesday 7 December
The Walled City's most historic building will glow with all manner of magic over the holiday period, not least when its main hall hosts family film matinees with refreshments for children on December 20 and 21, followed by Christmas classics each day from 6.45pm. As an added touch there'll even be mulled wine and mince pies to help warm the cockles with.
For updates on what films will be showing visit www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Christmas/Home
The Christmas movie offering in the unique setting of Bushmills Inn is looking to be very special. Tickets are £32.50 a pop but this will include a movie screening of your choice, a two-course dinner, popcorn and a special Christmas-themed cocktail. Way too tempting, right?
Various dates and showings. For more details visit here: http://www.bushmillsinn.com/cinema-2016.aspx
Café Cinema Club
Café Cinema Club, hosted by Town Square, Belfast, will be showing a screening of Elf in the run up to Christmas. This movie, if you haven’t seen it, is Will Ferrell at his best. I shall say no more.
Sunday December 18, 9pm.
For more details visit TownSquareBelfast on Facebook
Not forgetting the kids in all this, Ulster Museum will be hosting an exciting line-up of events for the younger film fans, including Arthur Christmas and The Santa Clause. Tickets are selling out fast so make sure to get in there quick.
For more info visit: http://www.wegottickets.com/cinemagic
Cinemagic will give movie lovers of all ages another chance to see its first original feature length A Christmas Star when it returns to where it premiered to acclaim in 2015. Don't miss a wealth of future stars plus cameos from established names in this heartwarming live action film.
Get your tickets here: www.odysseycinemas.co.uk/movie/a-christmas-star
Roe Valley Arts Centre
Do you want to build a snowman? With how the weather is shaping up, you might well get the chance to, wherever you are. But if not you'll still be able to the song a go as Roe Valley Arts Centre bring Disney's frosty phenomonen Frozen to life with a special sing-a-long screening on December 10. A week later those with more traditional tastes can have their hearts warmed with the venue's annual It's A Wonderful Life showing.
Be sure to book early: www.roevalleyarts.com
Newcastle Community Cinema
Newcastle Community Cinema is showing every conceivable side to Christmas on its big screen this year, from blockbuster action (Die Hard) and romance (Love Actually) to classic comedy (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) and even foreign frights (A Christmas Tale).
For the full list of films check out the Autumn/Winter programme
Galgorm Resort & Spa
Those really in the mood to treat themselves can unwind from the high street stampedes with a screening of The Polar Express, as Galgorm Goes to the Movies on December 18. Luxury viewing unlike almost anywhere else in the country.
To book visit www.galgorm.com/upcoming_eventst
Belfast's self-proclaimed 'only geek and movie bar' boasts a truly unique assortment of events in the lead up to 2017, from a Zombie Christmas Jumper Party to a Stranger Things-themed New Year's Eve night. On the big screen side of things there's a host of cult favourites including a 'Dine-in Cinema' showing of Elf, a chance for Bill Murray zealots to relive Groundhog Day and even a Star Wars Christmas dinner.
Check out Vandal's Facebook page for all upcoming events.