A mixed grill of pre-Christmas treats on the big screen

How can one explain the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the recent American election by a man with so many disgraceful characteristics as Donald Trump unless, as has been suggested, she herself was so passionately disliked by large sectors of the population? 

One wit suggested Donald Duck could even have beaten her. In the aftermath of the shock result, documentary film-make Michael Moore suggested the Democrats should have put up someone who was loved by the populace even if – like Trump – he had no political experience. He suggested Tom Hanks as such a candidate. 

It’s not a bad idea. The ‘common man’ seems fed up of the political system, as was also evidenced by the recent Brexit vote in the UK. Hanks could happily fill the role occupied by his ‘aw-shucks’ Hollywood forbear James Stewart in Mr Smith Goes to Washington.

He’s in heroic mode again in his new movie Sully, the latest feature from Clint Eastwood, a man who shows no signs of slowing down even though he’s now in his 85th year. Based on a true story, it has a grey-haired Hanks as airline captain Chesley Sullenberger. He has to make an emergency landing on the frozen Hudson river in 2009 after a flock of geese get trapped in the fusillage and threaten the lives of all 155 passengers on board. 

‘Sully’ achieved this and became a national hero as a result but afterwards the National Transportation Safety Board questioned some of his decisions – like why he didn’t turn the plane around – which took the lustre off his great feat. The film co-stars Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhart and is already being talked about for Oscar glory. 


Moana is an animated musical from Disney Studios that’s ideal for children. The title character embarks on an exciting adventure with a demi-god, Maui across the Pacific where dangerous monsters threaten them at every turn. 

Allied stars Brad Pitt opposite Marion Cotillard – the woman rumoured to have caused the break-up of his marriage to Angelina Jolie  – in a romantic thriller set in Casablanca during World War II. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it has Pitt as an intelligence officer and Cotillard as a Resistance fighter. They fall in love during a mission to kill a high-ranking Nazi.

Another tense film, Bleed for This, chronicles the comeback of Rhode Island boxer Vinny Pazienza after a near-fatal road accident threatens both his life and career. Against all the odds he makes a miraculous recovery, teaming up with his trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart again) to show the world he still has what it takes to be a great champion. 

Amy Adams is a linguist trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials in Arrival, a Denis Villeneuve offering. A film to stay away from, finally,  is Bad Santa 2. This is a black comedy with a debauched Santa Claus. If you saw the original, also with Billy Bob Thornton,  you’ll know what to expect. He makes The Grinch look mild by comparison.