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#OnTheBigScreen: The Grinch, a revolutionary woman, and an instant family

New film releases on 7 December 2018 include The Grinch who wants to steal Christmas; The Healer follows the life of a man with an unwanted gift for healing; a woman revolutionises literature, fashion, and sexual expression in Colette, a couple learn the joys and frustrations of having an Instant Family, and you can see the Bolshoi Ballet's The Nutcracker live on the big screen from 8 December 2018.

The Grinch

For their eighth fully animated feature, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch. Based on Dr Seuss’ beloved holiday classic, The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl’s generous holiday spirit. The Grinch and his loyal dog, Max, live a solitary existence inside a cave on Mount Crumpet. His main source of aggravation comes during Christmastime when his neighbours in Whoville celebrate the holidays with a bang.

When the Whos decide to make Christmas bigger and brighter, the disgruntled Grinch realises there is one way to gain peace and quiet. With help from Max, the green grump hatches a scheme to pose as Santa Claus, steal Christmas and silence the Whos’ holiday cheer once and for all.

Based on the 1957 Dr Seuss story How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, it is the third screen adaptation of the story, following the 1966 TV special of the same name and the 2000 live-action feature-length also of the same name. It is directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, written by Michael LeSieur and Tommy Swerdlow.

Read more here

The Healer

This faith-based film follows the life of a man with an unwanted gift for healing. When he meets a teenager with terminal cancer, she unexpectedly helps him to find himself. Oliver Jackson-Cohen plays Alec, who owes money to the wrong people, sleeping with married women, and drinking like there’s no tomorrow. Without warning, a man named Raymond (Jonathan Pryce) shows up, claiming to be his uncle.

Raymond has a proposition that could provide Alec with a clean slate: he will pay all his debts in exchange for Alec moving to Nova Scotia for one year. Alec arrives in Lunenburg, the small rural town where Raymond owns a house. To help him make a living, Cecilia (Camilla Luddington), the local veterinarian he befriends, places an ad for him in the weekly newspaper offering his services as an electrical repairman. The townspeople flock to hire his services. What’s extraordinary and unexplainable, however, is that those that go to see Alec are mysteriously cured of their ailments. The rumour spreads, and he becomes known as a healer.

It is written and directed by Spanish filmmaker and philanthropist Paco Arango. It is the first film ever to be made with the intention of helping children with cancer all over the world. It has been a major hit in Spain, México, Central America, and Colombia. 

Read more here


Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette has been a source of inspiration and fascination for countless readers ever since she first rose to fame — and infamy — in early 20th century France, and is now realised on the big screen.

Unconventional country girl Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) has married the charismatic egomaniacal man of letters, 14 years her senior, known by the single name ‘Willy’ (Dominic West).

Through his auspices, Colette is introduced into the fecund world of the artistic demimonde in Paris where her creative appetite is sparked. Ever quick to capitalise on talent, Willy permits Colette to write her novels only if she does so in his name. The phenomenal success of her Claudine series makes Willy a famous writer and Colette and Willy the first modern celebrity couple.

Although they are the toast of the town, lack of recognition for her work begins to gnaw on Colette. Their marriage starts to internally combust, fueled by Willy’s infidelities and Colette’s growing interest in women – particularly her relationship with the non-conforming Marquise de Belbeuf (Denise Gough) – but emotionally and artistically, she cannot break free of him. On a downward slide, Willy resorts to increasingly desperate measures to pay his debts and sabotage his wife but Colette is developing resources of her own.

Directed by Wash Westmoreland, from a screenplay by Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer.

Read more here

Instant Family

Instant Family is inspired by the real events from the life of writer/director/producer Sean Anders, celebrating the notion that a family can come from anywhere. While foster care adoption can be a serious matter for a film, Anders is also comfortable with also highlighting the lighthearted aspects because that is the personal story he wants to tell.

When Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of adoption. When they meet a trio of siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl (Isabela Moner), they find themselves unexpectedly speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must hilariously try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hopes of becoming a family.

Read more here

The Nutcracker - Bolshoi Ballet

This festive season classic is the gift that keeps on giving. It all starts on Chrismas Eve when the clock strikes midnight. The magic begins when Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll comes to life and transforms into a prince! Soon her other toys come alive, and Marie and her prince embark on a dreamy, unforgettable adventure. A holiday tradition for the whole family, The Nutcracker sweeps the Bolshoi stage for hours of enchantment and fantasy. Along with Tchaikovsky’s cherished score and some of the Bolshoi’s greatest artists, The Nutcracker is timeless and not to be missed! Showing from 8 December 2018 for a limited release.

For more information and to make bookings to watch any of the upcoming Ballet productions, visit the website at www.sterkinekor.com or download the SK App.  

Read more about the latest film releases: www.writingstudio.co.za.

About Daniel Dercksen

Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za

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