Brits At The Box Office: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tilda Swinton, Carey Mulligan & More!

(Weekly feature written for BritScene)

This week we’re bringing back our weekly feature ‘Brits At The Box Office’, where we pull together all the information you need about the British cinema heading your way over the next seven days. It’s a great week for cinema too, with some brilliant films full of spies, sex addicts, and a little bit of Christmas. What better way to kick off December?

First up is spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which is out in theaters this week (9th Dec). The cast for this film is brilliant, showing off some of Britain’s best talent with powerful performances from Gary Oldman (Harry Potter), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Benedict Cumberbatch (Warhorse), John Hurt (Immortals) and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises). As a Brit myself, I have been lucky enough to already have seen this film and it really is one worth going to see. Whilst it’s not filled with any action, it’s a traditional and gripping recreation of the novel that it was adapted from. You can view the theater listings for the film here for more info on showings, and for a bit of extra fun, you can also take a guess at who the film’s antagonist will be from our 13 character profiles.

Shame is still in cinemas this week after making 35K per theater over the weekend. Unfortunately, in an opposite circumstance to Tinker Tailor, I still have to wait another month to see this but I have been really looking forward to it. Both Michael Fassbender (X Men: First Class) and Carey Mulligan (Drive) look like they give stunning performances in this film, especially with Mulligan’s rendition of New York New York. See where you can see this film over the next month here.

Irish documentary Knuckle is getting a limited theatrical release this week and is available on VOD as well (check your local listings to catch it on demand). The film, which was shown at the beginning of the year at the Sundance Film Festival, is opening in theaters in New York at Cinema Village, Los Angeles at Lammle Monica and Austin at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar this Friday (9th Dec). The doc is also being adapted into a HBO series by Irvine Welsh, which you can read more about here.

Psychological thriller We Need To Talk About Kevin, starring British actress Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia), opens in New York and LA this week (9th Dec). The film won best movie at the recent London Film Festival and has been travelling across the US for the past couple of months being shown at all the festivals. See where you can see this film here.

A small British film London River, starring BAFTA winner Brenda Blethyn (Atonement), is getting a limited release too. The film opened in NYC’s Cinema Village earlier this week, which included a Q&A with director Rachid Bouchareb, and is also opening in LA on 16th December at Laemmle’s Royal Theatre, which you can read more about here.

Since this is our first Brits At The Box Office post in a while, we might as well mention the 3D, CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas too as it is still putting bums on seats in theaters across the country. Whilst it was released quite early on in the Christmas season, there’s no denying your Christmas spirit now, with only a few weeks to go. The film tells a classic Christmas tale and is voiced by an all British cast, led by James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) as Arthur, Jim Broadbent (Another Year) as Santa Claus and also including Bill Nighy (Shaun Of The Dead), Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter), Matt Lucas (TV’s Little Britain) and Ashley Jensen (TVs Extra’s).

If you need any more encouragement to get to the cinema this weekend, read the films’ synopsis and watch their trailers below.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Based on the novel of the same name written by John le Carré, Tinker Tailor is set in London in the 1970s when secret agent George Smiley (Oldman) is brought out of retirement to help identify a mole who has infiltrated the Secret Intelligence Service headquarters.

Shame – Brandon Sullivan (Fassbender) is a lonely sex-addict in New York whose ordered lifestyle of one-night stands spirals out of control when his younger sister, Sissy (Mulligan), moves into his apartment indefinitely.

Knuckle – The epic 12 year journey into the world of an Irish gypsy community and their bare-knuckle fighting rituals. Directed and starring Ian Palmer, the documentary focuses on two clans, the Quinns and the Joyces, who hate each other so much that they settle their disputes through beating each other up. Much like Brad Pitt’s role in Snatch, Palmer opens up the side of the Gypsy community that we rarely get to see inside of.

We Need To Talk About Kevin – Adapted from the 2003 novel of the same name by American author Lionel Shriver, Eva Khatchadourian (Swinton) is the mother of a troubled teenage boy (Ezra Miller) who embarks on a high-school killing spree. The story is told from the perspective of Eva, seeing her recount the events in her son’s life as she attempts to deal with her grief and feelings of guilt by writing to her estranged husband (Jon C. Reilly).

London River – Set against the backdrop of the 7th July terrorist attacks in 2005, Elizabeth (Blethyn) travels to London after failing to hear from her daughter. Disturbed by the confusion of the metropolis and the predominantly Muslim neighborhood where her daughter lived, her fear and prejudice escalate, before meeting a West African man (Sotigui Kouyaté) who has come from France to find his missing son. Although they come from very different backgrounds, Elizabeth and Ousmane share the same hope of finding their children alive and, putting aside their cultural differences, give each other the strength to continue in their search.

Arthur Christmas – An Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, asking the often-wondered, never-answered question, “How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?” The answer is found through unlikely hero, Arthur, the son of Santa, who must use his father’s ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole to deliver a present to a little girl before Christmas morning dawns.

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