Here are our critics' suggestions for keeping busy this week (Dec 3-Dec 9). Dive in!
Disney’s first princess film since the box-office-busting Frozen tells the story of Moana of Motunui, a Polynesian teenager who sails off to save her island kingdom with shape-shifting trickster Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), on an adventure that tacks from soaringly beautiful to uproariously hectic. Directors John Musker and Ron Clements bring their Little Mermaid-honed expertise to bear on every detail, while the addictive songs, co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, might even dislodge Let It Go from your head.
PG cert, 113 min
The Edge of Seventeen ★★★★☆
A teen comedy of warmth, wisdom and real emotional clout? I didn’t know they were still being made. Yet, here writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig channels John Hughes films of the Eighties. Her star, Hailee Steinfeld, plays a tortured teenager whose grip on life unravels when her only friend starts dating her older brother.
15 cert, 104 min
Tom Hanks stars as Chelsey Sullenberger, the seasoned airline captain who, in 2009, safely landed a malfunctioning passenger jet on New York’s Hudson River. As a 9/11 redemption story, it’s moving and profound. Director Clint Eastwood brings both the crash and bravery of those caught in it to neck-prickling life.
12A cert, 96 min
The Unknown Girl ★★★☆☆
Belgium’s Dardenne brothers tackle health care and middle-class guilt in this tale of a provincial doctor, played by Adèle Haenel, who becomes obsessed with the demise of an African prostitute. It has all its makers’ usual good intentions, but the plotting leans heavily on Casualty-style contrivance, while Haenel is not yet a star.
15 cert, 107 min
This warm revamp uses the original film’s central relationship as the premise for a new family-friendly wilderness fable of human-animal companionship. Bryce Dallas Howard is a kindly forest ranger, Robert Redford works the twinkling charm-o-rama angle, and there are some unobtrusive special effects.
PG cert, 103 min
Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes
Bourne turns his attention to Powell and Pressburger’s rip-roaring 1948 adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes. A fascinating prospect.
The Lowry, Salford (0843 208 6000), tonight; Sadler’s Wells (020 7863 8000), Tues-Jan 29
The Royal Ballet’s take is both opulent and full of magic (in rep until Jan 12, 020 7304 4000), while Birmingham Royal Ballet’s is more spectacular still (Birmingham Hippodrome, 0844 338 5000, until Dec 15).
Electric Dreams Weekender
Bognor Regis gets back to the future. The glistening synthetic sci-fi world promised by the first wave of electronica is already a thing of retro nostalgia. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Heaven 17, Holly Johnson, Marc Almond and Blancmange are among the iconic electro artists appearing during a weekend of classic synth pop.
Butlins, Bognor Regis (bigweekends.com), today and tomorrow
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The American funk rock band remain a thrilling live attraction 33 years and 60 million albums down the road. In drummer Chad Smith and bassist “Flea”, they boast one of rock’s most limber rhythm sections, while singer Anthony Kiedis retains his charismatic conviction. Gorgeous melodies are their secret weapon and their latest album is filled with them.
O2 Arena, London SE10 (redhotchilipeppers.com), Mon, Tues and touring
A Kylie Christmas
What says Christmas better than Kylie Minogue dressed up like a cracker in a Royal Albert Hall filled with fake snow, dancing trees and a Santa hat on every seat? The much-loved Australian star returns to the scene of previous (and very popular) Christmas crimes to break out the seasonal classics backed by a full orchestra. Expect glitterballs.
Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (020 7589 8212), Fri and Sat
Once in a Lifetime
Harry Enfield makes his West End debut in this rip-roaring Hollywood satire (written in 1930 as a topical response to the birth of the “talkies”). Supported by fellow comic Kevin Bishop, Enfield plays an eccentric movie mogul keen to capitalise on the new talking pictures.
Young Vic, London SE1 (020 7922 2922), until Jan 14
Phyllida Lloyd’s all-women Shakespeare marathon reprises the Donmar’s Julius Caesar and Henry IV and adds to it The Tempest. The project amounts to more than the sum of its parts and flies the flag for British actresses. Among the many terrific performances, Harriet Walter brings real intelligence to Brutus, Henry IV and Prospero.
Donmar at King’s Cross, London N1 (0844 815 7151), until Dec 17
Lucy Kirkwood’s follow-up to Chimerica is a rural drama set in Suffolk, featuring just three characters, played by Francesca Annis, Deborah Findlay and Ron Cook. Annis’s Rose is visiting Hazel and Robin’s cottage; all three have expertise in nuclear physics, which is just as well since the cottage is near to a reactor that has gone into a Fukushima-style meltdown.
Royal Court Downstairs, London SW1 (020 7565 5000), until Jan 14
Mark Rylance plays a nondescript American bloke called Ron, who hangs out on an iced-over lake in northern Minnesota with a mate called Erik (Jim Lichtscheidl) fishing, talking about fishing and chewing the midlife cud. Rylance is endearing but those who’ve never seen him in action may wish to wait for the line to tug with something meatier.
Harold Pinter Theatre, London SW1 (0844 871 7622), until Feb 11
Verdi’s melodic and viscerally exciting melodrama is given an imaginatively striking if wayward production by David Bösch.
Royal Opera House, London WC2 (020 7304 4000), until February 9
St John Passion
In collaboration with community choirs, English Touring Opera presents Bach’s Oratorio, interspersed with readings from theologians and philosophers.
St John’s Church, Workington (020 7833 2555), tonight; Lancaster Priory (01524 65338), tomorrow
Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings
An exhibition of the late architect’s little-seen art and drawings of future projects, held in a gallery she designed.
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London W2 (020 7402 6075), from Thurs until Feb 12
A first British showing for the dazzling landscapes and crowded streetscapes of the Australian impressionists, concentrating on three painters – Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Charles Conder – who focused on the local scene, and John Russell, who spent most of his career in France. Their work was an expression of national identity as Australia approached independence in 1901.
National Gallery, London WC2 (0800 912 6958), from Wed until March 26
The great American pop pioneer virtually invented Sixties art, and this evocative display of his work is the show of the year.
Tate Modern, London SE1 (020 7887 8888), until April 2
Lucy Raven: Edge of Tomorrow
The first British solo exhibition for an artist whose installations explore the boundaries of film and photography.
Serpentine Gallery, London W2 (020 7402 6075), from Thurs until Feb 12
Phoebe Waller-Bridge brings back the saucy one-woman play that inspired her hit BBC sitcom Fleabag. The writer-performer’s portrait of a lonely, sexually voracious Londoner is both poignant and funny.
Soho Theatre, London W1 (020 7478 0100), from Mon until Dec 16
Sofie Hagen: Shimmer Shatter
The London-based Danish comedian, who learnt English through her devotion to Westlife and deservedly won the Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer last year, enjoys a longish run for her latest show, in which she explores her inner and outer demons. It is hard not to be won over.
Soho Theatre, London W1 (020 7478 0100), Mon-Dec 17
Shappi Khorsandi: Oh My Country!
The author of the bestseller A Beginner’s Guide to Acting English celebrates her 40th year in Britain with a love letter to her adopted homeland. Skinheads welcome.
Lowry Centre, Salford (0843 208 6000), tomorrow and touring
The Comedy Store Christmas Special
Monday night is Christmas office party night at the Store – this week features Abandoman and Zoe Lyons. It all culminates on Dec 19 with a review of the year.
Comedy Store, London SW1 (0844 871 7699), Mon
Classical & Jazz
Spitalfields Winter Festival
Featuring: Francis Bacon’s astonishing visions of the music of the future; seasonal music from Siglo de Oro and The Sixteen; and Bach’s B Minor Mass from Solomon’s Knot.
Spitalfields, London E1 (020 7377 1262), Sun-Dec 11
The Sinfonietta brings two premieres, one from Morgan Hayes, a brilliant and shamefully neglected composer, and a new piccolo concerto from Simon Holt intriguingly entitled Fool is Hurt. Alongside it is the quiet masterpiece Schnee by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen. St John’s Smith Square, London SW1 (020 7960 4200), Tues JAZZ Iva Bittová This astonishing Czech musician offers the unique spectacle of a vocalist performing her own haunting songs, flavoured with Czech folk music, jazz and rock, while accompanying herself on the violin.
Vortex Jazz Club, London N16 (020 7254 4097), Tues
This astonishing Czech musician offers the unique spectacle of a vocalist performing her own haunting songs, flavoured with Czech folk music, jazz and rock, while accompanying herself on the violin.
Vortex Jazz Club, London N16 (020 7254 4097), Tues