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Coming Attractions

End-of-year gems

Still from Allegiance photo by Matthew Murphy; Sleeping Sickness poster designed by Jared Mobarak


December is about more than Oscar bait and Star Wars. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of the month’s screenings.


Sleeping Sickness, presented by Cultivate Cinema Circle: Here’s another unique selection from Cutivate Cinema. German director Ulrich Köhler’s 2011 film Sleeping Sickness is the hugely acclaimed story of a German doctor and his wife living in Africa. (7 p.m. on December 6 at Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Arts Center, 617 Main St.; cultivatecinemacircle.com)


Thursday Night Terrors—Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Director Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers features one the most chilling and memorable final scenes in movie history. It’ll be a blast to see how the attendees at this Thursday Night Terrors screening react. Donald Sutherland stars, and gives one of his best performances. (7:30 p.m. on December 7 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; facebook.com/thursdaynightterrors)


Buffalo Film Seminars: Some Like It Hot: The fall BFS season comes to a close with a real treat, Billy Wilder’s Some Like it Hot. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe star in what is rightfully considered one of cinema’s greatest comedies. (7 p.m. on December 5 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main St.; csac.buffalo.edu/bfs.html)


Noir Essentials—Night of the Hunter: The Noir Essentials series goes with the one and only film directed by actor Charles Laughton, and it’s a doozy. In 1955’s Night of the Hunter, Robert Mitchum’s Harry Powell is after stolen money, and quite frankly, I’m a bit scared just thinking about him. (7:30 p.m. on December 20 at the Dipson Eastern Hills Cinema, 4545 Transit Rd., Williamsville; dipsontheatres.com)


It’s a Wonderful Life at the Screening Room: It wouldn’t be December without It’s a Wonderful Life, and a presentation of Frank Capra’s iconic story of George Bailey is a yearly tradition at Amherst’s Screening Room. This was the only one of the venue’s December screenings announced at press time, so remember to check screeningroom.net for a full schedule of films and events. (7:30 p.m. on December 15 at the Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)


TCM Big Screen Classics—Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: I’m not sure Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner qualifies as a classic, exactly, but it’s certainly an important and well-regarded film. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy play a couple meeting their daughter’s fiance, played by Sidney Poitier, for the first time. The screenings commemorate the film’s fiftieth anniversary. (2 and 7 p.m. on December 10 and 13 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)


Free family films from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library: The library’s Central Branch shows a free family film on the first Saturday of every month; this month’s selection is TBA. Meanwhile, the Clearfield Library has scheduled a free screening of the animated film Ice Age for December 29. Space is limited, so register now by calling 688-4955. (First Family Film Series: 1 p.m. on December 2 at the Central Branch, 1 Lafayette Square; Friday Movie Night: 6:30 p.m. on December 29 at the Clearfield Library, 770 Hopkins Rd., Williamsville; buffalolib.org)


Old Chestnut Film Series: Call of the Wild: Clark Gable and Loretta Young lead William Wellman’s Yukon adventure. (7:30 p.m. on December 8 in the Community Room of the Phillip Sheridan School, 3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore; oldchestnut.com)


Amherst Youth and Recreation Department Fall Family Flicks: Pixar’s latest, Cars 3, was moderately successful at the box office. Since many Lightning McQueen fans may have missed it, this is a smart pick for a winter afternoon. No pre-registration is required, and note also that crafts and games are scheduled before the film, starting at 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. on December 9 at the Harlem Road Community Center, 4255 Harlem Rd., Amherst; amherstyouthandrec.org)



Broadway’s Allegiance on the big screen: Last December’s screening of George Takei’s acclaimed musical Allegiance was a huge success for Fathom Events. This romance set against the backdrop of the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II returns for one night only, December 7. (7:30 p.m. on December 7 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)


Bolshoi Ballet’s The Nutcracker: The next best thing to seeing the Bolshoi Ballet present Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker live is catching it in cinemas on December 17. (12:55 p.m. on December 17 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)


Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the North Park: The follow-up to The Force Awakens will be in theaters throughout the area, of course. But if you want to see it in a very unique setting, and on opening night, the North Park has you covered. The film’s first weekend include cosplay contests, prizes, live music, vintage trailers, and more. (7 p.m. on December 14 at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.; northparktheatre.org)


Simulcast at the Amherst: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The Dipson Amherst Theatre simulcasts the Royal Opera House production of Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on December 17. (11 a.m. on December 17 at the Dipson Amherst Theatre, 3500 Main. St.; dipsontheatres.com)


Roycroft Film Society—Hunt for the Wilderpeople: With the release of Thor: Ragnarok, New Zealand director Taika Waititi has become one of the hottest filmmakers in Hollywood. But his previous effort, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, is even more accomplished. Sam Neill stars in this funny, heartfelt tale of adventure centered on a juvenile delinquent and his foster father. (4 p.m. on December 10 at Parkdale Elementary School, 141 Girard Ave., East Aurora; roycroftcampuscorp.com)


Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time: Spend the day after the day after Christmas with the good Doctor in this special cinema event. It’s the finale to the Peter Capaldi era, and will also include some bonus features. (7 p.m. on December 27 at the Regal Elmwood Center, 2001 Elmwood Ave., and Regal Transit Center, 6707 Transit Rd., Williamsville; fathomevents.com)


Hollywood Holidays at the Aurora Theatre: The gorgeous and historic Aurora Theatre is once again offering free holiday films, starting in November. The December lineup includes Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (December 2), Miracle on 34th Street (December 3), Arthur Christmas (December 9), A Christmas Story (December 16), It’s a Wonderful Life (December 17), and The Polar Express (December 23). Visits with Santa Claus will be held every Saturday morning, and December 2 is “Grinch Day,” featuring costumed characters and an exhibit of props and costumes. Series attendees are asked to bring a donation for Toys For Tots. (11 a.m. on December 2, 3, 9, 16, 17, and 23 at the Aurora Theatre, 673 Main St., East Aurora; theauroratheatre.com)


It’s a Wonderful Life at the Historic Lockport Palace: The Palace is one of several local venues screening the story of George Bailey and his guardian angel, Clarence, this month. (7 p.m. on December 8; 4 and 7 p.m. on December 10, at the Historic Palace Theatre, 2 East Ave., Lockport; lockportpalacetheatre.org)

December at the Screening Room: A typically diverse month at Amherst’s Screening Room includes the Buffalo premiere of Another Wolfcop on December 1, 3, and 5; holiday favorite Home Alone on December 8 and 9 (the screening on the 9th includes trivia); It’s a Wonderful Life on December 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, and 23; and Scrooge on December 16, 20, 22, and 23. Remember to check screeningroom.net for times and a full schedule of films and events. (The Screening Room, 880 Alberta Dr., Amherst; screeningroom.net)


Christopher Schobert is a film critic for the Buffalo News and other outlets.


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