By Markus Tschiedert

    A questionable World Cup in winter is causing problems for the cinemas just before Christmas. The number of visitors is falling, also for the summit holders “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Simply something beautiful”. Best new start at number 3 in the German cinema charts: Disney’s “Strange World” with 60,000 tickets sold.

    This can be done better. Maybe this week with the anti-Christmas action hit “Violent Night” or with the drama “Call Jane”, but maybe also with the Chinese disaster film “Cloudy Mountain”. However, you shouldn’t bet on it.

    “Violent Night” – An anti-Christmas film with a lot of blood

    THE STORY: On Christmas Eve of all days, the Lightstone family is attacked by an evil group of mercenaries. Leader Scrooge (John Leguizamo) wants around $300 million, which the super-rich grandmother (Beverly D’Angelo) stashes in a vault in the basement. However, Scrooge did not reckon with Santa Claus (David Harbour), who smashes bad guys with a sledgehammer.

    THE STARS: David Harbor became known through the TV series “Law & Order”. In the cinema he mostly played supporting roles, for example in “Brokeback Mountain” or in “James Bond – Quantum of Solace”). John Leguizamo has also established himself as a supporting actor in films such as “Carlito’s Way” or “Spawn”. He was also convincing in “John Wick” and currently in “The Menu”.

    THE DIRECTOR: Tommy Wirkola already shot splatter films “Kill Buljo” and “Dead Snow” in his Norwegian homeland. His first Hollywood production “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” was created in Brandenburg and Babelsberg.

    BG RATING: Wirkola’s intention was to shoot an anti-Christmas film in which not only a lot of blood but also other bodily fluids splattered. Tasteless, brutal and sarcastic with references to Christmas movies like “Die Hard” and “Home Alone” – only to shock the audience (112 min., free for 16+).

    “Call Jane” – The right to abortion

    Joy (Elizabeth Banks, left) seeks help from women's group 'Jane Collective'

    Joy (Elizabeth Banks, left) seeks help from women’s group ‘Jane Collective’ and Virginia (Sigourney Weaver) Photo: Rental DCM

    THE STORY: In the United States in the 1960s, abortion was a criminal offense. Joy (Elizabeth Banks) longed for a second child. However, when her doctor informs her that her own life is in danger with the birth, she decides to have an illegal abortion. She gets help from the underground women’s group ‘Jane Collective’.

    THE STARS: With the film series “Pitch Perfect” and “The Hunger Games” Elizabeth Banks also made a name for herself in this country. Sigourney Weaver went down in film history as the “alien” fighter in 1979 and will soon be seen in “Avatar: The Way of Water”.

    THE DIRECTOR: With “Mrs. Harris” made Phyllis Nagy her directorial debut in 2005. She then wrote the screenplay for Carol. She presented her second directorial work at this year’s Berlinale.

    BG RATING: At a time when conservative forces in the USA are currently trying to further tighten the right to abortion, “Call Jane” is becoming explosive. A true story about strong women told in an exciting and emotional way. Plus an excellent cast of actresses (122 min., free from the age of 12)!

    “Cloudy Mountain” – Tunnel of Death

    Hong Yizhou (Yilong Zhu) foresaw the catastrophe

    Hong Yizhou (Yilong Zhu) foresaw the catastrophe Photo: Distribution 24 Bilder Film GmbH

    THE STORY: A tunnel for a high-speed train has been under construction in China for ten years. The geologist Hong Yizhou (Yilong Zhu) warns of disasters in tunnel construction. In fact, an earthquake breaks out. Hong’s father Yunbing (Zhu-Zhong Huang) is also among those buried. He digs his way to him and saves the lives of many people.

    THE STARS: In Germany, Yilong Zhu is only known from the film “Confucius”. Zhi-Zhong Huan has become a star in China with series like Gong Xun.

    THE DIRECTOR: With the cinema thrillers “Chang an Dao” and “Tik Tok” Li Jun reached an audience of millions in China.

    BG RATING: A lot of action and destructiveness is offered. Nevertheless, “Cloudy Mountain” remains a rather shallow and predictable disaster film, in which human fates are also dealt with on the sidelines. Nothing new and not really spectacular either (116 min., free from the age of 12).

    The special film: “The silent satellites”

    Two lonely women (Nastassja Kinski, left, & Martina Gedeck) are

    Two lonely women (Nastassja Kinski, left, & Martina Gedeck) are “trabants” in the night Photo: Rental Warner

    THE STORY: Two lonely women (Nastassja Kinski & Martina Gedeck) meet in a station bar. A security guard (Charly Hübner) becomes friends with a young woman (Irina Starshenbaum) from the dormitory for foreigners. And the snack bar operators Jens (Albrecht Schuch) and Mario (Andreas Döhler) are also chasing lost dreams.

    THE STARS: A cinema comeback for Nastassja Kinski. The Berliner made it to Hollywood (“Cat People”) and was last seen in “Sugar” (2013). Martina Gedeck (“Bella Martha”) recently thrilled with her role in “Wonderful”. Albrecht Schuch (“Berlin Alexanderplatz”) received the German Film Prize for “Dear Thomas” in 2022.

    THE DIRECTOR: Thomas Stuber (“In the aisles”) filmed another novel by Clemens Meyer with “The Still Trabants”. Together they wrote the screenplay for the film.

    BG RATING: A drama with three story lines about sad people in tragic everyday situations. Not exactly what you want to be lit up with in the cinema during the cold and gloomy season (92 min., free from the age of 16).

    Cinema for kids: “Little Nick talks about happiness”

    “Little Nick” is the new cartoon character by René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé with many questions for its creators Photo: Rental Leonine

    THE STORY: In the 1950s, René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé ponder a new cartoon character. Nick is to be the name of the little one, and the environment, family and friends are invented bit by bit. But little Nick also has questions, a child’s questions, and he turns out to be a prankster.

    THE STARS: In the original French version, actor Alain Chabat (“Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra”) speaks René Goscinny, his colleague Laurent Lafitte (“Elle”) lends his voice to Jean-Jacques Sempé.

    THE DIRECTORS: Amandine Fredon has already directed the animated series “If you don’t ask, you die stupid!”. “Little Nick tells of happiness” is Benjamin Massoubre’s first directorial work. Before that, he worked as a cartoon editor (“Around the World in 80 Days”).

    BG RATING: The film is a unique homage to comic icons René Goscinny (1926-1977), who also co-invented “Lucky Luke” and “Asterix”, and Jean-Jacques Sempé (1932-2022), famous for his drawings in magazines like “Paris Match”. The story of how “Der Kleine Nick” came about is lovingly retold with a fairytale touch. Particularly likeable: the old cartoon style (86 min., free from 0).