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By Christopher Kingston

It’s January 2020 a time for starting New Year resolutions. Drink less, go to the gym and get fit! But why not make time for some entertainment?

There are plenty of movies to watch at the cinema, TV to binge and great books to relax with on a cold January evening. Here are a few I recommend… 

Cinema

1917

Directed by Sam Mendes (of James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre), 1917 is set at the height of the First World War in Northern France. It follows the story of two soldiers, Schofield and Blake, who must race against time behind enemy lines to deliver a warning and keep 1,600 men from walking into a trap.

It is based on the personal experience of the director’s great grandfather who served in the war and stars George Mackey,  Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch.

1917

In cinemas 10 January

Jojo Rabbit

If comedy is more your thing, how about a World War 2 satire about an awkward young German boy raised by a single mother? His imaginary friend just so happens to be Hitler. His patriotism is put to the test when he meets a young girl forcing him to face his biggest fears. Starring Scarlett Johansson. 

Jojo Rabbit

Out now

The Gentlemen

The film follows American ex-pat Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) who built a highly profitable marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he’s looking to cash out of the business forever it triggers plots, schemes, bribery and blackmail in an attempt to steal his domain out from under him. Highly recommended. 

The Gentlemen

Out now

Knives Out

Paying tribute to mystery mastermind Agatha Christie, Knives Out is a fun, modern-day murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. With an all-star ensemble cast including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer, Knives Out is a witty and stylish whodunit guaranteed to keep you guessing until the very end.

Knives Out 

Out now at the Tyneside Cinema

TV

His Dark Materials

Still on BBC iPlayer is the eight-part adaption of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. This is the story of Lyra and her quest to find stolen children and discover the secret of dust. On her journey, she befriends a polar bear, witches and must defeat Mrs Coulter and the Magisterium as well as finding her Uncle Lord Asriel. This is an epic adventure story for young and old and stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin -Manuel Miranda

His Dark Materials

BBC iPlayer

Angels of the North

We admit it. We must have been living under a rock to miss this one, but now that we’ve found it, cue guilty-pleasure binge-watching of EPIC proportions. We love the honesty of these Geordie girls and love seeing them talk about their business struggles and overcoming challenges to become one of the leading hair extension salons in the region. 

Angels of the North

BBC iPlayer

You, Season 2

If you haven’t seen Season 1 yet, watch it now but be prepared to be addicted! Season 2 follows Joe, a charming but intensely obsessive young man who uses social media to learn everything he can about his victims, then effortlessly inserts himself into their lives. Worth a watch and makes you double-check those privacy settings online. 

You, Season 2

Netflix

Winter Love Island

Cue five weeks of cancelling plans to stay in and watch Love Island every night. This year Laura Whitmore will be taking over from Caroline Flack as the host and we’re looking forward to other changes as the show follows 12 contestants looking for love in the South African villa. 

Winter Love Island

Starts Sunday 12 January at 9pm

ITV2

Books

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant has a simple life. She works every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch. She has a well-ordered life.

An act of kindness forces her to face the darkness she has tried to avoid all her life. A funny, heart-warming and at times sad story of a woman trying to change her life for the better while facing difficult odds. (This book came out in 2018 but is well worth a read if you haven’t read it.)

Such a Fun Age

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with a ‘personal brand’ and the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help.

When she meets someone from Alix’s past, the two women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege in this debut novel by Kiley Reid. 

The Book of Gutsy Women

A collection of stories about women who inspire from Harriet Tubman and loads more. This is an inspirational, thought-provoking look at what it means to be a woman.

Baby: A Soppy Story

A collection of comics by New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Philippa Rice, based on real-life moments with her baby.

It is a collection about the small, intimate, heart-warming experiences of a couple expecting their first baby. From planning and pregnancy to childbirth and raising a newborn, Baby focuses on the everyday moments of parenthood.

Easily read between naps, it is the perfect gift for new or expectant mamas. 

Theatre

Ask Me Anything

Live Theatre asked young people, living in today’s world of mobile phones and Google, to write to them and ask them anything. Nothing was off-limits! Live Theatre received over 100 letters from across the UK. This show is their reply…

Inspired by the magazine problem pages we all read growing up in the 90s and 00s, in Ask Me Anything The Paper Birds become the agony aunts. The show explores what young people think, want and worry about today. This is a show for teenagers, parents, grandparents, and everyone in between.  

This performance is designed as if you are in a teenager’s bedroom.  There are two seating options available: Immersive seating, sitting on cushions amongst the action (instead of usual cabaret seating), and regular fixed seating.

Ask Me Anything

Live Theatre

Tickets £10-£14

 

Mamma Mia!

Bring some Greek sunshine into your January with this smash-hit musical. Including timeless hits from ABBA, escape to a Greek Island for a couple of hours and join Sophie’s quest to find the father she’s never known. 

Mamma Mia! 

Theatre Royal (22 Jan – 8 Feb)

Tickets from £26.00

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