Gremlins (Dante, 1984) & Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Dante, 1990) double-bill:
Prince Charles Cinema, 6.40pm & 8.50pm
OR a late programme addition: It's A Wonderful Life & Wings of Desire Scala tribute at Gate Notting Hill. Details here.
Chicago Reader review of Gremlins:
'E.T. with the lid off (1984). At the center of this horror comedy is a tidy family parable of the kind so dear to the heart of producer Steven Spielberg: the cute little whatzits who turn into marauding monsters when they pass through puberty (here gooily envisioned as “the larval stage”) are clearly metaphors for children, and the teenager (Zach Galligan) whose lapse of responsibility unleashes the onslaught is a stand-in for the immature parents of the 80s (Poltergeist). But Spielberg's finger wagging is overwhelmed by Joe Dante's roaring, undisciplined direction, which (sometimes through sheer sloppiness) pushes the imagery to unforeseen, untidy, and ultimately disturbing extremes. Dante is perhaps the first filmmaker since Frank Tashlin to base his style on the formal free-for-all of animated cartoons; he is also utterly heartless. With Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, and more movie-buff in-jokes than Carter has pills' Dave Kehr
Here is the trailer.
Chicago Reader review of Gremlins 2:
'This 1990 sequel to the beastie movie of 1984, directed like its predecessor by the irreplaceable Joe Dante, relocates the hero and heroine (Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates) in New York, where they're both working for a vain tycoon named Daniel Clamp (John Glover)—an obvious conflation of Donald Trump and Ted Turner—in a midtown skyscraper, where the gremlins manage to run loose and cause all sorts of mischief. Solid, agreeable entertainment that basically consists of plentiful gags and lighthearted satire spiked with Dante's compulsive taste for movie references, humorously scripted by Charlie Haas but without the darker thematic undertones and the more tableaulike construction of the original. You may want to see this more than once in order to catch all the peripheral details, but there aren't any depths to explore, just a lot of bright, free-floating comic invention. With Robert Prosky, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lee, Kathleen Freeman, and many cameos (including Daffy Duck and Leonard Maltin).'Jonathan Rosenbaum
Here is the trailer.
STOP PRESS: Late addition to programme at Gate Cinema Notting Hill
In tribute to the double-bill the old Scala cinema did every 23rd December the Gate are screening a double-bill of It's A Wonderful Life and Wings of Desire with a two-for-one deal so "people can bring their angels with them." You can find out all the details here.