The darkness is closing in outside – settle down with your tipple of choice and fire up one of these films to see in Christmas evening.
The Dark Knight Rises (Amazon Instant Video, Blinkbox)
The finale to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy has an appropriately wintery setting for the time of year, with the Dark Knight and his revolutionary nemesis Bane duking it out for the fate of a snowbound Gotham City.
It's got a seasonal Dickensian flavour, too; Nolan was inspired by A Tale of Two Cities when writing the film, and it shows in the film's depiction of mob rule and kangaroo courts. Anne Hathaway's Catwoman, meanwhile, echoes Oliver Twist's Artful Dodger – though we're fairly sure he never sported heels and a leather catsuit in the original novel.
The Cicerones (BFI Player)
The League of Gentlemen's Jeremy Dyson and Mark Gatiss conjured up this spooky short film, based on the story by Robert Aickman. It's an unsettling yarn, with Gatiss on fine form as a stuffy, Brylcreemed Englishman abroad – and makes for a perfect appetiser for Gatiss' ghost story The Tractate Middoth, airing Christmas Day, on BBC Two at 9:30pm.
More after the break...
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Amazon Instant Video)
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a bit of Victoriana, and Guy Ritchie's action-packed take on the great detective certainly fits the bill. This slick adaptation pits Robert Downey, Jr's Holmes against Professor Moriarty – played to perfection by Mad Men's Jared Harris; it cleverly fleshes out Conan Doyle's stories, and it's packed with period detail and buddy-cop banter between Holmes and Watson.
Fireplace for Your Home (Netflix)
Netflix has once again brought this cinematic classic back for Christmas. The imagery is compelling, even if the plot is somewhat lacking. Leave it on in the background while you play Scrabble or read a book.
The Mistletoe Bough (BFI Player)
Fancy something a bit highbrow? This classic Christmas horror story was first filmed in 1904 – and has been revived and restored by the BFI for its new video-on-demand service. A short treat for fans of silent film and Gothic scares.
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