The seedy side of LA, and then back to Bedford Falls - and all on screen in Royston

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler - Credit: Archant

The two films being cued up for Royston’s Picture Palace this weekend couldn’t be more different.

The two films being cued up for Royston’s Picture Palace this weekend couldn’t be more different.

Friday’s screening is Nightcrawler, the disturbing examination of dodgy ethics and damaged people on the LA media scene, a dog eat dog world where if it bleeds it leads and desperate freelances chase flashing lights in the hope of a scoop at the scene of a grisly murder or freeway pile-up.

Jake Gyllenhaal sees the chance to lift himself out of the gutter when he stumbles into a new career as a news cameraman and, armed with a camcorder and police scanner, prowls the streets of the city.

World-weary news director Rene Russo is the woman he has to impress as he goes to increasingly greater lengths for the shots that will earn him hard cash.

Director Dan Gilroy – a man with a serious track record in top notch screenplays, as well as being Mr Russo – won a lot of acclaim for his warts and all mean streets morality tale when it was released in the UK in September.

That’s followed on Saturday night by a movie which has become a Christmas must-see for many, even though it wasn’t that much of a hit when it was first released way back in 1946.

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Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life is a big hug of movie, and the Christmas theme of small town despair and redemption has helped it become one the most fondly-regarded films of all time.

Everyone knows the story of Jimmy Stewart aiming to end it all one snowy night but eventually persuaded by his bumbling guardian angel that life is worth living, but that doesn’t make it any less appealing the second or third time round.

Both screenings are at 7.30pm and you can book tickets online at

On the multiplex front, there seems to be some sort of contest to come up with the longest title.

The big release is The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, which finally brings to an end the interminable big screen take on Tolkein’s slim slice of fantasy.

After two earlier hefty instalments detailing the doings of Bilbo Baggins, this final 144 minute slab should tie up all the loose ends for fans of the genre. Martin Freeman is one more centre stage while Benedict Cumberbatch returns as silky-voiced dragon Smaug.

Alternatively there’s The Snow Queen: Magic Of The Ice Mirror, a U-certificate Russian animation – original title Snezhnaya Koroleva, Snezhnyy Korol, as it happens – given a makeover for English-speaking audiences with the help of the likes of Sean Bean.