The first blockbuster of the summer season opens this week when

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

hits screens. You know the drill - Tom Cruise and his team perform impossible feats, usually involving tall buildings, fast cars and some amazing technology, while on a mission to save the world from disaster.


There's also new cartoon musical sequel Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and touching festival film First Grader in which Naomie Harris (whom you may recognise from Pirates of the Caribbean) plays a kind-hearted teacher who helps an 84-year-old Kenyan (Oliver Litondo, pictured) go back to school so he can learn to read and write.

We've watched poor Hunter McKay get sweatier and sweatier as he becomes addicted to harder and harder drugs over the past year on Shortland Street. This week it all comes to a head in the annual cliffhanger on Friday night as Hunter gets desperate and a pharmacy burglary goes badly wrong. Of course there are a few new plot twists thrown in too - one teenage couple comes into the spotlight and the Chris-Rachel-Gabrielle love triangle takes an eventful turn. Don't worry though, you'll only have to wait until January 16 for the soap's return.

In the meantime, starting up on Saturday is another new series for SoHo - Camelot. Starring French beauty and ex-Bond girl Eva Green, it tells a new version of the Knights of Round Table. It centres around Green's character Morgan, the powerful sorceress daughter of King Uther and half-sister of Arthur, who takes up the throne when Morgan kills her father, much to her displeasure. Made by Starz, the company that brought us Spartacus, this series will undoubtedly delve beyond the usual tales of honour.

Yep, musicians like to celebrate the festive season too, so this week there are a few gigs in honour of Christmas. Talented multi-instrumentalist and songsmith Andrew Keoghan will be bringing us a festive white winter wonderland with a show at Q Theatre's Loft next Wednesday. Not only can the guy pluck a violin and loop a guitar like a pro, but he'll have special guests like Lawrence Arabia, Chris O'Connor, Ben King and Wayne Bell joining him.

Also on Wednesday is the Checks' annual Christmas party at the Kings Arms, which has a reputation for being a ripper of a night - sweaty, loud and very late. Before then we've also got Bannerman playing with Artisan Guns at Leigh Sawmill on Friday, or, if you don't feel like leaving the city, crazy Japanese punk trio Guitar Wolf will be at the bFM Christmas party at Cassette Number 9, while Texan post-rock quartet Explosions in the Sky play at the Kings Arms.

Saturday night sees the return of ex-Mint Chicks singer Ruban Nielson with his new band Unknown Mortal Orchestra playing at the Kings Arms; supporting will be brother Kody Nielson's new outfit Opossom.

If you want to feel festive but need a respite from the shopping, theatre show A Criminal Christmas is on at the Herald Theatre until Sunday. It tells the tale of a dysfunctional group of rag-tag criminals who are sentenced to spend their Christmas Eve providing entertainment for the elderly residents of a rest home.