Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Good for your Elf(in)? The Woodcraft Folk set to launch in Lancaster


Moves are afoot to form a Lancaster group of the Woodcraft Folk, a great organisation for children and young people, based on co-operative, environmental values.

The group is the project of Damian Randle and partner Silvia, who moved to Lancaster a couple of years ago and their 4½-year-old is coming ready to enjoy being a Woodchip, and then later an Elfin.

Wait, a what? Read on...

The Woodcraft Folk have been going since 1924 and there are now 400+ groups in the UK, the nearest of which is at Ulverston. They believe passionately in equality and co-operation and every week thousands of volunteers and young people meet in school halls, community venues and a host of other places to play games, sing, take part in drama, discussions, projects and crafts, and learn about local and global issues in a fun, entertaining way.

Activities might include a night walk for younger children so they can experience the sounds of a wood, park or city in the dark, making lanterns to light round a campfire, cooking - a good opportunity to learn about Fair Trade food and how it affects farmers.

The aim is to have great fun, but also to try and develop children’s self-confidence and build their awareness of society and the environment around them. Their activities, outings and camps help children and young people understand important issues like the environment and - crucially - by encouraging children to think, they hope they will help build a peaceful, fairer world.

Group nights are run by adult volunteers, parents and young people - with a lot of excellent back-up and resources from paid staff - and usually last between one and two hours, depending on the age of the children or young people.

There are different groups, according to age. Under 6’s are known as Woodchips, 6 to 9 year-olds are known as Elfins, 10 to 12 year olds are Pioneers, 13 to 15 year olds are Venturers and at 16-20 are the DFs (or District Fellows), who are more autonomous and usually arrange their own activities as well as helping with the younger groups.

There are also organised hostelling and camping weekends throughout the year and camping is a large focus in the summer holidays. Woodcraft Folk groups from across a town, region and sometimes across the UK come together for summer camps, where members of all ages take responsibility for cooking, cleaning and organising activities.Many of the young people join international camps and exchanges too.

The ‘Woodies’ are a bit different from other groups. They are groups are run co-operatively, with children, young people and adults working together to learn about the world and develop skills and confidence, united by our shared values of peace, co-operation and equality. The aim is to provide an informal and supportive environment for young people to develop their ideas, share experiences, explore opportunities and make life-long friends locally and beyond.

The Woodcraft Folk costume is a green top with a logo. Children can choose to wear the traditional green shirt, “woodie hoodies” or t-shirts designed by young members.

• If you might be interested in joining a group of parents to set up a Lancaster group, check out the website mentioned above, and then contact Damian at d.j.randle@gmail.com or 07811 089878), telling him your impossible dates in late-September / early October and he will arrange a meeting

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 19th to 27th August 2015

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

This week there are seven new film on show. There is adult comedy with The Bad Education Movie (15)The Legend of Barney Thompson and Vacation. There is drama and adventure with 13 Minutes (15) & Hitman: Agent 47 (15) and horror with Sinister 2 (15). Finally on a lighter note there is family animation with Strange Magic (U). In addition to the above, the region sees the return of Two By Two and, for one night only, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

We have lost the films Doctor Proctor's Fart PowderJurassic World and The Gift. Also it is looking like Thomas & Friends: Sordor's Legend of the Lost Treasure will soon be at the end of its screening.

This week has a good mix of movies on offer. There is Science Fiction aplenty with Ant-ManFantastic FourPixels and the sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything. Also we have action and adventure with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Drama is represented by underdog makes good movie Southpaw. Coming of age romance comes with Paper Towns, whereas a more light hearted look at romance is on offer with Trainwreck.

There are three horror movies on offer this week. On alternate nights at Williamson Park there is It Follows and thence the classic Nosferatu. Then, in a more conventional venue, the horror sequel Sinister 2 is being screened at the Vue.

Finally we have culture, for one night only, with the Royal Shakespeare Society's Othello.

Reviews

Ant-Man
Director: Peyton Reed
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll
Ant-Man is the latest super-hero in the Marvel pantheon to make it to the screen. Scott Lang (Rudd) used be a systems engineer but is now a petty criminal, trying to go straight. He acquires a suit developed by Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) and Dr Pym becomes something of his mentor. The suit allows Lang to become ant man as he shrink in size, increase his strength and has the power of communicating with insects. Together Pym and ant-man must overcome the ambitions of Darren Cross (Stoll) who has a militarised version of the suit. Ant man was only a minor Marvel super-hero but nonetheless this is an entertaining movie. The characters are given chance to develop and the film provides both wit and plenty of gags. An entertaining movie.

Fantastic Four
Director: Josh Trank
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell
This is 20th Century Fox's second attempt at the Fantastic Four movie, a superhero film based on characters from Marvel comics. A sequel is scheduled for 2017. The film follows the lives of five people as they meet and become part of an experiment to teleport to an alternative dimension. However here they get exposed to a mysterious phenomenon that alters them bestowing strange powers. Four of them form a team, the Fantastic Four. The other member of the group, Victor Von Doom (Kebbell) becomes a super villain that the Fantastic Four must overcome. The movie rather takes its time to get to the action. Also it takes itself very seriously so there is little humour and dialogue can be rather stilted. Yet with excellent special effects this is a competent super hero film, though not destined to be a classic. 

Minions
Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders.
The film is both a spin off and a prequel to the Despicable Me franchise. The Minions have always existed on earth and the movie begins by tracing their evolution. They have the purpose of serving the most despicable of masters though not very successfully. The race finally retired to the Antarctic where they fare badly. Hence Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob decide to seek a new master for their race to work for. In a villain convention in Orlando they decide to serve the supervillain Scarlet Overkill (Bullock) who is planning to overthrow the Queen of England. The film, using skits and Musical numbers expands on this plot. The Minions were the best part of the Despicable Me franchise and so it is fitting that they have their own film. The movie is very entertaining, inoffensive and funny and will delight all ages. However this reviewer would have liked more minions and fewer supervillains.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson
This is the fifth in the Mission Impossible series. The Impossible Mission Force (IMF) has been disbanded. Ethan Hunt (Cruse) must assemble a team and join forces with an ex British agent Iisa Faust (Ferguson) in order to fight 'The Syndicate', a group who are mounting terrorist attacks in order to bring about a new world order. This is arguably the best action film of the year with plenty of excitement, special effects and some violence. However the whole has a light hearted tone and contains a good deal of humour. A witty and very entertaining movie.

Pixels
Director: Chris Columbus
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Adam Sandler, Kevin james, josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Monaghan
As children Sam Brenner (Sandler), Will Cooper (James), Ludlow Lamonsoff (Gad) and Eddie Plant (Dinklage) were expert video game players and they competed in tournaments. They grew and thought they had put their past behind them. However aliens have discovered classic archive video games and interpret these as a declaration of war. They invade earth using strategy and characters derived from the games. Will Cooper is now president and he gathers together his old pals to combat the aliens who will claim the earth if they are not defeated. The movie is a science fiction comedy that will appeal to anyone who enjoyed playing classic video archive games. However it has so far attracted indifferent reviews and looks to be a rather forgettable film.

Southpaw
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Jake Gyllenhaal, 50 Cents, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams
Billy "The Great" Hope (Gyllenhaal) was the reigning middle weight champion but a tragic incident causes his life to fall apart. He loses his family, title, house and manager. In addition, his daughter is taken into care. To rebuild his life he restarts fighting, with Tick Willis (Whitaker) a retired fighter at a run down gym, acting as his coach. The movie is thus a classic underdog story. However strong acting (particularly Gyllenhaal) and convincing sets make for a gripping movie.

Trainwreck
Director: Judd Apatow
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Colin Quinn
Amy (Schumer) is a writer for the mens magazine S'nuff. She leads a hedonistic lifestyle, comprising one night stands, partying and a lack of romantic commitment. She has to interview a successful sports doctor Aaron Conners (Hader) for the magazine and in the process they start to fall in love with each other, causing Amy to question the direction of her life. The movie is an energetic comedy that gives Schumer plenty of opportunity to showcase her talents. A rather irreverent though successful and entertaining romance movie.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Local Cinema Round-Up for 12th to 20th August 2015

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

There are plenty of novel films on offer this week, with eight new releases in our region. Science fiction comedy is available with Absolutely Anything (12A) and Pixels (12A). There is a coming of age drama with Paper Towns (12A), a romantic comedy with Trainwreck (15) and action and adventure in The Man From U.N.C.L.E (12A). Finally we have a family animation with Song of the Sea (PG), horror with It Follows (15) and a documentary about the photographer Sebastiao Salgado with The Salt of the Earth (12A).

The region has lost Ted 2 and The Gallows. However for one day only there is a return of the science fiction fantasy The Age of Adaline.

With summer starting to draw to a close the Dukes are screening a couple of films outdoors in Williamson Park. The first is the arthouse drama Cinema Paradiso, the second the horror movie It Follows. The latter was released in February 2015 but is new to our region.

There is a good mix of all genres on offer this week, with the exception of high culture. However there is a chance to see Far From the Madding Crowd, the earlier version directed by John Schlesinger in 1967.

Reviews

Ant-Man
Director: Peyton Reed
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll
Ant-Man is the latest super-hero in the Marvel pantheon to make it to the screen. Scott Lang (Rudd) used be a systems engineer but is now a petty criminal, trying to go straight. He acquires a suit developed by Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) and Dr Pym becomes something of his mentor. The suit allows Lang to become ant man as he shrink in size, increase his strength and has the power of communicating with insects. Together Pym and ant-man must overcome the ambitions of Darren Cross (Stoll) who has a militarised version of the suit. Ant man was only a minor Marvel super-hero but nonetheless this is an entertaining movie. The characters are given chance to develop and the film provides both wit and plenty of gags. An entertaining movie.

Fantastic Four
Director: Josh Trank
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell
This is 20th Century Fox's second attempt at the Fantastic Four movie, a superhero film based on characters from Marvel comics. A sequel is scheduled for 2017. The film follows the lives of five people as they meet and become part of an experiment to teleport to an alternative dimension. However here they get exposed to a mysterious phenomenon that alters them bestowing strange powers. Four of them form a team, the Fantastic Four. The other member of the group, Victor Von Doom (Kebbell) becomes a super villain that the Fantastic Four must overcome. The movie rather takes its time to get to the action. Also it takes itself very seriously so there is little humour and dialogue can be rather stilted. Yet with excellent special effects this is a competent super hero film, though not destined to be a classic. 

Jurassic World
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, B.D. Wong, Chris Pratt
This is the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park series and the best of the sequels. Jurassic World is a theme park in Costa Rica that has been open for some two decades. However visitors are starting to get bored with the sight of tame dinosaurs. Hence, their lab has been using genetic techniques to create a real monster dinosaur, Indominus Rex, to rekindle interest. The park is managed by Claire Dearing (Howard) and Owen Grady (Pratt) is an animal behaviourist working with the Dinosaurs. On the day that Claire brings her two nephews to the park the Indominus Rex escapes. She must work with Owen to save her nephews and save the day. The movie has number of fine action pieces though the action gets in the way of character development. Also there is a romance element between Claire and Owen. The dialogue in not always believable, but there are jokes and the film pays homage to the original Jurassic Park. For an audience not yet jaded by dinosaurs, this is an entertaining action film.

Minions
Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders.
The film is both a spin off and a prequel to the Despicable Me franchise. The Minions have always existed on earth and the movie begins by tracing their evolution. They have the purpose of serving the most despicable of masters though not very successfully. The race finally retired to the Antarctic where they fare badly. Hence Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob decide to seek a new master for their race to work for. In a villain convention in Orlando they decide to serve the supervillain Scarlet Overkill (Bullock) who is planning to overthrow the Queen of England. The film, using skits and Musical numbers expands on this plot. The Minions were the best part of the Despicable Me franchise and so it is fitting that they have their own film. The movie is very entertaining, inoffensive and funny and will delight all ages. However this reviewer would have liked more minions and fewer supervillains.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson
This is the fifth in the Mission Impossible series. The Impossible Mission Force (IMF) has been disbanded. Ethan Hunt (Cruse) must assemble a team and join forces with an ex British agent Iisa Faust (Ferguson) in order to fight 'The Syndicate', a group who are mounting terrorist attacks in order to bring about a new world order. This is arguably the best action film of the year with plenty of excitement, special effects and some violence. However the whole has a light hearted tone and contains a good deal of humour. A witty and very entertaining movie.

Pixels
Director: Chris Columbus
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Adam Sandler, Kevin james, josh Gad, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Monaghan
As children Sam Brenner (Sandler), Will Cooper (James), Ludlow Lamonsoff (Gad) and Eddie Plant (Dinklage) were expert video game players and they competed in tournaments. They grew and thought they had put their past behind them. However aliens have discovered classic archive video games and interpret these as a declaration of war. They invade earth using strategy and characters derived from the games. Will Cooper is now president and he gathers together his old pals to combat the aliens who will claim the earth if they are not defeated. The movie is a science fiction comedy that will appeal to anyone who enjoyed playing classic video archive games. However it has so far attracted indifferent reviews and looks to be a rather forgettable film.

Southpaw
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Jake Gyllenhaal, 50 Cents, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams
Billy "The Great" Hope (Gyllenhaal) was the reigning middle weight champion but a tragic incident causes his life to fall apart. He loses his family, title, house and manager. In addition, his daughter is taken into care. To rebuild his life he restarts fighting, with Tick Willis (Whitaker) a retired fighter at a run down gym, acting as his coach. The movie is thus a classic underdog story. However strong acting (particularly Gyllenhaal) and convincing sets make for a gripping movie.

The Age of Adaline
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford
Adaline Bowman (Lively) is almost eighty years old. However she has kept her youth as, following a freak accident, she stopped ageing when she was 28. She hides the secret of her age by leading a solitary existence, and making a new identify every decade. However after a chance encounter with a philanthropist Ellis Jones (Huisman) she falls in love with him. She meets his family, but is recognised by his father William (Ford) who knew her in the past. The plot of this movie is a little contrived, but if you can forgive that it is a well crafted and well acted fantasy love story.

Trainwreck
Director: Judd Apatow
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Colin Quinn
Amy (Schumer) is a writer for the mens magazine S'nuff. She leads a hedonistic lifestyle, comprising one night stands, partying and a lack of romantic commitment. She has to interview a successful sports doctor Aaron Conners (Hader) for the magazine and in the process they start to fall in love with each other, causing Amy to question the direction of her life. The movie is an energetic comedy that gives Schumer plenty of opportunity to showcase her talents. A rather irreverent though successful and entertaining romance movie.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Halton man wanted after failing to appear at court




Police are trying to trace a Halton man who is wanted after failing to appear at court for sentencing.

Jonathan Hunt, 37, last known address Rowan Bank, Halton, Lancaster, is wanted after he failed to appear at Preston Crown Court on July 16th for sentencing in relation to possession of drugs with intent to supply.

He is described as white, of a medium build, with short dark brown hair and a tattoo to the right side of his neck.

He is known to have links to Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth.

DS 2358 Martin Foley of Lancaster Police said: “We would ask anyone with information around the whereabouts of Hunt to get in touch with us as soon as possible.

“We believe that he moved away from the estate where he was living in Halton just a few days prior to his listed court appearance and is now actively evading us.

“If he sees this appeal, I would urge him to hand himself in at the nearest police station because we will continue searching for you until we locate you.”

• Anyone with information on his whereabouts can contact us on 01524 596643 or on 101 quoting crime reference WB1501518. Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org

Carnforth pensioner dies after Coastal Road crash

Police are appealing for witnesses to a collision in Morecambe earlier this month after the death of 84-year-old William Simpson in hospital.

The accident happened at around 5.45pm on Tuesday 4th August on Coastal Road when a blue Citroen Picasso which was being driven towards Carnforth veered off the carriageway and collided with the rear of a parked Silver Fiat Ducato.

The driver, who can be named as William Simpson from Carnforth, suffered fractured ribs and was taken to Royal Lancaster Infirmary. He sadly died in hospital yesterday morning.

PS James Power of the Road Policing Unit said: “This is a tragic accident and my thoughts remain with Mr Simpson’s family. An investigation to establish the circumstances of the collision is underway and we are appealing to anyone who saw what happened to contact us with information.”

• Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting log 619 of 4th August 2015