Thursday, 14 November 2013

Local Cinema Round-Up for 14 - 21 November by Peter Clarke

Poster:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day listings every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up and reviews.

New films during this period include crime drama with The Counsellor (18) and action / fantasy with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (12A).

There is still a strong mix of excellent films available including Philomena, Gravity and Thor: The Dark World.

A couple of family favourites are coming back for more with The Smurfs 2 and Despicable Me 2.

For alternative viewing the Dukes is offering both culture - Romeo and Juliet, Richard IIBolshoi Ballet: Le Corsaire - and period humour with George Formby (ask your parents) in Let George do it.


Reviews

Captain Phillips
Director: Paul Greengrass
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Barkhad Abdi
(No, it's not the chap who married Princess Anne). A dramatisation of the 2009 hijacking of the container ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates who kidnapped  Captain Richard Phillips. This is a excellent must see thriller movie featuring superb acting. Characters are well developed and the film takes a sympathetic view of both pirates and the crew of the ship. In keeping with the subject the film has a documentary feel about it which makes for compelling viewing.

Despicable Me 2
Director: Pierre Coffin , Chris Renaud
Certificate: U
Cast includes the voices of: Steve Carell, Kirsten Wiig, Steve Coogan
A sequel to Despicable Me, which became the tenth biggest animation movie in US history. Gru, now retired, spends his time caring for his adopted children. He has turned good and is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to track down a criminal who has stolen a serum from a research facility. This is a great animation for both children and adults and, like last time, it is the Minions who provide the most entertainment. If you only get to see one film this week - this should be the one.

Ender's Game
Director: Gavin Hood
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Abigail Breslin
Set in the future, the film is based on Orson Scott Card's novel of the same name. An alien race (the Formics) have attacked the world - and been defeated. However the aliens will attack again.  Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) is training an elite group of young children in the hope of finding someone who will again defeat the aliens. The young Ender Wiggins is selected to join the elite group at Battle School and, fortunately for the plot, he excels in war games. Thus he is chosen to to lead an army against the foe to determine the future of the earth. However Ender has some of his own daemons to contend with. An enjoyable film with humour as well as some violent scenes.

Escape Plan
Director: Mikael Håfstrom
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vinnie Jones
One of the world's greatest authorities on prison escape, Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone), is wrongly imprisoned in a ultra high security facility 'The Tomb'.  He must enlist help from fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to mount an escape attempt. Stallone and Schwarzenegger work well together and both give convincing performances. This entertaining film provides humour, some violence and plenty of wisecracks.

Gravity
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Medical engineer Ryan Stone (Bullock) and seasoned astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) are on a shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Telescope. During a routine space walk, disaster strikes and Stone tumbles free in space. The film follows Stone's plight as she battles to survive. Bullock gives a superlative performance in this spectacularly shot movie. However the interest of the film is not just the impressive special effects but rather the exploration of human frailty in adversity.

Philomena
Director: Stephen Frears
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan
A quaint and charming film based on the book 'The Lost Child of Philomena Lee' by Martin Sixsmith. Philomena (Dench) plays an Irish woman who had her baby taken from her for adoption in the USA whilst she was forced to live and work in a convent after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Much later in life she enlists the help of Sixsmith to try to discover the whereabouts of her lost son. Coogan produced the film and co-wrote the screenplay. He plays Sixsmith, the journalist who has fallen out of favour. Both Dench and Coogan give superb performances in this funny and heartwarming if a little sentimental film. Well worth seeing.

The Counsellor
Director: Ridley Scott
Certificate: 18
Cast Includes: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz
The screenplay is by Cormac McCarthy and the film follows the Counsellor, a man in love with Laura (Cruz) and employed defending drug dealers. He succumbs to greed and becomes involved in a drug deal that goes very wrong, pitting him against some colourful and unpleasant characters. This is an original crime thriller with scenes of sexuality and gruesome violence which justifies its 18 category. The film is convoluted, unpredictable and generates an atmosphere of unease. However it is absorbing, very well acted and with its share of dark humour. A powerful must see movie.

Thor: The Dark World
Director: Alan Taylor
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings
Thor must combat an ancient, pervasive and powerful enemy led by Malekith to save the earth and all the realms. Much of the action is played out in Asgard and the interaction between Thor and Loki is a major part of the film. There is plenty of action and a strong vein of humour. In all a film that entertains and does not take itself too seriously.

Turbo
Director: David Soren
Certificate: U
Cast Includes the voices of: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Peña
A DreamWorks animation in which Turbo is a snail obsessed with racing cars who dreams of competing in the Indianapolis 500 race. His hopes start to look more realistic when an accident with a car engine provides him with a magical turn of speed. The animation is expertly done. The snails have cute believable personalities and the whole has a real 'feelgood' factor of an underdog following his dreams. The film follows the DreamWorks hit animation 'The Croods' and whilst it is extremely enjoyable, it lacks twists and subplots that make for a really memorable movie.

Peter Clarke

For up to date local cinema listings every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page.

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