Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
During this period we have two new action/adventure movies. There is a follow-up to the ground-breaking film 300 with 300: Rise of an Empire (15). Also on offer is Need for Speed (12A) a movie based on the best selling video racing game. Also released is the family animation adventure Escape from Planet Earth.
Drama films still being shown include Non-Stop, The Book Thief, The Wolf on Wall Street, Gravity and the excellent 12 Years a Slave. Also The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is making a return for just one day. Movies that we will soon loose include RoboCop and Cuban Fury.
For a change of pace try The Armstrong Lie, a look at the issue of drugs in the career of Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
12 Years a Slave
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast Includes: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Sarah Paulson, Michael Fassbender
Set in the 1800s, New York black man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel
Ejiofor) is drugged, kidnapped and sold as a slave to a New Orleans
Plantation. Here he works for slave-master Epps (Michael Fassbender)
who is a sadist, dishing out sexual abuse. The film is based on an 1853
memoir by Solomon Northup, the script being co-written by Steve McQueen
and John Ridley. This is one of the finest films about American
Slavery. It is very visceral, with Northup trying to maintain dignity
amidst the atmosphere of violence of the movie. Very well shot and
splendidly acted, this is the must see film for 2014.
Director: James Griffiths
Cast includes: Nick Frost, Ian McShane, Rashida Jones, Olivia Colman
A boy with natural talent and a potential career as a dancer has his
confidence destroyed by a bully and so his life takes a turn for the
worse. Many years later as an adult Bruce Garrett (Frost) must regain
his skills with Salsa in order to win the love of the woman in his life.
This is a British dance comedy with some very entertaining dance
sequences, a mix of wacky characters and it serves up a the laughs.
However in places is seems a little too silly and in all it could have
been better. However a worthwhile and entertaining comedy.
Director: Chris Buck
Cast Includes Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad,Alan Tudyk, Jonathan Groff
This Disney musical animation is loosely based on the fairy tale
'The Snow Queen' for it is she who has condemned a kingdom to eternal
winter. It is up to Anna (sister to the snow queen) and a loner
Kristoff to undertake an epic journey to find the Snow Queen and
convince her to lift the icy spell. This is a magical movie destined to
become a classic. It will appeal to families and children of all ages
and makes an movie for Christmas.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast Includes: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Ryan Stone (Bullock) a medical engineer and seasoned astronaut Matt
Kowalsky (Clooney) are on a shuttle mission to repair the Hubble
Telescope. However during a routine space walk, disaster strikes as the
shuttle is destroyed by impact from space debris 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 the impressive special
effects but rather the exploration of human frailty in adversity.
Mr Peabody & Sherman
Director: Rob Minkoff
Cast Includes: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter
A DreamWorks comedy animation. Mr Peabody is a dog, but this does
not stop him being an inventor, scientist, sportsman and general genius.
Accompanied by his boy Sherman, the duo use their WABAC time machine
in order to impress Sherman's friend Penny. However during their
adventures meeting famous characters of history, they accidentally rip a
hole in the Universe. As a result they must repair history in order to
save the future. A great yarn and appealing family movie. There is
little here to offend the youngest of children, and some of the jokes
will entertain an older audience.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast includes: Liam Neeson, Nate Parker, Julianne Moore
Bill Marks (Neeson), an alcoholic and chain smoking air marshall on a
flight from New York to London, receives a series of text messages
demanding he get the government to transfer a large sum of cash to an
offshore account else a passenger will be killed every twenty minutes.
Yet the offshore account is in Mark's own name, making him the prime
suspect. This is an excellent and enjoyable suspense drama, complete
with air turbulence, scared stewardesses and the inevitable deaths on
Director: Tim Story
Cast includes: Ice Cube, Bruce McGill, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo, Tika Sumpter
Ben (Hart) is a security guard who wants to marry his sweetheart
Angela (Sumpter). Yet to do so he must convince Angela's brother James
(Cube), a cop in Atlanta that he is worthy. Hence Ben gets to spend a
day riding along on the brothers shift whilst James is trying to catch a
notorious criminal. The plot is not very convincing, but that is no
great distraction from the film which is a really a buddy cop movie
giving Hart the situations for his stand up humour. This is a fun
movie, enjoyable and entertaining which benefits from not taking itself
The Book Thief
Director: Brian Percival
Cast includes: Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush, Roger Allam, Emily Watson
The film is based in World War II Germany and tells the story of
Liesel (Nelisse) a young girl sent to live with a foster family after
family problems. She copes by stealing books to read and this enables
her to become close with her foster father and with Max, a Jewish boy
hiding in their basement. The film does not make any comments on the
horrors of Nazi Germany, it simply provides a backdrop for what is
essentially a love story, and during the film we have Death providing
the narration. The acting is acceptable but the characters are not
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast includes: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage
In this second installment of the Hobbit. We find Bilbo
Baggins and his group of comrades continuing in their journey to the
Lonely Mountain in order to extract gold from the dragon Smaug whist
being pursued by an army of Orcs. This film is a splendid action
adventure, more so than the first of the trilogy. It is imaginative,
with plenty of special effects and a block buster feel about it.
However it again puts action above developing the characters of the
protagonists. A great movie that will leave you anticipating the
concluding film in the trilogy.
The Monuments Men
Director: George Clooney
Cast includes: George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray
An action adventure based on the book 'The Monuments Men: Allied
Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History' by
Robert Edsel. This tells the true story of a platoon comprising art
historians and museum directors who were dispatched into World War II
Germany to retrieve art works plundered by the Nazis. A very
entertaining movie with a generous helping of high profile stars.
Perhaps not a must-see film but still worth a visit to the cinema.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast includes: Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler
The story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Di Caprio) who
rose from penny stocks to a life of affluence and corruption as he
founded the brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont. His life of drugs, sex and
ruthless achievement led to his title of Wolf of Wall Street. Scorsese
had produced a hard hitting and fast moving film and Di Caprio's acting
rises to the challenge of portraying Belfort. However after building
up Belfort as a monster the film seems to say little about about the
morality of this sort of life and thus ultimately does not come to any
satisfactory resolution. Hence the movie seemed to lacked any real