Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Only one new release during this period with the spy thriller A Most Wanted Man (15). However we see the return of three films with Earth to Echo, House of Magic and Walking on Sunshine.
Unfortunately four films have been lost viz Into the Storm, What If, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Expendables 3.
This is a good period for comedy with Pride, Sex Tape, The Hundred Foot Journey, Lets be Cops and The Inbetweeners 2 all on offer. For high culture we have the excellent NT Live: A Streetcar Named Desire, and NT Encore: Media.
The Dukes is holding the next installment of The Film Quiz on the 14th September.
A Most Wanted Man
Director: Anton Corbijn
Cast Includes: Rachel McAdams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe, Grigoriy Dabrygin
The film is an adaptation of John le Carre's novel of the same
name and is also the last role of the late Philip Hoffman. Gunther
Bachmann (Hoffman) is an intelligence officer working in Hamburg who
becomes aware of a tortured half Chechen half Russian immigrant Issar
Karpov (Dabrygin) who has arrived in Hamburg to claim asylum and seek
his fathers fortune. However is the immigrant a victim or is he a
terrorist? If the latter could he be played to lead the security forces
to others higher in the terrorist chain? Hoffman steals much of the
film with his world weary character and the movie unfolds by covert
meetings and dark conversations. This is an intricate, well directed,
gripping espionage film.
As Above/ So Below
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Cast includes: Edwin Hodger, Ben Feldman, Perdita Weeks
A low budget horror film set in the Catacombs under Paris.
Scarlet (Weeks) continues her dead fathers quest to find the
Philosophers Stone and to this end she assembles a small team to explore
the Parisian catacombs. The action unfolds by the medium of rather
shaky film footage from a hand held camera. The claustrophobic setting
makes for electric visual effects as the characters face their own fears
along with visions of their past. The film itself never feels
particularly credible and the explorers never really develop into
convincing characters. However the setting makes up for these
deficiencies to make an above average horror movie.
Before I Go to Sleep
Director: Rowan Joffe
Cast Includes: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Anne-Marie Duff, Mark Strong
A movie based on the best selling 2011 book by S J Watson.
Christine Lucas (Kidman) suffered a head trauma thirteen years ago, with
the consequence that she starts each day with no memories of the past
thirteen years. She does not recognise her husband, her doctor nor even
her own face. To try make sense of her world, she starts to keep a
video diary and in this way can begin to get some continuity in her
thoughts. However this reveals that her husband Ben (Firth) and her
doctor (Strong) are concealing something from her. This film is a
psychological thriller which successfully builds suspense with twists to
the plot and some false trails. An enjoyable thriller.
Earth to Echo
Director: Dave Green
Cast includes: Teo Halm, Ella Linnea Wahlestedt, Reese C. Hartwig, Jason Gray-Stanford
A construction project is destroying a neighbourhood when a
group of friends start to receive strange signals on their phones. They
search for the origin of the signals and discover an alien who has
become trapped on earth. The film tells the story of the youngsters as
they battle the government and help the alien return to his home. It is
hard not to compare this film with 'E.T.' However the movie is really
about the youthful friendships rather than an extra-terrestrial. A
entertaining if rather average family film.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Cast Includes: Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Michael Rooker, Lee Pace
An action packed space adventure from Marvel. Adventurer
Peter Quill (Pratt) steals a mysterious artifact which is wanted by the
villain Ronan (Pace) who wishes to use it to destroy the planet of
Xandar. This forces Quill into a truce with a group of misfits
(including Rocket a talking raccoon and groot a walking tree) who find
they must make a stand to determine the fate of the galaxy. This is a
very 'busy' film with lots of spectacular action, plenty of great
characters, great one liners and lots of jokes. The plot seemed a
little convoluted, but just go with it and enjoy the action. The movie
does not take itself very seriously and will be loved by teenagers and
Director: Luc Besson
Cast Includes: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
Lucy (Johansson), a rather average American woman visiting
Taiwan, is kidnapped by gangsters, abused and made to smuggle an
experimental new drug which is sewn into her stomach. However a beating
received by one of the gangsters causes the bag to rupture and she
absorbs the drug, with the effect of increasing the efficiency of her
brain. This leads her to outgrow her physical and mental limitations as
she develops vast intellect and formidable psychic powers. Lucy can
now take her revenge. This is a fun film with the story told from
Lucy's point of view. However as her powers develop the revenge part of
the movie becomes very one sided and the film sacrifices action
sequences for a quest to understand her evolution into something that is
Director: Robert Stromberg
Cast Includes: Angelina Jolie, Miranda Richardson, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley
In part a re-telling of the tale of sleeping beauty but from
the point of view of the villain of the story, Maleficent (Jolie).
Maleficent was driven to evil following an act of betrayal which cost
her the ability to fly. She battles to save her shadowy forest kingdom
and plots revenge by placing a curse on the infant Aurora (Fanning),
daughter to the king. Aurora herself becomes caught in the conflict
between forest and human kingdoms. This is a rather dark fantasy for a
Disney film, but a great tale with powerful characters and impressive
Director: Matthew Warchus
Cast Includes: Bill Nighty, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton Joe Gilgun, Ben Schnetzer
The film is based on a true story and is set in the summer of
1984 during the miners strike. Mark Ashton, a member of a London based
gay and lesbian group organises a collection for the miners. However
when the group came to offer the donation, they were rebuffed due to
prejudice (the AIDs epidemic is one of the backdrops to the film). The
group therefore decide to bus to a mining village in the Welsh Dulais
Valley to make the donation personally. This movie is played for
laughs. It is an excellent comedy supported by an excellent cast and it
explores the clash of two very different cultures.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez
Cast includes: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Mickey
Rourke, Eva Green, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Clive
It has been nine years since the initial Sin City was
released, based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller. This film has
the same spirit (and some of the same characters) as the original and
again is shot in black and white (relieved with effective splashes of
colour). It is shot in a style half way between live action and
animation. The film comprises a couple of interlocking narratives.
There is the return of Senator Roark (Boothe) which gives some of the
characters motive for revenge. Also there is the relationship between
Dwight McCarthy (Owen) and his ex Ava (Green) who gets him to commit
murder. The film has an impressive cast, nudity and stylised violence as
it explores power and its abuse.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Cast Includes: Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon
A Walt Disney adaptation of the 2010 novel by Richard C
Morais. The Kadam's are an Indian family that were displaced due to
political rioting. They arrive at a quaint but rather conservative
French Village and decide to open an Indian Restaurant, the Maison
Mumbai. However just across the road is a classical, Michelin starred
restaurant Le Saule Pleureur run by Madame Mallory (Mirren). This leads
to fall-outs and ultimately sabotage between the two institutions.
Meanwhile Hassan (Dayal) the master cook of the Indian restaurant begins
a flirtation with Marguerite (Le Bon), the sous chef of Mme Mallory's
restaurant. This is a well acted and endearing movie with plenty of
laughs. Entertaining but lacking suspense.
The Nut Job
Director: Peter Lepeniotis
Cast Includes: Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl
Set in the 1950s, this animation follows the adventures of
Surly the squirrel who, with his friend Buddy the rat, plan to steal
from Maury's Nut shop. However the shop proves to be a front for
gangsters who are planning to rob the nearby bank. This combination
leads to action, car chases jokes and general mayhem. This is an
inoffensive film that will amuse children but leave parents a little
bored. An enjoyable romp, but not destined to be a cartoon classic.