Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
There are three new releases during this period. We have comedy romance with Love, Rosie (15); music with Northern Soul and WWII action with Fury (15). In addition the movies Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, A Most Wanted Man and The House of Magic are again being screened.
Films that have vanished from the screen this period include Sex Tape and Before I Go to Sleep. In addition, the following movies seem likely soon to disappear from our screens, What We Did in Our Holidays and If I Stay.
There is a single contribution to high culture during this period with the with the Royal Ballet Manon. However the Dukes are presenting another installment of their popular Film Quiz.
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.
Director: John R Leonetti
Cast includes: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard
The film is set in California in the 1960's where a young
couple move into their new home. The wife Mia (Wallis) is pregnant and
has a hobby of collecting dolls. The husband John (Horton) is a medical
student and he gives a creepy pigtailed doll to Mia to add to her
collection. Yet the doll is possessed and with its acquisition comes a
series of disturbances including slamming doors and the malfunctions of
an elevator. Mia gives birth and the newborn is also threatened by
these disturbances. The film is the prequel to 'The Conjuring' but was
shot with limited budget. It borrows heavily from other horror movies
and comes complete with cookie neighbour and helpful priest. However
despite a rather stilted dialogue and lack of originality, it
successfully builds suspense to become quite an effective horror movie.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast includes: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell
A movie that is a box office success. The film is set a
decade after 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'. Much of humanity has
been wiped out following an outbreak of an artificial virus which killed
humans yet increased the intelligence of apes. Human and ape live in a
state of fragile peace and the film explores the conflict that arises
when the humans try to start a hydroelectric dam that is located in the
apes territory. The first part of the movie builds the characters of
both humans and apes and later there are very impressive special effects
as hostilities commence between the two sides. Both apes and humans
have understandable motives and thus the film is much more than a simple
war between right and wrong. An excellent movie.
Director: David Ayer
Cast includes: Brad Pitt, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf
The film was written and directed by David Ayer following
extensive research, and much of the filming took place in the UK. Set
towards the end of the second world war, it tells the story of Sargent
Dan 'Wardaddy' Collier (Pitt) and his crew of a Sherman tank as they
undertake a mission behind enemy lines. One of the tank crew was
recently killed in action and they are joined by a new recruit Norman
Ellison (Lerman). The film shows war thought the eyes of Ellison as he
becomes brutalized as a result of his experiences. All the actors give a
stunning performance in this loud and intense portrayal of the violence
and ugliness of war. An authentic and memorable war film.
Director: David Fincher
Cast Includes: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
The film is based on, and is pretty much true to, the best
selling book by Gillan Flynn. It is the fifth wedding anniversary of
the Dunne's. Nick Dunne (Affleck) goes for a drive, and returns to find
his wife Amy (Pike) is gone and the house ransacked. He reports her as
missing to the police and initially he is treated with sympathy.
However as time passes he becomes a prime suspect. The film is told in a
broken time-line and we see in flashbacks that the marriage had started
to fail. However is Nick guilty of murdering his wife? The film is a
psychological thriller with the plot taking a sharp turn in the latter
half of the film. This is an excellent, must see, movie.
Director: Christian Ditter
Cast Includes: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin
Rosie (Collins) and Alex (Claflin) have been friends from
early childhood and repeatedly become close to falling in love with each
other. However every-time they start to come together other people and
situations serve to come between them and they drift apart. In time.
Rosie becomes a single mother and Alex in turn gets married. However
there remains a spark between them - but will they ever get together?
The movie is based on the 2004 novel 'Where Rainbows End' by Cecelia
Ahern. The acting is first rate and the whole is a first rate romantic
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: Antoine Fuqua
Cast includes: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Bill Pullman, Marton Csokas.
A big screen adaption of the 1980's TV drama series which
starred Edward Woodward. Now Washington takes on the role of McCall, a
black ops commando who faked his own death so he could retire to an
uneventful existence in Boston. McCall is a childless widow, working in
a superstore and with a fondness for reading. He befriends Teri
(Moretz) a young woman who works as a prostitute. However she is beaten
and hospitalized by Russian gangsters. McCall decides to use his
skills to retaliate and as a result finds himself the target of a
Russian team led by a psychopath Teddy (Csokas). Washington is a
consummate actor who plays the role with skill and conviction. However
the whole is essentially a violent vigilante movie. Entertaining and
believable but the film does not break any new ground.
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 Maze Runner
Director: Wes Ball, Douglas Cumming
Cast includes: Kaya Scodelario, Dylan O'Brien
Thomas (O' Brien) awakes with no memory to find himself
trapped with dozens of other boys inside an enclosure with towering
walls. He subsequently discovers this to be a gigantic maze. He
integrates in the society of boys, becoming one of the runners, a sub
group who try to map the maze and find a way out. Attacking the boys
are Grievers which are giant spider like creatures who also inhabit the
maze. Thomas has dreams about an organisation called W.C.K.D. and he
must uncover his purpose and find a way to escape. The movie is a
decent adaption of the best selling novel by James Dashner, the first in
a trilogy. The acting is strong and the depiction of the maze and its
grandeur is very impressive. The movie is aimed at young adults but it
contains some violence and the whole has a rather joyless atmosphere.
The ending was somewhat complicated, designed perhaps to pave the way
for the forthcoming sequel.
What We Did on Our Holidays
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkins
Cast Includes: Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly
Doug (Tennant) and Abi (Pike) are a married couple on the cusp
of a divorce. Despite this, they decide to take their three children
to Scotland to attend a family gathering to celebrate the 75th birthday
of Gordie (Connolly), Doug's father. In conversation, the children let
slip to the wider family the details of their life in London and the
parents arguments. Hence tension and family feuds ensue. The
characters of the film are based on the TV series 'Outnumbered' and the
film is in part comedy sitcom and in part an emotional 'roller-coaster'.
Despite fine acting (with Connolly in particular fine form) the final
third of the film seemed a little flat.