Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Local Cinema Round-Up for 26th November to 4th December 2014 by Peter Clarke

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 three new releases during this period. We have family comedy with Paddington (PG); adult comedy with Horrible Bosses 2 (15) and Action/Adventure with the military drama Kajaki. The True Story (15). Excitement next week comes with the release of the concluding trilogy of the Hobbit with The Battle of the Five Armies.

In addition to the new releases, there is chance to see old favourites with the return of Frozen; What We Did on our Holidays; The Hundred Foot Journey and The Unbeatables. However The Maze Runner has been lost and the films The Drop; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ouija look like they will soon be dropped.

With the approach of December, family entertainment is well represented with Paddington; Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey; The Book of Life; The Boxtrolls; Frozen; Mary Poppins; The Nut Job and The Unbeatables. This is also a good period for science fiction with screenings of Alien; the classic The Day the Earth Caught Fire and Interstellar.

High culture is represented with Royal Opera House: L' Elisir d'Amore and The Crucible. Also worthy of mention is The Bicycle which looks at cycling and its return to fashion. This film is followed by a film maker Q&A session.

Reviews

Frozen
Director: Chris Buck
Certificate PG
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' 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.

Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Matthew McConaughey, Casey Affleck, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine.
The earth is facing environmental disaster. Dust storms are common and crops are failing. Cooper (McConaughey) a farmer, but formerly a top pilot, is recruited by Professor Brand (Caine), to fly a final mission taking a team of specialists through a newly discovered wormhole to find a planet in a far solar system that could be a new home for humanity. This is a big budget very grandiose film full of action and spectacular scenery as the crew search to see if there is a future for mankind. It is however a little low on humour and at times requires some suspension of disbelief but in all it is a great movie.

Kajaki. The True Story
Director: Paul Katis
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: David Elliot, Mark Stanley, Scott Kyle
A dramatisation of events in Afghanistan in 2006. Members of the British Army's Third Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (3 Para) set out to disable a Taliban roadblock. However one of the soldiers steps on an old Soviet landmine which removes his leg. A rescue mission is mounted led by Corporal Mark Wright (Elliot). However as more soldiers enter the unmarked minefield, another stops on a mine and a rescue helicopter which was deployed detonates yet another. The focus remains on the experience of soldiers as the film does not seek to make a political comment. This is a well made though rather harrowing movie which honours the bravery and courage of soldiers on an ill fated mission. It has been released to mark the withdrawal of British Troops from Afghanistan.

Mr Turner
Director: Mike Leigh
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Timothy Spall, Marion Bailey
A biographical dramatization of the life of English painter J. M. W Turner. The film starts when Turner is aged 51 and working in his London studio. It follows Turner through depressions following his father's death up until the painters own death in 1851 when he was living in Chelsea with his mistress Sophie Booth (Bailey). Spall gives a great performance as Turner, bringing out his humanity and eccentricity. A very enjoyable movie.

Ouija
Director: Stiles White
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Olivia Cooke, Douglas Smith, Daren Kagasoff, Shelly Hennig
Debbie (Hennig) confesses to playing with an Ouija board but she is murdered. Her friend Laine (Cooke) decides to investigate her death by using the Ouija board to contact Debbie's spirit and to this end she enlists the help of a group of friends. They hold a seance in Debbie's house. However, they inadvertently connect with a murderous spirit which starts to attack them. The whole is a competent horror film complete with ghosts, unexpected noises and frights for the viewer. Given the film was released just before Halloween, it merits a visit to the cinema.

The Drop
Director: Michael R. Roskam
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: James Gandolfini, Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz
Bob Saginowski (Hardy) works as bartender in his cousins Brooklyn bar. The bar operates as a 'drop' where criminal launder money and one night it is robbed. Bob is witness to the robbery and thus involved in the subsequent crime investigation by Detective Torres (Ortiz). However things turn out to be more complicated than they first seem. The movie is a solid crime thriller with a nice final twist based on the short story "Animal Rescue" by Dennis Lehane. A competent movie worth seeing.

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Certificate: PG
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 Imitation Game
Director: Morten Tyldum
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Kinnear, Keira Knightley
A portrayal of the life of computer genius Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) who masterminded the cracking of the German Enigma code in the second world war and continued to develop computer theory at Manchester University. The film opens in 1951 with a robbery taking place in Turing's house. Thence the film explores Turing's life by flashbacks to his schooling and his life in Bletchley Park. The acting in the film is excellent with Cumberbatch giving a particularly good performance. However the film rather backs away from Turing's homosexuality and his subsequent suicide after his persecution by the British Government.

What We Did on Our Holidays
Director: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkins
Certificate: 12A
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.

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