Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
There are three new movies on release in our area. There is war adventure with Eastwood's American Sniper (15); science fiction with Ex Machina and drama with Big Eyes (PG-13). Big Eyes was actually released at the end of last year but this is its first screening in Lancaster.
The film Unbroken is no longer being screened. Also the films Annie; Dumb and Dumber To; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Exodus: Gods and Kings and Tinker Bell and the legend of the NeverBeast are all looking to be nearing their end. However by compensation there is the return to the screen of the romantic drama Magic in the Moonlight and Boyhood.
High culture makes a return this period with NT Live: Treasure Island. Also the Dukes is again running their ever popular Film Quiz on Sunday.
Must see movies of the week include the much anticipated, romance with a twist, Fifty Shades of Grey and the true life sports drama Foxcatcher. Also the Dukes is again offering a particularly full programme of movies including the true life drama Kon-Tiki.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast Includes: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Ben Reed, Luke Grimes.
This is the story of Chris Kyle (Cooper), the most lethal
sniper in American History with 160 confirmed kills. Following the
attacks of 9/11 Kyle enlisted, and became a Navy SEAL marksman serving
four tours of duty in Iraq. The film is based on his autobiography. As
a sniper, Kyle was separate from the other troops and was forced to
make life and death decisions depending of his perception of whether the
person in his rifle cross-hairs was a terrorist or simply an innocent
bystander. The film does not address the politics of the Iraq conflict,
but is told from Kyles point of view. Thus his is the only character
who has any depth (his history and the increasingly strained
relationship with his wife is told in flashbacks). This is a tense
movie, well acted and thought provoking, if a little one dimensional.
Still it merits a trip to the cinema.
Director: Tim Burton
Cast includes: Amy Adams, Christopher Waltz, Danny Huston
The film is based on a true story. Margaret Ulbrich (Adams), a
divorcee with a child, married the estate salesman Walter Keane
(Waltz). Margaret was an artist, producing enigmatic pictures of
children with big eyes. Her husband had artistic pretensions and when
his wife's work started to sell, he claimed it was he that was the
artist. The paintings became best sellers and, with their success,
Margaret's confidence grew. The movie follows their turbulent divorce
in a Honolulu court as both the Keane's claimed the big eyed pictures to
be their own. This is something of a change of style for Burton. The
movie benefits from excellent acting and impressive photography of San
Francisco. It is a something of a quirky movie, but excellent
Director: Bennett Miller
Cast Includes: Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum.
A sports movie (Wrestling) based on a true story. Mark
Schultz (Tatum) is a wrestler who won a gold at the 1984 Olympics.
However he lives rather under the shadow of his more charismatic brother
Dave (Ruffalo), who is also a wrestler and his coach. Meanwhile, the
millionaire John du Pont (Carell), heir to the Du Pont chemical
corporation, bankrolls the American National wrestling team. He offers
to train them at Foxcatcher farm, the home of the Du Pont family, ready
for the 1988 Olympic games to be held at Seoul. John DuPont has his own
demons, feeling inadequate and trying to impress his mother (Redgrave).
Mark Schultz, at first pleased to be invited to train at Foxcatcher,
becomes increasingly disillusioned as does his brother as they are
manipulated by du Pont. The alienation between the three men builds to a
horrifying climax that makes for a really gripping movie.
Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Cast Includes: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, James Corden, Anna Kendrick
This is a Walt Disney adaptation of Sondheim's 1987 hit
musical of the same name. The film posits that the fairy tales of
Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel
are all happening simultaneously. Meanwhile a Baker and his wife wish
to begin a family, but they cannot due to a witches curse. To lift the
curse they must collect items from each of the fairy tales. This is a
star studded musical with excellent performances, especially from Meryl
Streep who plays the wicked witch. The original stage musical had a
number of adult themes which are softened for the Disney version, but
the end result is a great and entertaining family movie.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast Includes: Ian McKeller, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Elijah Wood, Richard Armitage, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee
This is the long awaited final installment of the Hobbit
trilogy and it concludes the adventures of Bilbo Baggins. The action
immediately picks up where the previous movie left off. Thorin and his
dwarves have reclaimed their homeland from the dragon Smaug, but Smaug
now mounts an attack on Laketown. Meanwhile Sauron has sent legions of
Orcs to the Lonely Mountain. Hence armies of Dwarves, Elves and Men
must come together to determine the future of Middle Earth. The film is
full of action, with numerous set pieces, as each of the major
characters is give chance to shine. However, with the exception of
Thorin who develops 'dragon sickness' there is little of interest taking
place at an emotional level among the characters. Bilbo increasingly
starts to be sidelined by the plot. This reviewer could not find any
fault in the movie, but neither could he summon the enthusiasm to care
about the destiny of Middle Earth.
The Imitation Game
Director: Morten Tyldum
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
The Theory of Everything
Director: James Marsh
Cast Includes: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox
A biopic of the early years of the world renown physicist
Stephen Hawkins, based on the memoir 'Traveling to Infinity: My life
with Stephen Hawkins' by Jane Hawkins. At Cambridge, Stephen Hawkins
was an active young man who fell in love with literature student Jane
Wilde. However, aged 21, Hawkins had an accidental fall which led to
his being diagnosed with motor neuron disease and given just two years
to live. The film shows the marriage of Stephen and Jane and how she
supported him and their children during the years of their marriage
(they divorced in 1995). This is a beautiful film likely to leave the
audience in tears. The acting is excellent especially Redmayne's
portrayal of Hawkins and the movie shows the lighter side of Hawkin's
character, his humour and his passion.
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death
Director: Tom Harper
Cast Includes: Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine, Phoebe Fox, Oaklee Pendergast
This is the sequel to the film 'The Woman in Black' which was
based on the novella by Susan Hills. The Second World War is raging and
a group of eight school children are evacuated away from London and the
Blitz to rural England. They are accompanied by their Headmistress
Jean Hogg (McCrory) and teacher Eve Parkin (Fox). The group occupy the
abandoned Eel Marsh House which had been haunted forty years ago. Eve
tries to build trust with Edward (Pendergast), one of the vulnerable
children, who starts to exhibit trance like stages. Subsequently other
children start acting strangely as a dark force is awakened. Eve seeks
the cause of the problem aided by a pilot Harry Burnstow (Irvine). The
film is a very competent horror movie with some romantic interest. It
is well acted and has plenty of frights. However like many sequels, it
does not quite live up to the suspense of the original.