Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
There are four new films released during this period. We have family fantasy with Into the Woods (PG); action with Taken 3 (12A), drama with Foxcatcher (15) and finally romance with the much anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey (18). Unfortunately, we have lost The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
Films that look like they are nearing the end of their screening include Annie, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Unbroken and Dumb and Dumber To. However, by way of compensation the following have returned to our cinemas A Most Wanted Man, Toy Story. Gone Girl and Mr Turner.
The Dukes have a particularly full programme at the moment including the vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows (15) and Fritz Lang's science fiction classic Metropolis (PG), being shown with a new live musical score.
There is little available by way of high culture. However the
category of family entertainment is well represented with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Paddington, Penguins of Madagascar and Annie. Also, by way of compensation, there is horror with The Woman in Black: Angel of Death and the excellent romance Theory of Everything.
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 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.