Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Three new releases come to the cinema this week. There is science fiction adventure with Chappie (15); adult comedy with Unfinished Business (15) and a mystery drama Inherent Vice (15). The latter was released at the end of January but is new to Lancaster.
Films that are no longer being shown include Peppa Pig and the the award winning Birdman & The Imitation Game. We do however see the return of family animation with the popular Paddington. On the down side it seems likely that the following films are soon to be dropped from the schedule Jupiter Ascending; The Wedding Ringer and The Theory of Everything.
All the new releases this week are aimed at an adult audience.
However there is still an excess of family entertainment on offer with Big Hero 6; Shaun the Sheep and The Penguins of Madagascar.
This week finds romantic dramas well represented with Forty Shades of Grey and The Boy Next Door. Alternatively there is a good selection of comedy with The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Focus; The Wedding Ringer and Unfinished Business. Also there is high culture with RSC Love's Labour's Won and the Bolshoi: Romeo & Juliet.
Films of note are the French movie Cycling with Moliere showing at the Campus in the City and the drama mystery Inherent Vice playing at the Dukes.
Director: Alex Garland
Cast includes: Oscar Issac, Alicia Vikander, Corey Johnson, Domhnall Gleeson.
Caleb (Gleeson) is a twenty-four year old programmer working
at the world's largest Internet Company. He wins a competition and so
gets to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Issac),
the CEO of the company. Nathan unveils his work, a female android Ava
(Vikander), and explains to Caleb that his role is to perform a Turing
test on her to explore if her thinking and behavior is indistinguishable
from that of a human. As Caleb gets to spend time with Ava, she starts
to become dominant in their relationship, trying to recruit Caleb for
her own ends. The film is reminiscent of Frankenstein, with Nathan
increasingly taking the role of mad scientist who does not have the
emotional empathy to support his creation. The movie is excellently
shot with impressive special effects that do not get in the way of the
story. A superb, thought provoking science fiction drama that explores
the interaction between man and machine.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Cast includes: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson
This is a much hyped film with a record for ticket pre-sales.
It is based on the best selling 2011 novel by E. L. James. Anastasia
Steel (Johnson) is a student who interviews the publicity shy
billionaire Christian Grey (Dornan) as a college assignment. There is
an immediate sexual chemistry between the two and they embark on an
affair. However Grey has a desire to control everything in his life and
his relationships have a strong sado-masochistic element. Hence he
requires Anastasia to sign a contract if she wants the relationship to
continue that will allow Grey to subjugate her. The film is an accurate
portrayal of the book, though it omits the more sordid sex scenes.
Essentially the film is soft porn for a female audience.
Director: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra
Cast includes: Will Smith, Gerald McRaney, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Robert Taylor
Nicky Spurgeon (Smith) is a career con artist who, early in
the film, takes on an inexperienced Jess Barrett (Robbie) as an
apprentice. There is a sexual chemistry between the two, but Nicky and
Jess part. Years later Nicky is running a con for the billionaire
motorsport owner Rafael Garriga (Santoro), but finds that Jess is now
Santoro's girlfriend. The chemistry again starts between Jess and Nicky
and we find they are both trying to con Garriga. However the latter
seeks revenge. The movie is something of a dark romance with some
violence and a good amount of comedy. It is well acted in exciting
locations and is sure to entertain.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast Includes: Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth, Sophie Cookson, Taron Egerton.
A spoof spy adventure based on the comic book series by Dave
Gibbons and Mark Miller. Kingsman is an international covert spying
agency and they recruit members from street wise misfits. A chavvy gang
member Egysy (Egerton) is recruited by the ultra suave agent Harry Hart
(Firth). To be accepted Egysy must become both refined and also pass a
grueling 'boot camp' where he will learn how to be an agent. In the
meantime the eccentric billionaire Valentine (Jackson) is planning to
distribution free SIM cards, an act that will trigger the eradication of
most of mankind. This is a very 'tongue in cheek' movie, in equal
measures a violent action adventure and a comedy. There are outrageous
gadgets and wonderful set pieces, with the movie being part James Bond
and part every other spy movie you have ever seen. Irreverent and
Director: Ava DuVernay
Cast Includes: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson
A slice of American History. The film follows Martin Luther
King (Oyelowo) and the events that led up to the 1965 civil rights march
from Selma to Montgomery which preceded President Johnson's (Wilkinson)
signing the voting Act of 1965 giving equal voting rights to
Afro-American citizens. Not only does this film show the build up to
the march, it also portrays something of the humour and character of
Martin Luther King and the strain that his work imposed on his marriage
to Coretta (Ejogo) and on his friends. It covers much of the political
backdrop to the civil rights movement and contains images of violence
and racial slurs that were endured by the marchers in their quest for
equal voting rights.
The Boy Next Door
Director: Rob Cohen
Cast Includes: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Ian Nelson.
Claire Peterson (Lopez) is a lonely English teacher. She is a
single parent looking after her teenage son Kevin (Nelson) following
separation from her unfaithful husband. A man half her age, Noah
(Guzman), moves into the house across the street. Initially he helps
Claire with chores, but their closeness results in a night of passion.
Claire realizes this was a mistake and abruptly finishes the
relationship. Noah however shows his unstable side. He becomes her
stalker and threatens her, his obsession becoming ever stronger till
there is a final culmination at the end of the film. The movie however
has attracted rather poor reviews as both the plot and the dialogue are a
little 'clunky'. Also Guzman proves to be more convincing as a
handsome hulk than a threatening obsessive. However this is an
acceptable entry into the category an erotic drama.
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.