Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Local Cinema Round-Up for 1st to 9th April 2015 by peter@virtual-lancaster.net

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.

Four films, recently released, make it to our region this week. There is action and suspense with the latest in the fast and furious franchise with Fast and Furious 7 (12A). We have high school comedy with The Duff (12A) and drama with The Water Diviner (15) and White God (15).

Four films have returned to our screens following an absence. These are Fury; Into the Woods; Testament of Youth and the award winning Theory of Everything.

In order to make room, some films have to go. Specifically we have lost Fifty Shades of Grey; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Run All Night; Suite Francaise and The Duke of Burgundy. In addition the following films will soon be coming to the end of their screening: Annie; Focus; Selma; Still Alice and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Science fiction and fantasy are represented with the films The Divergent Series: Insurgent; Chappie and Seventh Son. There are no horror films being shown at the moment, but the foreign drama White God comes close.

Films of note this week are a prequel to the TV twin peaks series with Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and a documentary on Bob Dylan with Dont Look Back. The latter is followed by a rendition of Dylan classics by the Lancaster Folk Club.

Finally the Vue is showing a double bill of Fast and Furious 6 & 7 on the evening of the 2nd April.

Reviews

Cinderella
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Certificate: U
Cast includes: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgard, Richard Madden
Disney's re-telling of the story of Cinderella. Cinderella (James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother Lady Tremaine (Blanchett) following the death of her father. The film sticks very close to Disney's 1950 animated musical. Cinderella is rather 'sickly sweet' but this is offset by the malevolence of the character of Lady Tremaine. The movie has some comedy action and a good selection of special effects. There is nothing in here to offend and the movie will be loved by all.

Fast & Furious 6
Director: Justin Lin
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson
Following from the previous film our hero's are trying to retire with their recent wealth whilst running from the law. Meanwhile a gang of professional hijackers led by ex-special operations soldier Owen Shaw comes to the attention of agent Hobbs (the DSS agent who pursued the cast in the last movie). Hobbs enlists the help of Dom and the rest and, in return for a full pardon, they must stop the criminal hijackers. From here the action takes place in London. In Fast & Furious 6 there is even less regard for the laws of physics which comes a poor second to the array of madcap mayhem of speeding cars, crashes, outrageous stunts and unmitigated action. Fast, furious and fun, but not very believable.

Fast and Furious 7
Director: James Wan
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham
Dominic Toretto (Diesel), Brian O'Connor (Walker) and the rest of their associates return to the USA where they hope to find peace. However Deckard Shaw (Statham) is the latest villain after Don and the team as he seeks revenge for the death of his brother. The film is thus a sequel to the 2013 Fast and Furious 6 and it involves even more car chases and madcap action. The film suffered from the death of the actor Paul Walker during filming but this does not detract from the frenzied action. A worthy successor to this popular franchise.

Focus
Director: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra
Certificate: 15
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.

Fury
Director: David Ayer
Certificate: 15
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.

Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Certificate: PG
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.

Selma
Director: Ava DuVernay
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson
A slice of American History. The film follows Martin Luthor 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 Luthor 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.

Seventh Son
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Jeff Bridges, Olivia Williams, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes
A fantasy movie set in the far past and based on the young adult fiction 'The Spook's Apprentice' by Joseph Delaney. Master Gregory (Bridges) is the last of the Falcon Knights and in the past he imprisoned an evil witch, Mother Malkin (Moore). She is now free and seeking to wreck an awful revenge on the earth. Gregory must train an apprentice Tom Ward (Barnes) who is the seventh son of a seventh son, in order that they can fight the dark magic. The movie has an A list cast with an impressive selection of fiends, monsters and epic battles. An extremely enjoyable caper marked with fine acting, but ultimately a rather forgettable movie.

The Theory of Everything
Director: James Marsh
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox
A biopic of the early years of the world renown physicist Stephen Hawkins, based on the memoire 'Traveling to Infinity: My life with Stephen Hawkins' by Jane Hawkins. At Cambridge, Hawkins was an active young man who fell in love with literature student Jane Wilde. However, aged 21, Hawkins had an accidental fall and this 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 Water Diviner
Director: Russell Crowe
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Russell Crowe, Isabel Lucas
Joshua Connor (Crowe) is an Australian farmer, water diviner and greiving father. He lost his three sons in the First World War Battle of Gallipoli and after a four years period he decides to travel to Turkey to locate their bodies. In doing so he comes to terms with the Turks as he finds obstacles to be overcome in getting to the battlefield. This is Crowe's first experience as a director and the result is a sombre but beautiful film, well acted and with a strong anti war message.

No comments: