Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
This week seems to be something of a slow period in the cinemas, perhaps
whilst we wait for the forthcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron and Spy.
However this week does see two new releases. There is the family comedy
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (PG) and action/adventure with John Wick (15). In addition we have the documentary on the superbike championship of 2014 with I, Superbiker V 'Split Second' (12A) which shows one night only at the Reel.
During this period the following films have disappeared from our screens Annie; Focus; Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; Selma and Still Alice. Also the movies Get Hard and Seventh Son may soon be at the end of being screened.
Family entertainment continues to be well represented with Cinderella; Home; Into the Woods; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Paddington; Shaun the Sheep and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. However adult drama is rather more sparse with just Fast and Furious 7 and The Water Diviner.
For high culture there is similarly something of a scarcity with just two national theatre productions A View from the Bridge and The Hard Problem.
Films of note during this period include the race horse documentary Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance (PG) and the cult movie by David Lynch Eraserhead (18).
Director: Kenneth Branagh
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 and Furious 7
Director: James Wan
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.
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.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Director: Andy Fickman
Cast Includes: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez
Paul Blart (James) is a Mall Cop who takes a vacation with his
teenage daughter Maya (Rodriguez) before she starts college. They go to
Las Vegas to attend a Security Guard Expo. Though Blart is mocked by
the Casino security staff, he uncovers an attempted theft and goes after
the thieves. The film is a sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop which was
released in 2009 and became something of a surprise box office hit. The
movie is an example of that rather rare genre, a true family comedy
that succeeds in entertaining young and old.
Director: Sergei Bodrov
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.
Director: Saul Dibb
Cast includes: Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts
Set in 1940 occupied France, this is a love story based on the
unfinished 2004 novel by Irene Nemirovsky. French woman Lucille
Angellier (Williams) waits for news of her husband who is a prisoner of
war. A regiment of German soldiers arrive at their town and the
soldiers are billeted in the French homes. In this way Lt. Bruno von
Falk moves in with Lucille and over time the two fall in love. However
the war ensures the course of the romance will not be smooth. This is a
very competent production with excellent acting. It does not break any
new ground and a more adventurous film may have made more of the
material in Nemirovsky's novel. However as a sentimental romance the
film works and is worth a trip to the cinema.
Director: Ari Sandel
Cast Includes: Mae Whitman, Skyler Samuels, Bianca Santos, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Kody
Keplinger. Bianca (Whitman) is a high school senior who, at a party,
finds that she has been given the label the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat
Friend) to her more popular friends Jess (Samuels) and Casey (Santos).
She takes steps to challenge this designation by helping the star of the
school football team Wesley (Amell) with his academic work in return
for his helping her to re-invent herself. Yet she must face her nemesis,
the mean label maker Madison Morgan (Thorne). This is an entertaining
comedy albeit with some sexual references and crude language.
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 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
Cast Includes: Russell Crowe, Isabel Lucas
Joshua Connor (Crowe) is an Australian farmer, water diviner
and grieving 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