Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
A good time for new movies. This week sees nine new releases making it to the Lancaster screens.
There are four new family oriented films. These include two animations, Dino Time (PG) and Moomins on the Riviera (U). Also there is the adventure movie Up all Night (PG) and the Disney Fantasy Tomorrowland: A World Beyond (12A).
Other new releases are the adult comedy Spy (15); a welcome return to horror with Poltergeist (15); the revenge thriller Return to Sender (18); adventure with San Andreas (12A) and the drama Whiplash (15).
In addition the movie Big hero 6 has returned after a short absence.
Surprisingly with such an abundance of new releases only two films have vanished from the screens. These are A Little Chaos and Fast & Furious 7. However the films Big Game, The Age of Adaline and Unfriended look likely to vanish in the near future.
There is again a dearth of high culture this period, as the only theatre is NT Encore: Man and Superman. However the David Lynch season continues at the Dukes with the classic Mulholland Drive. Also the Dukes are holding another installment of their Film Quiz evening on Sunday 24th.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Director: Joss Whedon
Cast Includes: Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner,
Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, James Spader, Paul
This is the eleventh film in the franchise and the movie starts
where 'The Avengers' finished. Following a raid on a Hydra outpost,
Stark (Downey) and Banner (Ruffalo) complete Stark's defense program to
protect the earth using an artificial intelligence. However the latter,
Ultron (Spader) strives for human destruction. Ultron attacks the
avengers and develops a plan to end humanity. Following the battle the
avengers start to fight among themselves. However Stark creates a new
being, Vision (Bettany) who aids the avengers in their final
confrontation with Ultron. This is a very fast acting movie, louder and
bigger than its predecessors with complicated plot and titanic special
effects. The movie has received good reviews and will delight anyone
who enjoyed previous Avenger movies.
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.
Far From the Madding Crowd
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast Includes: Juno Temple, Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen
The latest film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel of
the same name. Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) is a willful young woman
who has come into property by inheritance. Her looks and manner result
in three potential suitors looking to marry her, a sheep farmer Gabriel
Oaks (Schoenaerts), a middle aged neighbour William Boldwood (Sheen) and
a handsome Sargent Frank Troy (Sturridge). However Bathsheba comes to
regret her choice of husband. This is a fine adaption of what is a
difficult novel to bring to the screen. The scenery is glorious and
acting excellent. A solid period drama romance.
Director: Gil Kenan
Cast includes: Rosemarie DeWitt, Sam Rockwell, Kennedi Clements, Jane Adams, Jared Harris
This is a remake of the classic Spielberg and Hooper
'Poltergeist' released in 1982. Eric (Rockwell) has lost his job
whereas his wife Amy (DeWitt) is an unsuccessful writer. Hence they
downsize, taking their three children to live in a rather dilapidated
house in the suburbs. Here the children suffer from psychic attacks and
their younger child Madison (Clement) becomes infatuated with a TV set.
Madison is captured by a malevolent spirit and the TV provides the
only means of communication between herself and her family. Her parents
seek help, initially from a parapsychologist Dr Claire Powell (Adams)
and thence from a psychic Carrigan Burke (Harris) in order to save their
daughter. This is an action packed film, with solid acting, though the
film offers little time for the characters to be developed. The movie
follows closely the 1982 original and provides a worthwhile remake.
Spooks: The Greater Good
Director: Bharat Nalluri
Cast Includes: Jennifer Ehle, Laura Pulver, Kit Harington, Tuppence Middleton, Peter Firth, Elyes Gabel
A terrorist, Adam Qasim (Gabel), escapes from MI5 custody.
Harry Pearce (Firth), head of counter terrorism, is blamed and Harry
subsequently vanishes. Agent Will Halloway (Harington) is brought back
into MI5 to investigate. He succeeds in finding Harry and the two of
them work to uncover a traitor who deliberately freed the terrorist and
who is plotting to destroy MI5. The film is set in London and marks the
cinema debut of the TV series that was first broadcast in 2002. The
movie captures the spirit of the series and references events in the
final episode. The plot is unpredictable with plenty of twists and
turns and the film has its fair share of action. This is a tense, fast
paced offering that will delight anyone who enjoyed the TV show.
However it may not quite have enough presence to win over an
Director: Paul Feig
Cast includes: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Rose Byrne
Susan Cooper (McCarthy) is a CIA agent who works at a desk.
However her partner Bradley Fine (Law) is assassinated in the field
whilst another agent Richard Ford (Statham) is compromised. Despite
lack of practical experience, Cooper volunteers to go underground and
infiltrate the network of the arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Byrne) in order
to avenge Fine's death. In truth the plot does not really matter in
this film, simply enjoy it as a tremendous spoof of spy movies.
McCarthy brings all her comedic talents to bear in this film and Statham
also sends up his usual macho roles. Great performances, great comedy.
The Age of Adaline
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Cast Includes: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford
Adaline Bowman (Lively) is almost eighty years old. However
she has kept her youth as, following a freak accident, she stopped
ageing when she was 28. She hides the secret of her age by leading a
solitary existence, and making a new identify every decade. However
after a chance encounter with a philanthropist Ellis Jones (Huisman) she
falls in love with him. She meets his family, but is recognised by his
father William (Ford) who knew her in the past. The plot of this movie
is a little contrived, but if you can forgive that it is a well crafted
and well acted fantasy love story.
Director: Levan Gabriadze
Cast includes: Jacob Wysocki, Shelly Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman
This was initially released under the title Cybernatural. The
movie is based in California, though the set of the film is the screen
of the computer of Blaire Lily (Hennig). Blaire's friend Laura Barns
(Sossaman) committed suicide a year earlier after a video was released
on the Internet which shamed her. Now Blair and her set of friends find
themselves being stalked on Skype and other social media by an unknown
figure who starts to reveal the dark secrets of the group of friends.
This is a teen horror movie that will appeal to a generation whose
social life revolves around social media. The film has its share of
frights and setting the movie on a computer screen is breaking new
ground for the horror genre.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Cast includes: Reese Witherspoon, Thomas Sadoski
A biographical drama based on Cheryl Strayed's memoirs of her
trek across America. Cheryl (Witherspoon) is a woman with an
unfortunate past. Her mother died of cancer. Her marriage failed and
she fell into reckless and self destructive behaviour. In an attempt to
make sense of her life, Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail
on her own. The trail is in excess of 1000 miles, extending from
Mexico, through California to the Canadian border. The film follows
Strayed's journey, with frequent flashbacks to fill in the details of
her earlier life. This is a fine drama supported by the music and
poetry that kept her going. It is difficult not to feel that you are
accompanying her on the way.