Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Only a modest two new films have been released during this period. These are the action adventure San Andreas (12A) and the comedy drama Danny Collins (15). However there is also the welcome return, for one day only, of the historical drama Selma.
Films that have been lost include Spy and The Age of Adaline. In addition it seems that the films Return to Sender and Spooks: The Greater Good will soon near to end of their screening.
There are only three comedies on offer at the moment, the new Danny Collins, the musical Pitch Perfect 2 and the black comedy A pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. However drama is better represented with Return to Sender, San Andreas, Mad Max: Fury Road and Spooks: The Greater Good.
We have fantasy with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Tomorrowland: A World Beyond. Also there is horror with the remake of Poltergeist.
What is missing from the Lancaster Screens is any form of high
culture, though the Dukes is screening the classic Fellini film 8 1/2.
In other news the Dukes have revised their website so it is easier to see, at a glance. what is on for for each day.
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.
Director: Brad Payton
Cast Includes: Dwane Johnson, Carla Guging, Ioan Gruffudd, Alexandra Daddario, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson
A magnitude nine earthquake hits California, demolishing Los Angeles
and San Francisco. Chief Ray Gaines (Johnson), a pilot working for the
LA Fire Department, rescues his estranged wife Emma (Gugino) from a
crumbling building. The the two of them fly to San Francisco to save
their daughter Blake (Daddario). Blake meanwhile been rescued by an
engineer Ben (Johnstone-Burt) and his brother Ollie (Art Parkinson).
This is a feel good disaster movie, following the lives of a half dozen
people against the backdrop of a devastating series of earthquakes.
There is impressive CGI footage of leveled cities and widespread
destruction. Also we have fine acting from Daddario and Johnson, the
latter playing his archetypal action character with a soupcon of humour.
A proficient and watchable film.
Director: Ava DuVernay
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.
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
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond
Director: Brad Bird
Cast Includes: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie
A Walt Disney film which attempts something a little different.
Casey (Robertson) is a young woman, by nature an optimist with great
enthusiasm for science. She gets into some minor trouble which leads
her to finding a badge with the magical property of transferring her to
Tomorrowland, a place outside the usual dimensions of the earth. Helped
by a mysterious woman Athena (Cassidy) she finds Frank (Clooney), an
inventor. Together they travel to Tomorrowland where their aim is to
inspire hope amongst the people of earth. It is admirable that Disney
is rather 'breaking the mold' with this film and it is likely that the
target audience comprises young adults who are still enthused by
science. However adults are likely to find the movie unduly complex and
perhaps a little boring.
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.