Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Four new releases make it to Lancaster film screens during this period. We have action and adventure in Mad Max: Fury Road (15) and the cinematic debut of a TV series with Spooks: The Greater Good (15). In addition there is fantasy romance with The Age of Adaline(12A) and finally the comedy drama While We're Young (15).
To make room for new releases there must be losses and four films have come to the end of their screening. These are Child 44; John Wicks; Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and The DUFF. In addition the family films Big Hero 6 and The Hero of Colour City look like they will soon vanish from the screens.
A number of films have returned this week for a second showing. These include the period romance A little Chaos; a sports drama Foxcatcher and the family films Into the Woods and Penguins of Madagascar.
Looking into the near future, films scheduled for screening later in May include Friday Download Presents: Up all Night; Perfect Pitch 2 and the comedy Spy.
For culture this week we have Opera with La Fille Mal Gardee and theatre with George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman.
A Little Chaos
Director: Alan Rickman
Cast Includes: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Helen McCrory
The film is set in Paris in 1862. King Louis XIV (Rickman)
wishes to build a marvelous garden at the Palace of Versailles and so
hires the famous landscape artist Andre Le Notre (Schoenaerts) to
undertake the work. Le Notre advertises for an assistant and hires
Sabine de Barra (Winslet), a talented and attractive woman with modern
ideas on gardening. Sabine has something of a past (told in flashback)
and must overcome the obstacles of her class and sex to function within
the court. The film is a period romance with the sexual chemistry
building between Sabine and Andre, while being opposed by Andre's
scheming wife Francoise (McCrory). The performances are excellent and
the film a delight of stunning gardens and costumes. An entertaining if
somewhat unchallenging film.
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.
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.
Director: Bennett Miller
Cast Includes: Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum.
A sports movie (Wrestling) based on a true story. Mark Schultz
(Tatum) is a wrestler who won a gold at the 1984 Olympics. However he
lives rather under the shadow of his more charismatic brother Dave
(Ruffalo), who is also a wrestler and his coach. Meanwhile, the
millionaire John du Pont (Carell), heir to the Du Pont chemical
corporation, bankrolls the American National wrestling team. He offers
to train them at Foxcatcher farm, the home of the Du Pont family, ready
for the 1988 Olympic games to be held at Seoul. John DuPont has his own
demons, feeling inadequate and trying to impress his mother (Redgrave).
Mark Schultz, at first pleased to be invited to train at Foxcatcher,
becomes increasingly disillusioned as does his brother as they are
manipulated by du Pont. The alienation between the three men builds to a
horrifying climax that makes for a really gripping movie.
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.
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
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.