Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
This period sees quite a churn in the entertainment available. The main release is the science fiction adventure Jurassic World (12A) which is the latest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise.
Other films recently released and new to our region are the drama-romance A Royal Night out (12A) concerning the princesses on VE day; the dramas Clouds of Silo Maria (15) and Rosewater (15) and two documentaries Heaven Adores You (15) and The Look of Silence (15).
As new films appear so the old must go and this period sees the loss of Far From the Madding Crowd; Moonins on the Riviera; Poltergeist; Spooks: The Greater Good and Wild. However quite a number of films have also reappeared on the screen including Big Hero 6 ; Cinderella; Dino Time; Focus; the excellent Shaun the Sheep and the poignant Still Alice.
It seems likely that we will soon lose Avengers: Age of Ultron and Tomorrowland: A World Beyond. However later this month we are due to find Take That Live and the ever popular Minions will reach our screens.
Despite the loss of Poltergeist, this is an excellent period for horror movies with the release of Insidious: Chapter 3, the third in the franchise and the screening for one night only of the second of the three with Insidious 2.
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.
Director: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra
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.
Insidious: Chapter 3
Director: Leigh Whannell
Cast Includes: Lin Shaye, Stefanie Scott, Dermal Mulroney
The movie is set some years before the original Insidious
brought us the haunting of the Lambert family, and the film is the third
in the Insidious franchise. Quinn (Scott) and Sean (Mulroney) Brenner
are daughter and father, Quinn's mother Lillith having recently died.
Quinn starts to experience paranormal incidents and subsequently becomes
the victim of full blown attacks by a malevolent entity. Her father
contacts a gifted medium Elise Rainier (Shaye) and convinces her to work
to save Quinn from the monster that is responsible for the hauntings.
This is a very competent horror movie that builds up the tension and
allows the audience to empathise with the various characters. There are
frights a plenty and during the film we come to see the development of
Elise into the fearless medium that we meet in the other films in the
franchise. A 'must see' horror movie.
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Cast includes: Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, B.D. Wong, Chris Pratt
This is the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park series and
the best of the sequels. Jurassic World is a theme park in Costa Rica
that has been open for some two decades. However visitors are starting
to get bored with the sight of tame dinosaurs. Hence, their lab has
been using genetic techniques to create a real monster dinosaur,
Indominus Rex, to rekindle interest. The park is managed by Claire
Dearing (Howard) and Owen Grady (Pratt) is an animal behaviourist
working with the Dinosaurs. On the day that Claire brings her two
nephews to the park the Indominus Rex escapes. She must work with Owen
to save her nephews and save the day. The movie has number of fine
action pieces though the action gets in the way of character
development. Also there is a romance element between Claire and Owen.
The dialogue in not always believable, but there are jokes and the film
pays homage to the original Jurassic Park. For an audience not yet
jaded by dinosaur action, this is an entertaining action film.
Pitch Perfect 2
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast includes: Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks, Rebel Wilson, Adam DeVine, Brittany Snow
A sequel to the the 2012 movie 'Pitch Perfect' with many of the
cast from the previous movie continuing with their roles. The Bellas
are an a cappella singing group at Barden University who have previously
won a national competition. A hilarious 'wardrobe malfunction' during a
performance means the group will be disbanded unless they can redeem
themselves by winning the world a cappella tournament in Holland. This
requires beating their rivals, a techno group called Das Sound Machine.
This is one of the better teen movies and is the highest grossing
musical comedy. A worthy successor to the original film.
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: 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 send up of spy movies.
McCarthy brings all her comedic talents to bear in this spoof and
Statham also sends up his usual macho roles. Great performances, great
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.