Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 29th July to 6th August 2015


For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

This week Lancaster sees seven new film releases. There are two documentaries, one on life of Amy Winehouse with Amy (15), the other the life of Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson with The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson (15). There is family comedy with Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder (PG) and family drama with The Choir (PG). Finally there is drama with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (12A);  Paper Towns (12) and superhero action with Fantastic Four.

In addition to the above, we see the return of the suspense drama Child 44, and the animation Moomins on the Riviera.

This is an excellent time for science fiction adventure with screenings of Ant-ManJurassic WorldSelf/LessTerminator Genesis and Fantastic Four. In addition there is the horror movie The Gallows. Adult drama is represented with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Southpaw while family drama is available with Mr. Holmes and  The Choir.

For family comedy there is Inside OutMinions and the recent Dr Proctor's Fart Powder. More adult comedy is available with Magic Mike XXL and Ted 2. The only weakness in the movie schedules this week is high culture where there is nothing being screened.

Reviews

Ant-Man
Director: Peyton Reed
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll
Ant-Man is the latest super-hero in the Marvel pantheon to make it to the screen. Scott Lang (Rudd) used be a systems engineer but is now a petty criminal, trying to go straight. He acquires a suit developed by Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas) and Dr Pym becomes something of his mentor. The suit allows Lang to become ant man as he shrink in size, increase his strength and has the power of communicating with insects. Together Pym and ant-man must overcome the ambitions of Darren Cross (Stoll) who has a militarised version of the suit. Ant man was only a minor Marvel super-hero but nonetheless this is an entertaining movie. The characters are given chance to develop and the film provides both wit and plenty of gags. An entertaining movie.

Child 44
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman
The film is based on Tom Rob Smiths novel of 2008 and is set in Soviet Russia in the 1950s. Leo Demidov (Hardy) is an agent of the secret police. However he refuses to denounce his wife Raisa (Rapace) as a traitor when in Moscow he and his wife are exiled to Volsk, a provincial Russian outpost. Here Demidov, with his superior General Mikhail Nesterov (Oldman), work to track down a serial killer who is attacking young boys. However the investigation is hampered by the official position that within the Soviet Union there are no such things as murderers. The film could have been a very decent thriller and it benefits from strong action. However it is let down somewhat by the thick Russian accents adopted by the actors and lack of development of some of the characters. The movie was banned within Russia for portraying the county as Mordor.

Jurassic World
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, B.D. Wong, Chris Pratt
This is the fourth instalment 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 dinosaurs, this is an entertaining action film.

Minions
Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders.
The film is both a spin off and a prequel to the Despicable Me franchise. The Minions have always existed on earth and the movie begins by tracing their evolution. They have the purpose of serving the most despicable of masters though not very successfully. The race finally retired to the Antarctic where they fare badly. Hence Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob decide to seek a new master for their race to work for. In a villain convention in Orlando they decide to serve the supervillain Scarlet Overkill (Bullock) who is planning to overthrow the Queen of England. The film, using skits and Musical numbers expands on this plot. The Minions were the best part of the Despicable Me franchise and so it is fitting that they have their own film. The movie is very entertaining, inoffensive and funny and will delight all ages. However this reviewer would have liked more minions and fewer supervillains.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson
This is the fifth in the Mission Impossible series. The Impossible Mission Force (IMF) has been disbanded. Ethan Hunt (Cruse) must assemble a team and join forces with an ex British agent Iisa Faust (Ferguson) in order to fight 'The Syndicate', a group who are mounting terrorist attacks in order to bring about a new world order. This is arguably the best action film of the year with plenty of excitement, special effects and some violence. However the whole has a light hearted tone and contains a good deal of humour. A witty and very entertaining movie.

Mr Holmes
Director: Bill Condon
Certificate: PC
Cast includes: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker.
Director: Bill Condon
Certificate: PC
Cast includes: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker.
A Sherlock Holmes film that is loosely based on Mitch Cullin's 2005 novel 'A slight trick of the Mind'. Holmes is aged 93 and has retired to the Devon coast where he lives with a housekeeper Mrs Munro (Linney) and her son Roger (Parker). His passion is now bee keeping. His memory is fading and Holmes suspects he is succumbing to dementia. He is unhappy with the way he has been portrayed in Watson's accounts of his famous adventures and wishes to address this by writing his own account of one of his cases. The film is much slower than the portrayal of Holmes in recent TV series and Holmes himself has a more fragile and human character. Much of the sequences in the film are flashbacks and McKellen makes a superb Sherlock Holmes. An excellent film.

Southpaw
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Jake Gyllenhaal, 50 Cents, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams
Billy "The Great" Hope (Gyllenhaal) was the reigning middle weight champion but a tragic incident causes his life to fall apart. He loses his family, title, house and manager. In addition, his daughter is taken into care. To rebuild his life he restarts fighting, with Tick Willis (Whitaker) a retired fighter at a run down gym, acting as his coach. The movie is thus a classic underdog story. However strong acting (particularly Gyllenhaal) and convincing sets make for a gripping movie.

Ted 2
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Seth MacFarlane, Jessica Barth, Morgan Freeman, Mark Wahlberg
The movie is a sequel to the highly successful 2012 original. Ted is a teddybear with human actions and emotions who has married his (human) girlfriend Tami-Lynn (Barth). Yet the marriage is having problems so Ted and Tami-Lynn decide to have a child to save their relationship. They try to adopt, but this leads to their marriage being annulled and Ted ruled as property and not a person. To resolve this Ted must go to court to prove he is human. The film provides adult humour in abundance and makes a worthy sequel the original. See it if you are not easily offended.

Terminator Genisys
Director: Alan Taylor
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney
The movie is an attempt to recover from the less that impressive sequel 'Salvation' and it strives to capture the appeal of the original. Again machines rule the future and they are trying to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) before she can give birth to John Connor (Jason Clarke). Again a future John Connor sends Kyle Reese (Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother. However Reese finds the time line has become altered. Now there is a Guardian cyborg (Schwarzenegger) who becomes Reese's ally. The plot provides a heroic effort to breath some life into the terminator franchise and to maintain what made the first movie such a classic. However the 12A certificate means the battle scenes are not as impressive and in parts the movie seems more of a parody of the original. A watchable film, but not a classic.

The Gallows
Director: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Cast Includes: Ryan Shoos, Pfeifer Brown, Cassidy Gifford, Reese Mishler
Twenty years ago, students at Beatrice High School Nebraska performed a play called The Gallows set in the puritan era. However a malfunction with the stage gallows caused the death of an actor. Now the school wants to re-stage the play, but four students decide to stop it by destroying the set. Hence they break into the school at night. Here they become trapped and subject to a psychic attack. This is a low budget film of the of the so-called found footage genre, and the action is mainly seen through the eyes of a jock Ryan (Shoos). The movie has attracted poor reviews and a reasonable beginning descends into a rather lacklustre end.

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