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.
There are four new film releases available to see this week. There is superhero action with Fantastic Four (12A); comedy animation with Pixels (12A); mystery with The Gift (15) and finally Love and Mercy (12A), a documentary about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boy.
The following films are no longer being screened: Magic Mike XXL; Mr. Holmes; Self/Less and Terminator Genisys. Also it seems likely that we will soon loose Jurassic World and Ted 2. However we have the return to our screens of the family favourite Cinderella and the excellent thriller Spooks: The Greater Good.
A film to look forward to is The Man from U.N.C.L.E. due to be released on the 14th August.
Characters from superhero comics are well represented this week with Ant-Man and Fantastic Four. Also there is a good selection of family movies on offer with Cinderella; Home; Inside Out; Minions and Thomas & Friends: Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
For adult action Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is perhaps the best film this year, though Spooks: The Greater Good is also a strong contender. For adult drama Southpaw is a gripping underdog comes good movie.
An interesting offering this week is Glyndebourne: The Rape of Lucretia, a rather dark historic tale. Also rather out of the ordinary is the screening of two Buster Keaton classics The Scarecrow and One Week. There are organised by Lancaster Arts City and are being screened, for free, at the Lancaster Castle.
Director: Peyton Reed
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.
Director: Josh Trank
Cast includes: Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell
This is 20th Century Fox's second attempt at the Fantastic Four movie, a superhero film based on characters from Marvel comics. A sequel is scheduled for 2017. The film follows the lives of five people as they meet and become part of an experiment to teleport to an alternative dimension. However here they get exposed to a mysterious phenomenon that alters them bestowing strange powers. Four of them form a team, the Fantastic Four. The other member of the group, Victor Von Doom (Kebbell) becomes a super villain that the Fantastic Four must overcome. The movie rather takes its time to get to the action. Also it takes itself very seriously so there is little humour and dialogue can be rather stilted. Yet with excellent special effects this is a competent super hero film, though not destined to be a classic.
Director: Colin Trevorrow
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.
Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
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
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.
Director: Antoine Fuqua
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.
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 international audience.
Director: Seth MacFarlane
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.
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.