Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 4th to 12th November 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.

There are three new releases in the local cinemas during this period. We have a strong drama with 99 Homes (15); comedy horror in Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (15) and suspense/horror with The Vatican Tapes (15).

The movies Sicario; Maya the Bee Movie and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Friendship Games have vanished from the screens. In addition the following movies will soon come to the end of their screening Crimson Peak; Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials; Minions and The Last Witch Hunter.

Despite the loss of two films for a younger audience, family entertainment is still well represented with Animal Kingdom: Let's Go Ape; Inside Out; Minions; Pan and Hotel Transylvania 2.

For adult drama James Bond is ever popular in Spectre. There is also the strong period drama Suffragette and the the very believable science fiction adventure The Martian.

Horror is well represented at the moment with the stunning Crimson Peak; Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and the newly released The Vatican Tapes.

High culture on offer this period includes NT Live: Hamlet; ROH Live: Carmen and Macbeth.

Reviews

Crimson Peak
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska
The film opens in the 1900s with Edith Cushing (Wasikowska), an aspiring novelist from a wealthy family, living in New York. She is wooed by an English aristocrat Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) and Edith subsequently marries him. Thomas takes her to his home Allerdale Hall, a gothic mansion set on Crimson Peak, a mound of red clay. Here Edith must live with her new husband and his sister Lucille (Chastain). However Edith starts to uncover secrets within the house. This is a glorious, stylistic, sumptuous, costume drama sort of of a horror movie, though the film provides suspense rather than horror. A well made and very watchable film.

Everest
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Robin Wright, Nasko Mori
A docudrama set in May 1996 when two expeditions tried to make it to the peak of Mount Everest. However a blizzard resulted in the death of eight climbers. The main emphasis is on the five climbers who perished on the South face. This is a dramatic and moving film, best appreciated in 3D to get the most of the scenery and the dizzying drops. The mountain itself is the primary focus, with character development taking second place, though there is much made of the trials of the climbers and of the emotional distress of loved ones left behind. An unsentimental movie which makes the viewer feel that he is part of the expedition.

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 and the film, using skits and Musical numbers, follows 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.

Pan
Director: Joe Wright
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Burke, Garrett Hedlund
A prequel to the story of Peter Pan. Peter (Miller) is abandoned by his mother and brought up in an orphanage run by Mother Barnabus (Burke). He is captured by pirates and taken to the magical world of Neverland where he is forced into slave labour by Bluebeard (Jackman). Peter and his friend James Hook (Hedlund) manage to escape to the forest where Peter befriends the fairy Tinker Bell. The fairies fight and defeat the pirates and Hook becomes captain of the Jolly Roger ship. A rather bland and somewhat contrived movie.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Director: Gregory Plotkin
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Chris Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George, Dan Gill
This is the sixth instalment in the Paranormal Activity series and it opens with a scene from Paranormal Activity 3. Ryan Fleege (Murray) moves into a new home in California along with his wife Emily (Shaw), daughter Leila (George) and his brother Mike (Gill). The two brothers discover a box of old VHS tapes filmed by a previous inhabitant of the property, starring two girls Katie and Kristi. These girls start to communicate with the current family by means of the TV set and various supernatural phenomena manifest within the house. Ryan brings in a priest to perform an exorcism, but things don't go to plan, leading to an unsettling conclusion.

Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Director: Christopher Landon
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont.
Ben (Sheridan), Carter (Miller) and Augie (Morgan) are three scouts on a camping trip. They plan to attend a party, but things go awry when zombies commence an attack on their local town. They team up with a cocktail waitress from a strip club and must use their scouting prowess to defeat the zombie hordes. This is a teen comedy horror, a raunchy movie with breasts and dubious jokes. There are some memorable scenes and snippets of real humour amid the gore and bad taste.

Spectre
Director: Sam Mendes
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Waltz, Andrew Scott
The latest James Bond Movie. M engages in a political battle to keep the secret service, in the light of a plan by Max Denbigh (Scott) to replace the 00 program with computer surveillance. Bond meanwhile is trying to locate Franz Oberhauser (Waltz), the suspected head of the evil organisation 'Spectre'. The movie starts in Mexico during the Day of the dead celebrations and thence the action continues in London, Rome and Morocco. There are numerous over the top action sequences, car chases, a good assortment of scary villains and exotic love interest. However amid this harshness, the movie contains a good level of humour. Tension builds from the very start, though some of this starts to dissipate as the film progresses. This is James Bond from the classic mould and Daniel Craig delivers a great performance.

The Martian
Director: Ridley Scott
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig
A manned mission to the planet mars is aborted when the crew face a huge sandstorm. However astronaut and botanist Mark Watney (Damon) is left behind, presumed dead. Yet he lives and must now find a way to survive and contact Earth in the hope that a rescue mission can be mounted. The movie is based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Andy Weir. This is a homage to the ingenuity of man in desperate circumstances. The movie is visually effective, scientifically accurate and is well seasoned with humour. An excellent film that has received glowing reviews.

The Vatican Tapes
Director: Mark Neveldine
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Michael Pena
Angela Holmes (Dudley) is an ordinary young woman until she cuts her finger at her birthday party. Following this her behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and she starts to have a maleficent effect on her friends. It is suspected she has become possessed and the Vatican is called to exorcise the demon. Father Lozano (Pena) is sent to investigate and he finds he has to deal with an ancient satanic force. This is an exorcism movie that borrows rather heavily from other examples of the genre. Dudley puts in an excellent performance and the film has a suitably melancholic tone with little humour. There are moments of gore but a lack of any real frights.

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