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.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
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.
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
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
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 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.
Director: Joe Wright
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
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
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.
Director: Sam Mendes
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.
Director: Ridley Scott
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
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.