Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Only one new film has been released this period, the long awaited science fiction adventure sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12A).
Movies that have vanished from the local screens include Pan and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. In addition the following movies will soon be withdrawn Black Mass; Krampus; Spectre; Steve Job and Victor Frankenstein. However we see the welcome return of action and adventure with Everest and seasonal family fantasy with Frozen.
Science fiction adventure is well represented with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and the well received Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Horror films on offer are Krampus and Victor Frankenstein.
For adult drama there is Bridge of Spies; Carol and Spectre, whereas comedy comes with Christmas with the Coopers; Sisters and The Lady in the Van.
Family movies include Hotel Transylvania 2; Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie; The Good Dinosaur; The Muppet Christmas Carol and the ever popular Frozen.
Finally the Dukes are presenting another Film Quiz on Sunday 20th December.
Bridge of Spies
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast includes: Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance, Austin Stowell
A cold war drama, based on a genuine incident. Rudolf Abel (Rylance)
is a spy working for the Soviet Union who has been captured in the USA.
He is to be put on trial and James Donovan (Hanks), an insurance
lawyer, is given the job of acting as his defence. Meanwhile, a secret
American Spy plane is shot down in Soviet airspace and the pilot,
Francis Gary Powers (Stowell) is captured by the Russians and convicted
of espionage. Neither America nor Russia want their respective officers
interrogated by the other side and hence Donovan is tasked with
organising a prisoner exchange. This is a fine spy drama, more dialogue
and politics than action but it succeeds in building the tension. Both
Hanks and Rylance give excellent performances and Spielberg masterfully
created the ambience of the cold war period.
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. However, 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: Chris Buck
Cast Includes Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad,Alan Tudyk, Jonathan Groff
This Disney musical animation is loosely based on the fairy tale 'The
Snow Queen' who has condemned a kingdom to eternal winter. It is up to
Anna (sister to the snow queen) and a loner Kristoff to undertake an
epic journey to find the Snow Queen and convince her to lift the icy
spell. This is a magical movie destined to become a classic. It will
appeal to families and children of all ages and makes an ideal movie for
Director: Jason Moore
Cast includes: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest
Maura (Poehler) and Kate (Kay) are very different sisters. Maura is the
sensible one, now divorced, whereas Kate is excitable and prone to
tantrums. They are summoned back to their parents house to clear out
their childhood bedroom in one weekend as their parents Bucky (Brolin)
and Deana (Wiest) are about to sell the home. The sisters decide to
mark the occasion by hosting a party for their high school friends, but
find things get rapidly out of hand. There is some crude language and
sexual content in this movie and some some of the gags feel a little
laboured. However the whole is a cracking comedy giving an emotional
roller coaster ride.
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.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Director: J J Abrams
Cast includes: Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver.
The movie is set some thirty years after 'The Return of the Jedi'. The
power vacuum left after the Empire was vanquished has been filled by the
'First Order' who start to control the galaxy with their stormtroopers.
The movie tells of the adventures of Han Solo (Ford), Chewbacca and
Princess (now General) Leia (Fisher) as they join new characters
including Rey (Ridley), a scavenger, Finn (Boyega) a First Order
Conscript and a spherical droid BB-8 as they battle the First Order led
by the ominous Kylo Ren (Driver). This movie follows the style of the
first star wars trilogy and, for this reviewer, was much better than the
prequels. Old characters make a welcome appearance to supplement the
newer heroes and villains. An excellent movie in all respects and the
best Star Wars yet.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast includes: Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland
The concluding part of The Hunger Games series, based on the novels by
Suzanne Colins. The movie continues from the previous film. Katniss
(Lawrence) is recovering from battle, but she rejoins her comrades to
bring the revolution to the Capital and President Snow (Sunderland).
The Capital however is now peppered with booby traps awaiting for them.
The film seems to move at a slightly slower pace than the previous
instalments as there is a political element to the plot. Acting is very
convincing, the special effects are spectacular and the plot has a good
number of twists and turns. An excellent and emotional movie that
provides a satisfying and worthy conclusion to the Hunger Games
The Lady in the Van
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Cast includes: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings
A true story, adopted from 1999 West End Play of the same name and
filmed on location in North London. In 1974, Miss Shephard (Smith) is a
woman looking for somewhere to park after being moved on the council.
Playwright Alan Bennett agrees to her parking her van (which is also her
accommodation) in his drive for a couple of days. However Miss
Shephard then lived in the drive for the next fifteen years and the film
shows the relationship between Bennett and his nuisance neighbour.
This is a warm, charming and thoroughly fun movie.
Director: Paul McGuigan
Cast includes: James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Brown Finlay
The film is a remake of Mary Shelly's classic novel Frankenstein, this
time told from the point of view of Igor Strausman (Radcliffe). Igor is
a hunchback clown in love with trapeze artist Lorelei (Findlay). He
starts to assist the genius Victor Frankenstein in his experiments in
immortality. Victor becomes increasingly obsessed with his work
re-animating different organs and this brings them into conflict with
the authorities. Finally they commence the construction of Prometheus, a
human being. This is an entertaining film but it brings very little of
novelty to the Frankenstein legend. A tolerable film that is rather
low on horror but offers something by way of period romance.