Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
As a consequence of the recent storm and floods, the Vue is closed today
(9th December), with the possibility of opening from tomorrow onwards.
In addition, the full program for the Reel was not available at the
time of this posting.
There are five new releases in our region during this period. We have romance with Carol (15); drama with McFarland (PG); and comedy with Sisters (15) and Tangerine (15). However the big event is the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12A) due in the cinemas on the 17th December in good time for Christmas.
We have lost the movie Brooklyn but see the welcome return of Minions; Steve Jobs and the excellent The Martian.
Family entertainment abounds with Christmas with the Coopers; Hotel Transylvania 2; Inside Out; Pan; Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanut Movie and The Good Dinosaur. In addition we have an abundance of drama in Black Mass; Bridge of Spies; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2; Spectre and The Martian.
Horror is represented with Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension; Victor Frankenstein and the somewhat tongue in cheek Krampus. For adult comedy see Sisters and Tangerine. For romantic drama Carol is recommended.
High culture during this period comes with the operas Cavalleria/Pagliacci and The Nutcracker.
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: 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
super-villain Scarlet Overkill (Bullock) who is planning to overthrow
the Queen of England. 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
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.
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.
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.