Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Local Cinema Round-Up for 25th March to 2nd April 2015 by peter@virtual-lancaster.net

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.

Five new films make it to the local cinemas this week. The first of these, Get Hard (15) is an adult comedy. The remaining four are dramas. Still Alice (12A) follows a woman as she descends into dementia. Suspense on the Yorkshire moors comes with Catch Me Daddy (15). A Disney remake of Cinderella (U) supplies romance whereas fantasy drama is represented by the film Seventh Son (12A).

Films that have returned to our screens after an absence are Annie; Gone Girl; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and the docu-drama Selma.

The movie Unfinished Business has now vanished from our screens. In addition it is looking like the following are approaching the end of their screening:Fifty Shades of Grey; Kingsman:The Secret Service; Run all Night and Suite Francaise.

There is a good selection of high drama this week. Opera comes with Rise & Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Theatre is well represented with Behind the Beautiful Forevers; A View from the Bridge; Maxine Peake as Hamlet and a return of Treasure Island.

There are two items of news this period. The first is an absence of further films scheduled for screening by the Campus in the City. This venue will be missed by lovers of foreign films. Secondly, to make the most of the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7 which is released next week, the Vue is showing a double bill of Fast and Furious 6 & 7 on the 2nd April.

Reviews

Cinderella
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Certificate: U
Cast includes: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgard, Richard Madden
Disney's re-telling of the story of Cinderella. Cinderella (James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother Lady Tremaine (Blanchett) following the death of her father. The film sticks very close to Disney's 1950 animated musical. Cinderella is rather 'sickly sweet' but this is offset by the malevolence of the character of Lady Tremaine. The movie has some comedy action and a good selection of special effects. There is nothing in here to offend and the movie will be loved by all.

Fifty Shades of Grey
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Certificate: 18
Cast includes: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson
This is a much hyped film with a record for ticket pre-sales. It is based on the best selling 2011 novel by E. L. James. Anastasia Steel (Johnson) is a student who interviews the publicity shy billionaire Christian Grey (Dornan) as a college assignment. There is an immediate sexual chemistry between the two and they embark on an affair. However Grey has a desire to control everything in his life and his relationships have a strong sado-masochistic element. Hence he requires Anastasia to sign a contract if she wants the relationship to continue that will allow Grey to subjugate her. The film is an accurate portrayal of the book, though it omits the more sordid sex scenes. Essentially the film is soft porn for a female audience.

Focus
Director: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Will Smith, Gerald McRaney, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Robert Taylor
Nicky Spurgeon (Smith) is a career con artist who, early in the film, takes on an inexperienced Jess Barrett (Robbie) as an apprentice. There is a sexual chemistry between the two, but Nicky and Jess part. Years later Nicky is running a con for the billionaire motorsport owner Rafael Garriga (Santoro), but finds that Jess is now Santoro's girlfriend. The chemistry again starts between Jess and Nicky and we find they are both trying to con Garriga. However the latter seeks revenge. The movie is something of a dark romance with some violence and a good amount of comedy. It is well acted in exciting locations and is sure to entertain.

Gone Girl
Director: David Fincher
Certificate: 18
Cast Includes: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
The film is based on, and is pretty much true to, the best selling book by Gillan Flynn. It is the fifth wedding anniversary of the Dunne's. Nick Dunne (Affleck) goes for a drive, and returns to find his wife Amy (Pike) is gone and the house ransacked. He reports her as missing to the police and initially he is treated with sympathy. However as time passes he becomes a prime suspect. The film is told in a broken time-line and we see in flashbacks that the marriage had started to fail. However is Nick guilty of murdering his wife? The film is a psychological thriller with the plot taking a sharp turn in the latter half of the film. This is an excellent, must see, movie.

Kingsman: The Secret Service
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth, Sophie Cookson, Taron Egerton.
A spoof spy adventure based on the comic book series by Dave Gibbons and Mark Miller. Kingsman is an international covert spying agency and they recruit members from street wise misfits. A chavvy gang member Egysy (Egerton) is recruited by the ultra suave agent Harry Hart (Firth). To be accepted Egysy must become both refined and also pass a grueling 'boot camp' where he will learn how to be an agent. In the meantime the eccentric billionaire Valentine (Jackson) is planning to distribution free SIM cards, an act that will trigger the eradication of most of mankind. This is a very 'tongue in cheek' movie, in equal measures a violent action adventure and a comedy. There are outrageous gadgets and wonderful set pieces, with the movie being part James Bond and part every other spy movie you have ever seen. Irreverent and unmissable.

Selma
Director: Ava DuVernay
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson
A slice of American History. The film follows Martin Luthor King (Oyelowo) and the events that led up to the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery which preceded President Johnson's (Wilkinson) signing the voting Act of 1965 giving equal voting rights to Afro-American citizens. Not only does this film show the build up to the march, it also portrays something of the humour and character of Martin Luthor King and the strain that his work imposed on his marriage to Coretta (Ejogo) and on his friends. It covers much of the political backdrop to the civil rights movement and contains images of violence and racial slurs that were endured by the marchers in their quest for equal voting rights.

Seventh Son
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Jeff Bridges, Olivia Williams, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes
A fantasy movie set in the far past and based on the young adult fiction 'The Spook's Apprentice' by Joseph Delaney. Master Gregory (Bridges) is the last of the Falcon Knights and in the past he imprisoned an evil witch, Mother Malkin (Moore). She is now free and seeking to wreck an awful revenge on the earth. Gregory must train an apprentice Tom Ward (Barnes) who is the seventh son of a seventh son, in order that they can fight the dark magic. The movie has an A list cast with an impressive selection of fiends, monsters and epic battles. An extremely enjoyable caper marked with fine acting, but ultimately a rather forgettable movie.

Suite Francaise
Director: Saul Dibb
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts
Set in 1940 occupied France, this is a love story based on the unfinished 2004 novel by Irene Nemirovsky. French woman Lucille Angellier (Williams) waits for news of her husband who is a prisoner of war. A regiment of German soldiers arrive at their town and the soldiers are billeted in the French homes. In this way Lt. Bruno von Falk moves in with Lucille and over time the two fall in love. However the war ensures the course of the romance will not be smooth. This is a very competent production with excellent acting. It does not break any new ground and a more adventurous film may have made more of the material in Nemirovsky's novel. However as a sentimental romance the film works and is worth a trip to the cinema.

The Duke of Burgundy
Director: Peter Strickland
Certificate: 18
Cast Includes: Sidse Babett-Knudsen, Chiara D'Anna
Cynthia (Babett-Knudsen) is an expert in the field of butterflies (The Duke of Burgundy is the name of a butterfly) and she employs Evelyn (D'Anna) as her housekeeper. They live in a grand old house located in a forest and the film explores the relationship of the two women. Cynthia is a stern employer with something of a sadomasochistic streak. Evelyn seems at first to be submissive, but she also holds power in the relationship and increasing has an obsession with erotica. The movie is a little out of the ordinary. Erotica but with some depth. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Police hunt man after local dog walker attacked

Lancaster Police are trying to find a man who punched a dog walker in the face as he was walking his dogs up past Skerton Bridge and onto the grassed area behind Bridge House, Lancaster at around 6.00pm on Wednesday 11th March.

As the dog walker, who is in his 50s, walked toward a bin to dispose of his dog’s waste, a man approached him, shouting that the victim needed to pick up his dog waste.

He then brought out an orange-coloured mobile phone and asked the victim to smile whilst he took a photo of him - before punching him in the face.

The suspect, described as a white male with a shaven face in his mid 50’s, approximately 5’8” in height, medium build with a Northern accent, wearing a Black bobble hat, Black leather jacket and dark or black trousers, then walked off and urinated in nearby bushes.

The victim was left with a deep cut to his forehead that required stitches at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Police are appealing to the public and the to the individual directly for information.

Police Appeal After Morecambe Stabbing

Detectives are appealing for information after a man was stabbed in Morecambe.

The incident happened at around 12.00pm on Tuesday 17th March 2015, when a 29-year-old man was pursued along Clarendon Road in Morecambe. When he was at the junction of Devonshire Road, the man was assaulted and stabbed a number of times. 

He sustained stab wounds to his buttocks which required medical treatment and has since been discharged from hospital.

DC Tris Hardwick of Lancaster CID said: “I would urge anyone who may have witnessed what happened to contact us on 101.”

A 35-year-old man from Morecambe was arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting crime reference WB1502038.

Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.