Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Seven new releases make it to our local screens during this period. There is comedy with the spy spoof Grimsby (15); romance in How to be Single (15) and an ageing friendship in Youth (15). We have action/drama with the martial arts movie The Assassin (12A) and police corruption in Triple 9 (15). Finally there is maritime action in The Finest Hours (12A) and a fact based drama Spotlight (15).
The movies Joy and The Danish Girl have vanished from our screens and it is likely that we will soon loose Point Break; Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie and The Hateful Eight. We do however see the return of boxing action with Creed.
Family entertainment is represented with the animated movies Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Jungle Shuffle and Snoopy & Charlie Brown: the Peanuts Movie. In addition we have horror/fantasy with Goosebumps.
Adult comedy comes with Dad's Army; Grimsby; How to be Single; Ride Along 2 and Zoolander 2. Action and drama is also well represented with the super-hero Deadpool; police drama in Triple 9; science fiction with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the excellent survivalist film The Revenant.
High culture this period comes with NT Live: As You Like It.
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast includes: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tony Bellew
Adonis "Donnie" Jackson (Jordan) is the son of former heavyweight
boxing champion Apollo Creed. He is determined to become a fighter and
looks up his fathers old friend Rocky Balboa (Stallone), who agrees to
become his trainer despite problems of his own. Jackson gets a chance
to prove his worth by fighting the world light heavyweight champion
"Pretty" Ricky Conlan (Bellew). The movie closely mirrors the original
Rocky with fighting underdog making good. However this is very much a
film in its own right with Stallone and Jordan giving excellent
performances, making for great entertainment.
Director: Oliver Parker
Cast includes: Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Toby Jones, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Blake Harrison
After some fifty years, the famous Dads army TV sitcom makes it to the
big screen. It is 1944 and the end of the second world war is in sight.
Morale in the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard is low until Rose Winters
(Zeta-Jones) a glamorous journalist, arrives to report on the exploits
of Mainwaring (Jones) and his platoon. In addition evidence is
uncovered of a local German spy who must be caught. The movie makes
references to the original series and surviving members make a couple of
cameo appearances. This is a very amiable movie, quietly amusing
rather than riotously funny. One is left with the impression that a
star studded cast should have been capable of making something a little
Director: Sean Anders
Cast Includes: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini
A comedy. Conservative radio executive Brad (Ferrell) marries Sarah
(Cardellini) and tries to be a good step dad to her two children.
However his wife's charismatic and musclebound former husband Dusty
(Wahlberg) comes for an extended visit. Brad finds he must now compete
with their real father for the affection of his step children. There is
a real on-screen chemistry between Ferrell and Wahlberg as they vie
with each other and this provides plenty of opportunity for gags and
comedy set pieces. However some of the gags are rather predictable
leaving a film that is genuinely funny but seldom hilarious.
Director: Tim Miller
Cast includes: Ryan Reynolds, T L Miller, Morena Baccarin
Another Marvel comic super-hero makes the big screen. Wade Wilson
(Reynolds), a mercenary, is diagnosed with cancer. He agrees to take
part in an experimental cure and this gives him super powers but leaves
him disfigured. He escapes from the laboratory but feels he can no
longer return to his girlfriend and his previous life. Taking advice
from his best friend Weasel (Miller), he decides to become a masked
vigilante and subsequently is invited to join the X-Men. He finds that
his girlfriend Vanessa (Baccarin) has been kidnapped and so seeks her
safety and his revenge. Made on a low budget, this is an enjoyable
movie. It makes fun of the super-hero movie genre and does not take
itself very seriously. Full of wise cracks, one liners and excessive
violence this is still a very entertaining film.
Director: Dan Mazer
Cast includes: Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Dermot Mulroney, Aubrey Plaza
Dick Kelly (De Niro) is a foul mouthed old man who has recently
lost his wife to cancer. He coaxes his grandson Jason (Efron) into
driving him to Florida on the pretext of seeing an old army buddy.
However, once there Dick follows his ambition of getting drunk, getting
high and bedding a younger woman Lenore (Plaza). This is a bawdy
comedy, with an unrelenting stream of bad language and tasteless jokes,
few of which are funny. It has received poor reviews. Not De Niro's
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 Hateful Eight
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast Includes: Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins
A mystery western set in Wyoming some years after the American civil
war, and told in six chapters. A stagecoach bound for Red Rock picks up
a number of passengers. These include John Ruth (Russell), bounty
hunter, Daisy Domergue (Leigh) a criminal, Major Marquis Warren
(Jackson) another bounty hunter and Chris Mannix (Groggins) the
prospective sheriff of Red Rock. Due to a blizzard, the stage coach is
forced to make a stopover at Minnie's Haberdashery and here the
travellers meet a local hangman, a loner, a Mexican and a Confederate
General. These eight must spend the night together. However, one of
them is plotting evil and the night descends into violence and death.
This is an excellent movie, stylish, well acted and with excellent
dialogue. Tarantino slowly builds up tension and suspense during the
first half of the movie, leading to a final climactic resolution.
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: Alejandro G Inarritu
Cast includes: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy
Set in Montana and South Dakota in the year 1823 and based on the book
by Michael Punke, this is a tale of revenge. A party trapping for pelts
in the American wilderness come under attack by native Americans of the
Arikara nation. With most of the hunting party slain, the remainder
escape. However one of their number, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is attacked
and nearly killed by a bear. The remainder of the hunters split up.
The larger group go back to their barracks whereas a couple of men
including John Fitzgerald (Hardy) stay to look after Glass. However
Fitzgerald tries to kill Glass and then abandons him to the wilderness.
Against the odds Glass survives and is intent on revenge. The scenery
in the movie is breathtaking and the action shots are stunning. The
bulk of the film shows the tribulations of Glass as, wounded, he tries
to return to safety after his abandonment. An emotional, well acted and
very convincing movie.