Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Four new releases make it to local screens this period. There is adult comedy with Office Christmas Party (15), family animation in Moana (PG); fact based drama with Scully: Miracle on the Hudson (12A) and period drama in The Innocents (15).
Movies that have been dropped include Deepwater Horizon; Storks; The BFG; The Light Between Oceans and The Girl on the Train. In addition it looks like A Street Cat Named Bob is coming to the end of its screening. However by way of compensation, we see the return of Ice Age: Collision Course; Kubo and the Two Strings and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Drama this period comes with the forbidden romance A United Kingdom; wartime romance Allied; mystery in Nocturnal Animals; aviation near disaster with Scully: Miracle on the Hudson and the disturbing period piece The innocents. In addition there is science fiction with Arrival, super-helo action in Doctor Strange and family adventure in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them & Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Comedy on offer includes A Street Cat Named Bob; Bad Santa 2 and Office Christmas Party.
This period provides a good selection of family animation movies with ice Age: Collision Course; Kubo and the Two Strings; Moana; and Trolls.
Two films of note are Andrew Stones 1943 musical Stormy Weather and archive footage in Britain on Film: Railways.
High culture this period comes with the opera Teatro Alla Scala Live: Madame Butterfly. In addition the Dukes is providing the chance to see Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 classic The Passion of Joan of Arc. This is being screened at Lancaster Priory and comes with an original live score.
A Street Cat Named Bob
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Cast includes: Luke Treadaway, Joanne Froggatt
Based on the best selling book of the same name, the movie tells the
story of James Bowen (Treadaway) who is homeless and a recovering drug
addict. He is relocated to a bedsit in North London and given a final
chance to tun his life around by his support worker Val (Froggatt).
Bowen struggles to live by busking in Covent Garden. One day a ginger
cat finds him. The cat has an infected paw and James takes it for
treatment. From then on the pair are inseparable. The movie is
streetwise and serious but also manages to be humorous and silly.
Treadaway gives a good performance, but the cat steals the show. An
enjoyable if slightly soppy family feel-good film.
A United Kingdom
Director: Amma Asante
Cast includes: David Oyelowo Rosamund Pike
Based on the book 'Colour Bar' by Susan Williams, the film is a
romantic drama based on the real life romance between Sir Seretse Khama,
king of Botswana and Ruth Williams. Seretse and Ruth met in London, in
the 1940's, fell in love and subsequently married. However the marriage
was opposed by their families, the couple becoming ostracised by their
friends. Governments were also involved as South Africa had recently
introduced their system of apartheid and they pressured the British
government with threats of economic sanctions if the marriage was
allowed to go ahead. This is a fine period romance with excellent
costumes, impressive cinematography and exotic backdrops. The film
concentrates on the human drama faced by the couple and rather glosses
over the political complexities, but it is not the worse for that. The
movie has received good reviews.
Bad Santa 2
Director: Mark Waters
Cast Includes: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Kathy Bates, Brett Kelly
A sequel to the 2003 movie 'Bad Santa', starring many of the original
cast. Wilie Soke (Thornton) again plays the role of drunk, lecherous and
greedy anit-hero. He teams up with his helper Marcus (Cox) to attempt
to rob a Chicago charity of $2 million on Christmas eve. Also involved
in the scheme is Soke's foul mouthed mother Sunny (Bates) and 'the kid'
from the first movie Thurmon Merman (Brett Kelly) now fully grown but
no less innocent. The movie contains much bad language and sex scenes
as it tries to recapture the magic of the original. However there are
fewer 'laugh out loud' moments amongst the rather muddled plot. An
average movie which received mixed reviews.
Director: Scott Derrickson
Cast includes: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mads Kikkelsen
Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) was a surgeon whose career was ruined by a
car accident which crushed his hands. He learned of an Ancient One
(Swinton) with healing powers and so travels to Nepal to seek out the
mystic. Here Strange learns of the different dimensions, magic and
becomes a warrior on the astral plane. Meanwhile a former disciple of
the Ancient One Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) has turned to the dark side and is
intent on invoking the malevolent Dormammu from his alien abode.
Strange much choose between a life of fortune or to defend the earth
from magical attack. Doctor Strange has made a very successful
transition from comic to the screen and the movie provides a good plot
with excellent acting and dialogue. Special effects are very convincing
and the film is one of the better Marvel super-hero movies.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Cast includes: Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell
This is a Harry Potter prequel, inspired by J K Rowling's book of the
same name. The movie is set in the 1920's, where Newt Scamander is a
magizoologist, collecting and studying magical creatures. He visits New
Your City where several of these creatures escape from his suitcase.
He collects about him a group of allies to try to recapture the beasts.
However New York at this time has been under a reign of terror from the
dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) and in the era of suspicion the
creatures are believed to be responsible for an attack. Hence Percival
Graves (Farrell), a director of magical secrets, declares war on
Scamander and his helpers. This is a wonderful film and a fine tribute
to the creativity of Rawlings. There are lots of plots, strange people
and weird and wonderful beasts. The movie has received favourable
reviews, but is perhaps a little darker than the Harry Potter series.
Ice Age: Collision Course
Director: Mike Thurmeier and Galen T Chu
Cast includes: Simon Pegg, Roy Romano, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Hohn Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Chris Wedge
A computer animation family adventure film. This is the fifth
instalment in the Ice Age series and the sequel to Continental Drift.
Scratt (Wedge), the sabre toothed squirrel, activates an alien UFO in
his continued pursuit of the acorn. The craft propels Scratt into outer
space and thence causes a planetary collision resulting in the creation
of meteors that threaten to engulf the earth. Manny (Romero) the Wooly
Mammoth, Sid (Leguizamo) the sloth and Diego (Leary) the sabre toothed
tiger hatch a plan with the weasel Buck (Pegg) to save the earth. The
plot is quite unbelievable, but the resulting mayhem is as entertaining
as ever. New characters are introduced as the movie unfolds and the
film a worthy addition to the franchise. Whats not to like?
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Director: Tim Burton
Cast includes: Samuel L Jackson, Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench
A rather dark fantasy drama based on the 2011 best selling novel
by Ransom Riggs. Jake (Butterfield), following the death of his
grandfather, finds Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. This is a
refuge for people with extraordinary gifts and it is fixed in one day
in 1940, which they continually re-live. The inhabitants of the home
can access different time zones. However they have powerful enemies,
led by Mr Barron (Jackson), who also have peculiar powers. Jake finds
himself being called upon to help his new friends. This is a very busy
film with plenty of characters, lots of action and CGI special effects.
However, in this variety, there seems limited time for the characters to
fully develop. The movie has received mixed reviews but this reviewer
found it great fun.
Director: Ron Clements and John Musker
Cast includes: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson
A Walt Disney animated fantasy adventure. Moana (Cravalho) is the
teenage daughter of the chief of a Polynesian island. However the fish
and island produce become less abundant and hence Moana undertakes a
nautical quest to find the magical amulet Te Fiti's heart and the
demigod Maui (Johnson). The quest involves monsters and battles This
is a magical film, with music, comedy and a good dose of adventure. It
is extremely well produced and has received excellent reviews from both
critics and audience. A must see movie for all ages.