Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Things are fairly static in the run up to Christmas, with only two new releases. There is musical animation Ballerina (U) and science fiction adventure/romance Passengers (12A).
Movies that have vanished from the region include the two animations Ice Age:Collision Course and The Secret Life of Pets. Also the films A United Kingdom; Allied and Bad Santa 2 are coming to an end of their screening. However we do see the return, for one day only, of I, Daniel Blake with its view of life on benefits.
There are three science fiction movies on offer this period. Aliens visit the earth in Arrival; the rebel alliance continues to harass the Empire in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and love is found amidst adversity on a starship in Passengers.
Romance can also be found in the second world war in Allied whereas A United Kingdom tells a story of forbidden Love.
Other drama comes with an aviation crisis in Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; racial tension with In the Heat of the Night and terrorism in Die Hard.
The movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them offers Fantasy from J K Rowling. Family entertainment also comes with the animation films Ballerina; Moana; Storks and Trolls.
Festive comedy for all comes with The Muppet Christmas Carol whereas adult comedy is provided by Bad Santa 2 and Office Christmas Party.
High Culture this period is represented by the Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker and National Theatre Live: No Man's Land.
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.
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.
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.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt
The rocket 'Starship Avalon' is on a 120 year voyage from earth to the
colony planet Homestead II, transporting over 5000 people who are
travelling in hibernation pods is a state of suspended animation.
However two of the pods open prematurely releasing their occupants while
they are still 90 years from their destination. These are journalist
Aurora Dunn (Lawrence) and mechanical engineer Jim Preston (Pratt). They
are drawn to each other and romance blossoms. However they need to
understand the apparent malfunction that released them early from their
hibernation and decide how to respond to their plight. They discover
that the pods are not the only problem and the spaceship and its entire
cargo is in jeopardy. This is a science fiction movie with a good
helpings of romance, suspense and action. An entertaining movie.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast includes: Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Felicity Jones
This movie is set just before the events of the original Star Wars.
There are rumours circulating that the Galactic Empire are about to
construct a horrendous new weapon, a 'Death Star' designed by Galen Erso
(Mikkelson) A small team of rebels led by his daughter Jyn Erso
(Jones) and Cassian Ander (Luna) strive to find the designer and steal
the design schematics. The movie hosts new and familiar aliens who
strive to 'use the force' and it comes with breathtaking special
effects. This is more gritty that the familiar star wars offering, more
of a war move with a higher body count and more muddied ethics. The
movie has been well received and will delight audiences. It breaks new
ground from the classic Star Wars, but only just.
Director: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Cast Includes: Kelsey Grammer, Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Anton Starkman
Conerstone used to be in the business of delivering babies and
most of its employees are stalks. However CEO stalk Hunter (Grammer)
discontinued the service for the more lucrative business of delivering
parcels. The business receives a letter from Nate (Starkman) a
neglected boy who wants a baby brother and Tulip (Crown), a woman
working for Cornerstone, causes the baby machine to create a girl in
response to the letter. Now Tulip and her stork friend Junior (Samberg)
must deliver the baby before Hunter finds out. This involves their
facing a pack of wolves, militant penguins and an avalanche. This is a
bizarre, non stop and fun packed movie that will appeal to all ages. It
has been well received by the critics and is sure to please.