Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 10th to 18th February 2016

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.

There are three new releases showing at local cinemas. There is superhero action with Deadpool (15), comedy romance in How to be Single (15) and the comedy horror Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (15). In addition the Reel is showing the family animation The Iron Giant (U), released in 1999 but new to our region.

The following movies are no longer being screened; Capture the Flag; Creed; The 5th Wave and The Big Short. In addition it is likely that Joy; Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie and The Danish Girl will soon be dropped.

Movies that have returned to the screens after a short absence include Brooklyn; Carol; Pan; Suffragette and The Lady in the Van.

There is a good selection of romantic films with Brooklyn; How to be Single and Carol. For adult drama there is the welcome return of The Lady in the Van and the excellent Revenant. In addition we have The Danish Girl and Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. Adult humour is also very well represented with Dad's Army; Dirty Grandpa; Joy; Ride Along 2 and Zoolander 2.

Science fiction adventure comes with Deadpool and the continuing saga of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In addition we have tongue in cheek horror with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

The only category not represented this week is high culture.

Reviews

Brooklyn
Director: John Crowley
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Glascott, Emory Cohen.
The movie is a period drama, based on the novel by Colm Toibin. Eilis Lacey (Ronan) grew up in Ireland, but her sister (Glascott) arranged for her to move to Brooklyn for a chance to find a better future. Initially homesick, Eilis finds lodgings, a job and subsequently romance in the form of Tony (Cohen) who she meets at a dance. However back home her sister Rose dies and her mother gets her to return to Ireland. Here Eilis must decide whether to continue with her life at home or to return to New York. The film has been well received and is marked by very strong acting. An excellent movie that will tug at the heartstrings.

Dad's Army
Director: Oliver Parker
Certificate: PG
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 more spectacular.

Daddy's Home
Director: Sean Anders
Certificate: 12A
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.

Deadpool
Director: Tim Miller
Certificate: 15
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.

Dirty Grandpa
Director: Dan Mazer
Certificate: 15
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 finest work.

Joy
Director: David O Russell
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Diana Ladd
A semi-fictional biographical comedy drama about a mop, or how Joy Mangaro (Lawrence) became a millionaire. Joy is a divorced mother with two children, living with her extended dysfunctional family who all depend upon her. In the early 1990s she invents and markets the Miracle Mop. This becomes a great success, selling on a TV shopping channel. Her grandmother Mimi (Ladd) is always supportive of her, and it is she who supplies the narration during the film. The movie has a strong cast and Lawrence provides an exceptionally strong performance. There are some laugh out loud moments during the movie though at times it seemed a little flat. A good, but not a great film.

Pan
Director: Joe Wright
Certificate: PG
Cast Includes: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Burke, Garrett Hedlund
A prequel to the story of Peter Pan. Perter (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.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Director: J J Abrams
Certificate: 12A
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 Danish Girl
Director: Tom Hooper
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Ben Whishaw
The film is based on a novel by David Ebershoff and inspired by the lives of Dutch artists Lili Elbe/Einar Wegener (Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Vikander). Set in the mid 1920's Gerda is a portrait painter, but a sitter is late for an appointment. Hence Gerda gets her husband Einar to stand in for the missing female sitter. This has consequences. Einar has been harbouring a disire to become a female and the finished portrait attracts favourable attention from art dealers. Einar decides to permanently convert to his alter ego Lili Elbe and becomes one of the first people to received a surgical sex realignment procedure to change from a man to a woman. The movie follows both the artists as they come to terms with the change from Einar to Lili. A serious movie, well acted and well received that highlights the issues of gender reassignment.

The Hateful Eight
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Certificate: 18
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
Certificate: 12A
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.

The Revenant
Director: Alejandro G Inarritu
Certificate: 15
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.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Bogus caller warning after senior citizens robbed in Carnforth and Slyne

Detectives are urging homeowners to be vigilant following several reports of bogus callers. who appear to be targeting senior citizens and stealing money.

Around 1.00pm on Monday 1st February, a man approached an address in Carnforth claiming he was owed money for work he carried out on the property’s chimney.

When the 63-year-old male homeowner asked what work had been done, the man followed him inside the property, taking £180. The offender then demanded more money, taking a further £70 from the victim’s wallet.

He left the property after being disturbed by a friend of the victim, driving away in a grey Peugeot car with another man.

The first man is described as white, of stocky build, with short black hair and spoke with an Irish accent. He was wearing a dark tweed-style jacket.

The driver of the car is believed to be in his 50s and was wearing glasses.

An earlier incident was reported to police on 25th January, after a 91-year-old man told officers a male had entered his property in Slyne to discuss building work. The offender claimed repairs needed carrying out on the roof of the property, taking £400 from the victim.

He is described as white, of broad build, wearing dark clothing and spoke with an Irish accent.

Detective Constable Kate Foley of Lancaster CID, said: “There have been a number of suspicious activity calls we want to warn the public about.

“The callers have visited addresses stating work needs doing on the chimney stack or roof and that they have already done work to a neighbour’s house.

“We have had crimes reported in Carnforth and Slyne, but I believe that there may be other possible victims that have not yet reported it.”

• Anyone with information about the Carnforth incident can contact police on 101 quoting crime reference WB1600915. If you have details about the second report, contact police on WB1600747.

If you have been affected by crimes of this nature in recent weeks, contact police on 101. Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Affordable Homes come under the spotlight at The Globe

If you're on the lookout for a more affordable home to rent this year, then an event taking place at The Globe Arena in Morecambe this week might be right up your street.

With new social housing developments springing up in Lancaster and Morecambe, there’s never been a better time to apply for a new place to live via the district’s housing register.

Lancaster City Council’s Housing Team is inviting anyone looking for an affordable home to come along to the Globe Arena on Christie Way, Westgate, Morecambe on Thursday (February 11) between 3.00pm and 8.00pm and find out about properties which you may be eligible to apply for via the council’s Ideal Choice Homes Scheme.

The scheme pulls together all available accommodation belonging to the council and other trustworthy registered housing providers under one roof and makes it easier for people to access properties which meet their needs.

In addition to representatives from the council’s housing team who can give you advice on how to register for properties via Ideal Choice Homes,  there will also be a number of social housing providers coming along who you can talk to you about the properties they currently have on offer and those in the process of being built.

Properties are available for people who do not currently own their own home and have had a local connection to the Lancaster district by either living or working in the Lancaster district for the previous three years or by having close family who have lived in the district for the previous five years.  Some of the new build properties will be prioritised for applicants in employment.

• For more information about this event or if you are unable to come and wish to find out more telephone (01524) 582005 or email Idealchoicehomes@lancaster.gov.uk