Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Following the excess of new releases last week, this period is a desert
with no new films making it to our region. However there is some churn
with the following having vanished from the local screens: Exposed; Snoopy and Charlie Brown: the Peanuts Movie; The Danish Girl; The Finest Hours; Triple 9 and Zoolander 2. In addition the movies Daddy's Home; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and The Forest are approaching the end of their screening.
By way of contrast the films Home; Point Break and Spectre have made a return to the local cinemas.
Films soon to be released include Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice & Eddie the Eagle, both being released end of March and A Warriors Tale & Zootropolis being released early in April.
Drama is still well represented with A Bigger Splash; Deadpool; London has Fallen; Spotlight and Spectre In addition there is horror with The Forest; The Other Side of the Door and science fiction with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Divergent Series: Allegant.
Comedy comes with Dad's Army; Daddy's Home; Grimsby; Hail Caesar!; How to be Single and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
For family entertainment there is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Jungle Book and Kung Fu Panda 3.
There are no representatives in the category of high culture during
this period. However the popular Film Quiz returns to the Dukes on
Monday 14th March.
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.
London Has Fallen
Director: Babak Najafi
Cast includes: Aaron Eckhard, Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Charlotte Riley
The UK prime minister has died in mysterious circumstances. A state
funeral is held and the leaders of the western world attend. However
the event is exploited by terrorists, who have infiltrated the British
Secret Service, intent on killing the leaders and devastating London.
Working to thwart the plot is the US President Benjamin Asher (Eckhart),
a US agent Mike Banning (Butler) the American vice president Allan
Trumbull (Freeman) and a British MI6 agent Jacquelin Marshall (Riley).
The president gets stranded in the London streets and Banning has to
battle the terrorists to escort him to the US Embassy. This is a sequel
to the hit movie 'Olympus has Fallen' and it follows a similar format.
There are some very good set pieces in the film and footage of many of
the London landmarks coming under attack. For this reviewer it did't
quite have the magic of the original, but it is a competent and
entertaining film nevertheless.
Director: Sam Mendes
Cast includes: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Waltz, Andrew Scott
The latest James Bond Movie. M engages in a political battle to
keep the secret service in the light of a plan by Max Denbigh (Scott)
to replace the 00 program with computer surveillance. Bond meanwhile is
trying to locate a Franz Oberhauser (Waltz), the suspected head of the
evil organisation 'Spectre'. The movie starts in Mexico during the Day
of the dead celebrations and thence the action continues in London, Rome
and Morocco. There are numerous over the top action sequences, car
chases, a good assortment of scary villains and exotic love interest.
However amid the harshness, the movie contains a good level of humour.
Tension builds from the very start, though some of this starts to
dissipate as the film progresses. This is James Bond from the classic
mould and Daniel Craig delivers a great performance.
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.
Director: Jason Zada
Cast includes: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney
Sara Price (Dormer) learns that her identical twin sister Jess is
missing after heading into the Aokigahara Forest in Japan. The forest
is infamous for the number of suicides that occur there and rumoured to
be haunted by restless spirits. Sara heads to Japan where she teams up
with travel reporter Aiden (Kinney) and together they enter the forest.
Here they find a tent belonging to Jess and so stay the night. This is
when the hallucinations and the violence begins. Dormer gives a good
performance playing both of the sisters and the director has tried the
novel approach of building tension without too many shocks. This makes
for a frightening and entertaining film, thought the lack of real shocks
explains why it has received some rather poor reviews.
The Other Side of the Door
Director: Johannes Robert
Cast includes: Logan Creran, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Sofia Rosinsky
Maria (Collies) and Michael (Sisto) are in India when tragedy strikes
with the death of their son Olivier (Creran). Maria is distraught,
causing her housekeeper to reveal there is a way for her to say one
final goodbye to her dead son. This involves visiting an ancient temple
where, for one time only, she will be able to communicate with her son
through the closed temple door. Maria goes, but breaks a fundamental
rule, causing her to open the door between the worlds of the living and
the dead. This results in the family becoming the victim of a haunting.
The movie is filmed in India and incorporates some hindu mysticism.
The premise of the film is rather original, though the treatment of the
subsequent events does not break any new ground. A solid horror movie.
Wednesday, 9 March 2016
Monday, 7 March 2016
14 MPs - including Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris - have had their taxpayer-funded credit cards blocked after running up debts worth £27,000.
The news breaks just one month after David Morris called on the Labour leader of Lancaster City Council to resign after "mismanaging" the council's finances.
The Indpendent newspaper (among others) reports that a Freedom of Information Act request revealed the action was carried out by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which issues MPs with credit cards to pay for a variety of items such as travel, accommodation and stationery.
MPs are issued with credit cards which they can use for travel and other valid expenses. They are required to justify each item to Ipsa within a month, or they build up debts to the watchdog. The sums are recouped by suspending the cards and not paying out valid expenses claims, or in instalments from the MP's salary.
David Morris's card was suspended in December, when he owed £12,240.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Mr Morris says Ipsa had initially failed to process the transactions properly and later discovered an overspend in office costs of nearly £5,000.
The Morecambe MP said the expenses claimed for were all permissible claims and "were legitimate office costs incurred by carrying out my parliamentary duties to my constituents."
Unlike other credit card users, they are not charged interest even if they take months to clear a debt. The Independent newspaper reports that according to an Ipsa spokesman, that is because “technically, it is not a credit card: it’s a payment card”.
The Indpendent's report on the matter suggests the row is a sign that an MP’s word is no longer taken on trust as it was before 2008, when lax rules allowed a handful of MPs to engage in fraud, while numerous others put in highly questionable expenses claims, which blew up into a scandal when the details became public.
In February, the Lancaster Guardian reported Morecambe MP David Morris had called for the resignation of Lancaster City Council leader Eileen Blamire over proposed cuts to local services, after Coun Blamire said the Conservative MP “has his head in the sand” over “appalling” cuts to local government funding.
Mr Morris hit back saying the council was mismanaging its finances and “has no vision and no scope”.
"I want Lancaster City Council to be in a position by 2020 to manage its money, rather than the financial mismanagement I’m seeing," he said, after claims he was ignoring how the government's funding cuts were affecting the area.
David Morris: Full Statement on Ipsa
"The card was suspended during a process of dealing with IPSA’s chief executive to get to the bottom of card payments which had not been processed by IPSA which led to an historic office costs overspend.
"This overspend happened due to numerous admitted errors by IPSA with their system but under the scheme any budget overspends must be personally reimbursed by the Member from their own pocket.
"This issue has now been resolved and the amount agreed as owed is being paid back by myself from my own pocket.
"I must stress that these expenses claimed for were all permissible claims and were legitimate office costs incurred by carrying out my parliamentary duties to my constituents."
• David Morris Official web site: www.davidmorris.org.uk
• Find David Morris MP on Facebook here. He doesn't allow comments from people who might disagree with him. You can also follow him on Twitter
MPs Affected by Payment Card Suspension
• Angela Crawley (SNP) Card suspended: 25 Jan 2016 Amount owed when card suspended: £2,152.68 Amount owed as of 23 February: £2,152.68
• Angus MacNeil (SNP) 15 December 2015; £950.70; Repaid in full
• Angus Robertson (SNP) 15 December 2015; £1,165.26; Repaid in full
• Stewart Hosie (SNP) 15 December 2015; £3,446.95; Repaid in full
• Stuart Donaldson (SNP) 3 November 2015; £33.93; Repaid in full
• Natalie McGarry (Independent) 25 January 2016; £2,720.04; £2,370.30
• David Morris (Tory) 8 December 2015; £12,240.03; £4,919.37
• John Stevenson (Tory) 15 December 2015; £608.90;
• Repaid in full Hywel Williams (Plaid Cymru) 3 November 2015; £2,183.11; Repaid in full
• Ian Paisley (DUP) 3 November 2015; £27,766.63; £20,337.06
• Jon Cruddas (Labour) 15 December 2015; £2,967.25; £1,483.61
• Liam Byrne (Labour) 29 January 2016; £1,189.52; Repaid in full
• Owen Smith (Labour) 25 January 2016; £953.42; Repaid in full
• Simon Danczuk (Labour) 25 January 2016; £595.81; Repaid in full