Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 28th September to 6th October 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 four new movies on offer during this period. There is Woody Allen's romantic comedy Cafe Society (12A); a drama based on the recent oil spillage in Deepwater Horizon (12A). In addition there is family fantasy in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (12A) and finally a suspense drama The Girl on the Train (12A). In addition we see the return, for one day only, of Star Trek Beyond.

Movies that have disappeared from the screens include Bad Moms; Ben-Hur; Ghostbusters; Jason Bourne and The Neighbour. In addition the following appear to be coming to an end of their screening: Kubo and the Two Strings; Lights Out; Pete's Dragon; Nine Lives; The BFG and War Dogs.

Family entertainment this period comes with the old favourites Finding Dory; Ice Age: Collision Course; Kubo and the Two Strings; Nine Lives; Pete's Dragon; The BFG and The Secret Lives of Pets. In addition we have the new additions of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the animation Porco Russo.

Drama this period comes with Bridget Jones's Baby; Deepwater Horizon; The Girl on the Train; The Magnificent Seven and War Dogs. In addition there is science fiction with the pioneering 1950's Forbidden Planet and the return of Star Trek Beyond. Finally horror comes with Blair Witch; Don't Breathe; Lights Out and zombie action in The Girl with all the Gifts.

For adult humour there is the animation Sausage Party.

Films featuring cult musicians come with The Beatles: Eight Days a Week and The Man who fell to Earth.

Finally, high culture this period comes with RSC: Live Cymbeline.

Reviews

Blair Witch
Director: Adam Wingard
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: James Alen McCure, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott
This is a sequel to the 1999 'Blair Witch' movie. James Donahue (McCure) thinks his sister Heather, who disappeared twenty years ago, may still be alive in the Black Hills Forest of Maryland. He, along with a group of friends and a couple of guides, enter the forest to explore the facts surrounding the Blair Witch and Heather's disappearance. As the night comes, all hell starts to breaks loose. The movie is in the 'found footage' genre and it comes with plenty of frights and some original twists, despite remaining faithful to the original film. A very competent horror movie though it doesn't quite capture the novelty of the original.

Bridget Jones's Baby
Director: Sharon Maguire
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Renee Zellweger, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey
After a break of twelve years, this is the third instalment of the romantic comedy franchise and author Helen Fielding co-wrote the script. Bridge Jones is now aged forty-three and still single, having broken up with Mark Darcy (Firth). She decided to concentrate on her career as a news producer. However she meets a handsome American Jack (Dempsey) and has consecutive one night stands with both Jack and Mark. She finds herself pregnant, but does not know which one is the father. This movie captures the spirit of the original and is an improvement on the previous 'Edge of Reason'. It is set in London with Jones in her old flat and the movie features strong acting both from Zellweger and from Thompson. There are some very funny moments and excellent one liners.

Finding Dory
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Hayden Rolence
Pixar's sequel to the 2003 movie 'Finding Nemo'. Dory (DeGeneres), who helped reunite Nemo (Rolence) with his father Marlin (Brooks) in the first movie, has a flashback in which she remembers her own family. She decides to look for them despite her problems with a faulty memory. Marlin and Nemo agree to help and the three swim to California to start the search. Dory is caught and held in a marine life institute aquarium for shipping to Cleveland. However with the help of Hank (O'Neill), the octopus she escapes back to the ocean and finds her parents Charlie and Jenny. Now she has to come to the aid of Marlin and Nemo who are also imprisoned in the institute aquarium. The movie is essentially the same plot as the original, but provides impressive animation and contains some emotional scenes. However this is ultimately a fun 'happy ever after' sort of film that will delight people of all ages.

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?

The Girl on the Train
Director: Tate Taylor
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, Justin Theroux
A movie based on Paula Hawkins best selling 2015 novel of the same name. Rachel (Blunt) is an alcoholic who recently divorced her husband Tom (Theroux). She commutes every day by train and on her journey she fantasises about the seemingly perfect couple Scott (Evans) and Megan (Bennett) Hipwell who live in a house that she passes. Rachel witnesses something shocking on her journey and then hears Megan Hipwell is missing. She tells the police and starts her own investigation. Yet she cannot remember where where she was on the night of Megan's disappearance, and Megan and Scott are neighbours of her ex husband. Hence Rachel find the police start to suspect she is involved in the mystery. This is a well acted first rate mystery with a plot that provides a good number of unexpected turns. A must-see movie.

The Girl with all the Gifts
Director: Colm McCarthy
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Gemma Arterton, Sennia Nanua, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close.
Set in the near future, most of humanity is infected by a fungal disease that robs its victims of free-will, turning then into flesh eating 'hungries'. A small group of children show some signs of resistance. When infected, they retain their free will and only crave flesh when they smell bodily fluids. These children are imprisoned in a military base where they are schooled by Helen Justineau (Arterton) and studied by Dr Caldwell (Close) who is trying to make a vaccine. The base is invaded. One of the brightest children Melanie (Nanua), along with a handful of adults must fight for survival and in the process Malanie starts to mature. This is an intelligent zombie movie, based on the novel by M. R. Carey. It benefits from a strong cast and some developments of the zombie genre. A good and entertaining horror film.

The Secret Life of Pets
Director: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Louis C.K., Ellie Kemper, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart
A family animation film that follows the lives of pets living in a Manhattan apartment building during the time their owners leave them alone. Max (Louis) is a rather spoilt terrier who starts to find himself neglected when his owner Katie (Kemper) brings home Duke (Stonestreet), a mongrel, from a dog pound. However the two dogs must put their rivalry behind them when they are captured by Snowball (Hart) a rabbit and an army of abandoned pets who are trying to get back at all happily owned pets and their owners. This is a delightful and energetic animation movie that is inoffensive and fun for all, young and old.

Could you be a Councillor and stand for what you believe in?

Lancashire County Council is asking people to consider if they could be a councillor ahead of next year's county elections - and had organised two events in Preston in October where anyone interested can fins out more about what's involved.

Lancashire County Council is holding local elections in May 2017 and new candidates are needed to represent their areas. There will be 84 seats available to cover the 12 Lancashire district areas.

"If you care about the area that you live or work in and the issues facing local people, we need you," says Jo Turton, Chief Executive of the Council.

"You don't need any special qualifications or experience to be a county councillor, skills gained through raising a family, volunteering or being active in faith or community groups can be just as valuable. The role is a privileged position which allows you to make a real difference to people's daily lives.

"Councillors have three main roles; to represent the people in their local area and listen to their views; to make decisions about how the Council is run, what services should be provided, and how money is spent; and to provide community leadership so that different organisations all work together to make their area a better place.

"If you think you could be a voice for your community and would like to be involved in shaping decisions which will affect local residents, we want to hear from you. We are inviting people who are interested in standing to come along to one of our information events in October and find out more."

Information events will be held on 10th and 25th October at County Hall, Preston, where you can come along, find out what's involved and how you could become a county councillor.

Both events start at 5.30pm and there will be presentations on a day in the life of a councillor, what support is available, and what you need to know about the election process. There will also be the opportunity to speak informally to council officers, District Electoral Officers and the Local Government Association

• Register your interest in attending an event or find out more by visiting www.beacouncillor.co.uk/lancashire 

Independent review confirms funding cuts will put Lancashire County Council in the red to meet legal provisions

Lancashire County Council has published an independent review of its finances which confirms that thanks to Tory government funding cuts, its long-term financial position is not sustainable, even if it makes significant further savings. 

Funding reductions, which aim to achieve £262 million in savings by 2020, have already meant swingeing reductions to many services, with bus service subsidies, library closures and other services run by the Council scaled back, to the dismay of users. 

The report, which will go to Cabinet tomorrow, on Thursday 6th October, is an independent review of the council's financial position, carried out by the professional services firm PwC and suggests that the Council will be operating in deficit by 2021 if funding issues are not addressed.

The review has looked specifically at the resources that the county council needs to deliver its statutory services. These services, which the council is required by law to deliver, include care for the elderly and vulnerable, safeguarding of children and young people, and highways maintenance. 

County councillor David Borrow, deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance, said: "We asked PwC to provide an independent review of our financial position to establish the level of resources we will need to provide those statutory services that we are obliged to deliver by law. 

"That independent review has now been completed and sets out in stark relief the scale of the challenge we face. The report has identified that the Council will need to make savings of £148m in 2020/21, even allowing for council tax increases of 3.99% every year for the next four years. 

"Significantly, the report forecasts that the council's reserves, which we are currently using to balance our budget, will run out in 2018/19. 

"The report also found that even if the council further reduced spending in every service to the level of lower quartile spending councils in England, something which no other council has achieved, it would still face an annual spending gap of £79m by 2020/21. 

"This independent confirmation that our finances, like those of many other councils, are clearly not sustainable will help us to make the case to Government that they need to rethink how they support councils." 

The report also identifies various contributing factors to the council's financial position, such as the council's relatively low income from council tax, which reflects the types of housing and relatively low levels of prosperity in the county. Lancashire has the third lowest council tax income of any county council in the country, per head of population. 

Local Tory MPs have long argued Lancashire County Council's reserves should be tapped for service funding. 

• The report was published as part of the papers for the Executive Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday 4 October and you can read it here