Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.
Three new releases make it to the local screens this period. There is the story behind NASA mathematicians in Hidden Figures (PG); hit man on the run in John Wicks: Chapter 2 (15) and oriental action in The Great Wall (12A).
The movies Doctor Strange; Moana; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage have vanished from our screens. Also the film Rings seems to be approaching the end of its screening. However we do see the return of the family drama with Manchester by the Sea and the science fiction Passengers.
There is a good selection of family animated movies on offer at the moment with Ballerina; The Lego Batman Movie; Sing and Trolls.
Space based drama comes with NASA mathematicians in Hidden Figures and space adventure in Passengers & The Space Between Us. For earthbound drama there is erotic romance with Fifty Shades Darker; the excellent Musical La La Land and the must see T2 Trainspotting. In addition there is the family story Lion and Manchester by the Sea.
Action moves include John Wick: Chapter 2 and The Great Wall. There is psychological drama in Split a western Hell or High Water and wartime action in Hacksaw Ridge.
Horror this period comes with just one entry, Rings.
High drama is represented by National Theatre Live: Saint Joan.
Fifty Shades Darker
Director: James Foley
Cast includes: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan
A sequel to the 2015 film 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. Anastasia (Johnson)
had broken off her relationship with Christian Grey (Dornan) intending
to pursue a career in a Seattle publishing house. However Christian
entices her back albeit on her terms of a 'vanilla' relationship.
However his desire for ownership rather than a relationship and rather
shady figures from his past threaten to destroy their future. A sex and
kink movie that rather lacks the novelty value of the original. Mildly
John Wick: Chapter 2
Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast includes: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamercio
The sequel to the 2014 movie. John Wick (Reeves) again comes out of
retirement to honour a blood oath and assist a former associate Santino
D'Antonio (Scamarcio) who is plotting to take control of an
international assassins' guild. As a consequence Wick finds himself
with a bounty 'on his head' and he must go on the run pursued by
assassins looking to kill him. The plot requires a large suspension of
disbelief but the movie provides dizzying action, non stop gun related
pandemonium and some flashes of wit and humour. The movie has been well
received. It offers plenty of entertainment, but little novelty.
La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast Includes: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
Mia (Stone) works as a barista during the day but aspires to be an
actress. She is involved in a road rage incident with Sebastian
(Gosling) a jazz pianist. The two subsequently meet again and start to
fall for each other as they try to satisfy their ambitions, she
attending auditions and he playing in dingy bars as he plans to open his
own jazz club. However the daily drudge of trying to live their dreams
starts to take its toll. This movie, set in modern day Los Angeles, is
brilliantly written and very well acted. Excellent musical
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.
Director: F Javier Gutierrez
Cast includes: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe Johnny Galecki, Vincent D'Onofrio
Julia (Lutz) becomes worried when her boyfriend Holt (Roe) starts to
explore the sub-cuture around a videotape which causes the death of
anyone who watches it. She watches it herself and discovers that her
version of the tape has additional footage which hints at the fate of
the antagonist Sadako Yamamura. Julie and Holt undertake a quest to
find Sadako's remains in the hope of lifting the curse. This is the
latest chapter in the Ring franchise and is a sequel to 'The Ring'
(2002) and 'The Ring Two' (2005). The movie tries to move the franchise
onto new ground but it has received poor reviews. It is of interest to
ardent Ring fans only.
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast includes: Ewen McGreger, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Anjela Nedyalkova
Mark Renton (McGregor) returns to Edinburgh after twenty years in
Amsterdam and finds his old associates are still much as he left them
only older. Spud Murphy (Bremner) continues to struggle with heroin
addiction. Simon 'Sick Boy' (Lee Miller) nurses old grievances and has
swapped a heroin addiction for cocaine. He plans to turn a run down pub
onto a bordello. Francis Begbie (Carlyle) is serving a prison
sentence, but he escapes. He still harbours a grievance against Renton.
The movie is part black comedy, part thriller and total melancholic
drama that draws on Welsh's 1993 novel and the 2002 sequel Porno. This
is an inventive and vibrant film that captures the spirit of the
original. Excellent viewing.