Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 25th May to 2nd June 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.

This is an excellent period for new movies with eight new releases making it to the local screens. There is family adventure in Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG); Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (12A) and the cartoon Top Cat Begins (U). Drama comes with Demolition (15); Money Transfer (15) and the crime thriller The Trust (15). Finally there is the musical biopic of Miles Davis with Miles Ahead (15) and a finance documentary in The Divide (12A).

Movies that have disappeared this period include Norm of the North; Robinson Crusoe and Thomas and Friends: The Great Race In addition it looks like the films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Eye in the Sky and Florence Foster Jenkins are coming to an end of their screening. However by way of compensation there is the return of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Deadpool and Kung Fu Panda 3.

Movies coming to our region in the near future include Independence Day: Resurgence at the end of June and The BFG at the end of July.

Drama is very well represented at the moment with A Hologram for the King; Demolition; Eye in the Sky; High Rise; Money Monster and The Trust. In addition, the latter part of this period sees fantasy action with Warcraft: The Beginning. Finally super hero moves continue to be well represented with Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice; Captain America: Civil War; the return of Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse.

Comedy comes with Bad Neighbour 2; Florence Foster Jenkins and the excellent fantasy film The Brand New Testament.

For Family entertainment, there is Alice Through the Looking Glass; ; The Angry Birds Movie; The Jungle Book; Top Cat Begins and the return of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip and Kung Fu Panda 3.

There is a single representative for high culture with Henry V on 27th May.


A Hologram for the King
Director: Tom Tykwer
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Tom Hanks, Alexander Black, Sanita Choudhury
Based on the best selling 2012 novel by Dave Egger, Alan Clay (Hanks) is an American Businessman whose life is falling apart following the recession. He is trying to make a comeback, leading a team to sell a new holographic telepresence system to the King of Saudi Arabia. However he is out of his depth with no knowledge of the local customs and facing a bureaucracy worthy of Kafka. Attempts to see the king repeatedly fail and he and his team just wait in a venue with failed communications and air conditioning. The only hope seems to be his taxi driver Yousef (Black). This is something of a convoluted story which is both funny and terribly sad. However Hanks gives a great performance and the whole provides a very entertaining movie.

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Director: James Bobin
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Johnny Depp, Alice Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska
Alice (Wasikowska) has spent three years travelling and has now returned to London to contemplate her future. She uses a mirror to return to Wonderland but find things are not well, and the Hatter is more mad than ever. To aid him she must go back in time and face the Jabberwocky. This is Disney's sequel to the 2010 production of 'Alice in Wonderland' and all the major characters from the original movie make an appearance. The film is a visual feast, a lavish performance with a star studded cast. However for this reviewer the whole seemed more gloss than substance. It does not quite live up to the magic of the original.

Bad Neighbours 2
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Zac Efron
A sequel to the 2014 Bad Neighbours. Mac Radner (Rogen) and his wife Kelly (Byrne) are expecting their second child. They are in the process of selling their old house when a newly established female sorority, Kappa Kappa Nu led by Shelby (Moretz), moves into the house nextdoor. Excessive partying on the part of the sorority makes life a nightmare for the Radner's and will jeopardise the sale of their house. Their requests for the girls to keep the partying quiet lead to an all out war. Teddy (Efron) from the previous film has not coped well outside of college and he is enlisted by the Radner's to be their ally in the battle with the sorority. This movie is little more than a re-run of the first Bad Neighbours, but the film still has more than its share of very funny moments. Good entertainment.

Director: Tim Miller
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Ryan Reynolds, T L Miller, Morena Baccarin
Another Marvel comic superhero 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 superpowers 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 superhero 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.

Eye in the Sky
Director: Gavin Hood
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman
Colonel Katherine Powell (Mirren) is tasked with capturing a terrorist who is attending a meeting in Kenya. The meeting room is bugged and a drone used to provide surveillance. Powell discovers the terrorists are actually planning suicide bombing attacks and so she seeks authority to call in a missile attack on the building. However there is a chance any attack will result in civilian casualties. The movie is a gripping and well received drama that explores some of the moral issues of drone warfare.

Florence Foster Jenkins
Director: Stephen Frears
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant
A period drama based on the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep). Jenkins is a rich heiress with ambitions to be a singer despite a terrible singing voice. Her husband St Clair Bayfield (Grant), despite being something of a cad, arranges for her to sing in a concert, having carefully selected the audience to ensure her efforts will be well received. This is the second recent movie based on the life of Jenkins and it provides a more light hearted approach to the 2015 film Marguerite. The movie is has been well received and provides a good share of laughs, though, for this reviewer, it was something of a one joke film.

The Jungle Book
Director: Jon Favreau
Certificate: PG Cast includes: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba
Based on Rudyard Kipling's works, this is a reworking of a the well known classic using live action and CGI. Mowgli (Sethi) is an orphaned boy raised by a wolf and thence by Bagheera (Kingsley) a black panther. Mowgli alienates the Bengal tiger Shere Khan (Elba) and so must make his way to humankind for safety, meeting the well known characters Baloo and Kaa on the way. Subsequently he returns to the jungle to face Shere Khan. The movie is a good example a remake that improves on the original. An excellent movie that will entertain all ages.

The Trust
Director: Alex and Benjamin Brewar
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Nicholas Cage Elijah Wood
David Waters (Wood) and Jim Stone (Cage) are two bored and corrupt officers working the the Evidence Unit of the Vegas police department. Stone comes to hear of a large amount of money in the possession of a drug dealer and held in a large safe. The two police officers investigate, and decide to steal the money off the crooks and take it for their own. However as the robbery progresses they start to fall out among themselves. This movie is a dark comedy. It very effectively builds up the tension despite something of a thin plot. Both Cage and Wood put in excellent performances with the former providing very memorable one liners. However the film does not have the feel of greatness about it.

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