Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 2nd to 10th March 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 a great period for new releases as we have nine fresh films making their way to local cinemas. There is drama with A Bigger Splash (15) and Trumble (15); mystery with Exposed (15); and action represented by London Has Fallen (15) and The Divergent Series: Allegiant. Comedy comes with Hail Caesar! (12A); family animation with Kung Fu Panda 3 (PG); a musical documentary with Janis: Little Girl Blues (15) and horror in The Other Side of the Door (15).

This period sees the disappearance of Creed; Dirty Grandpa; The Hateful Eight and The Revenant. However Carol has made a return, along with the family animation Jungle Shuffle.

Adult comedy continues to be well represented with Dad's Army; Daddy's Home, the spy spoof Grimsby; the romance How to be Single and Zoolander 2. For family entertainment there is Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie; Kiki's Delivery Services and the excellent Kung Fu Panda 3.

Drama comes with Exposed; London has Fallen; Spotlight; The Finest Hours and Triple 9.

There are two documentaries during the period. The life of Janice Joplin in Janis: Little Girl Blues and a selection of archive footage of Suffragettes in Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film.

We have three horror films at the moment with The Forest; The Other Side of the Door and the family oriented Goosebumps. In addition Pride and Prejudice and Zombies serves up horror with a good slice of humour. Science fiction is represented by Deadpool; Star Wars: the Force Awakens and The Divergent Series: Allegiant.


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.

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.

London Has Fallen
Director: Babak Najafi
Certificate: 15
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.

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 Geida is a portrait painter, but a sitter is late for an appointment. Hence Geida gets her husband Einar to stand in for the missing female sitter. This has consequences. Einar has been harbouring a drive to become a female and the finished portrait attracts favourable attention from art dealers. Einar decides to become 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 Forest
Director: Jason Zada
Certificate: 15
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
Certificate: 15
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.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Police appeal for help to identify body found in Lancaster last year

Police are appealing for help to identify the body of a man that was found in Lancaster in August last year - and have issued a likeness of the man.

The body was discovered by a farmer at around 11.40am on Monday 10th August on the salt marshes on the Lune estuary near to Glasson Dock.

Despite extensive enquiries since the discovery, officers have so far been unable to identify the body or locate any next of kin.

The man is described as white, approximately 5ft 7in tall, aged between 30 to 70 years with brown collar length hair. He was wearing a blue “highpoint” waterproof hooded jacket, a black jacket with a “northern profile security services” motif on the left chest area, a red and green/blue woollen jumper, a multi-coloured checked shirt, black boots and a burgundy beanie hat with an “Adidas” motif on the front.

There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the man’s death and the Coroner has been informed.

DS Simon Ball from Lancaster CID said: “While we do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances to this man’s death, he has not yet been formally identified and we are appealing to the public for their help. If anyone recognises the man’s description or has any information about who he might be I would urge them to get in touch with us.

"We are keen to identify who this man is so that we can track down any family members and inform them of his death.”

• The man’s details, including the artist’s impression and photographs of his clothing, have been published on the UK Missing Persons Bureau website. They can be found here:

• Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting LC-20150810-0467

Mapping Resistance: Lancaster Groups Working to Confront Government Austerity

Community group Transition City Lancaster are working on a mapping project that tries to put all the various groups that make the Lancaster area supportive and more resilient against all the changes that are happening under the government's austerity measures and the accumulating crises. This Mapping Project is one of the projects that will be discussed at the group's next meeting at the Friends Meeting House on Wednesday 2nd March (7.00pm).

They've already created an online map of community activities that they are adding data to that show all the amazing community activites that build local resilience.

"We want this resource to be as comprehensive and freely available as possible," says one of the project team members, Steve Jenkins. "We expect to repeat this process at future meetings."
If you can't make this meeting, Transition City still want to know about your project. Please send them a brief descrition of your activities, where you are based, how people can contact you (website/ email/ phone/vname), what your main focus is,whatever you feel you want to share to

• More info:

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Lancaster Tennis Club announces April Open Day

Lancaster Tennis Club on Lune Road is launching its new tennis season with an Open Day on Saturday 16th April (2.00 - 4.00pm) for anyone interested in trying out tennis and maybe becoming the next Andy Murray!

This is for both adults and juniors, from aged five upwards, and is free of charge. It's a  great chance to try out the Club’s wonderful refurbished astro turf courts, funded by Sport England.

No prior registration is needed – just turn up – and the club can provide balls and racquets.

The Club has wheelchair facilities and is now offering coaching sessions especially for wheelchair players - special wheelchairs have been obtained, funded through the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust.
Before this, on Friday March 25th, there will be the Club’s usual popular adult round robin Good Friday tournament.  This is a great opportunity for existing and new adult players to dust off their racquets and play good tennis in a very social environment.

This year the tournament will start at 10.30am. No prior registration is required and only a modest fee of £5 is charged, which includes a BBQ item. Any queries about the tournament should be made to Paddy Maher on tel: 07764 251430.

There will prizes for the winners, refreshments available and a raffle.  Just turn up on the day to play and enjoy.

• Any queries about these events can be made to Susan Lucas on tel: 07771 734920 or email:  and check out