Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 6th to 14th July 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 films making their debut during this period. We have comedy with Life Skills (15) and with a revised Ghostbusters (12A). There is conjuring mischief with Now You See Me 2 (12A) and finally action/adventure in The Legend of Tarzan (12A).

Movies due to appear later this month include Batman: The Killing Joke; Jason Bourne; Star Trek: Beyond and The BFG.

Films that have been withdrawn this period include Gods of Egypt and The Angry Birds Movie. However, we see the return of the drama A Hologram for the King, the comedy Bad Neighbours 2 and the family adventure The Jungle Book.

This is an excellent period for comedies with Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; Adult Life Skills; Bad Neighbours 2; Central Intelligence; Florence Foster Jenkins; Ghostbusters; Ice Age: Collision Course and The Secret Life of Pets all on offer.

Action/drama is represented by Now You See Me 2; The Daughter and The Legend of Tarzan. Also there is the romantic drama Me Before You.

Science fiction action come with Independence Day: Resurgence and in the category of horror there is Green Room and The Conjuring 2.

High culture comes with Glyndebourne: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg and Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company: Romeo & Juliet.

Finally the Dukes are holding another Film Quiz on the 12th July.


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.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Jennifer Saunders Joanna Lumley, Julis Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks
It was 1992 when Absolutely Fabulous first appeared on the TV and twenty four years later Patsie and Eddy finally make it to the big screen. The couple are blamed for a major incident involving Kate Moss at a fashionable launch party. To escape the paparazzi and poor publicity, they flee, penniless, to the French Riviera, where they concoct a plan to regain their fortune. The film retains the cast of the TV series and a number of major celebrities also make cameo appearances. This is a hilarious film, that maintains the character of the original TV series. Excellent entertainment.

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 done 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.

Central Intelligence
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Dwayne Johnson, Kelvin Hart
Robbie Wierdicht (Johnson) was bullied at high school. On leaving, he changed his name to Bob Stone, developed an impressive physique and became a CIA operative. Calvin Joyner (Hart) was his friend at high school and had a career in accounting. At the time of their high school reunion, Bob starts to work with Calvin to stop the illegal sale of satellite codes by a mystery agent Black Badger. Calvin however is approached by the CIA and told that Bob is actually delusional. Yet Calvin continues to help his friend and the two of them face fights, gun battles and car crashes to track Black Badger. The movie is a fast paced buddy action comedy. Johnson and Hart work well together and the fast talking dialogue from Hart goes a long way to carrying the film. Expect some slapstick and a great deal of humour.

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 than 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.

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?

Independence Day: Resurgence
Director: Roland Emmerich
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Golgblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner, Judd Hirsch
In the 1996 film 'Independence Day' the earth underwent alien invasion but this was finally repulsed and the attackers were defeated. In the aftermath, earth spent time understanding the alien technology and developing a global defence program with military based on the Moon, Mars and a moon of Saturn. Now twenty years later, the aliens return, with a larger and much more powerful battle fleet. Again earth must fight for its independence. This is a fast moving film with everything bigger and better than the original, thought the plot is a little lighter. Some of the old characters return to provide continuity though Will Smith is absent. A fun, action packed, visually impressive and entertaining movie.

The Conjuring 2
Director: James Wan
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O' Connor, Madison Wolfe
A sequel to the 2013 film 'The Conjuring'. Lorraine (Farmiga) and Ed (Wilson) Warren are psychic investigators. The hear of a haunting and travel to the UK to help Peggy Hodgson (O'Connor), a single mother of four, who is plagued by poltergeist activity in her London council house. However things get worse when Peggy's youngest daughter Janet (Wolfe) shows signs of daemon possession. The psychic investigators come to find themselves in peril. A superior horror movie which provides plenty of frights and has been well received.

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 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.

Zootropolis (Zootopia)
Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman
This is a comedy animation set in the city of Zootropolis which is populated by animals. Judy Hopps (Goodwin) is a rabbit rookie police officer. She parters with a con-artist fox Nick Wilde (Bateman) to solve the mystery of a missing husband. An excellently made fun movie that will appeal to a wide range of ages.

The Hobbit, Dukes latest "Play in the Park" opens, tickets selling fast

A goblin makes its appearance in The Dukes 2016 production of The Hobbit

Here's some pictures from The Hobbit, this year's play in the park from The Dukes, which opened last night.

Tickets for the first three Saturdays have already sold out.

A cosy hobbit-hole in Bag End, The Shire, where nothing ever happens. Nothing, that is, until a little Hobbit’s world is turned upside down by 13 dwarves, a wizard and a momentous decision: to reclaim the powerful Arkenstone, jealously guarded by the fearsome dragon Smaug.

Tolkien's fantastical adventure takes Bilbo, the dwarves and Gandalf to the far ends of Middle Earth. Join them on their journey as the woods and pathways of Lancaster’s Williamson Park become enchanted forests and misty mountains, filled with strange and wonderful creatures; wood-elves, magic spiders, goblins and the subterranean Gollum, desperately searching for the lost Ring.

The Hobbit - a loving, faithful adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic for all ages 5+ - promises a charming, epic journey from a little house to a big world full of songs, laughter and magic...

• For more information and to book, visit The Dukes web site

Gareth Cassidy as Bilbo Baggins
Russell Richardson as Gandalf

Gollum (Josie Cerise) and Bilbo (Gareth Cassidy)

Thorin (Natalia Campbell)
William The Troll (Joseph Black) with the Wood Elves
The Hobbit runs in Lancaster's Williamson park until Saturday 13th August 2016. For more information and to book, visit The Dukes web site

Monday, 4 July 2016

Lancaster Maritime Museum Re-Opens (well, parts of it...)

Lancaster Maritime Museum has partly reopened to the public after being closed for essential maintenance and to repair flood damage caused last winter.

This attraction, based at the former Custom House on St. George's Quay, was closed last October.

The warehouse part of the museum re-opened on Saturday 2nd July. However, the first floor of the Custom House building will remain closed, as work is still ongoing.

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "We needed to carry out some work to keep the building in good repair. We had to fully close the museum to carry this work out safely, and to complete it as quickly as possible.

"We're very sorry for any inconvenience due to the museum being closed.

"December's floods affected the museum as well. The ground floor was damaged and had to to be properly repaired and cleaned.

"A counter and some fittings in the shop have had to be replaced and wall plaster needed to be repaired.

"We've completed this work as soon as possible and I'm pleased that visitors will be able to enjoy the Maritime Museum once again."

The Maritime Museum will be free to enter until it is fully open to the public.

Lancaster City Council's Cabinet recently discussed its potential closure as part of a revamp of the city's museum offering

• For more information call 01524 382264 or email 

• You can find locations and opening times for all Lancashire museums at