Thursday, 1 September 2016

Details for this year's Lancaster and Morecambe's Heritage Open Days announced

Local history and culture will come to life again this year when buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors during this year's Heritage Open Days.

Heritage Open Days are England’s largest heritage festival in celebrating diverse architecture, culture and history. This year there are an amazing array of exciting events running from 8th - 11th September.

The theme of this year’s Heritage Open Days is ‘Treasure Your Treasures’ which aims to encourage visitors and locals alike to explore and engage with as many of the wonderful venues on offer as possible.

So, why not become a tourist in your own town and discover buildings which are often unseen and find out more about the local area. Why not try a tour of historic Lancaster Castle or the Edwardian Lancaster Town Hall, uncover what lies behind the gates of The Storey gardens, visit Morecambe Town Hall or the iconic Midland Hotel.

Whatever your interests you are sure to find something that will open your eyes to the stunning heritage and culture that awaits you across the city. The best part? It’s all free!

• You can find more information about all venues included in the festival by visiting or alternatively visit Lancaster or Morecambe visitor information centres to pick up a copy of the programme

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 31st August to 8th September 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.

During this period, three new releases make it to the local screens. There is canine comedy with Wiener Dog (15); science fiction/horror with Morgan (15)) and finally international drama with The Commune (15).

Unfortunately we have lost a number of good movies including Get Squirrely; Mike and Dave need Wedding Dates; Nerve; Now You See Me 2 and The Angry Birds Movie. Also the films Asterix: The Mansion of the Gods; Lights Out and Star Trek Beyond are coming to the end of their screening. However we see the return of the comedy Ghostbusters and the period comedy/romance Love and Friendship.

Movies coming soon include horror with Don't Breathe due to be released on 9th September.

Adult comedy this period comes with Bad Moms; David Brent: Life on the Road; Sausage Party; War Dogs and Wiener Dog.

For drama there is Jason Bourne; The Commune and The Purge: Election year. In addition we have science fiction drama with Alien; Morgan; Star Trek Beyond and Suicide Squad whereas horror comes with Lights Out and the more light hearted Theatre of Blood.

Family entertainment is again well represented with Finding Dory; Nine Lives; Pete's Dragon; Swallows and Amazons; and The Jungle Book. Also the Dukes are screening episodes of Roald Dahl, presented by Alfred Hitchcock, a 'scratch and sniff' version of Matilda and the romantic comedy Love & Friendship.

High culture comes with NT LIve: The Deep Blue Sea and Shakespeare's Globe: The Merchant of Venice. Also of interest is the documentary on the UK anti-war protests of 2003 with We are Many and a chance to hear Skeleton Tree, the sixteenth studio album from Nick Cave with One More Time With Feeling.

Finally, the Platform in Morecambe is screening Morecambe on Film on the 2nd of September (tickets available from the Dukes).


Bad Moms
Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Mumolo, David Walten, Christina Applegate
Amy Mitchell (Kunis) is married with two children and suffering from stress and overwork as she tries to be the perfect mum. After a trying day she makes friends with other mums Carla (Hahn) and Kiki (Bell) at a bar and over a boozy night decides to stop trying to be perfect. Her new attitude angers Gwendolyn (Applegate), the head of the school PTA, who takes her anger on Amy's children. Amy seeks revenge by planning to become the new head of the PTA. This is a sweet but raunchy movie with a strong comic cast. It will resonate with many in the audience and provides comic enjoyment for all.

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.

Director: Paul Feig
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey
It has been thirty-five years since the original Ghostbusters movie. Now, finally there is a remake where women take the leading parts. Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Abby Yates (McCarthy) are co-authors of a book which postulated that ghosts are real. When supernatural forces invade Manhattan, Gilbert and Yates team up with a nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) and subway worker Patty Tolan (Jones) to combat the malicious demon Rowan (Casey) and a legion of ghouls. The movie pretty much follows the plot of the original, but the actors provide great and extremely funny performances. A terrific movie full of good hearted fun.

Director: Luke Scott
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Anya Taylor-Joy, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kate Mara, Toby Jones
Morgan (Taylor-Joy) is a synthetic human being, technically only six years old, but with advanced development and super human qualities. She attacks and injures one of the scientists (Leigh) and so a cold corporate consultant Lee Weathers (Mara) is brought in to decide if Morgan needs to be terminated. The movie is another tale of man playing God and reaping the consequences. It shares much with the recent film Ex Machina. There is little attempt to understand the character of Morgan and thus we are left with a tale of an out of control monster. The film attracted average reviews but despite being low on originality it is a reasonably entertaining movie.

Star Trek Beyond
Director: Justin Lin
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella
This is the thirteenth Star Trek movie and the third in the reboot series. Kirk (Pine) takes the Enterprise on a rescue mission to the planet Altamid. However the ship gets ambushed by a force working for the power mad Krall (Elba). The Enterprise is destroyed and much of the crew captured. It is up to Kirk, Scotty (Pegg), Spock (Quinto), Chekov (Yelchin), McCoy (Urban) and a native fighter Jaylah (Boutella) to save the day. They repair an early generation starfleet vessel that had crashed on the planet and are able to pursue Krull. This is an action packed film with impressive special effects and a good number of impressive battles. The movie harks back to the early days of Star Trek, retracing old ground. A must see 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.