Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 14th to 22nd 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.

There are five new movies released during this period. We have the romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Baby (15). There are two powerful dramas with Julieta (15) and The Childhood of a Leader (15). There is the musical documentary Gary Numan: Android in La La Land (15) and finally film Neighbour though no details are yet available for this latter movie.

Films that have come to an end of their screening include Suicide Squad and The Purge: Election Year. In addition it seems likely that the films Morgan; Pete's Dragon; and War Dogs are coming to an end of their screening. However the comedy animation Ice Age: Collision Course and the drama The Legend of Tarzan have returned to the screens.

Horror remains well represented during this period with Blair Witch; Don't Breathe; Lights Out and Morgan all being shown.

Adult comedy is represented by Bad Moms; Bridget Jones's Baby; David Brent: Life on the Road; Ghostbusters and Sausage Party.

Drama comes with Ben-Hur; Jason Bourne; Julieta; The Childhood of a Leader; The Legend of Tarzan and War Dogs. In addition the Dukes have a screening of the influential adult animation Akira.

There are a good selection of family animation movies with Finding Dory; Ice Age: Collision Course; Kubo and the Two Strings and The BFG. Also available is the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; the comedy Nine Lives and the dramas Pete's Dragon and The Jungle Book.

High culture comes with NT Encore: The Deep Blue Sea and NT Live: The Threepenny Opera. Also of interest are the musical documentaries Gary Numan: Android in La La Land and The Beatles: Eight Days a Week.


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.

Blair Witch
Director: Adam Wingard
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: James Alen McCure, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott
This is a sequel to the 1999 'Blair Witch' movie. James Donahue (McCure) thinks his sister Heather, who disappeared twenty years ago, may still be alive in the Black Hills Forest of Maryland. He, along with a group of friends and a couple of guides, enter the forest to explore the facts surrounding the Blair Witch and Heather's disappearance. As the night comes, all hell starts to breaks loose. The movie is in the 'found footage' genre and it comes with plenty of frights and some original twists, despite remaining faithful to the original film. A very competent horror movie though it doesn't quite capture the novelty of the original.

Bridget Jones's Baby
Director: Sharon Maguire
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Renee Zellweger, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey
After a break of twelve years, this is the third instalment of the romantic comedy franchise and author Helen Fielding co-wrote the script. Bridge Jones is now aged forty-three and still single, having broken up with Mark Darcy (Firth). She decided to concentrate on her career as a news producer. However she meets a handsome American Jack (Dempsey) and has consecutive one night stands with both Jack and Mark. She finds herself pregnant, but does not know which one is the father. This movie captures the spirit of the original and is an improvement on the previous 'Edge of Reason'. It is set in London with Jones in her old flat and the movie features strong acting both from Zellweger and from Thompson. There are some very funny moments and excellent one liners.

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.

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?

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.

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 Legend of Tarzan
Director: David Yates
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Djimon Hounsou, Samuel L. Jackson
 The film is set about a decade after Tarzan left the jungle and became John Clayton III or Lord Greystoke to live in the UK with his wife Jane (Robbie). Meanwhile the African Congo has been divided between Belgium and the UK, and the Belgian government has sent an emissary Captain Leon Rom (Waltz) to develop the mineral wealth of the land. Rom makes a pact with Mbonga (Hounsou) a chief and Tarzan's old enemy to give him Tarzan in exchange for diamonds. Rom captures Jane and uses her to lure Tarzan to him During the film we have flashbacks of Tarzan's origins to help set the plot and the film benefits from splendid scenery, lavish special effects and grand fight sequences. However, despite solid performances from the actors, the movie has not managed to inspire the critics. An enjoyable, but ultimately average adventure film.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Will the trains run on time for "Lancashire Challenge" charity fund raiser?

On Friday 16th September 2016, local railway fan David Chandler will aim to travel by train to every railway station in the county of Lancashire, in under 24 hours, in aid of the Lancaster-based charity St. John's Hospice.

A journey of hundreds of miles; the “Lancashire Challenge” is David's latest fundraiser for St. John’s Hospice, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. His previous work includes a huge donation to the Hospice thanks to money raised during the Green Ayre Rises show at Lancaster Library earlier this year.

David completed a similar challenge last year, when he visited all 270 London Underground stations in 20 hours eight minutes.

"That sowed the seed for 'The Lancashire Challenge'," he explains. "I began to wonder if something similar could be done around the county of Lancashire.  I asked a friend to put a route together for me and we soon discovered that although there are a lot less stations, it is actually even more difficult, as there are less trains and the stations are spread far and wide.  Some stations are only served by trains once or twice a day.

"Lancashire has 62 railway stations and I have applied the same rules used on the Tube challenge for this latest venture... We must visit each station on a scheduled passenger service and, although we can also travel between stations on foot or by public transport, it can't be by car, taxi or bicycle.

"The route we’ve put together depends on a lot of luck and most of the services running on time," he notes, cautiously. "I’m hoping we don’t get any delays, or the day could be severely curtailed!"

David will be joined by BBC Radio Lancashire on this epic journey and they will be broadcasting updates throughout the day.

"As far as I know, this has never been done before," says. "I mean, why would you?  I am aware that it’s a slightly strange thing to attempt, but I am really looking forward to seeing if I can do it and then maybe others will then try to beat my time?"

• You can support David's "Lancashire Challenge" by making donations here on JustGiving. David will post updates on the day on Facebook and Twitter @dchan52169