Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 21st to 29th 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.

 Four new movies have been released during this period. There is Sci-fi horror with The Girl with all the Gifts (15); a western remake with The Magnificent Seven (12A), family animation in Top Cat Begins (U) and a first hand account of jihad in the documentary Confession (15).

Films that have vanished from the screens include comedy with David Brent: Life on the Road; the horror Morgan and family favourite The Jungle Book. In addition the following movies look like they are coming to an end of their screening: Don't Breathe; Ghostbusters; Jason Bourne; Pete's Dragon; The BFG and The Neighbour. However we have the return of The Secret Life of Pets.

Despite the loss of Morgan, horror is still well represented this period with Blair Witch; Don't Breathe; Lights Out; The Girl with all the Gifts and The Neighbor.

Drama this period comes with Ben-Hur; Jason Bourne; Julieta; The Magnificent Seven; War Dogs and the animation Akira. Also adult comedy is represented by Bad Moms; Bridget Jones's Baby and Sausage Party.

Family entertainment is still very strong with Finding Dory; Ice Age: Collision Course; Kubo and the Two Strings; Pete's Dragon; The BFG; The Secret Life of Pets and Top Cat Begins.

High culture this period is represented by NT Live: The Threepenny Opera; RSC Live: Cymbeline and The Royal Opera: Norma.

There are a number of movies being screened this week that deserve special mention. These include Bowie's impressive The Man who fell to Earth; a screeing of digitally restored Akira Kurosawa's classic interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear in Ran and an interview with Moazzam Begg and his experience of jihad in The Confession.


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?

The Girl with all the Gifts
Director: Colm McCarthy
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Gemma Arterton, Sennia Nanua, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close.
Set in the near future, most of humanity is infected by a fungal disease that robs its victims of free-will, turning then into flesh eating 'hungries'. A small group of children show some signs of resistance. When infected, they retain their free will and only crave flesh when they smell bodily fluids. These children are imprisoned in a military base where they are schooled by Helen Justineau (Arterton) and studied by Dr Caldwell (Close) who is trying to make a vaccine. The base is invaded. One of the brightest children Melanie (Nanua), along with a handful of adults must fight for survival and in the process Malanie starts to mature. This is an intelligent zombie movie, based on the novel by M. R. Carey. It benefits from a strong cast and some developments of the zombie genre. A good and entertaining horror film.

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.