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Local Cinema Round-Up for the 1st to 9th March 2017


Peter Clarke


Virtual-Lancaster's weekly round up of local cinema screenings.

This is a very good period for new releases, or films new to the area. Much of this can be put down to the Dukes, who are again screening movies at 'The Incredible Movie Picturehouse', a lorry which transforms into a 100 seat picture house.

First off are documentaries. We have the life of footballer George Best in Best (12A) and an insight into training eagles on the Mongolian steppe with The Eagle Huntress (U). There is adult comedy in Fist Fight (15); excellent arthouse comedy (with subtitles) in Toni Erdmann (15) and Family animation in Monster Trucks (PG). Finally drama comes with the story behind a public suicide in Christine; prejudice in a mixed race relationship in Loving (12A); the award winning Moonlight (15); violent horror in Prevenge (15) and period drama in The Viceroy's House.

Our region has lost Ballerina; I, Daniel Blake; The Space Between Us and the long running Trolls. However compensation comes with the return of the fact based drama Sully: Miracle on the Hudson.

Other drama continues with gun-play in John Wick: Chapter 2; monster action with The Great Wall; NASA mathematicians in Hidden Figures; a family epic Lion; X-men action in Logan; and terrorism in Patriots Day. In addition there is wartime adventure in Hacksaw Ridge and the unmissable T2 Trainspotting.

Horror is also represented this period. There is an eerie health clinic in A Cure for Wellness; zombies in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and forces beyond the grave in Rings.

Romance with a twist is offered by La La Land and Fifty Shades Darker.

Family animation is available with Moana; Sing and The Lego Batman Movie.

Finally a movie of especial note is the cult fantasy Labyrinth, showing on the 7th March at the Dukes. This stars Davie Bowie as Goblin King.


20th Century Women
Director: Mike Mills
Certificate: 15
Cast includes Annette Bening, Lucas Jade Zuman, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Elle Fanning
Set in Santa Barbara in 1979, Dorothea (Bening) is a divorced mother bring up her teenage son Jamie (Zuman) whilst running a boarding house. She feels that her son needs more role models in his life and so enlists the help of her tenants including handyman William (Crudup), photographer Abbie (Gerwig) and her sons friend Julie (Fanning) to assist. A coming of age tale with drama and a good dose of comedy. A great movie with excellent performances by all. It has received good reviews.

A Cure for Wellness
Director: Gore Verbinski
Certificate: 18
Cast includes: Dane DeHaan, Harry Groener, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth
Lockhart (DeHaan) is a young executive, sent to a the wellness centre health spa in Switzerland to collect the Company CEO Pembroke (Groener) who is being treated there. However Lockhart is injured and finds himself staying at the Spa also. He meets Hannah (Goth) a young patient and she reveals that the spa was built on the ruins of a castle with a troubled history. Lockhart comes to question the cure offered by Dr Volmer (Isaacs) the spa director and finds evidence of dubious medical experiments being carried out. The movie is visually spectacular with false leads, twists and eels that make up for a rather thin plot. An enjoyable move.

Fifty Shades Darker
Director: James Foley
Certificate: 18
Cast includes: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan
A sequel to the 2015 film 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. Anastasia (Johnson) had broken off her relationship with Christian Grey (Dornan) intending to pursue a career in a Seattle publishing house. However Christian entices her back albeit on her terms of a 'vanilla' relationship. However his desire for ownership rather than a relationship and rather shady figures from his past threaten to destroy their future. A sex and kink movie that rather lacks the novelty value of the original. Mildly entertaining.

John Wick: Chapter 2
Director: Chad Stahelski
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamercio
The sequel to the 2014 movie. John Wick (Reeves) again comes out of retirement to honour a blood oath and assist a former associate Santino D'Antonio (Scamarcio) who is plotting to take control of an international assassins' guild. As a consequence Wick finds himself with a bounty 'on his head' and he must go on the run pursued by assassins looking to kill him. The plot requires a large suspension of disbelief but the movie provides dizzying action, non stop gun related pandemonium and some flashes of wit and humour. The movie has been well received. It offers plenty of entertainment, but little novelty.

La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Certificate: 12A
Cast Includes: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
Mia (Stone) works as a barista during the day but aspires to be an actress. She is involved in a road rage incident with Sebastian (Gosling) a jazz pianist. The two subsequently meet again and start to fall for each other as they try to satisfy their ambitions, she attending auditions and he playing in dingy bars as he plans to open his own jazz club. However the daily drudge of trying to live their dreams starts to take its toll. This movie, set in modern day Los Angeles, is brilliantly written and very well acted. Excellent musical entertainment.

Director: Ron Clements and John Musker
Certificate: PG
Cast includes: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson
A Walt Disney animated fantasy adventure. Moana (Cravalho) is the teenage daughter of the chief of a Polynesian island. However the fish and island produce become less abundant and hence Moana undertakes a nautical quest to find the magical amulet Te Fiti's heart and the demigod Maui (Johnson). The quest involves monsters and battles This is a magical film, with music, comedy and a good dose of adventure. It is extremely well produced and has received excellent reviews from both critics and audience. A must see movie for all ages.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Director: Paul W S Anderson
Certificate; 15
Cast Includes: Milla Jovovich
The movie is a sequel to the 2012 Resident Evil: Retribution and forms the sixth and final film in the series. Alice (Jovovich) has lost her psychic powers and now is assisted by the Red Queen who has switched sides. She returns to the demolished Raccoon City where, with a band of survivors, she has one last battle with the Umbrella Corporation and myriads of mutants and zombies. This reviewer has greatly enjoyed the Resident Evil Movie series and can recommend the Final Chapter as offering more of the same special effects and fight sequences. However the film is not the best of the bunch and the franchise is now starting to feel a little tired. See it if you are a Resident Evil fan.

Director: F Javier Gutierrez
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe Johnny Galecki, Vincent D'Onofrio
Julia (Lutz) becomes worried when her boyfriend Holt (Roe) starts to explore the sub-culture around a videotape which causes the death of anyone who watches it. She watches it herself and discovers that her version of the tape has additional footage which hints at the fate of the antagonist Sadako Yamamura. Julie and Holt undertake a quest to find Sadako's remains in the hope of lifting the curse. This is the latest chapter in the Ring franchise and is a sequel to 'The Ring' (2002) and 'The Ring Two' (2005). The movie tries to move the franchise onto new ground but it has received poor reviews. It is of interest to ardent Ring fans only.

T2 Trainspotting
Director: Danny Boyle
Certificate: 18
Cast includes: Ewen McGreger, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Anjela Nedyalkova
Mark Renton (McGregor) returns to Edinburgh after twenty years in Amsterdam and finds his old associates are still much as he left them only older. Spud Murphy (Bremner) continues to struggle with heroin addiction. Simon 'Sick Boy' (Lee Miller) nurses old grievances and has swapped a heroin addiction for cocaine. He plans to turn a run down pub onto a bordello. Francis Begbie (Carlyle) is serving a prison sentence, but he escapes. He still harbours a grievance against Renton. The movie is part black comedy, part thriller and total melancholic drama that draws on Welsh's 1993 novel and the 2002 sequel Porno. This is an inventive and vibrant film that captures the spirit of the original. Excellent viewing.