Thursday 3rd May
Paddington 2 (PG) 104 min. Animation/Adventure/Comedy TRAILER REVIEW
When we chose this film, we did wonder whether our regular audience might feel that they needed to bring a younger companion along with them to avoid embarrassment. However, anyone who has seen it already reports that adults get more enjoyment than children!
The film stars Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington, with Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Hugh Grant in live-action roles. It has a record-breaking 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and received three BAFTA nominations for Best British Film, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for Grant.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote, "The film is pitched with insouciant ease and a lightness of touch at both children and adults without any self conscious shifts in irony or tone: it's humour with the tang of top quality thick cut marmalade." Paddington 2 should be prescribed as an antidote to anyone who finds the madness of the modern world a bit wearing. Itís probably possible to not absolutely love it, but itís hard to see how.
Thursday 7th June
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (15) 115 min. Crime/Drama
TRAILER REVIEW (Note - Trailer contains strong language and scenes from the film)
Frustrated with the lack of progress by the local police in finding those responsible for the brutal murder of her daughter, a mother (Frances McDormand) installs three controversial billboards on the edge of town to goad the department into action. Her decision leads to a clash with both the chief of police (Woody Harrelson) and his unhinged second-in-command (Sam Rockwell).
The film was inspired by a true story and the lead Frances McDormand gained this yearís Oscar for Best Actress, having previously won one for her part in Fargo.
This is an altogether grittier experience than Paddington so be aware of its 15 certificate. Being set in roughneck America, there is a considerable amount of bad language and several scenes of violence.
Although it has been described as a dark comedy, the film has divided critics because of its moral ambiguity - there is no simple black and white good versus bad. Characters with good motives do bad things and apparently evil people are capable of good acts. As this commentary points out, life is like that, with no easy answers.
Thursday 12th July (note this is the 2nd Thursday)
Darkest Hour (PG) 125 min. Drama/History TRAILER REVIEW
This historical drama focuses on the trials of Winston Churchill in the days after he becomes Prime Minister in 1940. With the German armies rolling through Europe, Churchill must figure out how to rally the nation as many of those around him advocate peace talks with Hitler.
Gary Oldman won Best Actor Oscar for his performance and the transformation achieved by Kazuhiro Tsuji, who also won the Oscar for make-up, is amazing.
Click here to read how true to life Churchillís grandson considered the portrayal.
Thursday 9th August (this is also a 2nd Thrsday)
The Greatest Showman (PG) 105 min. True Story/Drama/Musical TRAILER REVIEW
Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. The critical consensus was that The Greatest Showman tries hard to dazzle the audience with a Barnum-style sense of wonder - but at the expense of its complex subject's far more intriguing real-life story and ethical questions. Audiences, however, have been happy just to relax and enjoy the spectacle and escapism and the soundtrack has enjoyed phenomenal success. The Greatest Showman is being screened in some cinemas as a sing-along event, though we suspect our audience may prefer to hum quietly to themselves as they leave.