Now showing at Curzon Knutsford Civic Centre, Toft Road,Knutsford,Cheshire WA16 0PE 01565 633005
- A Royal Night Out
- Clouds Of Sils Maria
- Far From The Madding Crowd
A Royal Night Out 3 stars
Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, and her sister Princess Margaret briefly escape Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day with the teeming crowds outside the royal residence. They mingle with their subjects, completely incognito, as the people of London marked the end of the Second World War with an exuberant evening of revelry.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance, Thriller
- CastJack Reynor, Sarah Gadon, Emily Watson, Bel Powley, Rupert Everett.
- DirectorJulian Jarrold.
- WriterTrevor De Silva, Kevin Hood.
- Duration97 mins
- Official site
In this celebrity-obsessed age of 24-hour social media and omnipresent paparazzi, it's inconceivable that younger members of the royal family could mingle with us, the unwashed hoi polloi, without attracting attention. Heirs to the throne would be engulfed by a sea of flashing smart phones, their every word regurgitated and scrutinised in 140 poorly punctuated characters.
Seventy years ago, Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, and her sister Princess Margaret briefly escaped from Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day with the teeming crowds outside the royal residence. They mingled with their subjects, completely incognito, as the people of London marked the end of the Second World War with an exuberant evening of revelry.
Screenwriters Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood use this true event as the starting point for a heart-warming comedy of manners, which propels the two princesses on journeys of self-discovery in a capital awash with carnal desire and potential danger.
A Royal Night Out is frothy fun, embellishing fact with outlandish fiction under the jaunty direction of Julian Jarrold, who previously unbuttoned the stifled emotions of the era in the 2008 remake of Brideshead Revisited.
The film opens with archive footage of Winston Churchill announcing the end of the conflict with Germany. Jubilant crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace where King George VI (Rupert Everett) is preparing a radio address with encouragement from Queen Elizabeth (Emily Watson).
Their daughters, Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Princess Margaret (Bel Powley), yearn to celebrate with the people but the Queen is resistant. "We'll be walled up in this mausoleum for the rest of our lives," despairs Margaret. "I'm completely cheesed!"
Princess Elizabeth persuades her father to let them venture out for one night and the girls excitedly don their frocks, only to discover that their mother has arranged for two soldiers, Captain Pryce (Jack Laskey) and Lieutenant Burridge (Jack Gordon), to chaperone them at all times.
By chance, the princesses elude their escorts and head out into London on their own where Elizabeth finds an unlikely protector: a deserter called Jack (Jack Reynor), who isn't a fan of people of privilege.
"Family well-off by chance?" he asks, oblivious to his companion's true identity.
"We manage," replies Elizabeth tersely.
A Royal Night Out is timed perfectly to coincide with the 70th anniversary of VE Day and an air of wistful nostalgia blows through every frame of Jarrold's perky picture. Gadon is luminous in a restrictive role, while Powley has considerably more fun as the rebel, who brandishes her superlative of choice - "wizard!" - with plummy gusto.
The script predominantly opts for laughter rather than lamentation, and is careful not to offend with a simmering romantic subplot between Elizabeth and Jack. There's nothing here that will have the filmmakers entering the Tower Of London through Traitor's Gate.
Clouds Of Sils Maria 3 stars
Celebrated actress Maria Enders is on a train travelling through the Alps with her personal assistant Valentine when she learns her screenwriter friend Wilhelm Melchior has died. During a reception dedicated to his life, talented young director Klaus Diesterweg approaches Maria to star in a revival of the play that made her name 20 years ago. He wants to cast her in the role of the older woman and has earmarked publicity-grabbing starlet Jo-Ann Ellis to fill the role of the manipulative ingenue.
- GenreDrama, Romance
- CastKristen Stewart, Juliette Binoche, Lars Eidinger, Chloe Grace Moretz.
- DirectorOlivier Assayas.
- WriterOlivier Assayas.
- Duration124 mins
- Official site
- Release15/05/2015 (selected cinemas)
Kristen Stewart became the first American actress to win a Cesar, the French equivalent of the Oscar, for her impressive supporting performance in this drama directed by Olivier Assayas. Celebrated actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is on a train travelling through the Alps with her personal assistant Valentine (Stewart), bound for an awards ceremony, where she is due to collect a prize on behalf of her reclusive screenwriter friend, Wilhelm Melchior. En route, Maria learns that Wilhelm has died and what was supposed to be a celebration of his life's work becomes a memorial to his cinematic legacy. During the post-awards reception, a talented young director, Klaus Diesterweg (Lars Eidinger), approaches Maria to star in a revival of the play that made her name 20 years ago. He wants to cast her in the role of the older woman and has earmarked publicity-grabbing starlet Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloe Grace Moretz) to fill the role of the manipulative ingenue. Valentine encourages Maria to accept to role but as opening night approaches, the veteran actress struggles to escape spectres of the past.
Far From The Madding Crowd 3 stars
Bathsheba Everdene turns down a marriage proposal from sheep farmer Gabriel Oak because she does not believe that she needs a husband to possess or tame her. Soon after, Bathsheba inherits her uncle's estate and defies expectation to turn around the ailing farm. Gabriel, who has fallen on hard times, is hired by Bathsheba as the estate's shepherd and he continues to pine for her from afar as Bathsheba entertains amorous advances from wealthy farmer William Boldwood and dashing Sergeant Troy.
- GenreAdaptation, Classic, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
- CastCarey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Jessica Barden, Michael Sheen, Juno Temple.
- DirectorThomas Vinterberg.
- WriterDavid Nicholls.
- Duration119 mins
- Official site
The 2015 re-release of John Schlesinger's 1967 version of Far From The Madding Crowd provided a timely reminder of the raw emotional power of Thomas Hardy's late 19th-century novel and Julie Christie's luminous portrayal of spirited heroine, Bathsheba Everdene.
Danish director Thomas Vinterberg brings a delicate touch to this handsome new incarnation, which runs 50 minutes shorter than its predecessor and is undernourished as a consequence.
One tragic supporting character, who should shatter our hearts to smithereens, is reduced to a simplistic two-dimensional plot device, and the heroine's vacillations between three potential suitors seem more haphazard than usual in a noticeably rushed final act.
Moreover, one of these paramours has significantly more screen time, so her choice is inevitable. Feelings are tightly buttoned beneath Janet Patterson's splendid costumes and when one of the characters does eventually lose control and commits a fatal "crime of passion" at a Christmas party, we're just as surprised by the outburst as the film's clucky social set.
The film opens in 1870 with Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan) living with her aunt Mrs Hurst on the adjacent property to handsome sheep farmer, Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts).
She rebuffs his heartfelt advances, telling a crestfallen Gabriel, "I don't want a husband. I don't want to be some man's property". Soon after, Bathsheba inherits her uncle's vast estate and defies expectation to turn around the ailing farm, aided by her companion Liddy (Jessica Barden).
Gabriel, who has fallen on hard times, is hired by Bathsheba as the estate's shepherd and continues to pine for her from afar.
Meanwhile, emotionally repressed and wealthy farmer William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) makes his feelings for Bathsheba known, but her head is turned by dashing and reckless Sergeant Troy (Tom Sturridge), whose heart was broken at the altar by servant girl Fanny (Juno Temple).
These three suitors leave Bathsheba in an emotional whirl and when Boldwood offers her financial security as his bride, she turns to brooding Gabriel for advice.
"I need some who's objective, indifferent," Bathsheba tells the shepherd.
"Then I'm afraid you're asking the wrong man," pointedly responds Gabriel.
Anchored by Mulligan's nuanced performance, Far From The Madding Crowd is a visually arresting, but ultimately anaemic portrait of rural desires. Schoenaerts wrestles in vain with a West Country accent, while Sheen and Sturridge have limited screen time to match fond memories of Peter Finch and Terence Stamp in respective roles in the 1967 film.
While Vinterberg's vision, filmed on location in pastoral Dorset, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, lacks emotional heft, it packs a mighty visual punch thanks to cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen.
Rolling landscapes look invitingly wild and untamed, bathed largely in natural light, and the nascent beauty of leading lady Mulligan shines through the artfully composed muck and grime.