Now showing at Curzon Knutsford Civic Centre, Toft Road,Knutsford,Cheshire WA16 0PE 01565 633005
- Dad's Army
- Exhibition On Screen: Renoir: Revered And Reviled
- Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict
- The Big Short
- The Good Dinosaur
Dad's Army 2 stars
England, 1944. The Second World War is on a knife edge and in the cosy community of Walmington-on-Sea, blustering bank manager George Mainwaring proudly leads the local Home Guard. Colonel Theakes reveals that he intends to sort the military wheat from the chaff and "Walmington feels chaffy." Soon after, Mainwaring learns that a German spy has infiltrated the town and is transmitting secrets back to Berlin.
- GenreComedy, Historical/Period, War
- CastCatherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Daniel Mays, Bill Paterson, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, Blake Harrison.
- DirectorOliver Parker.
- WriterHamish McColl.
- Duration100 mins
- Official site
How do you improve on the perfection of Jimmy Perry and David Croft's sitcom Dad's Army, which began active service in 1968 and remains a jewel in the crown of the BBC comedy archives? You don't.
If you're director Oliver Parker and screenwriter Hamish McColl, you pepper a flimsy plot that would barely stretch to one TV episode let alone 100 minutes with the show's catchphrases and pray our abiding affection for the characters will compensate for long passages without a discernible punchline.
Original cast members Ian Lavender and Frank Williams are conscripted to cameo roles to heighten the whiff of nostalgia. Limp innuendo-laden banter about sausages barely merits a smirk, pratfalls are predictable and a terrific ensemble cast of gifted comic actors go on patrol without an arsenal of decent one-liners.
From uninspired beginning to muddled end, it's a cultural smash'n'grab that goes through the motions and will ultimately be remembered as a badly missed opportunity.
England, 1944. The Second World War is on a knife edge and in the cosy community of Walmington-on-Sea, blustering bank manager George Mainwaring (Toby Jones) proudly leads the local Home Guard. His hapless rank and file includes Sergeant Wilson (Bill Nighy), Lance Corporal Jones (Tom Courtenay) and Privates Frazer (Bill Paterson), Pike (Blake Harrison), Walker (Daniel Mays) and Godfrey (Michael Gambon), a mild-mannered soul who frequently drifts off into his own world.
The fate of the Home Guard hangs in the balance when Colonel Theakes (Mark Gatiss) reveals that he intends to sort the military wheat from the chaff and "Walmington feels chaffy." Soon after, Mainwaring learns that a German spy has infiltrated the town and is transmitting secrets back to Berlin.
This search for a traitor coincides with the arrival of glamorous magazine writer Rose Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who intends to pen a flattering article about the heroics of the Home Guard. George is smitten and finds Rose most charming and agreeable.
"They said that about the Ripper," coldly retorts Mrs Mainwaring (Felicity Montagu), hard-nosed leader of Walmington-on-Sea's women's auxiliary army, which includes Pike's mother (Sarah Lancashire) and Walker's sweetheart Daphne (Emily Atack).
Dad's Army opens with a limp set piece involving a stand-off between the Home Guard and runaway livestock. "We're supposed to be locking horns with the Hun not Bertie the bull!" despairs one of the men, echoing our mounting frustration.
Jones lightens the darkening mood with a few moments of physical humour, including choking on a slice of cake, while Nighy relies on his usual snorts and tics for merriment. Montagu, Lancashire and co bring a diluted degree of girl power to proceedings that might be dismissed as tokenism without their characters' pivotal involvement in the hare-brained and lacklustre denouement.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Saturday 13th February 2016
- Sunday 14th February 2016
- Monday 15th February 2016
- Tuesday 16th February 2016
- Wednesday 17th February 2016
- Thursday 18th February 2016
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Exhibition On Screen: Renoir: Revered And Reviled 3 stars
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was instrumental in creating the Impressionist movement and inspired some of the titans of the 20th century including Matisse, Monet and Picasso. Gradually, Renoir grew tired of this style and changed creative course, provoking extreme reactions which continue to the present day. Based on the collection of 181 Renoirs housed at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, this film provides a fresh perspective on Renoir and his work.
- GenreDocumentary, Special
- DirectorPhil Grabsky.
- WriterPhil Grabsky.
- Duration87 mins
- Official site
- Release16/02/20016 (selected cinemas)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was instrumental in creating the Impressionist movement and inspired some of the titans of the 20th century: Picasso collected many of his paintings and he was revered by Matisse and Monet. Gradually, Renoir grew tired of this style and changed creative course, provoking extreme reactions which continue to the present day. Based on the collection of 181 Renoirs housed at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Phil Grabsky's film provides a fresh perspective on Renoir and his work, focusing on these later years when some people were repulsed by the artist's new direction and others were completely seduced by it.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Tuesday 16th February 2016
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict 3 stars
A documentary tribute to Peggy Guggenheim, who was heiress to a vast family fortune and surrounded herself with artists and their work including Samuel Beckett, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Jackson Pollock. She held firm to her vision of building one of the most important collections of modern art in the world, even while she was battling personal tragedy.
- GenreBiography, Documentary, Historical/Period
- DirectorLisa Immordino Vreeland.
- WriterBernadine Colish, Lisa Immordino Vreeland.
- Duration96 mins
- Official site
- Release11/12/2015 (selected cinemas)
Lisa Immordino Vreeland, director of the acclaimed documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel, pays tribute to another independent and passionate woman of the 20th century. Peggy Guggenheim was an heiress to a vast family fortune, who surrounded herself with artists and their work including Samuel Beckett, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Jackson Pollock. She held firm to her vision of building one of the most important collections of modern art in the world, even while she was battling personal tragedy. In this film, Vreeland charts Guggenheim's movements through the cultural upheaval of the last century and her lasting impact, reflected in interviews with admirers including Marina Abramovic, Robert De Niro, Larry Gagosian, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Mercedes Ruehl and Weld Edmund White.
The Big Short 5 stars
In 2008, quixotic hedge fund manager Michael Burry spots the credit and housing bubble is about to burst and he bets millions against the American economy. Other financial wizards get wind of the deal including deeply cynical hedge fund manager Mark Baum and his team. Inexperienced investors Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley use personal ties to retired banker Ben Rickert to orchestrate their own high risk bets as financial authorities ignore warning signs and Lehman Brothers prepares to fall.
- GenreAdaptation, Biography, Comedy, Drama, Historical/Period
- CastSteve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt.
- DirectorAdam McKay.
- WriterAdam McKay, Charles Randolph.
- Duration130 mins
- Official sitewww.thebigshortmovie.com
A fool and his hard-earned money are soon parted and in 2008, many of us turned out to be unwitting fools when the mortgage crisis in America catalysed the collapse of financial institutions, resulting in an ice age of global austerity that has yet to thaw. Bankers were demonised, political establishment passed bucks as if they were handling red-hot potatoes and hard-working families paid an eye-watering price.
The Wall Street meltdown don't sound like ripe fruit for a cocktail of potty-mouthed hilarity and heartbreaking drama but Adam McKay, director of the Anchorman films, begs to differ. Stepping away from the dim-witted Will Ferrell comedies that have made his name, McKay draws inspiration from Michael Lewis's non-fiction account of the housing and credit bubble to dramatise the incredible true story of the men, who made a killing by wagering against the US economy.
"While the whole world was having a big ol' party, a few outsiders and weirdos saw what no one else could," explains sharp-suited narrator, Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), a bond salesman at Deutsche Bank with a keen nose for profits.
He is our wise-cracking guide to this high pressure world of bulls, bears and multi-million dollar trades. However, Jared is not the first person to spot impending doom. That honour goes to quixotic hedge fund manager Michael Burry (Christian Bale).
"It's a time bomb... and I want to short it," Burry informs his incredulous boss (Tracy Letts) and bets against the housing market. Jared gets wind of the deal and follows suit, drawing in deeply cynical hedge fund manager Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and his team: Danny Moses (Rafe Spall), Porter Collins (Hamish Linklater) and Vinnie Daniel (Jeremy Strong).
Inexperienced investors Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) use personal ties to retired banker Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to orchestrate their own high risk bets as financial authorities ignore warning signs and Lehman Brothers prepares to fall.
The Big Short is a blisteringly funny and provocative portrait of irresponsibility, fraud and gaudy excess, brought vividly to life by a superb ensemble cast. Carell and Bale shine brightest in the glittering firmament, imbuing their socially awkward oddballs with vulnerability and regret.
McKay's film is acutely aware that most of us don't speak the Wall Street lingo so the writer-director cutely interrupts the wheeler dealing with glossy edutainment spots. Wolf On Wall Street star Margot Robbie sexes up subprime mortgages while sipping champagne in a bubble bath, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain explains a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) using leftover seafood, and actress and singer Selena Gomez makes sense of synthetic CDOs over a game of blackjack.
We might not always keep up with McKay's dazzling film and its rapid-fire, whipsmart dialogue but by the end credits, we're not far behind.
The Good Dinosaur 4 stars
Prehistoric beasts thrive including a family of Apatosaurus comprising patriarch Henry, his wife Ida and three children Buck, Libby and Arlo. A tragic accident robs the siblings of their father and soon after, Arlo falls into a river and is swept far away from his loved ones. Lost in the wilderness, Arlo meets a feral cave boy called Spot, who becomes the dinosaur's protector. Beast and human child embark on a magical adventure to return Arlo to his home in the shadow of the Clawed-Tooth Mountains.
- GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Children, Children's, Comedy
- CastFrances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright.
- DirectorPeter Sohn.
- WriterMeg LeFauve.
- Duration101 mins
- Official site
Four instalments of monster mashing in Jurassic Park have taught us to be thankful that an asteroid supposedly impacted Earth around 66 million years ago and wiped out the various prehistoric predators. Pixar Animation Studios begs to differ. Director Peter Sohn and his animation wizards conjure an alternate version of events: the ill-fated asteroid bypassed our third rock from the sun, allowing Tyrannosaurus Rex and other hulking beasts to thrive. Consequently, the evolutionary food chain is reversed: dinosaurs learn to talk, build homes, raise dysfunctional families and expand their horizons while humans are an untamed species that roams the wilderness on all fours and communicates in crude howls and growls. It's a cute concept that provides a solid foundation for Sohn's life-affirming tale of friendship and loyalty, inverting the touching central relationship of How To Train Your Dragon with similarly teary-eyed results. At the heart of the film is a family of Apatosaurus comprising patriarch Henry (voiced by Jeffrey Wright), his wife Ida (Frances McDormand) and three children Buck (Marcus Scribner), Libby (Maleah Padilla) and Arlo (Raymond Ochoa). They own a farm and work hard to harvest crops for the bitter winter months. "You got to earn your mark by doing something big for something bigger than yourself," Henry teaches his offspring. A tragic accident robs the siblings of their father and soon after, Arlo tumbles into a raging river and is swept far away from his loved ones. Lost in the wilderness, Arlo meets a feral cave boy called Spot (Jack Bright), who becomes the dinosaur's protector. Beast and human embark on a magical adventure of self-discovery, bound for Arlo's home in the shadow of the Clawed-Tooth Mountains. En route, they fall foul of villainous Velociprators and a scavenging Pterodactyl called Thunderclap (Steve Zahn), and befriend a Tyrannosaurus herder called Butch (Sam Elliott) and his rootin' tootin' children Ramsey (Anna Paquin) and Nash (AJ Buckley). After the heartbreak, hilarity and narrative sophistication of Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur is a step backwards for Pixar. The plot is formulaic and predictable, and the finale is drizzled in emotional syrup. While the script lacks daring and invention, the visuals are truly jaw-dropping and push the boundaries of photo-realistic animation on the big screen. Gentle humour is concentrated in the opening hour, before the obligatory harsh life lessons including one pivotal scene in which Arlo and Spot communicate their loss and loneliness through actions rather than words. The pay-off is an emotional gut punch that has become the studio's trademark. The Good Dinosaur screens with the charming short Sanjay's Super Team directed by Sanjay Patel in which a young Indian boy daydreams about three Hindu gods becoming superheroes.
Youth 4 stars
Retired composer Fred Ballinger and film director Mick Boyle have been good friends for more than 60 years and they enjoy a sun-kissed retreat at a hotel in the Alps. Out of the blue, Fred receives a visit from Her Majesty, The Queen's emissary, who asks the conductor to perform his most famous work at a concert in honour of the monarch. Fred steadfastly refuses and returns to his relaxation, with occasional visits from his emotionally brittle daughter Lena.
- CastRachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Sir Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel.
- DirectorPaolo Sorrentino.
- WriterPaolo Sorrentino.
- Duration124 mins
- Official site
- Release29/01/2016 (selected cinemas)
Italian writer-director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty, This Must Be The Place) elicits a towering performance from Michael Caine, which deserved Oscar consideration, in this beguiling portrait of old age and fading memories. Retired composer Fred Ballinger (Caine) and film director Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) have been good friends for more than 60 years and they enjoy a sun-kissed retreat at a hotel in the Alps. Film star Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) and the reigning Miss Universe (Madalina Ghenea), who insists on bathing in the nude, are among the establishment's other venerated guests. Out of the blue, Fred receives a visit from Her Majesty, The Queen's emissary (Alex Macqueen), who asks the conductor to perform his most famous work at a concert in honour of the monarch. Fred steadfastly refuses and returns to his relaxation, with occasional visits from his emotionally brittle daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz), who is in the midst of a painful separation.