Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Local Cinema Round-up for the 7th to 15th December, 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.

We have only two new releases making it to the local screens during this period. There is the musical documentary Gimme Danger (15) featuring the band The Stooges and a Star Wars based adventure Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PG).

Films that have come to an end of their screening include A Street Cat Named Bob and Doctor Strange. However by way of compensation, we see the return of Inferno; Ouija: Origin of Evil; Storks and The Secret Life of Pets.

Romance on offer this period includes the forbidden love in A United Kingdom and the wartime Allied.

Drama comes with the action/suspensel Inferno; aviation adventure in Scully: Miracle on the Hudson and the dark The Innocents. In addition there is science fiction action in Arrival and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Horror returns with Ouija: Origin of Evil and fantasy is represented by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Adult humour this period comes with Bad Santa 2 and Office Christmas Party.

Family movies on offer include Ice Age: Collision Course; Moana; Storks; and Trolls.

Film of note that are being screened include the classic White Christmas and In the Heat of the Night, both being shown at the Dukes. Also the Vue are offering another family treat with Little Screen December Show.

For high culture during this period we have the Opera Madame Butterfly; ballet with The Nutcracker and National Theatre Live: No Man's Land.

Reviews

A United Kingdom
Director: Amma Asante
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: David Oyelowo Rosamund Pike
Based on the book 'Colour Bar' by Susan Williams, the film is a romantic drama based on the real life romance between Sir Seretse Khama, king of Botswana and Ruth Williams. Seretse and Ruth met in London, in the 1940's, fell in love and subsequently married. However the marriage was opposed by their families, the couple becoming ostracised by their friends. Governments were also involved as South Africa had recently introduced their system of apartheid and they pressured the British government with threats of economic sanctions if the marriage was allowed to go ahead. This is a fine period romance with excellent costumes, impressive cinematography and exotic backdrops. The film concentrates on the human drama faced by the couple and rather glosses over the political complexities, but it is not the worse for that. The movie has received good reviews.

Bad Santa 2
Director: Mark Waters
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Kathy Bates, Brett Kelly
A sequel to the 2003 movie 'Bad Santa', starring many of the original cast. Wilie Soke (Thornton) again plays the role of drunk, lecherous and greedy anit-hero. He teams up with his helper Marcus (Cox) to attempt to rob a Chicago charity of $2 million on Christmas eve. Also involved in the scheme is Soke's foul mouthed mother Sunny (Bates) and 'the kid' from the first movie Thurmon Merman (Brett Kelly) now fully grown but no less innocent. The movie contains much bad language and sex scenes as it tries to recapture the magic of the original. However there are fewer 'laugh out loud' moments amongst the rather muddled plot. An average movie which received mixed reviews.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell
This is a Harry Potter prequel, inspired by J K Rowling's book of the same name. The movie is set in the 1920's, where Newt Scamander is a magizoologist, collecting and studying magical creatures. He visits New Your City where several of these creatures escape from his suitcase. He collects about him a group of allies to try to recapture the beasts. However New York at this time has been under a reign of terror from the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) and in the era of suspicion the creatures are believed to be responsible for an attack. Hence Percival Graves (Farrell), a director of magical secrets, declares war on Scamander and his helpers. This is a wonderful film and a fine tribute to the creativity of Rawlings. There are lots of plots, strange people and weird and wonderful beasts. The movie has received favourable reviews, but is perhaps a little darker than the Harry Potter series.

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?

Moana
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.

Storks
Director: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Kelsey Grammer, Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Anton Starkman
Conerstone used to be in the business of delivering babies and most of its employees are stalks. However CEO stalk Hunter (Grammer) discontinued the service for the more lucrative business of delivering parcels. The business receives a letter from Nate (Starkman) a neglected boy who wants a baby brother and Tulip (Crown), a woman working for Cornerstone, causes the baby machine to create a girl in response to the letter. Now Tulip and her stork friend Junior (Samberg) must deliver the baby before Hunter finds out. This involves their facing a pack of wolves, militant penguins and an avalanche. This is a bizarre, non stop and fun packed movie that will appeal to all ages. It has been well received by the critics and is sure to please.

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.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Pedalling and paddling: two climate stories from Lancaster



Pedalling and Paddling is a new film that documents the escape of seven cyclists from Lancaster as the flood waters rose in December 2015.

Created by Lauren Walker, the film, which will be shown at The Storey on Thursday 15th December, pulls together local flood stories with the cyclists' journey to Paris for the Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP21). It encourages the viewer to reflect on the need for meaningful action on climate change and what this might involve.

The screening is a chance to mark the anniversary of Lancaster’s floods, and explore what we could be doing locally to tackle the issue of climate change.

Last December, seven cyclists from Lancaster joined a mass five day cycle ride from London to Paris for the UN 21st Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP21). They joined 150 other cyclists in crossing France to demonstrate how another world is possible - one where complete strangers can come together and support each other in crossing a country by pedal power and raise awareness of the issue of climate change.

But as they left Lancaster, Storm Desmond hit and the lights went out for more than 42,000 houses locally.

Anna Clayton, one of the cyclists stated “Although the COP21and the recent COP22 in Marakesh are steps in the right direction, and do aim to keep warming to below two degrees Celsius, they are weak. International climate agreements have failed to curb fossil fuel consumption and demonstrate that local initiatives such as divesting from fossil fuels and establishing local energy cooperatives and food and transport systems remain a key route to tackling climate change.

"By working together to oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure and the money that funds similar polluting industries, local communities have an opportunity to create the world that they want to see. Come and be part of this conversation locally on the 15th December 2016.”

“I believe we can all play our small part," added Anne Jarvis, "and I'm interested in helping build a community here in Lancaster and Morecambe that supports one another in the face of changing economic and climate change. I'm keen to find innovative ways to address the global issues that affect us locally.”

Tickets £3 - to cover the costs of room hire.

• To find out more see: www.facebook.com/events/1107797269341413

• Time to Cycle website: www.timetocycle.org

Lancaster's new Park and Ride opens on Friday with free parking


People will be able to park for free at Lancaster's new Park and Ride service when it first opens to encourage drivers to give it a try - and appeal to Christmas shoppers who want to avoid potential city centre congestion.

The new facility at junction 34 of the M6 has been delivered as part of the Bay Gateway project, which provides a direct link from the motorway to the Heysham peninsula.

The 650-space site is due to open on Friday 9th December, with the first bus leaving for Lancaster at 6.50am.

Pay and display facilities will be installed in February 2017. However, until then, parking will be free, giving people the chance to pay just £1.50 for a return bus ticket, or use the site at no cost to park and cycle, walk, or car-share.

County Councillor John Fillis, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The new Park and Ride is a key feature of the Bay Gateway and aims to boost Lancaster's economy by improving access to the city, and reducing congestion which also has wider environmental benefits.

"Parking at the site will be convenient for people who want to use the bus, or the River Lune Cycleway to complete their journey. It's also a good place to meet for anyone who wants to car share on their way into Lancaster.

"Parking will be free to begin with, which we hope will be a good incentive for people to start using the Park and Ride. With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, the timing is particularly good for people who are visiting the centre of Lancaster for shopping or social events.

"The Park and Ride will continue to offer good value when we begin charging to park in February, with all-day parking available for just £1, and £1.50 for a return ticket on the bus."

The Park and Ride will operate from Monday to Saturday, with buses running every 30 minutes between the Park and Ride and Lancaster Bus Station via George Street. On weekdays, services will begin at 6.50am at the Park and Ride, with the last service back to the site leaving Lancaster Bus Station at 7.35pm. On Saturdays the first bus leaving the Park and Ride will be at 7.50am, with the last return service leaving Lancaster Bus Station at 6.35pm.

When fully up and running, people will be able to pay and display to park, or pay on their mobile phones. There will also be a variety of ticketing options, including a weekly ticket for £6, a family day ticket (up to 2 adults for 3 children) for £3, and a group day ticket (up to 4 adults travelling together) for £4 . Facilities include a fully enclosed bus shelter with seating and CCTV security.

The site will be open 24-hours a day so will also be ideal for people wanting to car share to longer distances, without needing to worry about their car being locked in. Whilst no buses will operate on a Sunday, the site will be open making it a good option for anyone who wants to cycle or walk along the river Lune.

County Councillor Fillis added: "At first buses will run from the Park and Ride every 30 minutes, which is the longest anyone will have to wait. This is the level of service we can afford at the moment but we're already exploring opportunities to fund more frequent services.

"The Park and Ride is an excellent facility which will complement one of the benefits provided by the Bay Gateway in reducing congestion in Lancaster. The proposals outlined in our Highways and Transport Masterplan for Lancaster show how we will work to build on this in the future by managing city centre traffic more closely to ensure Lancaster continues to be a great place to live and work."

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 30th November to 8th December 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 releases make it to local screens this period. There is adult comedy with Office Christmas Party (15), family animation in Moana (PG); fact based drama with Scully: Miracle on the Hudson (12A) and period drama in The Innocents (15).

Movies that have been dropped include Deepwater Horizon; Storks; The BFG; The Light Between Oceans and The Girl on the Train. In addition it looks like A Street Cat Named Bob is coming to the end of its screening. However by way of compensation, we see the return of Ice Age: Collision Course; Kubo and the Two Strings and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

Drama this period comes with the forbidden romance A United Kingdom; wartime romance Allied; mystery in Nocturnal Animals; aviation near disaster with Scully: Miracle on the Hudson and the disturbing period piece The innocents. In addition there is science fiction with Arrival, super-helo action in Doctor Strange and family adventure in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them & Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

Comedy on offer includes A Street Cat Named Bob; Bad Santa 2 and Office Christmas Party.

This period provides a good selection of family animation movies with ice Age: Collision Course; Kubo and the Two Strings; Moana; and Trolls.

Two films of note are Andrew Stones 1943 musical Stormy Weather and archive footage in Britain on Film: Railways.

High culture this period comes with the opera Teatro Alla Scala Live: Madame Butterfly. In addition the Dukes is providing the chance to see Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 classic The Passion of Joan of Arc. This is being screened at Lancaster Priory and comes with an original live score.

Reviews

A Street Cat Named Bob
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Luke Treadaway, Joanne Froggatt
Based on the best selling book of the same name, the movie tells the story of James Bowen (Treadaway) who is homeless and a recovering drug addict. He is relocated to a bedsit in North London and given a final chance to tun his life around by his support worker Val (Froggatt). Bowen struggles to live by busking in Covent Garden. One day a ginger cat finds him. The cat has an infected paw and James takes it for treatment. From then on the pair are inseparable. The movie is streetwise and serious but also manages to be humorous and silly. Treadaway gives a good performance, but the cat steals the show. An enjoyable if slightly soppy family feel-good film.

A United Kingdom
Director: Amma Asante
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: David Oyelowo Rosamund Pike
Based on the book 'Colour Bar' by Susan Williams, the film is a romantic drama based on the real life romance between Sir Seretse Khama, king of Botswana and Ruth Williams. Seretse and Ruth met in London, in the 1940's, fell in love and subsequently married. However the marriage was opposed by their families, the couple becoming ostracised by their friends. Governments were also involved as South Africa had recently introduced their system of apartheid and they pressured the British government with threats of economic sanctions if the marriage was allowed to go ahead. This is a fine period romance with excellent costumes, impressive cinematography and exotic backdrops. The film concentrates on the human drama faced by the couple and rather glosses over the political complexities, but it is not the worse for that. The movie has received good reviews.

Bad Santa 2
Director: Mark Waters
Certificate: 15
Cast Includes: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Kathy Bates, Brett Kelly
A sequel to the 2003 movie 'Bad Santa', starring many of the original cast. Wilie Soke (Thornton) again plays the role of drunk, lecherous and greedy anit-hero. He teams up with his helper Marcus (Cox) to attempt to rob a Chicago charity of $2 million on Christmas eve. Also involved in the scheme is Soke's foul mouthed mother Sunny (Bates) and 'the kid' from the first movie Thurmon Merman (Brett Kelly) now fully grown but no less innocent. The movie contains much bad language and sex scenes as it tries to recapture the magic of the original. However there are fewer 'laugh out loud' moments amongst the rather muddled plot. An average movie which received mixed reviews.

Doctor Strange
Director: Scott Derrickson
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mads Kikkelsen
Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) was a surgeon whose career was ruined by a car accident which crushed his hands. He learned of an Ancient One (Swinton) with healing powers and so travels to Nepal to seek out the mystic. Here Strange learns of the different dimensions, magic and becomes a warrior on the astral plane. Meanwhile a former disciple of the Ancient One Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) has turned to the dark side and is intent on invoking the malevolent Dormammu from his alien abode. Strange much choose between a life of fortune or to defend the earth from magical attack. Doctor Strange has made a very successful transition from comic to the screen and the movie provides a good plot with excellent acting and dialogue. Special effects are very convincing and the film is one of the better Marvel super-hero movies.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Director: David Yates
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Colin Farrell
This is a Harry Potter prequel, inspired by J K Rowling's book of the same name. The movie is set in the 1920's, where Newt Scamander is a magizoologist, collecting and studying magical creatures. He visits New Your City where several of these creatures escape from his suitcase. He collects about him a group of allies to try to recapture the beasts. However New York at this time has been under a reign of terror from the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) and in the era of suspicion the creatures are believed to be responsible for an attack. Hence Percival Graves (Farrell), a director of magical secrets, declares war on Scamander and his helpers. This is a wonderful film and a fine tribute to the creativity of Rawlings. There are lots of plots, strange people and weird and wonderful beasts. The movie has received favourable reviews, but is perhaps a little darker than the Harry Potter series.

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?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Director: Tim Burton
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Samuel L Jackson, Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench
A rather dark fantasy drama based on the 2011 best selling novel by Ransom Riggs. Jake (Butterfield), following the death of his grandfather, finds Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. This is a refuge for people with extraordinary gifts and it is fixed in one day in 1940, which they continually re-live. The inhabitants of the home can access different time zones. However they have powerful enemies, led by Mr Barron (Jackson), who also have peculiar powers. Jake finds himself being called upon to help his new friends. This is a very busy film with plenty of characters, lots of action and CGI special effects. However, in this variety, there seems limited time for the characters to fully develop. The movie has received mixed reviews but this reviewer found it great fun.

Moana
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.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

'Left Behind' City Museum Exhibition captures abandoned Moor Hospital


'Left Behind: Capturing the Moor Hospital’ is an exhibition by Nick Dagger Photography at Lancaster City Museum. It showcases Lancaster’s abandoned 19th Century psychiatric hospital, the first asylum in Lancashire. This project sets the scene of what was left behind after closing its doors in 2000 and before the complex was given a new lease of life and redeveloped as luxury homes in 2013.

The exhibition will run from Friday 2nd December 2016 to Sunday 19th February 2017. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm and entry is free. Lancaster Arts City's event 'First Fridays' will be hosting an exclusive lunchtime preview from noon on Friday 2nd December, with a special Meet the Artist session and a unique photographic workshop from 12.30-1.30pm.

Natalie Mullen, a PHd student at Lancaster University is also hosting a talk entitled 'Coping with Confinement: Patient Experience in Lancashire County Asylum' at the exhibition on Friday 9th December from 1 - 2pm.

Alongside the haunting and powerful images, the exhibition will also display historical artifacts from the Moor Hospital, a collection provided by Lancashire County Council. The Council's cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, County Councillor Marcus Johnstone said: "I'm sure these photographs will be very evocative for Lancaster residents who remember this landmark building.

“The site has now been given a new lease of life, and so this exhibition provides a great opportunity to take a look at some very poignant images to discover some of the history of the building by what remained. I'm sure that the uniqueness and atmosphere of the building will be sensed from the photographs."

Nick Dagger said, "As a Lancastrian born and bred, it is such an honour to be working with Lancaster City Museum on this project and to have the opportunity to display this exhibition in the heart of my home city. The Moor Hospital is an iconic building in our city of heritage and for as long as I can remember I have always wondered what lay within.”

“With the support of The Chamber North Lancashire, Lancaster Arts City, The Bay and Lancaster BID, the aim of this exhibition is to invite the curious Lancaster public and its visitors in to the city to look behind the curtains of this once secretive and intriguing building.”

Explore the Moor Hospital for the first time at Lancaster City Museum and let the images take you on a journey of discovery into the history of what was left behind.

For more information on this exhibition and see other work by Nick Dagger Photography, visit www.nickdaggerphotography.com/events