Now showing at Chapter Market Road,Canton,Cardiff,South Glamorgan CF5 1QE firstname.lastname@example.org 029 2030 4400
- Dr Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
- Dr Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb + Intro
- Earth To Echo
- Magic In The Moonlight
- Manuscripts Don't Burn
- The Day The Earth Caught Fire
- The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden
'71 4 stars
Gary Hook finishes his training with other squaddies and is immediately dispatched to 1971 Belfast to facilitate a fragile peace in the city. On his first day on the streets, Gary becomes embroiled in a riot and he is separated from the other British soldiers. Chased down alleyways by an army gang of militia who want him dead, Gary is trapped in an alien environment far from the safety of his barracks, unable to distinguish between allies and foes.
- GenreAction, Drama, Thriller, War
- CastSam Reid, Jack O'Connell, Sean Harris, Sam Hazeldine.
- DirectorYann Demange.
- WriterGregory Burke.
- Duration99 mins
- Official site
- Release10/10/2014 (selected cinemas)
A teenage soldier becomes separated from his platoon in the cauldron of violence of 1971 Belfast in Yann Demange's nail-biting survival thriller. Punctuated by kinetic action sequences that relentlessly tighten the knot of tension in our stomachs, '71 is a dazzling debut from the TV director, who made the acclaimed Channel 4 series Top Boy.
Demange puts leading man Jack O'Connell through the physical wringer as he explores the sectarian divide through the eyes of a wet-behind-the-ears recruit, who is marked for death by the provisional IRA and supposed allies.
Juddering handheld camerawork during chase sequences and a nerve-racking game of hide and seek keep us uncomfortably close to the carnage, and only a few hours after the stricken soldier has foolishly assured his kid brother that this first tour of duty will be a breeze: "I'm not leaving the country so you've got nothing to worry about." Home is where the heartbreak is.
Squaddie Gary Hook (O'Connell) completes his gruelling training and is immediately dispatched to the Northern Irish capital to facilitate the fragile peace. Under the command of platoon leader Lieutenant Armitage (Sam Reid), Gary and fellow recruits head to the Catholic west.
At first, hostility amounts to little more than potty-mouthed children throwing water bombs full of urine. However, a house-to-house search spirals out of control and during the subsequent riot, Gary and pal Thommo (Jack Lowden) are left behind.
A small gang of provisional IRA comprising ruthless leader Quinn (Killian Scott), sidekick Haggerty (Martin McCann) and newbie Sean (Barry Keoghan) shoot Thommo at close range but Gary escapes, sprinting down alleyways with the gun-toting assailants in pursuit. Thankfully, Gary finds sanctuary and as night falls, he traces a path back to the barracks under cover of darkness.
A boy called Billy (Corey McKinley) offers assistance but when the tyke's makeshift plan goes horribly wrong, Gary turns to Brigid (Charlie Murphy) and her father, Eamon (Richard Dormer), a former army medic, who has had his fill of the uniform. "You're just a piece of meat to them," Eamon warns Gary.
'71 masterfully sustains tension without getting bogged down in the thorny politics of the era. Nerves are shredded to tatters in the opening half hour and screenwriter Gregory Burke wrings every drop of suspense from his neat set-up.
A detour to a loyalist pub is orchestrated and edited with brio. O'Connell follows up his bruising portrayal of a young offender in Starred Up with another emotionally charged performance, holding his character's fears at bay until that particular dam bursts and sobs rack his aching body.
Lines between allies and adversaries are repeatedly blurred, stacking the odds heavily against Gary as he ducks for cover, and we hunker down with him, brows beaded with sweat and knuckles white with fear.
Boyhood 3 stars
Drama about a boy's coming of age, shot over 12 years with the same crew and cast. When we first meet Mason Jr, he's preparing to move house with his mother Olivia and precocious older sister, Samantha. Errant father Mason Sr takes the children ten-pin bowling and dispense pithy words of wisdom. As Mason Jr blossoms into a sullen and awkward teenager, Olivia ricochets from a bad marriage to a drunk professor to a bad marriage to one of her students.
- GenreDrama, Romance
- CastPatricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater.
- DirectorRichard Linklater.
- WriterRichard Linklater.
- Duration166 mins
- Official sitewww.boyhoodmovie.tumblr.com
In 2002, filmmaker Richard Linklater had a dream. The celebrated Texan director of Dazed And Confused and Before Sunrise, whose mother and father separated when he was seven, wanted to make a drama that realistically captured the bonds between parent and child. He announced his intention to create a close-knit family of cast and crew, who would reunite every year to shoot new scenes that accurately reflected the physical and emotional changes of the young stars.
Seven-year-old Ellar Coltrane was cast in the lead role and Linklater chose his then eight-year-old daughter Lorelei to portray the central character's older sister. The result is a directorial doozy of dazzling ambition and scope that falls short in terms of pacing and compelling narrative arcs.
From a technical perspective, Boyhood is a staggering achievement - a testament to Linklater's determination that could have fallen apart at any point in the past 12 years. From the fragments of each annual get-together, the writer-director has fashioned a naturalistic slideshow of the awkward transition from childhood to adulthood that will doubtless garner an Oscar nomination and a deluge of critical plaudits.
When we first meet Mason Jr (Ellar Coltrane), he's preparing to move house with his mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and precocious older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), who keeps him awake with her rendition of Britney's Oops!... I Did It Again.
Errant father Mason Sr (Ethan Hawke) takes the children ten-pin bowling and the boy pleads for the introduction of safeguards to keep his ball out of the gutter. "You don't want bumpers - life doesn't give you bumpers," his old man counsels.
Major pop culture and political events including the publication of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and Obama's presidential campaign allow us to date each chapter as Mason Jr blossoms into a sullen and awkward teenager.
En route, Olivia ricochets from a bad marriage to a drunk professor (Marco Perella) to a bad marriage to one of her students (Brad Hawkins), with occasional appearances from Mason Sr to dispense pithy words of wisdom.
By the very nature of its creation, Boyhood unfolds in fits and spurts, some more interesting than others. Coltrane starts the film as a cheeky cherub, who is slightly wooden in front of camera, but he grows in confidence and stature.
Arquette has surprisingly scant screen time considering she is primary care giver and the final edit runs close to three hours, while Hawke could almost have walked off the set of Before Midnight, given his character's penchant for rambling introspection.
It's easy to be blinded by the glorious gimmick that initiated Boyhood but if you judge Linklater's film purely on what made it to the screen, it's a fascinating yet flawed experiment.
Dr Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb 4 stars
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Tuesday 28th October 2014
Dr Strangelove: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb + Intro 4 stars
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Sunday 26th October 2014
Earth To Echo 3 stars
Best friends Alex, Munch and Tuck are devastated when a highway construction project tears apart their community of Clark County, Nevada, forcing the lads and their families to relocate to different parts of the country. On their last day together, they follow strange signals on their mobile phones into the desert and uncover a friendly alien robot, who has become stranded on Earth. The boys nickname the robot Echo and pledge to help their otherworldly friend return home.
- GenreAction, Adventure, Drama, Family, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
- CastReese Hartwig, Astro, Teo Halm, Ella Wahlestedt.
- DirectorDave Green.
- WriterHenry Gayden.
- Duration91 mins
- Official sitewww.callhimecho.com
In 1982, ET phoned home and now another stranded extra-terrestrial requires assistance from pint-sized heroes to safely return to the stars in Dave Green's fantastical family-oriented adventure. Earth To Echo begs obvious similarities to Steven Spielberg's classic coming-of-age story and the 1987 fantasy *Batteries Not Included.
Green's special effects-laden picture lacks the emotional wallop of the former and the unabashed charm of the latter, but does tread a familiar path through fresh eyes by employing the found footage format a la Paranormal Activity.
Characters address an omnipresent video camera, verbalising their excitement and fear as a night-time bicycle ride into the desert becomes a rescue mission of galactic proportions. "I'm Reginald. I'm a bit of an acquired taste... that's what my mom says," confesses one of the boys in his endearingly nervous introduction.
Like all examples of the genre, the lens invariably points in the right direction, regardless of realism, to capture important conversations and push forward the storyline.
"What you're about to see is what happened to me and my friends one year ago," explains Tuck (Brian "Astro" Bradley). In fragmented footage, we meet Tuck's best friends Alex (Teo Halm) and Reginald aka Munch (Reese Hartwig) after they learn that a highway construction project is going to tear apart their community of Clark County, Nevada.
The lads will have to relocate to different parts of the country, signalling the end of their balmy childhood. On their last night together, the boys follow strange signals on their mobile phones into the desert. "I never understood why people like the outdoors," wheezes Munch.
They uncover a friendly robot, who has become stranded on Earth, and the boys pledge to help their otherworldly friend locate the missing parts of his spaceship so he can return home.
Plucky classmate Emma (Ella Wahlestedt) joins the trio as they evade shady government officials led by Dr Lawrence Masden (Jason Gray-Stanford), who are also hunting Echo. "He just wants to go home!" pleads one of the children. "That will not happen," sneers Masden, "that thing is far too valuable."
Earth To Echo is a state-of-the-art ode to ET and its imitators that ups the technical ante for a generation that prefers to swipe at tablets and smart phones rather than go outside and play. Green employs special effects at key junctures, but, for the most part, he's reliant on the young cast to carry his film.
Halm, Bradley and Hartwig are appealing without being too winsomely cute, and there are some genuinely touching scenes of the boys choking back emotion as the enormity of the situation, and the risks, become clear.
The titular robot's personality is encapsulated in a few beeps and trills that should, if nothing else, remind audiences to keep their mobile devices switched off for the duration.
Magic In The Moonlight 3 stars
Celebrated magician Stanley Crawford answers a plea from his good friend Howard Burkan to travel the French Riviera and debunk a psychic medium called Sophie Baker, who has promised to help wealthy widow Grace Catledge make contact with her late husband. Posing as businessman, Stanley heads for the Catledge villa and witnesses Sophie's boggling feats of mind-reading and clairvoyance that defy rational explanation.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
- CastColin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Simon McBurney, Eileen Atkins.
- DirectorWoody Allen.
- WriterWoody Allen.
- Duration98 mins
- Official site
There is a soupcon of magic and moonlight but considerably more insecurities and bluster in Woody Allen's playful yet lightweight romantic comedy set on the sun-kissed 1920s French Riviera. The writer-director's frequent forays away from his beloved New York to European soil have been decidedly hit-and-miss affairs and Magic In The Moonlight disappoints more than it delights.
Allen affectionately evokes the era from the opening croon of the Cole Porter classic You Do Something To Me performed by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra, and the writer-director loads the soundtrack with upbeat jazzy tunes that telegraph the characters' emotions like You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love) by Smith Ballew and His Piping Rock Orchestra to underscore a blossoming central romance.
Regrettably, sparkling one-liners are in short supply on the Cote d'Azur and the on-screen chemistry between Colin Firth and Emma Stone is lukewarm, never threatening to set our pulse racing like her smouldering pairings with Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love or real-life beau Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man.
The film opens in 1928 Berlin, where magician Stanley Crawford (Firth) delights a sell-out audience in his guise as Chinese conjurer Wei Ling Soo. Backstage, he berates his crew for their incompetence and lives up to the description of his best and perhaps only friend Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney) as "a genius with all the charm of a typhus epidemic".
Howard entreats Stanley to accompany him to the Riviera to debunk a psychic medium called Sophie Baker (Emma Stone), who has promised to help wealthy widow Grace Catledge (Jacki Weaver) make contact with her late husband.
In return, Grace has pledged to fund an expensive institute fronted by Sophie's mother (Marcia Gay Harden). Swatting aside warnings about Sophie's beauty - "A pretty face never hurt a cheap swindler," retorts Stanley dryly - the magician bids fond farewell to his fiancee (Catherine McCormack) and heads for the Catledge villa posing as businessman Stanley Taplinger.
In no time at all, Stanley is almost as smitten with Sophie as Grace's lovesick son Brice (Hamish Linklater) and the celebrated magician struggles to find a rational explanation for her boggling feats of mind-reading and clairvoyance.
Magic In The Moonlight is a valentine to Allen's lifelong fascination with tricks and illusions, and he engineers one moment of misdirection to quickly untangle the knotty central plot. An even bigger trick would be convincing us that Firth and Stone make a perfect match but it's doubtful Houdini could have pulled off that gross deception.
Supporting cast, who have a canny knack of scoring Oscar nominations in Allen's work, are subdued, even Eileen Atkins in the plum role of Firth's straight-talking aunt, who can sniff romance on her nephew like cheap cologne.
Manuscripts Don't Burn 3 stars
Khosrow and Morteza are assassins, who are hired to torture and, if necessary, murder dissident writers. Their targets include one elderly intellectual, who possesses an incriminating manuscript that details a security operation to murder a group of writers by driving their bus off a cliff. The manuscript specifically names Khosrow and Morteza's boss and, understandably, he wants to destroy the evidence.
- GenreDrama, Thriller, World
- DirectorMohammad Rasoulof.
- WriterMohammad Rasoulof.
- Duration127 mins
- Official site
- Release12/09/2014 (selected cinemas)
Based on real historical events, Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof's riveting thriller centres on men of violence and conscience, whose worlds collide with bloody consequences. Khosrow and Morteza are assassins, who are hired to torture and, if necessary, murder dissident writers. Their targets include one elderly intellectual, who possesses an incriminating manuscript that details a security operation to murder a group of writers by driving their bus off a cliff. The manuscript specifically names Khosrow and Morteza's boss and, understandably, he wants to destroy the evidence. While searching for the manuscript, Khosrow battles personal demons as he tries to raise enough money to pay for a vital operation for his sickly son. With each job, Khosrow moves a step closer to saving his boy: taking one life to preserve another.
The Day The Earth Caught Fire stars
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Tuesday 28th October 2014
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden 3 stars
In the 1930s, a Berlin doctor and his mistress flee polite society and establish a carefree new life on uninhabited Floreana Island. The international media sensationalises this retreat, drawing other settlers to the Galapagos community. Friction between various islanders leads to disappearances, sparking rumours of murder and foul play. This documentary attempts to unravel the mystery through a patchwork of newly unearthed home movies and modern day interviews.
- GenreDocumentary, Indie, Thriller
- CastDiane Kruger, Thomas Kretschmann, Cate Blanchett, Connie Nielsen, Sebastian Koch.
- DirectorDaniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine.
- WriterDaniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine, Celeste Schaefer Snyder.
- Duration120 mins
- Official sitewww.gellergoldfine.com/eden.html
- Release25/07/2014 (selected cinemas)
Cate Blanchett, Diane Kruger, Connie Nielsen, Sebastian Koch, Thomas Kretschmann, Gustaf Skarsgard and Josh Radnor provide vocal performances for Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller's documentary, which chronicles a real-life 1930s murder mystery. A Berlin doctor and his mistress flee polite society and establish a carefree new life on uninhabited Floreana Island. The international media sensationalises this retreat and news of the "Adam and Eve" of the Galapagos draws other settlers to the community including a self-styled Swiss Family Robinson and a Viennese Baroness and her two lovers. Friction between various islanders leads to disappearance of some of the new inhabitants, sparking rumours of murder and foul play. Directors Goldfine and Geller attempt to unravel the mystery through a patchwork of newly unearthed home movies of the original settlers and testimonies of modern day islanders.