Now showing at Chapter Market Road,Canton,Cardiff,South Glamorgan CF5 1QE firstname.lastname@example.org 029 2030 4400
- A Royal Night Out
- Far From The Madding Crowd
- NT Live Encore Screening: Man And Superman
- The New Girlfriend
- UK Green Film Festival 2015: Divide In Concord
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.
Cinderella 4 stars
Ella loses her mother and father, but inherits a vindictive stepmother Lady Tremaine and two brattish stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella. Treated as a servant by her new family, who cruelly nickname her Cinderella, the plucky heroine catches the eye of dashing Prince Charming, who must pick a bride to ensure the security of the kingdom. So he throws a lavish ball where Ella makes a grand entrance with some magical help from her Fairy Godmother.
- GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Family, Family, Fantasy, Romance
- CastDerek Jacobi, Stellan Skarsgard, Richard Madden, Holliday Grainger, Cate Blanchett, Sophie McShera, Lily James, Ben Chaplin, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell.
- DirectorKenneth Branagh.
- WriterChris Weitz.
- Duration113 mins
- Official sitemovies.disney.com/cinderella/
Slavishly adapted from Disney's classic 1950 animated musical, Kenneth Branagh's live action version of the fairy-tale romance doesn't skimp on the period detail. Sandy Powell's luxurious costumes, Dante Ferretti's opulent set designs and Patrick Doyle's sweeping orchestral score conjure a magical world of unerring love in which even we gasp at the gargantuan splendour of the grand ball where the prince must choose his wife.
While this Cinderella unquestionably dazzles the senses, screenwriter Chris Weitz is shackled to fond memories of the hand-drawn film and consequently, he has almost no room for flourishes of originality.
The plot arc is predetermined, the ugly stepsisters don't hack off their heels or toes to squeeze into a misplaced glass slipper, and Helena Bonham Carter's fairy godmother isn't quite as eccentric as she or we would like as she engineers the film's best set-piece with a flick of her wand.
"I don't go transforming pumpkins for just anyone!" she chirps. No, the special effects wizards do and they accomplish the pivotal sequence with aplomb. Before all of the jiggery-pokery with a pumpkin, four mice and a goose, Ella (Lily James) is consigned to the kitchen by her vindictive stepmother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and brattish stepsisters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera).
Emboldened by the dying words of her mother (Hayley Atwell) - "Have courage and be kind" - Ella tries to rise above the bullying. When the name-calling becomes too frightful, she escapes on horseback and catches the eye of the dashing Prince (Richard Madden), who must pick a bride at the behest of the dying King (Derek Jacobi).
So the Prince throws a lavish ball where Ella makes her grand entrance then disappears as the clock chimes midnight, leaving behind footwear that would surely pose a health and safety risk in any other film. "Find that girl - the forgetful one who loses her shoes!" decrees the Captain of the royal guard (Nonzo Anosie).
Cinderella will enchant a generation of girls, who dream of donning the tiara of a Disney princess. James and Madden are an attractive screen pairing, while Blanchett draws inspiration from Joan Crawford to cast a formidable shadow from beneath the brim of her character's extravagant hats.
"I do love a happy ending, don't you?" gushes one of the characters. Branagh's film certainly does, without a hint of irony. The main feature is preceded by the animated short Frozen Fever, which continues the adventures of sisters Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) as they prepare for a birthday celebration.
Lovable snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and hunky Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) also return and the script includes a cute reference to the blockbusting film when ice queen Elsa sneezes and chirrups, "A cold never bothered me anyway!" A generation of men, who take to their beds at the first sniffle, would disagree.
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.
NT Live Encore Screening: Man And Superman 3 stars
Simon Godwin directs George Bernard Shaw's provocative and philosophical romantic comedy, recorded live at the National Theatre in London. Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma star as the radical bachelor Jack Tanner and the alluring heiress Ann, who dalliances pose timely questions about how we choose to live.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Romance, Special
- CastRalph Fiennes, Christine Kavanagh, Indira Varma, Nicholas Le Prevost, Corey Johnson.
- DirectorSimon Godwin.
- WriterGeorge Bernard Shaw.
- Duration220 mins
- Official sitentlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/49348-man-and-superman
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Monday 25th May 2015
The New Girlfriend 4 stars
Claire and Laura have been best friends since childhood. When Laura discovers she is terminally ill and won't live to see her child's first birthday, Claire and her husband Gilles promise to help Laura's husband David raise the child. One morning, Claire decides to pay David a visit to see how he is coping on his own and she makes a shocking discovery that forces her to confront her prejudices and preconceptions.
- GenreAdaptation, Drama, World
- CastRaphael Personnaz, Romain Duris, Anais Demoustier, Isild Le Besco.
- DirectorFrancois Ozon.
- WriterFrancois Ozon.
- Duration108 mins
- Official site
- Release22/05/2015 (selected cinemas)
Romain Duris delivers an eye-catching performance in Francois Ozon's provocative drama with a delicious twist, based on the short story of the same name by Ruth Rendell. Claire (Anais Demoustier) and Laura (Isild Le Besco) have been best friends since childhood. When Laura finds her soulmate in David (Duris), Claire is their bridesmaid and soon after, Claire falls in love with her handsome beau, Gilles (Raphael Personnaz). The two women look forward to the birth of Laura's daughter Lucie. Alas, Laura discovers she is terminally ill and won't live to see her child's first birthday. When she dies, David is devastated and Claire and Gilles promise to help him raise the child. One morning, Claire decides to pay David a visit to see how he is coping on his own and she makes a shocking discovery that forces her to confront her prejudices and preconceptions.