Halloween may still be a couple of months away, but there are scares aplenty on offer in the cinema this month.

We’ve got a serial killer on the loose in Victorian London, Jennifer Lawrence getting creeped out by uninvited guests, and one of Stephen King’s most diabolical creations lurking in the sewer.

If you need something to soothe your frayed nerves after all that, then never fear, York’s own Dame Judi Dench is back as Queen Victoria, 20 years after she last played the role.

PS Is it just me, or would anyone else watch a The Trip-style TV show where Dame Judi and Helen Mirren tour the British Isles in character as Victoria and Elizabeth II, delivering regal put-downs over tea and cake? The Great British Queen Off. Music by Brian May. Ratings gold, I’d’ve thought…

Family films

Animal Crackers

Cert TBC, 100 mins

Vue York

From Fri Sep 15

Movie Facebook page

A family’s life is changed forever when they inherit a rundown circus in this animated tale.

Fortunately, the circus also comes with a box of animal crackers which magically transform them into whatever animal they have eaten.

Armed with their secret weapon, they fight to save the circus from takeover by their evil uncle.

Real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski (Jim in the US version of The Office) voice the mum and dad, while Ian McKellen does the honours as the (inevitably British) uncle.

Thriller

The Limehouse Golem

Cert 15, 109 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Sep 1

Movie Facebook page

Murder and menace in fog-shrouded Victorian London with Bill Nighy on the case? Count me in!

Nighy plays Detective John Kildare, investigating a series of brutal murders which the community has come to attribute to the “Limehouse Golem”, a creature from Jewish myth.

Enlisting the help of key witness Lizzie Cree (Olivia Cooke), Kildare tries to identify the killer from a list of suspects including some real-life historical figures, such as entertainer Dan Leno (Douglas Booth) and even Karl Marx (Henry Goodman).

Action

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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Cert TBC, TBC mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Wed Sep 20

Movie website

There’s a new mission for the top secret spy organisation in this action/comedy sequel.

This time the action shifts to the US, as the Kingsman agents – Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Roxy (Sophie Cookson) and Merlin (Mark Strong) – hook up with Statesman, their American counterpart, after their headquarters are destroyed.

Channing Tatum and Halle Berry join the cast as their new allies, while Colin Firth returns as Eggsy’s mentor Harry, now sporting an eyepatch and looking in somewhat ruder health than he did at the end of the first film.

Horror

It

Cert 15, 135 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Sep 8

Movie website

Fears of a clown…The classic Stephen King horror about a group of outcast children fighting a murderous shape-shifting entity comes to the big screen this month.

Set in Derry, Maine in the summer of 1989, the film sees the members of “The Losers’ Club” band together against the chilling clown Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgård).

A group of small town ‘80s kids taking on a supernatural evil sound familiar? King’s story was one of the influences on TV hit Stranger Things, and appropriately enough Finn Wolfhard (Mike in the show) is back on his bike here as one of the gang.

Mother!

Cert TBC, 115 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Sep 15

Movie Facebook page

Director Darren Aronofosky is back in the psychological horror area of Black Swan with this unsettling new chiller.

Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem star as a couple whose peaceful life in their solitary country home is thrown into turmoil after two mysterious strangers (Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris) turn up uninvited.

The trailer’s a pretty intense experience in itself, so it looks like the film will do plenty to earn that exclamation mark in the title.

Drama

God’s Own Country

Cert 15, 105 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Sep 1

Movie Facebook page

There’s been great praise for this Yorkshire-set story about the love that blossoms between a young sheep farmer and a Romanian migrant worker during lambing season.

Johnny (Josh O’Connor), frustrated and weighed down by the pressures of working on his family farm, numbs his pain with binge drinking and casual sex. When his family employ Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) to help on the farm, the two form an intense bond which transforms Johnny’s world.

Filmed around the Keighley area, the debut feature from Yorkshire-born writer/director Francis Lee has already won several awards, including Best British Feature at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Victoria and Abdul

Cert PG, 112 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Sep 15

Movie website

Two decades after Mrs Brown proved such a hit, Judi Dench reprises her role as Queen Victoria in this drama detailing another unlikely friendship in the Queen’s later years.

When young clerk Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) arrives from India to take part in Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, the two develop a close bond, to the concern of the Queen’s inner circle.

Directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena) with a screenplay by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), the film also stars Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon and the late Tim Pigott-Smith.

Borg Vs McEnroe

Cert TBC, TBC mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Sep 22

Movie website

When tennis ace John McEnroe comes up against an evil alien collective intent on assimilating him, he challenges them to a game of doubles…Nah, not really.

This sporting drama focusses on the famous rivalry between McEnroe and Björn Borg, culminating in their famous epic face-off in the Wimbledon 1980 Men’s Singles final, believed by many to be the greatest match ever played.

Shia LeBoeuf (no stranger to controversy himself) stars as the volatile McEnroe, with Sverrir Gudnason as the cool, focussed Borg and Stellan Skarsgård (from BBC detective drama River) as Borg’s trainer Lennart Bergelin.

Special Events

John le Carré: An Evening with George Smiley

Cert 12A

Vue York, City Screen

Thu Sep 7, 7:45pm

Not a film, but a rare chance to see an in-depth interview with a writer whose novels – including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener and The Night Manager – have provided many a tense moment on the big and small screens.

Broadcast live from London’s Royal Festival Hall, this event will see Le Carré read from his new novel A Legacy of Spies and look back at his career, as well as taking questions from the audience.

Oxide Ghosts: The Brass Eye Tapes + Q&A

Cert 18, 60 mins

City Screen

Wed Sep 13, 6:30pm

More info

Anyone who remembers watching Noel Edmonds solemnly intone the horrors of the entirely fictional drug Cake may be interested in this.

Brass Eye, the spoof current affairs series which tricked Edmonds and plenty of other celebrities into being the face of a string of nonsensical campaigns, turns 20 this year, and Oxide Ghosts is a look behind the scenes of the show.

The film is a compendium of previously unseen footage from the making of the show, put together by its director Michael Cumming from his personal archive with the blessing of Brass Eye creator and star Chris Morris.

Michael Cumming will be present to take part in a Q&A after the screening.

La La Land – Live on Screen With Orchestra

Cert 12A, 128 mins

York Barbican

Sat Sep 23, 7:30pm

Movie website

This year’s hit musical is coming back to York for a special one-off screening at the Barbican, with its score performed live by a 60-piece orchestra.

La La Land tells the story of two hopefuls in LA, actress Mia (Emma Stone) and jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), whose paths cross as they pursue their dreams.

A colourful modern-day love letter to the golden age of musicals, the film won six Oscars, including for Best Original Song (for ‘City of Stars’) and Best Original Score (let’s not mention the one it didn’t win…).

If you fancy seeing the film without all the orchestral bells and whistles, it’s also showing at Film at the Folk Hall in New Earswick on 29th – details further down.

Seasons and one-off screenings

I must confess I was unaware that York has a twin city – well, in fact it has two. We are twinned with Dijon in France and Münster in Germany, and in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the latter partnership, City Screen will be showing this year’s hit German father/daughter comedy Toni Erdmann on Monday 18th.

Tap dancing in a downpour, singing nuns and man-eating plants – if these are a few of your favourite things, you’ll be pleased to hear that City Screen’s Vintage Sundays strand is all about musicals this month.

You can catch Gene Kelly in Singin’ In The Rain (3rd) and An American in Paris (17th), yodel along to The Sound of Music on 10th, and enter the Little Shop of Horrors on 24th.

Music of a slightly different kind can be found in Black Sabbath: the End of the End, a film documenting the legendary Birmingham metal band’s final ever gig, which took place in February this year. Featuring footage from the gig mixed with interviews with the band, it will be screening at Vue and City Screen on Thursday 28th.

And if you just can’t let Ozzy go, you may like to know that City Screen will be hosting tribute band Jack Sabbath on Friday 29th in The Basement.

For those more into dancing than head banging, documentary Step is showing at City Screen on Tuesday 26th. Telling the story of a girls’ high school dance team in deprived inner city Baltimore, the film received a standing ovation when screened at the Sundance Festival earlier this year.

Sticking (sort of) with the musical theme, a five-note calling card is famously used by the extra-terrestrial visitors in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, back at City Screen (Mon 18th) for its 40th anniversary. It’s in Vue’s ‘coming soon’ list so will hopefully be screening there too.

And finally – Logan Noir might sound like the name of an Aldi own-brand coffee, but it is in fact a black and white screening of Hugh Jackman’s well-received swansong as Wolverine from earlier this year. You can catch it at City Screen on Monday 25th.

Community Cinema

Two local community film groups are back in action this month following their summer break.

In New Earswick, Film at the Folk Hall is opening its autumn season with La La Land on Friday 29th. Just the tonic for a Friday night, I’d have thought, and a more intimate, relaxed alternative to the Barbican’s live orchestra screening. Why not head on down?

Monthly screenings follow throughout autumn. The venue is the Folk Hall, Hawthorn Terrace, with tickets at £4 per adult, £2 per child or £8 for a family ticket.

Meanwhile, South Bank Community Cinema returns on Friday 15th with Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning action adventure movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, starring Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh. Set in 19th century China and acclaimed for its dazzling martial arts sequences, the film was a huge hit in the UK on its release in 2001.

Films screen on a fortnightly basis thereafter, with September’s other offering being last year’s A United Kingdom (29th). Championed by Mark Kermode as ‘an impressively crowd-pleasing piece of intelligent screen entertainment‘, Amma Asante’s film tells the true story of the controversial marriage of King Seretse Khama of Botswana (David Oyelowo) to a British white woman, Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike).

All screenings take place in Clement’s Hall on Nunthorpe Road. Tickets are £3 for members or £4 for guests.

 

James Beeken

James Beeken

James Beeken is a film fan, Britpop aficionado and appalling cook. He lives in York and in fear of someone remaking Back to the Future