From airborne elephants to fiendish felines, there’s plenty to choose from at cinemas over the Easter break.
Family fare includes Tim Burton’s live-action take on Dumbo and a friendly (if clumsy) Bigfoot in Missing Link.
Elsewhere, a single mum from Glasgow gets a shot at Nashville stardom in feelgood drama Wild Rose, while there are resurrections of a far from holy nature in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary…
Roll up, roll up, for the latest live action remake of a Disney classic.
Director Tim Burton is the cinematic ringmaster behind this new version of the tale, which sees the floppy-eared young elephant coming into the care of widowed circus worker Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his two children.
As in the original, the little fellow’s hidden talents set him on the path to stardom, attracting the attention of circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) and trapeze artist Colette Marchant (Eva Green) – as well as the enigmatic impresario V. A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton).
No talking animals in this version, but we are promised Burton’s take on the iconic pink elephants sequence…
An explorer helps a legendary Bigfoot-type creature locate his long-lost relatives in the latest stop-motion animation from Laika, the studio behind Coraline and ParaNorman.
When Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) discovers the friendly 8-foot-tall beastie known as Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis), he agrees to accompany him on a perilous journey to the fabled valley of Shangri-La.
Joining them is the excellently named Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), a free-spirited adventurer, while the ever-reliable likes of Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry and Matt Lucas feature in the supporting cast.
David Harbour (the world-weary police chief from Stranger Things) stars in this reboot of the fantasy series about a half-demon superhero, first played by Ron Perlman in Guillermo del Toro’s much-loved 2004 film and its sequel.
With del Toro and Perlman both having passed on making a third instalment, this new version sees British director Neil Marshall take the reins for what’s said to be a more violent and gory film than its predecessors – which is maybe to be expected, given that Marshall is the man behind the blood-soaked likes of Dog Soldiers and The Descent.
The story sees Hellboy doing battle against Milla Jovovich’s powerful British sorceress Nimue, and the strong supporting cast includes Ian McShane, American Honey star Sasha Lane, Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim, and one actor more normally found in the hellish environs of Albert Square…
The Sisters Brothers
Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly saddle up for this tale of two siblings scratching a dangerous living in the savage world of the Old West.
Working as hired assassins, Eli and Charlie Sisters (played by Reilly and Phoenix respectively) argue their way from one job to the next – but when they’re set on the trail of a chemist (Riz Ahmed) who’s said to have a method for finding gold, it will test them and their relationship as never before.
The English-language debut of celebrated French director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), it’s been praised as a darkly funny, violent yet tender take on the Western.
There’s a real buzz around this Glasgow-set tale of a single mum with dreams of making it as a country singer, said to feature a star-making lead turn from Jessie Buckley.
Buckley (who you may have caught in last year’s terrific Jersey-set thriller Beast) plays Rose-Lynn, a struggling young mother fresh out of jail who longs to leave Glasgow behind for the bright lights of Nashville – much to the displeasure of her mum Marion (Julie Walters).
Taking on a cleaning job in a large house, she finds a new friend and champion in her middle class employer Susannah (Sophie Okonedo).
Buckley is said to bring the house down with her musical performances in the film – perhaps no surprise since she’s a trained musician who in fact finished second in the BBC’s Oliver! themed 2008 talent contest I’d Do Anything…
This workplace comedy sees a nightmare boss forced to reassess her life when she wakes up one day in the body of her 13-year-old self.
Regina Hall (Girls Trip) plays tech mogul Jordan Sanders, who finds herself dependent on her long-suffering assistant April (Issa Rae) to run the company while she’s forced to live as a teenager.
The younger Jordan is played by Marsai Martin, star of E4’s Black-ish, who pitched the idea to producers when she was just ten years old, inspired by seeing the Tom Hanks favourite Big.
Director and co-writer Tina Gordon is certainly keeping herself busy, having also co-written the new Taraji P. Henson comedy What Men Want.
Stephen King fans will be well served in the cinema this year – the concluding part of It and an adaptation of King’s Shining sequel are both due in the autumn, and preceding them is this new take on one of his most famous chillers.
The story sees Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) and his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) moving to a secluded small town in Maine with their two young children.
The titular burial ground they discover out in the woods at first seems just a creepy local curio, but when tragedy strikes, they will come to regret they ever found it…
Coming soon to a cinema near you…
A couple of films coming out just after Easter. One you will almost certainly have heard of, the other you might not – but if you are a fan of coming-of-age movies, you will not want to miss it…
Fancy a bit of escapism in these fraught political times? Then why not check out the new Marvel film, which shows the catastrophic fallout after a humourless zealot inflicts an unwanted fate on half the population?
As we left things at the end of last year’s Infinity War, big purple meanie Thanos was basking in the sunlit uplands of his brave new world, having wiped out half of all life in the universe with a click of his fingers.
Can the remaining Avengers rally together to mount a comeback and restore their fallen comrades?
Details are of course being kept tightly under wraps, but we do know that Brie Larson’s newly introduced Captain Marvel will have a part to play in proceedings…
I’d guess the name Bo Burnham becomes increasingly likely to be met with a blank look the further north you are of 30.
I’d certainly never heard of the 28-year-old US comedian/musician/general wunderkind – who made his name with a series of comedy songs posted to YouTube while still in his teens – until last year, when Twitter lit up with rave reviews of his directing debut on its release in the States.
It’s a coming-of-age film but not, as you might expect, a lightly fictionalised version of Burnham’s own teenage years – instead, it follows 13-year-old Kayla (Elsie Fisher) in the last week of her eighth-grade year (that’s Year 9 to us), navigating the perils and pitfalls of high school life.
Having caught a preview of this recently, I can’t recommend it highly enough – it’s a fresh, funny and very affecting take on the genre, with a stellar central performance from Fisher, and a hugely likeable supporting turn from Josh Hamilton as her clumsily well-meaning dad.
But don’t just take my word for it – it comes approved by no less an authority than former Breakfast Clubber Molly Ringwald…
Maundy Thursday sees a perfectly-timed reissue of Monty Python’s Life Of Brian, back in cinemas to mark 40 years since its release (or should that be welease?).
The simplest ideas are often the best, and the comic mileage the Pythons derived from the idea of a man mistaken for the Messiah has seen this much-quoted film regularly topping the ‘greatest comedy of all time’ lists.
Laughing along to all the favourites in a packed cinema sounds like a fine way to kick Easter off to me. You can follow the star to City Screen on Thursday 18th.
Meanwhile, there’s a screening of ‘80s favourite The Goonies at City Screen and Vue on the afternoon of Easter Sunday (21st).
Writing these previews is always an education for me – The Goonies is one of those on the long list of Classic Films I’ve Never Seen, and I had no idea it stars a young Josh Brolin, who of course will be wreaking more havoc as Thanos in Avengers: Endgame at the end of the month. Hasn’t he grown…
You can also catch a kids’ film of a more modern vintage at City Screen from Mon 22nd – Thurs 25th, when they’re showing How to Train Your Dragon 2 in their Children’s Matinees strand – all screenings just £2 a pop.
Finally, why not cure those Bank Holiday Monday blues by heading down to watch, er, a dystopian display of ultraviolence? Stanley Kubrick’s controversial classic A Clockwork Orange screens at Everyman on the evening of Monday 22nd.
Film at the Folk Hall’s offering this month stars Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel in an incredible true-life tale.
Lion tells the story of Saroo Brierley, who was separated from his family at five years old when he got lost on a train which took him thousands of miles across India.
The first half follows Saroo as a child (played by Sunny Pawar), fending for himself on the streets of Kolkata, before becoming adopted by an Australian couple (played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham).
As an adult (played by Patel) living in Melbourne, he remains haunted by memories of his earlier life, and sets out to locate his original family with the aid of the newly-developed Google Earth.
Patel went on to win the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for his role, but critics were equally if not more impressed with newcomer Pawar as the young Saroo.
It’s on at the Folk Hall, New Earswick on Friday 26th at 7:30pm. Tickets are £3 for members or £5 for guests.