The films to see in York this month – September 2018

Filmmakers seem to be engaged in a game of genre-swap this month.

Bridesmaids director Paul Feig takes on a Gone Girl-esque dark thriller, while gory horror supremo Eli Roth brings us…a children’s fantasy film starring Jack Black?

If you’re feeling bewildered, then never fear, Sir Michael Caine is here, in the most Sir Michael Caine-ish role imaginable – leading a gang of Cockney old timers pulling off one last job…

Drama

Cold War

Cert 15, 88 mins

City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Aug 31

Movie website

The new film from Pawel Pawlikowski (for which he won the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Festival) follows a love affair between two musicians set against the backdrop of Europe after World War II.

Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig) fall deeply in love in post-war Poland, and dream of escaping to the creative freedom of the West.

But when their chance comes, a split decision will mark both their lives forever…

Shot (like his previous, Oscar-winning film Ida) in black and white, and partly inspired by the relationship of Pawlikowski’s own parents, it’s had rave reviews across the board, with Time Out claiming that “It could be the most achingly romantic film you’ll see this year, or just a really painful reminder of the one that got away.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Cert 15, 91 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Sep 7

Movie website

This coming-of-age tale stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick Ass) as a 1990s teenager who is sent away to an organisation designed to “cure” same-sex attraction.

Cameron (Moretz) is made to attend the God’s Promise conversion centre after being caught in the backseat of a car with the prom queen.

There she bonds with fellow residents Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck) as they’re subjected to the centre’s questionable conversion therapies.

The second feature from director Desiree Akhavan (whose new UK-set comedy series The Bisexual is soon to appear on Channel 4), it won the Grand Jury Prize for US Drama at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Family films

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Cert TBC, TBC mins

Vue York, Everyman

From Fri Sep 21

Movie website

There was a time when a children’s fantasy adventure directed by Eli Roth would have seemed about as likely as a Wes Craven reboot of The Magic Roundabout, but this new film does indeed see the Hostel director make a move into altogether more mainstream territory.

That said, the story – adapted from a 1973 gothic horror children’s novel – looks set to provide plenty of opportunity for shocks and scares of a more family-friendly nature (though possibly not for younger kids, going by the trailer).

In time-honoured tradition, the plot sees young orphan Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) moving in to a creaky old house owned by his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black).

The house’s mysterious tick-tock noise indicates that all is not as it seems, and sure enough, Lewis soon discovers a secret world of witches and warlocks – including Jonathan’s neighbour Florence (Cate Blanchett).

Thriller

The Little Stranger

Cert 12A, 111 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Sep 21

Movie website

The Independent’s review of Sarah Waters’ 2009 gothic novel The Little Stranger concluded with the line ‘It can be only a matter of time before a latter-day Hitchcock turns it into a film’.

Fast-forward nine years and that latter-day Hitchcock is Lenny Abrahamson (Oscar-nominated director of 2015’s Room), who brings us this spooky tale set in a crumbling old mansion in the 1940s.

Domhnall Gleeson stars as a country doctor who travels to Hundreds Hall, home of Mrs Ayres (Charlotte Rampling) and her two grown-up children Caroline (Ruth Wilson) and Roddy (Will Poulter).

He’s there to tend to war veteran Roddy, but has no idea how closely the family’s story will become entwined with his own.

It’s not long before bells are ringing of their own accord and a mystery figure is being glimpsed in the upstairs window…

A Simple Favour

Cert 15, 117 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Sep 21

Movie website

Following the hugely successful likes of Bridesmaids and The Heat, this new film from director Paul Feig sees him once again telling a story that puts women front and centre of the action – but this time he takes a swerve into darker territory.

The plot centres around the disappearance of the glamorous Emily (Blake Lively, TV’s Gossip Girl) and her best friend Stephanie’s (Anna Kendrick, Pitch Perfect) efforts to find her.

With a screenplay by American Horror Story writer Jessica Sharzer, expect events to take a sinister turn as Stephanie digs into her friend’s past.

Co-starring as Emily’s husband Sean is BBC Travel Show presenter Henry Golding, who looks set for Hollywood stardom with his roles in this and the hit romcom Crazy Rich Asians, out here in November.

Crime Drama

Yardie

Cert 15, 103 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Aug 31

Movie website

16 years after his career-making role in The Wire, Idris Elba makes his directorial debut with this story set in the world of Jamaican gangsters.

Moving from Kingston, Jamaica in 1973 to the ganglands of 1980s London, it’s a tale of a young man’s quest to avenge the death of his older brother, who was shot dead while trying to broker peace between rival gangs.

Dennis, or “D” (Aml Ameen), is sent from Kingston to London by his crime lord boss to keep him out of trouble – but although his arrival in the East End brings the chance to reconnect with his childhood sweetheart Yvonne (Shantol Jackson), he soon encounters danger in the shape of vicious gangster Rico (This Is England’s Stephen Graham).

Based on a cult 1992 novel by Jamaican-born British author Victor Headley, Elba’s film has won praise for its authentic evocation of time and place, as well as its thumping reggae and soul soundtrack.

American Animals

Cert 15, 115 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Sep 7

Movie website

With Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema series having recently laid out all the ground rules for the classic heist movie, this month sees the release of two new additions to the genre, both based on sensational true stories.

Of the two, the Michael Caine-led King of Thieves, with its top-notch cast of familiar faces, is pretty much guaranteed an audience – but advance reviews suggest that American Animals could end up being the one that viewers will still be talking about years from now.

It tells the story of four friends from Kentucky who, in 2004, carried out a heist on the Transylvania University library, home to a collection of rare and valuable natural history books with an estimated value of $20 million.

UK director Bart Layton’s film has had rave reviews from several critics who’ve found it a potent blend of drama and documentary (the real-life perpetrators look back on their experiences as the fictionalised version unfolds) that takes the genre somewhere new – with Screen Daily describing it as “genuinely innovative, pleasingly entertaining and deliciously more than the sum of its parts”.

Leading the cast are American Horror Story’s Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan (a creepily compelling presence in last year’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer).

King of Thieves

Cert 15, 107 mins

Vue York, City Screen, Everyman

From Fri Sep 14

The Hatton Garden Heist of 2015 – whereby a group of ageing criminals literally got together for One Last Job – was always going to be catnip to movie producers.

This is in fact the third film of the story, following two not-exactly-well-received efforts in 2016 and 2017 (the first of which was summed up by one Amazon customer as “Absolutely toilet”).

King of Thieves, though, looks to be very much the Tesco Finest version, with Michael Caine leading a cast featuring the likes of Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Paul Whitehouse and (of course) Ray Winstone.

The story sees Brian Reader (Caine) and a gang of similarly bored retired crooks plotting a final, spectacular heist in London’s jewellery district – which was later described as the ‘largest burglary in English legal history’.

Director James Marsh has experience in dealing with incredible true-life tales, having previously made the documentary Man on Wire about the daring 1974 tightrope walk between the Twin Towers.

Superfly

Cert 15, 116 mins

Vue York

From Fri Sep 14

Movie website

This remake of the 1972 blaxploitation classic transfers the action from New York to Atlanta, but the basic plot – following a young drug dealer’s attempt to leave his life of crime behind – remains the same.

Cocaine kingpin Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson) gets a wake-up call after suffering a violent attack from a crazed rival.

He and his partner Eddie (Jason Mitchell, Straight Outta Compton) head to Mexico to arrange a deal with the cartel who supply their product – a plan which involves double-crossing Priest’s mentor, Scatter (The Wire’s Michael Kenneth Williams).

The original movie was famous for its Curtis Mayfield soundtrack, so it’s perhaps appropriate that the remake is helmed by Director X, who’s made music videos for the likes of Rihanna and Drake – while in charge of the music this time is Atlanta rapper Future.

Action

The Predator

Cert TBC, 101 mins

Vue York, Everyman

From Fri Sep 14

Movie website

You just can’t keep a good dreadlocked killing machine down…

This fourth film in the Predator series sees sleepy US suburbia become the new hunting ground for the deadly alien creatures, when a boy (Jacob Tremblay, Wonder) accidentally triggers their return to Earth.

Leading the requisite ragtag crew of ex-soldiers to save us is Boyd Holbrook (the villain in last year’s Logan) as Quinn McKenna, while Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse) stars as a disgruntled science teacher who joins the mission.

The director for this latest instalment is Lethal Weapon creator Shane Black, who also starred as one of Arnie’s team in the original Predator in 1987.

Q&A

Under The Wire plus Q&A with Paul Conroy and Chris Martin

Cert 15, 95 mins

City Screen

Mon Sep 10, 8:30pm

Movie website

This documentary depicts the experiences of legendary war correspondent Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy when reporting in war-ravaged Syria in 2012 – during the course of which Colvin was tragically killed.

Based on Conroy’s book, director Chris Martin’s gripping film was acclaimed by Screen Daily as “a powerful, humbling salute to a breed of fearless figures willing to risk their lives as they bear witness to history’s unfolding horrors.”

Paul Conroy and Chris Martin will be present for a live Q&A after the screening.

Seasons and one-offs

Disciples of The Church of the Latter-Day Dude will rejoice this month (well, maybe not rejoice, that sounds like a lot of effort) when The Big Lebowski returns to cinemas for one night only.

The 20th anniversary of the Coen Brothers’ much loved ‘stoner noir’ comedy is being marked with screenings at all three York cinemas on Monday 24th.

Jeff Bridges’ amiable slacker would surely approve of Crush, the laid-back sea turtle (“Grab shell, dude!”) who features in Pixar’s Finding Nemo, which shows at City Screen on Sunday 2nd in their Vintage Sundays strand.

It’s followed by the original The Incredibles on 9th, Wall-E on 16th, and – hankies at the ready – Up on 23rd.

City Screen’s Women’s Work season, celebrating groundbreaking women behind and in front of the camera, has two offerings in their regular Discover Tuesdays strand this month.

On 4th, there’s a selection of short films from the Brighton-based Women Over 50 Film Festival, which champions the work of older women on screen and behind the camera.

Director Chloé Zhao’s critically-acclaimed modern-day western The Rider follows a week later on 11th. Zhao worked with a cast of non-actors to create a scripted drama drawn from the real life of its star Brady Jandreau, who plays a rodeo rider adjusting to a new life after he’s injured in a near-fatal accident.

The next Discover Tuesdays offering is much closer to home – documentary A Northern Soul (Tues 18th) follows Steve Arnott, a hip-hop loving warehouse worker in Hull who, during its year as the UK City of Culture in 2017, got sponsorship for his “Beats Bus” – a mobile recording studio he took round schools and council estates, giving the city’s under-privileged children a chance to make their own music.

I’m not quite sure why The Godfather is showing in Discover Tuesdays, being neither a new film nor an overlooked classic, but it rounds off the month on 25th nevertheless – perhaps someone made Picturehouse an offer they couldn’t refuse?

A classic of slightly more recent vintage gets an outing on Monday 3rd, with Spike Lee’s 1989 Brooklyn-set tale of simmering racial tensions Do The Right Thing showing at City Screen, to coincide with the release of his new one BlacKkKlansman.

And lastly at City Screen, one more documentary to flag – The King (Mon 17th) uses a road trip in Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce as a way of examining the singer’s rise and fall, and how America itself came to enter what director Eugene Jarecki calls its “Fat Elvis phase”.

Meanwhile, of all the recently refurbished cinemas in all the grade-II listed buildings in all the world, you’ll have to walk into Everyman if you want to catch a screening of Casablanca this month.

It’s showing on Weds 5th as part of their season of classic romances, followed by Gone With The Wind on Weds 12th and Dirty Dancing on Weds 19th.

Finally, Everyman also have another golden oldie on Tues 25th, when you can see the original teen icon, James Dean, in Rebel Without A Cause.

Community Cinema

South Bank Community Cinema are back in action this month, with an autumn season themed around music – and they’re kicking off in fine style with a classic rock movie and an intriguing-sounding documentary (both featuring Sting, but don’t let that put you off).

On Friday 14th, Quadrophenia blazes into town.

Inspired by The Who’s 1973 rock opera, this tale of Mods vs Rockers in 1960s Brighton stars the great Phil Daniels as Jimmy, a teenager who seeks escape from his life in 1960s London in the scooters and music of the Mods.

It could all have been very different – Daniels took the role after the Sex Pistols’ John Lydon had screen-tested for it but proved too expensive to insure…

Then on Friday 28th, documentary 20 Feet from Stardom shines a light on those often-overlooked players in the world of music, the backing singers.

The winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2014, it looks at the fascinating careers and experiences of the women who have been a key element of countless hit records, and gives them the chance to put their own spin on some of those classics.

The likes of Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen line up to sing their praises too.

Both screenings are in Clement’s Hall on Nunthorpe Road, starting at 8pm. Tickets are £3 for members or £4 for guests.

Film at the Folk Hall’s first offering this month is also of a musical nature – and even better, it’s free!

As part of a weekend of events to celebrate the Folk Hall’s grand reopening, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust have kindly put on a free screening of last year’s animation Sing.

From director Garth Jennings (maker of the wonderful Son of Rambow), it sees a bunch of loveable animals put on a singing competition to save a grand old theatre.

Featuring the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and Scarlett Johansson, it’s got plenty of renditions of familiar favourites, plus an original song by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande.

It’s showing at 2pm on Sunday 23rd at the Folk Hall, New Earswick.

It’s followed on Friday 28th by this year’s Churchill drama Darkest Hour.

Boasting an Oscar-winning performance by Gary Oldman, Atonement director Joe Wright’s film depicts Churchill’s struggles in the first few days of his premiership, when he had to decide whether to negotiate a peace treaty with Nazi Germany or stand firm and fight.

Kristin Scott Thomas co-stars as Churchill’s wife Clementine, while Mamma Mia’s Lily James is the secretary to whom he dictates his famous speeches.

It shows at the Folk Hall at 7:30pm. Tickets are £3 for members or £5 for guests.