From Little Women to giant Cats, there’s plenty to entertain York cinemagoers over the Christmas hols.
Rey faces up to her destiny as the Star Wars saga draws to a close, and Will Smith gets a bird’s eye view of life in Spies in Disguise.
Elsewhere, Guy Richie makes an all-guns-blazing return to Lock, Stock territory, and Thor: Ragnarok mastermind Taika Waititi tries to find the funny side of Nazi Germany…
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The story began by George Lucas 42 years ago finally comes to an end with this ninth and closing chapter of the Skywalker saga, which picks up a year on from the events of The Last Jedi.
We rejoin Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) as they band together for a final showdown with the villainous First Order, as led by the ever-intense Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) – with Richard E. Grant’s Allegiant General Pryde the latest in the series’ proud tradition of sneering British baddies.
Help is on hand for the Resistance in the form of Han Solo’s old mucker Lando Calrissian, with Billy Dee Williams returning to the role for the first time since 1983.
Meanwhile, the sinister cackle that closed the teaser trailer implied that rumours of a certain someone’s demise had been greatly exaggerated…
Steering the saga to its conclusion (and doubtless bracing himself for a barrage of, er, constructive feedback on social media) is The Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams.
Look, I’m not sure if it’s really possible to write sensibly about this film, so I’m not even going to try.
The trailer is bewildering; the synopsis no better. Something about making a ‘Jellicle Choice’. Hmm.
Perhaps the plot of Cats is best summed up by its title. This is a film about cats. Except they are humans. Except they are cats.
Some of them sing and some of them dance. Some of them Corden, some of them Dench.
Sometimes the cats are people-sized and sometimes the people are cat-sized. It’s all a matter of purrspective.
In summary: Miaow! That’s What I Call Mewsic.
Spies in Disguise
A super spy undergoes an unusual transformation in this animated caper.
Will Smith voices the debonair agent Lance Sterling, whose daring missions are assisted by the ingenious inventions of tech whizz kid Walter Beckett (Tom Holland).
Events take an unexpected turn when Walter’s latest experiment accidentally turns Lance into a pigeon (in any other month this might seem an odd premise, but this is the month of Cats, so I’ll go with it).
As Lance adapts to the indignities of his new form, he finds it could provide the ideal disguise for taking on his nemesis, the evil mastermind Killian (voiced by cinema’s go-to bad guy Ben Mendelsohn).
Writer-director Greta Gerwig follows last year’s brilliant Lady Bird with this Oscar-tipped adaptation of Louisa May Allcott’s much-loved coming-of-age novel.
Following the fortunes of four sisters in 19th century Massachusetts, it sees the director working once again with Saoirse Ronan, who plays the strong-willed heroine Jo March.
It sounds as though Gerwig has also injected Lady Bird‘s spirit of giddily youthful rebellion into Allcott’s timeless tale – with glowing reviews praising the film as a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stuffy world of period drama.
Rounding out the quartet of March sisters is a top-notch cast of rising and established acting talent, with Emma Watson as eldest sister Meg, Florence Pugh (Fighting With My Family) as artistic younger sibling Amy, and Eliza Scanlen (TV’s Sharp Objects) as the quiet, gentle Beth.
Hugh Grant in a Guy Richie gangster flick? Leave it aht, mate! Next you’ll be telling me Ray Winstone’s got a part in Cats! What do you mean, he has? Nah, you’re ‘aving a laugh, sunshine!
Anyway, you know that Matthew McConaissance, off of the romcoms? Went legit with Dallas Buyers Club a few years back, bagged some tasty silverware off the back of it?
He’s in this one as a geezer from across the Pond who wants to jack in the dodgy dealing and go straight. Problem is, there’s more than a few faces round town who wanna get their hands on his readies.
There’s some shady characters in this line-up and no mistake. You’ve got old man Grant coming on like Dirty Den doing a Suggs impression, Charlie Hunnam (no surprise there, him and Richie have previous with that King Arthur caper) and Lady Mary from Downton – now she is proper lairy…
- Cert 12A, 108 mins
- Vue York, City Screen, Everyman, Cineworld
- From Weds Jan 1
- Preview – City Screen, Tues Dec 31, 7pm
- More details
Indie director Taika Waititi planted his flag firmly in the mainstream – and provided one of the undoubted high points of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date – with 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok.
His smaller-scale new film, billed as ‘an anti-hate satire’, sees him parlay his trademark brand of whimsical surrealism into the darkly comic tale of a lonely boy in 1940s Germany, whose only companion is his imaginary friend – Adolf Hitler.
Jojo Betzler (newcomer Roman Griffin Davis) is excited to be finally joining the Hitler Youth, only to have his life turned upside down by the discovery of a young Jewish girl hiding in his attic (played by Thomasin McKenzie, the breakout star of last year’s highly acclaimed Leave No Trace).
Featuring supporting turns from Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Waititi himself as the imaginary Führer, it’s a film whose subject matter has inevitably divided critical opinion – with Sight & Sound praising its intention to ‘laugh at stupidity (and) to cherish innocence’, while Little White Lies damningly branded it ‘an anti-humour satire’.