The films to see in York this week – 24-30 January 2020

23 Jan 2020 @ 9.10 am
| Entertainment

It’s all about David Copperfield this week – but did you know that York may have provided the inspiration for one of the novel’s most famous characters?

If you’re partial to a stroll round York Cemetery, chances are you did – as you may well have seen the memorial for one Richard Chicken, described on the headstone as the prototype for Wilkins Micawber.


Charles Dickens is believed to have encountered Chicken, something of a local character, on his visits to his brother Alfred at the offices of the York and North Midland Railway.

Something to bear in mind when you’re watching Peter Capaldi’s take on the famously optimistic fellow – for which I imagine he’ll be channelling Doctor Who more than Malcolm Tucker…

New releases

The Personal History of David Copperfield

  • Cert PG, 119 mins
  • Vue York, City Screen, Everyman, Cineworld
  • From Fri Jan 24
  • More details

This new take on the Charles Dickens classic looks set to follow the terrific Little Women in bringing a sense of energetic modernity to the much-adapted novel.

That’s perhaps no surprise, considering it’s directed by the great Armando Iannucci, the man behind the likes of Alan Partridge and, most recently on the big screen, 2017’s historical satire The Death of Stalin.

Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel stars as the good-hearted hero, whose experiences Dickens partly based on his own – the story follows Copperfield from birth to adulthood, as he pursues his dream of becoming a writer.

It’s a journey populated by an array of colourful characters, all played by a cracking cast who look to be having a ball in the trailer – including Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton, Peter Capaldi as Mr. Micawber and Ben Whishaw as the ever so ‘umble Uriah Heep.

The Turning

“What happened to your last nanny?” asks unsuspecting new recruit Kate (Mackenzie Davis) in this modern-day adaptation of Henry James’ classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw.

If she’d seen any of the previous film adaptations of James’ chiller – in which the newly-appointed nanny of two peculiar (read: creepy) children in a dark and gloomy mansion is terrorised by sinister forces – she’d probably have passed on the gig.

Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) and Brooklynn Prince (the endearing young star of 2017’s The Florida Project) play the sinister siblings.

The Grudge

  • Cert 15, 94 mins
  • Vue York, Cineworld
  • From Fri Jan 24
  • More details

Andrea Riseborough stars in this reboot of the supernatural horror series about a curse that destroys the lives of all who come into contact with it.

Hopping between several interlocking stories, the plot sees Riseborough’s Detective Muldoon investigating a series of horrifying deaths all linked to the same house in a small Pennsylvania town.

Among the luckless folk caught up in the unfolding nightmare are John Cho (Star Trek), Betty Gilpin (Netflix’s Glow) and Jacki Weaver (no stranger to spooky goings-on from her recent role in Birdbox).

Other screenings

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday 27th, documentary Anne Frank: Parallel Stories tells the famous diarist’s story through a series of readings by Helen Mirren.

The readings are intertwined with stories of five Holocaust survivors, plus insights from their relatives and historians.

Sure to be an affecting and thought-provoking tribute, the film shows at City Screen on Mon 27th, Tues 28th and Thurs 30th, and is also on at Everyman on Tues 28th.

Mon 27th also sees this month’s Dementia-Friendly Screening at City Screen, showcasing one of Gene Kelly’s breakthrough roles in the 1944 musical Cover Girl, co-starring Rita Hayworth as a chorus girl who gets a shot at the big time.

Next up, good news for anime fans – there’s another chance to catch the acclaimed Weathering With You this week. The fantasy-tinged tale of young love in a rain-lashed Tokyo plays at Everyman on Thurs 30th.

(And in good news worthy of a Totoro-sized grin, a bevy of Studio Ghibli classics will be landing on Netflix starting in February.)

Meanwhile, as Robert Pattinson practises his best growly voice ahead of next year’s reboot of the Caped Crusader, Cineworld are taking us back to the ‘80s with a double bill of Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, showing on Mon 27th – and if you’re a Batfan, I’d recommend checking out this video essay on Burton’s Gotham in the iPlayer’s excellent Inside Cinema strand.

And finally – don’t miss the chance to see Clifford’s Tower become a cinema this Saturday (25th), as it hosts the Eye Project, a short film about the history and possible futures of the Castle Gateway area.

Created by four different local artists in conjunction with hundreds of York’s young people, it will be showing between 5:30 and 8:30pm.

Community Cinema

Patricia Highsmith’s murderous con artist Tom Ripley may be best known to modern audiences from the 1999 Matt Damon film (although that might change in the wake of a recently announced TV series starring Fleabag’s Andrew Scott) – but Damon’s was in fact the third big screen take on the character.

You can catch an earlier incarnation in this week’s South Bank Community Cinema offering, 1977’s The American Friend, which stars Hollywood hell-raiser Dennis Hopper as the dapper but deadly criminal.

Written and directed by celebrated German director Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire), and adapted from Highsmith’s novel Ripley’s Game, the plot sees Ripley encounter a terminally ill picture framer (Bruno Ganz), whom he soon sets about manipulating for his own sinister ends…

It shows at Clement’s Hall on Fri 24th at 8pm (doors 7:30pm). Tickets are £3 for members and £4 for guests.