In the week when Tom Cruise gave us the first look at his Top Gun sequel, and Marvel revealed their Phase Four plans, one film managed to eclipse them both with just a twitch of its whiskers.
I’m talking, of course, about the forthcoming adaptation of Cats, whose mind-boggling human-feline hybrids have had film fans agog since the trailer debuted last week.
With reactions fairly evenly split between horror and glee, it seems the film’s chances of success on its release are equal parts dead and alive – in what leading scientists are referring to as the Schrödinger’s Cats paradox.
We’ll find out its fate at Christmas…Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch lights up the screen as Thomas Edison this week, while Britain rises up against those Rotten Romans in the Horrible Histories movie.
The Current War
Surely the definition of a highly charged drama, this story of the rivalry between two electricity titans in 19th century America stars Benedict Cumberbatch as inventor Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water) as entrepreneur George Westinghouse.
It’s an AC/DC smackdown as the two men race to be the first to light up the world, with Westinghouse finding an ally in the eccentric Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult, no stranger to historical machinations following his enjoyably Blackadder-esque turn in The Favourite earlier this year).
The trailer suggests they’ve taken the Aaron Sorkin approach to period drama – i.e. a load of really clever people trash-talking each other, with Cumberbatch’s Edison the latest in his long line of showboating geniuses: Sherlock Ohms, anyone?
It’s a phenomenally popular series of books and its TV adaptation is loved as much by parents as it is by their kids – now Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories gets its big screen debut with this tale of Brits vs Romans.
The story sees entrepreneurial Roman teenager Atti (Sebastian Croft) banished to our cold, drizzly isles after one of his schemes falls foul of Emperor Nero (Craig Roberts) – only to find himself captured by Orla (Emilia Jones), a courageous young Celt desperate to join Boudicca’s rebellion.
As the two inevitably begin to bond, the Celts prepare for a historic showdown with their Roman oppressors at the Battle of Watling Street.
Early reviews suggest that something of its small screen counterpart’s winning formula has been lost in translation – but with a redoubtable supporting cast including Nick Frost, Sanjeev Baskhar and Kim Cattrall (to say nothing of Derek Jacobi giving it a bit of the old I, Claudius as, well, Claudius), I’m sure there are far worse ways to pass a couple of hours over the summer hols.
The Pavilion Hotel’s York Outdoor Cinema season welcomes back Freddie and co. for a second screening of the ever-popular Bohemian Rhapsody on Sunday 28th.
Doors are at 7pm, film starts at 9:30pm, and you can book via their eventbrite page.
Meanwhile, Friday night’s alright for harmonising when this year’s hit musical biopic Rocketman gets the sing-a-long edition treatment – it shows at all three York cinemas on Fri 26th.
City Screen have a couple of golden oldies on offer this week – first up, their brief summer-themed Vintage Sundays season heads across the Channel for Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday on Sun 28th. The second film by the celebrated French filmmaker Jacques Tati, by all accounts it’s something of a comic masterpiece.
That’s followed on Mon 29th by the 1959 Doris Day/Rock Hudson classic Pillow Talk, which is this month’s Dementia-Friendly Screening.
A pair of more recent favourites can be found over at Vue, where they’ve another screening of Jaws on Sat 27th, while Neo and Agent Smith duke it out once more in The Matrix, showing throughout the week.
Studio Ghibli’s timeless My Neighbour Totoro recently added to its glowing list of accolades with a well-deserved placing in Mark Kermode’s list of 25 of the best children’s films – and by a happy coincidence it’s this week’s Children’s Matinee at City Screen, showing at 10:30 from Monday to Thursday this week for just £2.50.
On to this week’s Tarantino offerings, then. As the director once again prepares to troll film title nerds with his new release Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood (whose vagabond ellipsis maddeningly wanders between ‘Time’, ‘in’ and ‘Hollywood’ within the same bloody poster), you can catch 2009’s provocatively mis-spelled Inglourious Basterds at City Screen on Mon 29th – while Uma Thurman slices and dices her way over to Everyman on Fri 26th for Kill Bill Vol. 1.
Coming back to the present, you can catch a preview of the highly-rated Dublin-set tale of women behaving badly Animals at City Screen on Tues 30th, ahead of its release next week – really looking forward to this one.
And finally, your documentary picks for the week are led by Varda by Agnès (City Screen, Thurs 1st August) in which the much-loved French auteur Agnès Varda looks back over her long career – a retrospective lent extra poignancy by Varda’s death earlier this year at the age of 90.
Plus, if you’ve yet to see moon landings doc Apollo 11, there’s a few more screenings on at Everyman, while Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, exploring the relationship between Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen, shows throughout the week at City Screen.
“I just wanted to get another look at you”…Last year’s A Star is Born remake returns to York once again this weekend, courtesy of Film at the Folk Hall.
Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut was a hit with audiences and critics alike, fuelled by fine performances from Cooper and Lady Gaga, combined with a perfectly crafted soundtrack; standout track Shallow seemed to achieve instant ubiquity last autumn, and went on to win the Oscar for best original song earlier this year.
And that’s not all they’ve got on offer this week – showing on Sunday 28th is the ever-loveable Wall-E – Pixar’s enchanting tale of an industrious little robot left alone on Earth to clear up after humanity.
Celebrated in particular for its dialogue-free opening act, it’s the kind of inventive, unusual film the studio has made only intermittently of late – though with the recent announcement that they’re giving sequels a break after the thankfully non-legacy trashing Toy Story 4, we can hopefully expect more of them in the future.
Both films show at the Folk Hall, New Earswick. A Star is Born shows on Fri 26th at 7:30pm (doors 7pm); Wall-E shows on Sun 28th at 2pm (doors 1:30pm). Tickets are £3 for members, £5 for guests.