The films to see in York this week – 31 January-6 February 2020

30 Jan 2020 @ 5.31 pm
| Entertainment

So, it’s almost February – and not just any February, but one with an extra day in it.

We need something to give us hope. We need Tom Hanks, smiling benevolently in a red cardigan.


And luckily enough, that’s just what we get in the cockle-warming drama A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (I know, I know, but that’s how they’re spelling it).

On the other hand, if you want to lean in to the wintry bleakness of it all, head down to The Lighthouse and watch Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson go slowly insane…

New releases

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

  • Cert PG, 109 mins
  • Vue York, Everyman, Cineworld
  • From Fri Jan 31
  • More details

Tom Hanks plays beloved US kids’ TV host Fred Rogers in this highly rated feelgood film from Marielle Heller (the director of last year’s excellent Melissa McCarthy drama Can You Ever Forgive Me?).

The genial Rogers may be unknown over here, but he was a hugely popular figure in the States, where his long-running show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a formative influence on generations of young viewers.

Based on a 1998 magazine profile of the avuncular gent, the story sees cynical journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys, TV’s The Americans) assigned to write an article about Rogers, whose kindness and positivity gradually overcome Lloyd’s deep-seated scepticism.

It’s hardly an original plot, but widespread critical acclaim suggests that, like Mister Rogers himself, the film is the real deal, with Variety praising Heller’s ‘nimble and playful’ direction and declaring that Hanks ‘isn’t just good – he’s transporting’.

Queen and Slim

  • Cert 15, 131 mins
  • Vue York, Everyman, Cineworld
  • From Fri Jan 31

A young black couple out on their first date end up on the run in this stylish, politically-charged drama – the feature debut of music video director Melina Matsoukas, whose many hits include Beyoncé’s controversy-stirring Formation video.

Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out) are stopped by a police officer on their way home, and when the situation gets out of hand, Slim fires at the officer in self-defence and kills him.

The pair decide their only option is to hit the road, and as their journey progresses they gain nationwide notoriety as ‘the black Bonnie and Clyde’.

Having caught a preview screening last week, it’s one I would recommend. The tone is a little uneven at points, but it’s powered by two effortlessly charismatic performances, with chemistry to spare -Turner-Smith is particularly impressive in her first major big screen role.

The Lighthouse

  • Cert 15, 109 mins
  • City Screen
  • From Fri Jan 31
  • More details

Creeping dread! Ratcheting tension! Malicious farting! This claustrophobic psychological horror has them all.

Shot in black and white, the 1890s-set story sees salty old sea dog Wake (Willem Dafoe) and new recruit Winslow (Robert Pattinson) sent to look after a remote New England lighthouse for four weeks. Needless to say, their stay is not an entirely pleasant one…

Director Robert Eggers made a splash in 2015 with his debut feature The Witch, and the rave reviews for this follow-up suggest he has more than fulfilled his early promise.

Richard Jewell

  • Cert 15, 130 mins
  • Vue York, Cineworld
  • From Fri Jan 31
  • More details

As in 2016’s Sully, director Clint Eastwood here again tells the real-life story of a man whose heroic actions put him in the media spotlight.

Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya) plays the titular security guard, whose discovery of a bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta saved many lives – but who subsequently underwent “trial by media” when he was wrongly suspected of having planted the bomb himself.

A strong supporting cast includes Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and Kathy Bates, who bagged an Oscar nomination for her supporting turn as Jewell’s mother Bobi.

Q&A screenings

For Sama

  • Cert 18, 100 mins
  • University of York
  • Tues Feb 4, 6:30pm
  • More details

There’s a chance to see one of the most acclaimed documentaries of last year for free at the University of York this week.

Providing a female perspective on the uprising in Aleppo, Syria, For Sama is a love letter from a mother to her daughter.

Comprised of footage filmed by co-director Waad al-Kateab, it tells the story of her life through five years of the uprising as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her.

After the screening, Alice Nah from the Department of Politics will chair an audience Q&A with a panel comprising independent film-maker David Hickman and a former University of York student from Aleppo.

It’s free to attend but you do need to book, which you can do via the University’s website – and if you can’t make it, the Oscar-nominated film is available to watch now via All4.

Parasite Preview + Satellite Q&A

  • Cert 15, 180 mins
  • City Screen, Everyman
  • Mon Feb 3, 6pm
  • More details

A chance here to see a preview of one of the most talked-about films of awards season, followed by a satellite Q&A with its director, Bong Joon-Ho (Okja, Snowpiercer).

The one thing everyone says about this darkly comic South Korean thriller is the less you know going in, the better (which makes researching it online a pretty fraught task) – but the basic premise sees the unemployed members of the Kim family slowly infiltrate the home of the wealthy Park clan, under the guise of personal tutors.

By all accounts an entertaining, very funny take on class war, it’s out on general release next week – so here’s your chance to see it before some blabbermouth on social media spoils it for you…

Community Cinema

Film at the Folk Hall are holding their annual AGM this week, and they’re following it up with one of the most famous westerns of all time.

Based on the Japanese epic Seven Samurai, 1960’s The Magnificent Seven sees a group of gunfighters – including Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson – hired to protect a Mexican village from vicious bandits.

McQueen went to rather extreme lengths to appear in the movie. He was contracted to a TV show at the time, and ended up staging a car accident so that he could claim a whiplash injury – then, while he was supposedly resting, he saddled up for The Magnificent Seven instead!

Mosey on down to the Folk Hall, New Earswick for 7:30pm (doors 7pm) on Friday 31st – it’s free for members, but you can join online or on the night for £5, which gets you a year’s membership. The AGM precedes the film at 6pm.