The films to see in York this month – November 2017

Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) returns. Photograph: Studio Canal
30 Oct 2017 @ 6.08 pm
| Entertainment

My goodness, Movember comes round quick doesn’t it?

Kenneth Branagh’s getting in the spirit, sporting some fairly stupendous facial topiary as a certain Belgian detective investigating Murder on the Orient Express.

Elsewhere, Christmas comes early in the form of second outings for a marmalade-loving bear and some mums – sorry, moms – behaving badly…

Murder mystery

Murder on the Orient Express

Cert 12A, 114 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Nov 3

Movie website

Kenneth Branagh both directs this fourth screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s most famous novel, and takes the lead role as Hercule Poirot.

Like Snakes on a Plane, the title tells you pretty much all you need to know here – Poirot’s holiday on the titular locomotive is soon derailed by murder most foul, with the culprit one of a gaggle of big names including Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi and Olivia Colman.

Sleek, steam-powered winter treat or over-crowded second class rehash? Only one way to find out…


Paddington 2

Cert TBC, 95 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Nov 10

Movie website

More scrapes and shenanigans for the unfailingly polite bear from darkest Peru in this sequel.

Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is now fully ensconced with the Brown family and a much-loved member of the community. Eager to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy, he takes up a series of odd jobs to earn money – only for the gift to be stolen.

Who could the culprit be? Given that Hugh Grant is in full-on cad mode as washed-up actor Phoenix Buchanan, I don’t think we need look too far…

Brendan Gleeson also joins the cast as the excellently named Knuckles McGinty, with Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Julie Walters among those returning from the first film.


A Bad Moms Christmas

Cert 15, 104 mins

Vue York

From Fri Nov 3

Movie website

Some mothers do ‘ave it…The over-stressed but hard-partying trio are back to take on Christmas in this raucous comedy sequel.

This time round, Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) fight back against the pressures of the festive season. That includes playing host to their own mothers, played by Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon and Christine Baranski (who has plenty of Bad Momming experience from her role as Leonard’s hyper-critical mother in The Big Bang Theory).

The first film was something of a surprise hit with audiences and critics, who enjoyed the engaging, relatable comic performances from the three leads – the trailer looks to promise more of the same with (jingle) bells on.

Ingrid Goes West

Cert 15, 98 mins

Vue York

From Fri Nov 17

Movie website

Aubrey Plaza – aka the magnificently surly April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation – indulges in malicious mischief of a darker kind in this comedy drama about an unhinged social media stalker.

Following the death of her mother, Ingrid (Plaza) moves to LA where she insinuates her way into the life of her Instagram obsession, socialite Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). However, the cracks in both their facades soon begin to show…

This debut feature from director/co-writer Matt Spicer won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Sci-fi / fantasy

Justice League

Cert TBC, TBC mins

Vue York

From Fri Nov 17

Movie website

There’s a lot riding on this first superhero team-up in the DC Comics cinematic universe.

With the notable exception of the much celebrated Wonder Woman, the DC films released so far have left many fans disappointed, with Batman v Superman coming in for particular flak.

Justice League follows on from the events of that film, and sees Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) put together a team of ‘metahumans’ to stand against a new villain in the form of Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds).

Following director Zak Snyder’s departure from the latter stages of the production process due to personal reasons, the legendary Joss Whedon was drafted in to complete the project.

Given the lighter, wittier tone of Whedon’s Avengers films for Marvel, there’s been great speculation over how much influence he’s had on the finished product – on 17th November, fans will finally get to find out.


Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool

Cert 15, 106 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Nov 17

Movie Facebook page

Based on a true story, this drama charts the unlikely romance between young Liverpudlian actor Peter Turner and Oscar-winning Hollywood star Gloria Grahame, who starred as a femme fatale in several movies from the Hollywood golden age.

Beginning in the late ‘70s, the passionate affair between Grahame (Annette Bening) and Turner (Jamie Bell) becomes something more when illness prompts her to travel to Liverpool and stay with Turner’s family (mum and dad Julie Walters and Kenneth Cranham).

Reviews suggest this is a touching, bittersweet love story with a standout performance from Bening as the charismatic Grahame.

The Florida Project

Cert 15, 111 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Nov 24

Movie website

The subject of rave reviews and a standing ovation when it screened at the Cannes Festival, this naturalistic indie drama has been called “one of the great films about childhood” and could be a possible Oscar contender next year.

Set in and around a Florida budget motel, it focusses on loveable six-year-old Moonee, whose carefree adventures with her friends are juxtaposed with her rebellious mother Halley’s daily struggles and sacrifices.

There’s been huge praise for the previously unknown child and adult actors in the lead roles – Brooklynn Prince and Valeria Cotto as best friends Moonee and Jancey, and Bria Vinaite as Halley – and Willem Dafoe’s performance as the motel manager is already being talked of as Oscar-worthy.

It’s directed by Sean Baker, who made waves in 2015 with his well-received previous movie Tangerine, which was shot entirely on an iPhone.

Whether the buzz translates to awards glory or not, this sounds like something special, and worth making a trip out for.

Battle Of The Sexes

Cert 12A, 121 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Nov 24

Movie website

Hot on the heels of Borg Vs McEnroe comes another film about a famous tennis showdown – this time the 1973 game between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

When women’s world champion King (Emma Stone) launches the Women’s Tennis Association in a bid to improve gender equality, it spurs the chauvinist former men’s number one Riggs (Steve Carrell) to challenge her to a nationally televised match.

While the pair spar in the media as hype for the match builds, they also deal with pressing issues in their private lives.

Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris previously made the charming family road trip film Little Miss Sunshine, while the screenplay is by Yorkshire-born Simon Beaufoy (the writer behind The Full Monty and Slumdog Millionaire).


The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Cert 15, 121 mins

Vue York, City Screen

From Fri Nov 3

Movie website

We’re in cuckoo-in-the-nest revenge territory here, with Colin Farrell as a charismatic doctor who comes to regret taking a fatherless teenage boy (Barry Keoghan) under his wing.

Steven Murphy’s (Farrell) idyllic family life with wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and their children comes under threat, as a long-forgotten mistake made earlier in his career comes back to haunt him.

Anyone who saw director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English-language film The Lobster, in which Farrell also starred, will know to expect something stylish and unusual, with a vein of black humour running through the terrible deeds.

Aesthetica Short Film Festival

Various venues

Weds Nov 8 – Sun 12

ASFF website

Now in its seventh year, and extended to 5 days, this celebration of independent short film boasts a diverse schedule of screenings, masterclasses, networking sessions and panel discussions.

Taking place from 8th-12th November, it includes screenings of 300 films at 18 different venues, including City Screen, the Theatre Royal, Barley Hall and even Pitcher & Piano.

As well as the films, there are also 30 industry-led masterclasses and hosted networking sessions from the likes of the BBC, BFI and Industrial Light & Magic.

The programme’s mix of submissions from emerging and established filmmakers offers a chance to discover exciting new talents – you might even see a future Oscar winner.

With films starring Idris Elba, Imelda Staunton and Martin Freeman, masterclasses on everything from screenwriting to the future of Virtual Reality filmmaking, and even a Motown party at City Screen basement, there’s certainly plenty to choose from.

Whether you’re looking to get into the film industry or just fancy seeing something a bit different, there’s sure to be something worth checking out. Full details are available at the ASFF website.

Seasons and one-offs

There’s a chance to see several much-loved classics both vintage and modern at City Screen this month, courtesy of their The Enchanted Screen season, which brings together films with a folk and fairytale theme.

Starting this month and timed to run up to Christmas, this feels like a refreshing way to conjure up a bit of festive cinematic magic without relying on the usual Yuletide perennials (though I’ll be surprised if there aren’t some of those on offer next month too).

I’ll cover the December releases next month, but for November, things kick off on Sunday 12th with The Red Shoes, a classic from the celebrated British film-making partnership of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

A favourite of Martin Scorsese and based on a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, this 1948 story of a young Scottish ballerina (Moira Shearer) was recently voted No.5 in Time Out’s list of 100 Best British Films.

It’s followed in the Vintage Sundays strand by La Belle et la Bête (19th), a 1946 French re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, and The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (26th), a 2013 Japanese animation from the brilliant Studio Ghibli, about a peasant who discovers a miniature girl growing inside a bamboo shoot.

Elsewhere, the season also finds room for David Bowie’s Goblin King in ‘80s favourite Labyrinth. Jim Henson’s tale of shoddy babysitting and even shoddier wigs screens on Monday 13th.

Sticking with the maze theme, Guillermo del Toro’s adult fairytale Pan’s Labyrinth is showing on Tuesday 28th. Released in 2006, this dark Spanish-Mexican fantasy was a big hit with filmgoers and critics, and is widely regarded as del Toro’s best film.

If your first impulse on seeing a fantastical creature from another world is to shoot the crap out of it, you’ll be glad to hear that Arnie favourite Predator returns on Thursday 9th – not part of the fantasy season, but (scarily) a 30th anniversary screening.

And one more golden oldie to flag up – Hitchcock’s North By Northwest is showing on Tuesday 7th. Famous for the iconic scene where Cary Grant is chased by a low-flying plane, this mistaken identity thriller is a fast-paced, funny adventure which is well worth catching.

One downside of the Enchanted Screen season is that it doesn’t seem to have left much room for the usual one-off screenings of new films this month – two that are showing in Discover Tuesdays though are School Life (14th), an Irish documentary about life in a boarding school, and Hotel Salvation (21st), an Indian comedy drama about an overworked businessman making a final journey with his ageing father.

Community Cinema

There’s a revolutionary link to both of South Bank Community Cinema’s offerings this month.

First up on Friday 10th is Doctor Zhivago, David Lean’s epic love story set against the backdrop of the First World War and the Russian Revolution.

Omar Sharif stars in the title role as the married physician and poet who falls in love with a political activist’s wife (Julie Christie).

Criticised by some for trivialising the events of the revolution, it’s nonetheless regarded as one of the great cinematic love stories, and came 27th in the BFI’s Top 100 Films of the 20th Century in 1999.

It’s followed on Friday 24th by The Motorcycle Diaries, a biopic about the motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth which showed him his life’s calling.

Gael Garcia Bernal stars as Guevara in this adaptation of his memoirs, which had largely positive reviews on its release in 2004.

Both screenings take place in Clement’s Hall on Nunthorpe Road. Tickets are £3 for members or £4 for guests.

You might not go to Film at the Folk Hall’s offering looking for revolution, but plenty have argued that Dirty Dancing has some progressive politics going on under all that dancefloor action.

You can judge for yourself at this month’s screening at the Folk Hall, New Earswick on Friday 24th. Tickets are £4 per adult, £2 per child or £8 for a family ticket.