Whether it’s the murderous machinations of Drop Dead Gorgeous or the gleefully inappropriate dance routine in Little Miss Sunshine, beauty contests on the big screen rarely run smoothly.
Keira Knightley and friends take on the mother of them all this week, as Misbehaviour celebrates the feminist fightback against the 1970 Miss World competition.
Elsewhere, there’s burning passion in Portrait of a Lady on Fire, while Vin Diesel is on the warpath in Bloodshot…
Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw lead this fun-looking British comedy drama about the historic events of the 1970 Miss World competition.
The most-watched TV show on the planet at the time, that year’s edition of the beauty contest was memorable both for the stage invasion by the Women’s Liberation Movement, and for the subsequent crowning of Miss Grenada as Miss World – the first black woman to receive the title.
Mbatha-Raw (Motherless Brooklyn) stars as Miss Grenada, real name Jennifer Hosten, and Knightley plays activist Sally Alexander – while the cracking ensemble cast also includes turns from rising star Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose), Lesley Manville, Greg Kinnear and Rhys Ifans.
The screenplay comes courtesy of Rebecca Frayn and Gaby Chiappe – the latter of whom has form in intelligent, witty period drama as the screenwriter of 2016’s Their Finest – while director Philippa Lowthorpe has helmed episodes of The Crown as well as acclaimed miniseries Three Girls.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
There have been rave reviews for this period drama from director Céline Sciamma, which sees her swap the contemporary social realism of 2014’s brilliant Girlhood for a star-crossed 18th century love story.
Set in Brittany, the story sees painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant) commissioned to paint a portrait of aristocrat Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), so that her picture can be sent to potential suitors.
As Marianne spends time getting to know her subject, however, a powerful, slow-burning romance kindles between them.
Sciamma (who also co-wrote the acclaimed 2016 animation My Life as a Courgette) won Best Screenplay when the film premiered at last year’s Cannes Festival, where she also became the first woman to win the Queer Palm award for LGBT+ films.
Vin Diesel stars as a shy, retiring flower arranger in this gentle romcom inspired by the music of Dido.
No, of course he doesn’t (but if that film gets made I’ll be demanding royalties). He is, it will shock you to learn, a superhuman killing machine on a revenge mission.
This new comic book adaptation sees soldier Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) brought back to life by the powerful RST Corporation after being killed in action.
He finds that his new super-strength comes at a price, as the company now has control of his mind and his memories – spurring him on to a quest to find out the truth…
Guardians of the Galaxy hard man Dave Bautista has his Kindergarten Cop moment in new comedy My Spy, which sees his gruff CIA agent meet his match in the form of a precocious 9-year-old girl – it’s out on Friday 13th and you can catch it at Vue, Cineworld and Everyman.
Meanwhile, all four York cinemas are running a double bill of 2018’s sci-fi horror hit A Quiet Place and its eagerly-awaited sequel on Weds 18th, ahead of the new film’s official release on Thursday – order the extra-crunchy popcorn at your peril…
City Screen’s educational course on French filmmaker Agnès Varda continues on Sat 14th with a screening of 1965’s provocative Le Bonheur, in which a married man is tempted by the chance of an affair, while on Sun 15th their Fellini season showcases the Italian director’s lesser-known 1957 drama Nights of Cabiria, following a prostitute in Rome looking for love.
Mon 16th sees City Screen begin a celebration of another cinematic master with Blue Velvet, the first in a three-film season in honour of David Lynch. Agent Cooper himself, Kyle MacLachlan, stars in the director’s nightmarish 1986 tale of a sadomasochistic relationship.
Next up, a couple of live Q&A sessions – on Mon 16th, Everyman host a screening of eye-opening documentary Everybody Flies followed by a Q&A with the film’s co-director/producer Tristan Loraine.
Ideal for those looking for another reason to worry about overseas holidays at the moment, the film examines exactly what’s in the air we breathe on commercial aircraft.
Then on Thurs 19th, City Screen show new World War II drama Waiting for Anya – adapted from the novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo – followed by a Q&A with director Ben Cookson, screenwriter Toby Torlesse, and producer Alan Latham.
The film stars Noah Schnapp (Stranger Things’ Will Byers) as a teenage shepherd in the French Pyrenees who becomes involved in a plan to smuggle Jewish children to safety in Spain.
Finally, your budget-priced family-friendly offerings this week are a Kids’ Club showing of Wall-E at City Screen (Sat 14th, £3), while Cineworld’s Movies for Juniors screenings are Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon and Spies in Disguise (showing on both Sat 14th and Sun 15th, £3.25).
Film at the Folk Hall are celebrating International Women’s Week in fine style with a screening of 2018’s coming-of-age tale Lady Bird – and even better, it’s for the bargain price of £2.
Organised in partnership with Pop Up York and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, it will also feature guest speakers before the film.
With director Greta Gerwig having received widespread acclaim (if not, frustratingly, much awards recognition) for her inspired reworking of Little Women recently, this is a great chance to revisit her first collaboration with star Saoirse Ronan, in this charming and funny portrait of a headstrong Californian teenager as she navigates her last year of high school.
The film shows at the Folk Hall, New Earswick on Fri 13th – doors at 6:30pm, followed by guest speakers at 7 and the film at 7:30.
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