From ‘shear’ animated delight to Shia LeBoeuf, there’s plenty to get audiences flocking to the cinemas this week.
Shaun the Sheep fends off Farmageddon, while the ex-Transformers man shows his softer side in feelgood indie drama The Peanut Butter Falcon.
Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie locks horns with Michelle Pfeiffer in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil…
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Must not make sheep puns. Must not make sheep puns…
More stop-motion delights on offer here, as Aardman Animation bring their loveable hero back for a second big screen adventure.
This time round, Shaun and his pals make a new friend when an intergalactic visitor crash-lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, pursued, in time-honoured E.T. style, by a team of sinister alien-hunters. Can the gang help her find her lost spaceship before it’s too late?
Shaun’s first cinematic outing in 2015 was a huge hit with audiences and critics alike, a particularly impressive feat given that Shaun and his flock are near-silent – which is to say, plasticine but not herd. (Oh come on, you’ve got to let me have one…)
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
She’s not bad – she’s just drawn that way…Angelina Jolie returns as the imperious antiheroine, five years after Maleficent flipped the Sleeping Beauty narrative on its head by suggesting that Disney’s iconic evil fairy was not so very evil, after all.
The story this time round sees Maleficent’s peace shattered when Aurora (Elle Fanning) accepts an offer of marriage from Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson, taking over from the first film’s Brenton Thwaites).
That’s the cue for Phillip’s mother Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) to sweep in, whose hidden agenda for the nuptials extends way beyond wearing the biggest hat…
The Peanut Butter Falcon
Something of a sleeper hit on its release in the US earlier this year, this Mark Twain-inspired comedy-drama depicts the unlikely friendship between a young man with Down Syndrome and a small-time outlaw.
When Zak (newcomer Zack Gottsagen) escapes his nursing home in a bid to fulfil his long-held dream of professional wrestling stardom, he winds up crossing paths with Tyler (Shia LeBoeuf), an angry not-so-young man on the run after incurring the wrath of a local villain (John Hawkes).
Still grieving over the death of his brother, Tyler starts to bond with Zak and decides to help him on his mission – while Zak’s loving nurse Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) sets out to locate her errant patient.
Writer-director duo Tyler Nilson and Michael Shwartz conceived the film for Gottsagen after meeting him at a camp for disabled artists in 2011, and he’s gone on to pick up plenty of plaudits for his performance, as has the famously unpredictable LeBoeuf – with Den of Geek picking the film as one of their 10 Best of 2019 so far.
This week sees three one-off screenings about timely social and political issues at City Screen, all well worth attending and all accompanied by a post-screening Q&A.
Under the Knife – Free Screening + Live Q&A
This documentary looks at one of our most cherished institutions, the NHS, and the covert privatisation of the organisation that has been happening over the past 30 years.
Narrated by Alison Steadman, and including interviews with over 50 people, from politicans to patients, director Susan Steinberg’s film charts the story of the NHS from its post-war origins to its current state of turmoil.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Defend NHS York, where members of the public will be able to question the policies of the major political parties towards the crisis in the NHS, and discuss what can be done about it.
Tickets are free, but you need to book ahead via the film’s Eventbrite page.
Lost Lives + Recorded Q&A
Lost Lives is based on a 1999 book of the same name, put together by five journalists, which records the circumstances of every single death in the Northern Irish ‘Troubles’.
Belfast-based directors Dermot Lavery and Michael Hewitt describe their film – which is being released to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the conflict – as “a filmic response to the book and what it represents”, utilising high-end cinematography, a score performed by the Ulster Orchestra, and the voice talents of Irish actors such as Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Fairley and Liam Neeson.
The screening will be followed by a recorded Q&A session.
Sorry We Missed You + Satellite Q&A
Veteran director Ken Loach takes on the gig economy in his latest film, which follows a family striving to keep it together in the world of zero-hours contracts.
Former building worker Ricky (Kris Hitchen) finds his new life as a self-employed delivery driver soon puts him under pressure with its steep rental costs and strict targets, while wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood), a contract nurse, struggles to give her patients the care they need – while at home, the couple’s relationships with their children and with each other begin to suffer under the strain.
This preview screening is followed by a live satellite Q&A with Ken Loach. The film will be released nationwide on 1st November.
Showing at City Screen and Everyman throughout the week is real-life political drama Official Secrets, starring Kiera Knightley as Katharine Gunn, a GCHQ whistleblower who tried to stop the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Meanwhile, horror fans are well served at Vue this week. Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg all reprise their roles in Zombieland 2: Double Tap – the sequel to the cult 2009 comedy hit – while Jack Nicholson has a nice, peaceful writer’s retreat in The Shining, showing on Fri 18th and Sat 19th only.
Finally, City Screen have two more one-off screenings to tie in with Black History Month – on Sun 20th you can catch To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962’s classic adaptation of the Harper Lee novel, while on Tues 22nd, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool is a portrait of the legendary jazz musician, featuring new interviews with the likes of Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones.