As summer gives way to autumn, The Goldfinch makes the tricky migration from page to screen this week – will it have audiences flocking to the cinema, or could it turn out to be a curate’s egg?
Elsewhere, a teenager has to wing it in a new environment in The Last Tree, it’s fight or flight for a terrified bride in Ready or Not, and Meryl Streep ruffles some feathers in The Laundromat…
This adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer prize-winning 2013 novel centres on a young man reeling from the death of his mother after a terrorist attack at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
As he struggles to process his grief and guilt, Theodore Dekker (played by Oakes Fegley and Ansel Elgort) holds on to the titular 17th Century painting – a favourite of his mother’s – which he impulsively grabbed from the wreckage of the blast.
Theo’s fraught path to adulthood is shaped by his relationships with wealthy matriarch Mrs Barbour (Nicole Kidman), his deadbeat father Larry (Luke Wilson), and Hobie (Jeffrey Wright), a gentle antiques restorer who becomes his mentor.
Lukewarm reviews and a poor box-office performance in the US have led many to gleefully declare this the first big flop of awards season – though it’s hard to believe it can quite merit the kicking it’s been getting from some quarters. As ever, only one way to find out…
The Last Tree
- Cert 15, 99 mins
- City Screen
- From Fri Sep 27
A thought-provoking coming-of-age tale about black masculinity, with the lead character played by different actors…yep, it’s no surprise that The Last Tree is being hailed as ‘the British Moonlight’ by some.
Happily, reviews suggest it’s a film that can stand comparison with Barry Jenkins’ masterpiece. The partly-autobiographical second feature of director Shola Amoo, it tells the story of Femi (played initially by Tai Golding, then as a teenager by Sam Adewunmi) – a British-Nigerian boy who begins the film living a carefree life in rural Lincolnshire with his white foster mother.
That all changes when his birth mother Yinka (Gbemisola Ikumelo, BBC3’s Famalam) re-enters his life, and takes him to live with her on a south London council estate.
Amoo’s film was warmly received by critics on its premiere at the Sundance Festival earlier this year, with praise in particular for the performances of newcomer Golding and Adewunmi – the latter being hailed by Screen Daily as one of their Screen Stars of Tomorrow.
Ready Or Not
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what you’ve married into, or indeed if you’ve ever found yourself wondering what Seth from The O.C. is up to these days, then here is the film for you.
This fun-sounding horror sees new bride Grace (ex-Home and Away actress Samara Weaving, in what Empire are calling ‘a star-making turn’) finding that her new husband’s crazy rich clan are, well, crazy and rich, when she’s called on to participate in a family wedding night tradition of playing hide and seek.
The prospect of an awkward evening of forced fun with the in-laws is enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies – matters are made slightly worse for Grace, however, when she discovers that if her new family find her, they’ll kill her…
Joining the hunt are Andie MacDowell as forbidding matriarch Becky, and erstwhile face of Chrismukkah Adam Brody as son Daniel.
- Cert TBC, 96 mins
- From Fri Sep 27
With Netflix luring ever bigger names to work under their banner, it’s good to see that they appear to be coming round to the idea of releasing some of their more high-profile films in actual cinemas.
A case in point is the new film from Steven Soderbergh, which hits the streaming service on 18th October, but which you can catch at Everyman throughout this week.
Boasting a starry cast including Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, The Laundromat tackles the 2015 Panama Papers tax evasion scandal – and while that might not sound like the most popcorn-tastic night out, Soderbergh (the man behind the likes of Erin Brockovich and Ocean’s Eleven) has a strong track record for making fast-paced, punchy and engaging dramas for mainstream audiences – as Variety put it in their review, “(he) knows how to make using your head fun”.
Two film noir classics are on offer at City Screen this Sunday, both starring the legendary Orson Welles.
Their Vintage Sundays strand has a matinee screening of 1958’s Touch of Evil, starring Charlton Heston as a drug enforcement official who begins to suspect fellow cop Welles of dirty dealings.
It’s followed that evening by a 70th anniversary screening of The Third Man. Even if you’ve never seen director Carol Reed’s 1949 thriller, atmospherically set in the bombed-out streets of post-war Vienna, you’ll certainly know its iconic theme music – and this special screening will be preceded by a pre-recorded performance of the score by Viennese zither player Cornelia Mayer.
Meanwhile, Saturday 28th offers the chance to see a golden oldie of a very different stripe over at Vue, where they’re showing an 80th anniversary screening of The Wizard of Oz – a perfect chance to catch Judy Garland in her most famous role, before Renée Zellweger steps into her red shoes in Judy next week.
From the yellow brick road to the dark side of the moon: Roger Waters: Us and Them showcases the Pink Floyd man’s 2017/18 European tour, and is showing at all three York cinemas on Weds 2nd October.
A happy side effect of having recently moved house is that I’ve been reacquainting myself with my vinyl collection (fun fact: side two of Pet Shop Boys’ Introspective lasts exactly the amount of time it takes me to iron my shirts for the week). The resurgence in vinyl has been one of the few heartening retail trends of recent years, and on Sunday 29th you can celebrate it at FortyFive Vinyl Café on Micklegate, with a screening of new documentary The Vinyl Revival, followed by a Q&A with Graham Jones, author of the book The Vinyl Revival and the Shops That Made It Happen.
And finally, two more musical attractions you can catch this week: Placido Domingo celebrates 50 years in the biz with a gala concert at the Arena Di Verona on Tues 1st, showing at Vue; while Detroit’s finest marks its 60th anniversary in documentary Hitsville: The Making of Motown, screening at Vue and Everyman on Mon 30th.
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need…roads,” Doc Brown memorably declared in Back to the Future – proving that you can be a genius scientist and yet lack even the most basic grasp of the fundamentals of town planning.
We’d also have lost out on rather a lot of fine movies without them, as South Bank Community Cinema are proving with their new, road-trip themed season, which this week invites you to take a trip with Tom Hardy in Locke.
I’ve heard great things about this ingenious 2013 thriller, the action of which is confined to Hardy’s car journey between Birmingham and London, the story unfolding through a series of speakerphone conversations with the likes of Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott.
It shows at Clement’s Hall at 8pm on Friday 27th (doors 7:30pm). Tickets are £3 for members and £4 for guests.
Meanwhile, there’s an equally intriguing premise to this month’s Film at the Folk Hall offering, all the more so for being based on a true story.
BlacKkKlansman saw director Spike Lee score his biggest hit in years on its release in 2018. Starring John David Washington (son of Denzel) and Adam Driver, it shows how Ron Stallworth (Washington), the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, infiltrated the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan by posing as an eager, white recruit over the phone.
I confess that I found it a little underwhelming when it came out last year, but from the well-judged lead performances to the ‘70s styles and sounds, there’s plenty to recommend it.
It shows at the Folk Hall, New Earswick, on Fri 27th at 7:30pm (doors 7pm) – tickets are £4 for members and £6 for guests.