From Toy Story to Up, Pixar’s films are famed for their ability to tug at our heartstrings.
It’s a tradition set to continue with their new one Onward, while Sharon Horgan and Kristin Scott Thomas sing when they’re winning in Military Wives.
Plus, a belated release for a controversial thriller, and City Screen celebrate an Italian master…
Two teenage elves set out on a quest in this new offering from Pixar – but rather than searching for a magical kingdom, their mission is a far more personal one.
Brothers Barley (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Ian (Tom Holland) discover that their late father has left them a very special gift – a spell which gives them the chance to spend one more day with him.
When the spell doesn’t go entirely to plan, the pair set out on a mission to be reunited with their dad.
The pairing of ever-likeable Marvel favourites Pratt and Holland is certainly promising, and reviews suggest Pixar are on to another winner here, with the Independent saying it ‘hits all the right emotional notes, without cutting back on the goofy physical comedy or clever fantasy references’.
Sharon Horgan and Kristin Scott Thomas lead this feelgood British comedy drama, based on the real-life female singing group who achieved global fame following their appearance in BBC2’s The Choir.
With their husbands and partners away serving in Afghanistan, a group of women on a military base decide to form a choir as a way of focussing their energies.
Under the stewardship of chalk-and-cheese leaders Lisa (Horgan) and Kate (Scott Thomas), they gradually become a vital source of support for one another in difficult times.
With Full Monty director Peter Cattaneo at the helm, and a bevy of pop classics on the soundtrack, this certainly sounds just the ticket for those who fancy an uplifting night out.
Horror fans are well served this week, in terms of quantity if not perhaps quality, with three new releases hitting Vue and Cineworld.
The most high-profile of these is certainly The Hunt, which made global headlines last summer when its release was cancelled in the wake of criticism of its controversial subject matter – most prominently by Donald Trump.
A violent satire in which 12 strangers are rounded up for hunting by a group of elites, it finally gets a release on Weds 11th, showing at Vue and Cineworld, so you can see for yourself what all the fuss was (or wasn’t) about.
Two more luckless groups must fight for their lives in Fantasy Island (from Fri 6th, Vue, Cineworld), in which fantasy becomes terrifying reality for five competition winners, and British chiller Sacrilege (from Fri 6th, Cineworld only), in which four friends fall foul of a local Pagan cult. (I don’t know who’s in charge of PR for Pagan cults, but I strongly suggest they commission a film where a group of smug city folk encounter a cult that just gives them a really nice herbal tea or something.)
For those who prefer swooning to screaming, US romance The Photograph (from Fri 6th, Cineworld) has a promising central pairing in Lakeith Stanfield (Knives Out) and Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure), though reviews suggest they are the best things about it.
On to one-off screenings, then – first up, both City Screen and Everyman are marking International Women’s Day on Sun 8th with a preview screening of Marie Curie biopic Radioactive.
Starring Rosamund Pike as the pioneering Polish scientist, it’s followed by a live satellite Q&A with Pike and director Marjane Satrapi.
This week also sees City Screen begin a season of films in honour of celebrated Italian director Federico Fellini.
Marking the centenary of Fellini’s birth, the series of five films begins on Sun 8th with 1953’s I Vitelloni, a small town tale of five aimless loafers getting up to mischief.
Also starting at City Screen this week is a four-week course on another icon of international cinema, French filmmaker Agnès Varda.
Run by the University of York and beginning on Sat 7th with Varda’s 1962 classic Cleo from 5 to 7, each week will feature a screening and discussion of one of the director’s most notable films.
The full course costs £44 but you can sign up for individual screenings for £11 – more information on the University’s website.
City Screen’s Kids’ Club offering this weekend is Studio Ghibli favourite My Neighbour Totoro (Sat 7th), while Sun 8th sees an Autism-Friendly screening of Pixar’s Wall-E.
Pink Floyd fans can hear new live versions of some of the band’s earlier work in concert doc Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets. Showing at City Screen on Tues 10th, it sees founder member Mason and his new band playing a set list comprised entirely of music released prior to the all-conquering The Dark Side of the Moon – and if you like what you see, you can catch them in the flesh at the Barbican in May.
And finally, Everyman continue their Friday night dystopia-season with a black-and-white screening of 2015’s highly acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road on Fri 6th – the film’s many fans include Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright, who waxes lyrical about its celebrated action scenes and much more besides in this episode of the BBC’s Life Cinematic series.
When it comes to cinematic depictions of kite-flying, there is one obvious film that leaps to mind – but there are no flying nannies to be seen in this week’s South Bank Community Cinema offering.
Released in 2007, The Kite Runner depicts the friendship of Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) and Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada), two boys from different backgrounds growing up in 1970s Afghanistan.
Their idyllic days flying kites together come to a sudden end after a terrible act changes both their lives forever, in this acclaimed film from Finding Neverland director Mark Forster.
It shows at Clement’s Hall on Fri 7th. The screening is co-organised with York Fair Trade, and there will be a talk before the film at 7:30.
Doors open for the talk at 7pm; the talk and film are £4 for members, £5 for guests. Doors will reopen at 8pm for those only able to make the film (usual price of £3 for members, £4 for guests).