Roll up, roll up, for the Great British Thesp Off in cinemas this week.
Young whippersnappers Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne take to the skies in The Aeronauts, while caddish Ian McKellen tries to put the con on Helen Mirren in The Good Liar.
Plus: Goblins! Witches! Angels! Bickering French actors! And who will take home the gongs at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival?
A daredevil pilot and an ambitious meteorologist set out on a journey into the clouds in this period drama, which reunites The Theory of Everything co-stars Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne.
Set in (and above) London in 1862 and loosely based on real events, the story sees spirited adventurer Amelia Wren (Jones) and determined scientist James Glaisher (Redmayne) plan to fly a hot air balloon higher than anyone in history – but the further they ascend, the more dangerous their mission becomes…
Directed by Tom Harper (Wild Rose) and written by Jack Thorne (TV’s His Dark Materials), it’s been praised for the chemistry between its two leads and for its thrilling depiction of their perilous journey, with Screen Daily claiming that ‘Fans of the classic, old-style British adventure epic are certainly in for a treat’.
The Good Liar
Whatever twists and turns await in this thriller, perhaps none will be more surprising than the fact that it’s the first time Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen have been paired together on the big screen.
Mirren plays well-off widow Betty McLeish, whose fruitless search for love online leads her into the path of McKellen’s dapper but dastardly con artist Roy Courtnay.
Roy’s plans to swindle Betty hit a snag when he finds himself starting to care for her – while her grandson Steven (Russell Tovey) becomes suspicious of the new man in her life…
McKellen and director Bill Condon previously worked together on 2015’s well-received Mr. Holmes, which depicted the great detective’s twilight years.
The Aesthetica Short Film Festival continues across York this weekend – why not get out there and see if you can catch the winning entries before they’re announced at the closing awards ceremony on Sunday?
You can see a single screening (usually 6 shorts) for just a fiver, and if you like what you see, you can trade it in for a day pass and get a £5 discount – a quick reminder, too, that York Card holders can view any film from the festival line-up for free at Explore York between 13:00 and 14:00 each day.
Meanwhile, two fantasy favourites are back on the big screen this week, both featuring young heroines doing battle with the fiendish rulers of magical kingdoms.
First up, Jennifer Connolly must save her baby brother from David Bowie’s resplendently-wigged Goblin King in Labyrinth, showing at Everyman on Fri 8th as part of their Friday night cult season.
Then City Screen’s Studio Ghibli season sees a young girl transported to a mysterious spirit world presided over by an evil witch in the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, showing on Sun 10th.
And finally, if you prefer your fantasy earth-bound, philosophical and with a cameo from Columbo, then look no further than Wim Wenders’ wonderful Wings of Desire, in which invisible angels watch over the lives of the people of Berlin. It shows at City Screen on Weds 13th.
South Bank Community Cinema’s road trip-themed season goes for the sustainable option this week, courtesy of a pair of biking and bickering thesps in French comedy Cycling with Molière.
Director Philippe le Guay’s 2013 film sees ageing actors Gauthier (Lambert Wilson) and Serge (Fabrice Luchini) plan a production of Molière’s play The Misanthrope, in between arguing, flirting with an Italian divorcee and cycling the byways of the Atlantic Coast.
The film shows at Clement’s Hall at 8pm on Friday 8th (doors 7:30pm). Tickets are £3 for members and £4 for guests.
Plus – if you want a say in SBCC’s next season, head down to Clement’s Hall for 7:30pm on Mon 11th, when they’re having their film selection meeting – you’ll need to be a member, but it only costs £5 to join.