So, it turns out that while the Earth was under attack from a vengeful Norse god, an out-of-control AI lifeform and a giant purple tyrant – not to mention a plethora of disgruntled Stark Industries employees – there was a race of powerful, immortal aliens living quietly among us the whole time.
And they didn’t lift a finger!
Marvel’s Eternals have got some explaining to do…Meanwhile, Oscar Isaac knows when to fold ‘em in The Card Counter and Kristen Stewart knows when to walk away in Spencer.
This latest instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is based around a gang of superheroes likely to be unfamiliar to most viewers – but then, so were the Guardians of the Galaxy not so long ago.
Derived from one of their more obscure comic book series, the story introduces the eponymous immortal alien race, who emerge from hiding after thousands of years to protect Earth from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.
The sprawling ensemble cast includes Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden and Gemma Chan, while it will be interesting to see what up-and-coming talents like Barry Keoghan (The Green Knight) and Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk) bring to proceedings – and more intriguing still is the presence of Nomadland Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao behind the camera.
Kristen Stewart has received rave reviews for her performance as Princess Diana in this drama from director Pablo Larrain, who previously paid homage to another 20th century icon in 2016’s Jackie.
Set over Christmas 1991, the film covers the days leading up to Diana’s decision to divorce Prince Charles (Jack Farthing, Poldark), as the royal family assemble at Sandringham for the festive season.
If certain sections of the media were up in arms about the accuracy of the last series of The Crown, who knows what they will make of this imagined version of events, which bills itself as “a fable from a true tragedy” and was described by the Guardian as “a full-blown Gothic nightmare…an opulent ice palace of a movie with shades of Rebecca at the edges”.
The Card Counter
Oscar Isaac stars as a gambler with a guilty past in this thriller from director Paul Schrader (who has made a career out of studying troubled loners, from his screenplay for Taxi Driver to 2018’s excellent Ethan Hawke drama First Reformed).
Going by the pseudonym of William Tell, Isaac’s drifter makes a living as a poker player in the casinos of middle America – a skill he honed during an eight-and-a-half-year prison stint for his crimes as a military interrogator at Abu Ghraib.
Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) co-stars as Tell’s agent, while Willem Dafoe plays a former private contractor at Abu Ghraib on whom Tell spies a chance for revenge.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival
The physical leg of this year’s ASFF reaches its climax with Sunday evening’s awards ceremony at the Yorkshire Museum, but there’s still time to sample its eclectic programme of shorts, features and live events this weekend – while the virtual version of the festival will continue to run online until the end of the month.
You can catch screenings across the city in venues including City Screen, the National Centre for Early Music and the Friargate Theatre, while Saturday’s Masterclasses include talks with Oscar-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia (Amy, Diego Maradonna) and highly acclaimed director Francis Lee, who made his debut with 2017’s Yorkshire-set romance God’s Own Country.
Tickets are offered in Virtual, In Venue and Hybrid formats. In Venue tickets start from £7.50 for a single screening in person and £25 for a one day screening, while Virtual tickets start from £25 for 24-hour access and Hybrid tickets (offering access to the fest both in-person and virtually) start from £50 for a day pass plus unlimited virtual access from 2-30 November. The full selection of ticket options is available to book on ASFF’s website.
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City Screen continue their season of classic Japanese cinema with Early Summer (Sun 7th), the first of three films they are screening by celebrated director Yasujirō Ozu.
Ozu was famed for his gentle and poignant portraits of family life, and this 1951 drama follows the Mamiyas, who are looking for a husband for their daughter Noriko – only for her to defy their preferred choice of suitor in favour of her widowed childhood friend.
You can also catch a preview of period drama Mothering Sunday at City Screen on Weds 10th – an adaptation of Graham Swift’s 2016 novella about a secret romance between a housemaid and the son of her employers’ neighbours – while on Thurs 11th, documentary Men Who Sing follows the exploits of a Welsh male voice choir.
Meanwhile, Quant (City Screen Mon 8th/Weds 10th, Cineworld Tues 9th) celebrates the life and work of Dame Mary Quant, with the likes of Kate Moss and Vivienne Westwood among those paying tribute to the iconic British designer, a figurehead of swinging sixties style.
As Diwali begins, big screen fireworks are on offer at Cineworld courtesy of Sooryavanshi (daily except Tues 9th), a Hindi-language action movie following the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad as they race to prevent a deadly attack.
It’s Golden Snitches and Golden Tickets all round at Vue this week, as Hogwart’s opens its doors once more for the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (showing daily), while Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Sat 6th/Sun 7th/Weds 10th) celebrates 50 years of confectionery-based morality lessons, courtesy of Gene Wilder’s inscrutable chocolatier.
And from a chocolate factory to, er, a baby factory, Cineworld’s Autism-Friendly screening this month is The Boss Baby 2: Family Business, showing on Sun 7th – while both Cineworld and Vue have budget-priced screenings of The Croods 2: A New Age on Sat 6th and Sun 7th (Cineworld £2.50, Vue £2.49), and City Screen’s Kids’ Club offering is Disney adventure Raya and the Last Dragon (Sat 6th, £3.00).