As Evil Dead Rise claws its way onto the big screen, here’s a quick question to all those writers of ancient incantations which awaken the forces of darkness when read out loud: would it kill you to build some kind of failsafe in?
Like, I don’t know, the mystical equivalent of password protection, or security questions – so unsuspecting American teenagers can’t blithely open the portal to some unspeakable hell dimension unless they happen to know the name of your first pet (and they’d never guess ‘Fluffy’ in a million years).
Or, just after they’ve read out the last line, and a putrid smoke starts to fill the air, and the walls of the cellar they’re in start ominously shaking, a magical widget pops up saying, “You are about to summon Fleshmunch the Despicable. Are you sure you want to summon Fleshmunch the Despicable?”
I can’t help thinking it would save a lot of bother, that’s all…Elsewhere, there’s a new take on a classic swashbuckler, plus a chance to catch blockbusters for just £3.00 at Cineworld’s IMAX festival.
Evil Dead Rise
If you go down to the woods today…you’ll probably be totally fine actually, as this reboot of the iconic horror franchise shifts the flesh-eating action from the traditional treebound cabin to an LA apartment.
The story sees estranged sisters Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland) and Beth (Lily Sullivan) reunited in the run-down apartment where Ellie lives with her three children – but family tensions are the least of their problems when one of the kids finds an innocuous little tome by the name of ‘Necronomicon Ex-Mortis’ nestling in the cellar…
Taking the reins from series creator Sam Raimi is Irish director Lee Cronin (who made a well-received debut in 2019 with creepy-kid horror The Hole in the Ground), and fans of the series – cherished as much for its guffaws as its gore – will be glad to hear that this new chapter sounds like a more-than-worthy successor to the originals.
The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan
Part One for all and all for Part One! This lavish new French adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic tale is the first of a two-parter, with the second instalment, The Three Musketeers: Milady, due at the end of the year.
François Civil stars as the eponymous young hero, who arrives in Paris on a mission to find the gang who left him for dead – but instead meets his future comrades-in-arms Athos, Porthos and Amaris, and finds himself flung into a dangerous world of plotting and intrigue in the court of King Louis XIII.
The impressive cast includes Vincent Cassel as Athos, Vicky Krieps (Corsage) as Queen Anne and – in a role she was surely born to play – Eva Green as the villainous Milady de Winter.
Tick tock, TikTok…A teenager conducts an increasingly frantic online search for her mother in this standalone sequel to 2018’s Searching.
Taking place almost entirely within the confines of computer and smartphone screens, the film centres on June (Storm Reid, The Invisible Man) and her quest to find her mum Grace (Nia Long), after the latter disappears while on holiday in Colombia with her new boyfriend.
Just like John Cho’s distraught dad in the original, June finds herself disappearing down a series of digital rabbit holes – and unearthing some surprising secrets – as she races against time in what Empire calls ‘a gripping, well-told, incredibly watchable thriller’.
So, Which Band is Your Boyfriend in? plus panel discussion
Calling all music fans – head down to the Streetlife Hub on Coney Street on Sunday 23rd for a free screening of this timely documentary by local musician, photographer and filmmaker Suzy Harrison.
An exploration of the real-life experiences of non-male participants in the UK’s DIY and underground music scenes, the film features members of the music community talking about their experiences, both positive and negative.
Writing on the film’s website, Harrison says that “It’s hard to be inspired if you can’t relate to the stories you hear/see in documentaries. And with that in mind, I hope that this project inspires people, regardless of their age/gender/background, to pick up an instrument, learn to record music or just get out there to watch bands.”
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion including Dr Jenn Chubb (University of York), Tony Ereira (Come Play With Me), Harkirit Boparai (Ouroboros, The Crescent) and Dom Smith (Wobbling About & Rocking Out, Soundsphere Magazine) – tickets are free but you need to book online.
Cineworld IMAX Film Fest 2023
You can see some of last year’s biggest blockbusters in their full IMAX glory at Cineworld this Saturday – and all for just £3 a pop!
Taking place at Cineworld on Sat 22nd, the festival offers a chance to see four of last year’s most spectacular releases on the biggest screen possible.
Take your pick from emo scowl-fest The Batman, high-flying megahit Top Gun: Maverick, multiverse-hopping awards magnet Everything Everywhere All at Once and critic-proof aquatic epic Avatar: The Way of Water.
Best of all, tickets for each screening are just £3.00 – head to Cineworld’s website to book.
Other new releases and previews
With climate change activism making headlines again this week, the release of tense thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline (showing daily at Cineworld and Vue) couldn’t be better timed – described by its makers as an “Ocean’s Eleven about environmental activism”, the film follows a gang of activists who plan to sabotage an oil pipeline in West Texas.
Also new out this week at Vue is US indie drama A Thousand and One (showing daily), which follows the relationship between a free-spirited young woman and her son through a decade of change in the New York of the late 90s and early 00s.
Over at City Screen, there are one-off screenings of two very different, but equally intriguing animations.
A seven-year, one-man labour of love for its director Takahide Hori, stop-motion thriller Junk Head (Mon 24th) is a dystopian tale set in a distant future where a mysterious, subterranean species may offer the last hope to save humankind.
Meanwhile, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Tues 25th) is a surreal adaptation of several short stories by the oft-adapted Japanese author Haruki Marukami, following a disparate group of Tokyo residents – including a giant talking frog – in the days after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
If you’re more in the mood for a comfort watch, you can catch previews of gentle Jim Broadbent drama The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry at City Screen (Sun 23rd, plus captioned screening on Tues 25th) and Vue (Weds 26th) – based on the bestselling novel, it sees Broadbent’s pensioner set out on a 450-mile walking pilgrimage across England when he learns his old friend is dying.
And if you fancy a night out at a mega-gig with infinitely smaller queues for the loo, there are encore screenings of Coldplay: Music of the Spheres Live at River Plate at Cineworld and Vue on Sun 23rd.
Budget family-friendly films
D’Artagnan and friends aren’t the only ones buckling a swash on the big screen this week, as our fearless feline hero finds his luck – and his nine lives – are running out in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which is this week’s Movies For Juniors selection at Cineworld (Sat 22nd/Sun 23rd, tickets £2.50); they also have a screening of ursine caper Little Bear’s Big Trip on Sun 23rd only (£2.50).
Over at Vue, there are further adventures for the Central Park Zoo escapees in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Sat 22nd/Sun 23rd, £2.49), while the fiendish Megamind sees his self-created adversary run amok at City Screen on Sat 22nd (£3.30).
Aliens, Raging Bull and Bridget: Old favourites back on the big screen
How are you celebrating Alien Day this year?
I’m inviting a few friends round to tea, where I hope to recreate the first film’s most iconic scene with the help of some homemade explosives and a papier-mache John Hurt.
Ought to be good for a few likes on TikTok…If you don’t want to completely destroy your kitchen, though, you can just head down to see the first two classic films at the cinema.
On the day itself (Weds 26th), you can catch Alien at Everyman and Aliens at Cineworld, while City Screen and Vue have a double-bill of both films – Vue also have an extra screening of Alien on Fri 21st, and Aliens on Sat 22nd.
Back here on Earth, Vue also have one more screening of the new 4K restoration of Martin Scorsese classic Raging Bull on Sat 22nd.
City Screen’s celebration of US indie hitmakers A24 continues on Sun 23rd with 2016’s American Honey, which sees ace British director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights) apply her gritty but lyrical brand of social realism to the US road movie – a reminder that tickets for this season are free for City Screen members, and a reduced price of £8.00 for non-members.
There’s a belated Easter present for fans of classic Hollywood on Mon 24th, as Judy Garland and Fred Astaire are steppin’ out in 1948 musical Easter Parade, which is City Screen’s Dementia-Friendly screening this month.
And finally, everyone’s favourite singleton puts pen to paper once again at Everyman, with Throwback screenings of 00s fave Bridget Jones’s Diary on Sun 23rd and Tues 25th (plus a Baby Club screening on Tues 25th too).
Is it just me, or would the next John Wick be immeasurably improved if they got Hugh Grant and Colin Firth to bust out some of their unique fighting moves? The campaign starts here…