If you’re trawling the cinema listings looking for something to buoy your spirits, then this week’s big new release might just be worth shelling out for.
Yes, there’s a second big screen outing for our sea shanty-singing heroes in Fisherman’s Friends: One and All – but is it The Codfather Part II or a load of old scallops?
And if you’ve haddock up to here with heartwarming British underdog films*, you might like to sample the sinister delights of Welsh-language horror The Feast, or watch the terrifying Esther take her baby steps in Orphan: First Kill…
(*YorkMix would like to reassure readers that all the torturous puns in this introduction were humanely destroyed once the article had been published.)
Fisherman’s Friends: One and All
This sequel to the popular 2019 comedy drama about the real-life Cornish singing sensations sees the gang adjusting to life on the high seas of fame.
The story sees the group contending with the pressure of following up their hit first album while also navigating life in the spotlight – a situation made even more difficult for Jim (James Purefoy) as he struggles to deal with the loss of his father Jago (David Hayman).
Irish folk singer Imelda May joins the cast for this feelgood tale, which culminates in a recreation of the group’s celebrated Pyramid Stage performance at Glastonbury in 2011.
This Welsh-language chiller – about a dinner party that goes badly awry, and not because someone forgot to defrost the Viennetta – looks likely to appeal to fans of recent slow-burning, atmospheric British horrors Saint Maud and Censor.
Like those films, it features an enigmatic young woman at its centre in the form of Cadi (Annes Elwy), a last-minute replacement as the waitress for a wealthy family’s soirée in their opulent new pad in the Welsh countryside.
It’s a high-stakes event, being held with the hope of securing a valuable mining venture for patriarch Gwyn (Julian Lewis) and his business partner – but as the dysfunctional clan gather for the evening’s repast, it starts to become clear that they should perhaps have scrutinised Cadi’s CV a little more closely…
If the cuckoo-in-the-immaculately-designed-nest plot rings a few Parasite-shaped bells, that’s perhaps appropriate, as director Lee Haven Jones (making his feature debut here) explained to the BFI that he hopes the film will help to define and promote Welsh-language film internationally, arguing that ‘There is no reason why Wales can’t be as renowned for horror as somewhere like South Korea.’
Orphan: First Kill
Isabelle Fuhrman reprises her iconic role in this belated prequel to the 2009 horror hit.
The story sees the murderous Esther (Fuhrman) break out of a psychiatric facility and inveigle her way into the life of another unsuspecting American family by pretending she is their long-lost daughter.
It’s not long before the delighted parents (Julia Stiles and Rossif Sutherland) start to notice something is a little different about their little ball of sunshine – not least that new accent – and Esther finds that she may have underestimated how far her new ‘mother’ will go to keep her family safe…
Summer holiday round-up
If you’re looking for something a little different for your family cinema trip this week, City Screen have just the thing: their Aesthetica Film Club has a Kids Animation matinee at 2pm on Thurs 25th.
The screening comprises six kid-friendly animated shorts from the Aesthetica Fest, based around the theme of friends and relationships – flying buses and spaceships are promised, and going on the promo picture the selection also looks likely to include Archie, a beautiful stop-motion animation which was one of my favourites of the 2019 festival.
Speaking of which, stop-motion kings Aardman Animation are much in evidence on the big screen again this week – Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon is City Screen’s Kids’ Club screening on Sat 20th (tickets £3.00), while Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (£2.49) and Early Man (standard price, £6.99 – £9.99) are screening daily at Vue.
Vue also have daily outings for the ever-delightful Paddington (£6.99 – £9.99), while Cineworld’s budget Movies For Juniors selection this week is everyone’s favourite cuddly ogre Shrek (screening daily, tickets £2.50).
City Screen’s weekday Kids’ Club offering is Encanto – there’s also an Autism-Friendly screening on Thurs 25th, and tickets for all screenings are £3.00 – and over at Everyman, there’s another modern Disney fave in the form of Moana (Mon 22nd/Weds 24th), while the original animated Beauty and the Beast (Tues 23rd/Thurs 25th) flies the flag for the studio’s 90s renaissance. Tickets for both are £10 for adults and £5 for kids.
If none of this week’s new releases takes your fancy, then never fear – we’re once again spoilt for choice by the selection of reissues and one-off screenings on offer, with beloved favourites nestling alongside lesser-known gems.
Let’s start in the latter category, with Burning an Illusion – showing daily at City Screen this week, this 1981 drama has been reissued by the BFI, who describe it as ‘a vibrant and liberating touchstone of Black British cinema’.
Following the personal and political journey of Pat (Cassie McFarlane), a young black woman making her way in Thatcher’s Britain, director Menelik Shabazz’s drama sounds likely to appeal to anyone who enjoyed Steve McQueen’s brilliant Small Axe series on TV.
It might make a good pairing with new US indie release Queen of Glory, a preview of which shows at Vue this week on Weds 24th – this millennial comedy-drama centres on a Ghanaian-American woman whose life is upended when she inherits her mother’s Christian bookshop in the Bronx.
Beaming down to all four cinemas this week is Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition, 1979’s inaugural big screen outing for Captain Kirk and co – engage warp drive and plot a course for Cineworld (Sat 20th/Sun 21st/Weds 24th), City Screen (Sat 20th/Weds 24th), Everyman (Sun 21st/Tues 23rd) or Vue (Sat 20th/Mon 22nd/Tues 23rd).
They’re not the only returning heroes, as Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero continues the fantasy anime saga at Cineworld, Everyman and Vue, showing throughout the week in a mixture of subtitled and dubbed versions – while Frodo and co. reach the end of their journey in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at Everyman on Sat 20th, and the same day sees Pierce Brosnan’s 007 face off against Robert Carlyle’s villainous Renard in The World Is Not Enough at Vue.
On Weds 24th, Everyman are hopelessly devoted to Olivia Newton-John with a special tribute screening of Grease – proceeds go to breast cancer charity Future Dreams and your ticket price includes a complimentary drink plus a hot dog or pizza. Grease is most definitely the word…
Over at City Screen, the Wim Wenders season arrives at the director’s hit 1999 documentary Buena Vista Social Club (Sun 21st), which tells the story of the eponymous band of veteran Cuban musicians and the making of their bestselling 1997 album.
Meanwhile, their European Summer season continues with the Merchant-Ivory classic A Room with a View (Tues 23rd), wherein the well-to-do Helena Bonham-Carter falls for free-thinking Julian Sands in early 20th Century Tuscany.
And finally, from one literary heroine to another – Jane Austen’s matchmaking meddler Emma Woodhouse is gloriously reborn as the sweet-natured shopaholic Cher Horowitz in writer-director Amy Heckerling’s evergreen Clueless – the undoubted Homecoming Queen of City Screen’s 90s US teen movie season returns to claim her crown on Monday 22nd.