If you were to crunch the numbers on the most common cinematic professions, I wouldn’t be surprised to see ‘assassin’ make the top five.
Whether they’re relentless antagonists or conflicted antiheroes, they’re such a common presence on our screens that it’s no wonder Dan Aykroyd wanted John Cusack to unionise in Grosse Pointe Blank.
Karen Gillan takes her place in the rogues’ gallery in Gunpowder Milkshake this week, while dark secrets are unearthed in thriller Rose Plays Julie.
There’s more than a hint of John Wick in the trailer for this action thriller, which sees Karen Gillan playing a trained assassin violently dispatching her foes against a series of fetching neon-lit backdrops.
The story sees Sam (Gillan) set out for revenge on her criminal employers after a job goes wrong – a mission that reunites her with her estranged hitwoman mother (Lena Headey).
A strong supporting cast includes Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett as the ‘librarians’ who keep Sam tooled up with ammo, while Finchy from The Office himself, Ralph Ineson, plays a mob boss out for Sam’s blood – maybe she beat him in the annual assassins’ pub quiz?
Rose Plays Julie
A young woman’s search for her biological parents digs up traumatic secrets in this Irish suspense thriller.
Ann Skelly (seen recently in HBO’s fantasy series The Nevers) plays Rose, a veterinary student who discovers that she is adopted, and makes contact with her birth mother Ellen (Orla Brady), who is now a successful actress.
When she finds that Ellen does not want to know her, Rose becomes determined to find out the truth about her parents’ past.
|Cert 15, 101 mins|
|From Fri Sep 17|
12 Mighty Orphans
Luke Wilson stars in this underdog drama about a WWI veteran who leads a team of orphans to sporting glory in 1930s Texas.
Based on a true story, the film sees Rusty Russell (Wilson) start a new teaching job at the Fort Worth Masonic Home, where he sets about persuading the young residents to form a football team – with a little help from the school’s caretaker Doc Hall (Martin Sheen).
As you’d expect, there are obstacles aplenty for the team to overcome – not least opposition from fellow teacher Frank Wynn (the ever boo-hissable Wayne Knight, aka Jurassic Park’s Dennis Nedry), who is using the pupils as unpaid labourers.
In an odd coincidence, this week sees the release of two ecologically-themed documentaries narrated by A-list British thesps.
First up on Mon 20th, Everyman have a screening of Eating Our Way to Extinction, a Kate Winslet-voiced film which offers both hard truths and hope in its investigation of ecological collapse, while on Tues 21st City Screen are showing Escape from Extinction, which focuses on the efforts to save endangered species across the planet – Helen Mirren is your guide for this one.
The music industry has recently begun to have its own reckoning with the environmental impact of global touring, with an increase in livestreamed gigs touted as one possible solution, and we’ve certainly seen an explosion of both livestreams and concert docs in cinemas in the last few years – this week’s music-themed offering takes us back to Britpop’s glory days, with Oasis Knebworth 1996 celebrating the band’s historic gigs in August of that year.
You can catch the brothers Gallagher at all four York cinemas on Thurs 23rd.
A couple of other docs worth flagging at City Screen this week are The Lost Leonardo (showing throughout the week), which tells the inside story of the power games that attended the discovery of a lost Da Vinci painting (or is it?) – while a proven fake is the subject of Misha and the Wolves (Sat 18th, Mon 20th), which looks at the infamous story of Misha Defonesca, whose 1997 Holocaust memoir was found to be fraudulent.
Meanwhile, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to old favourites back on the big screen this week.
My pick of the bunch is The Servant, restored in 4K and showing at City Screen throughout the week – it’s a dark and twisted British psychological drama about the shifting relationship between a wealthy Londoner and his newly-employed manservant.
Every scene simmers with class conflict and sexual tension, and Dirk Bogarde is mesmerising as the supercilious Barrett, slowly turning the tables on his self-absorbed employer (James Fox).
Also getting the 4K treatment is another British classic, A Clockwork Orange, which shows at Cineworld throughout the week.
Horror fans are well served this week, with both Alien and Aliens showing at Vue (scattered screenings throughout the week), plus the original 1989 adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary at City Screen (Mon 20th) and a 4K restoration of George A. Romero’s genre-defining zombie yarn Night of the Living Dead at Everyman (Tues 21st).
With the recent news that the Top Gun sequel has had its release date pushed back yet again (it’s now due out next summer), fans can console themselves by watching the original at City Screen on Fri 17th.
Over at Everyman, you can head back to the noughties with Reece Witherspoon favourite Legally Blonde (Fri 17th, plus Baby Club screening on Tues 21st) and indie breakout hit Little Miss Sunshine (Sun 19th).
City Screen’s Wong Kar Wai season draws to a close with 2046 (Sun 19th, Weds 22nd), the Hong Kong director’s sci-fi-inflected loose sequel to his most celebrated work In the Mood for Love (which also shows on Sun 19th).
There is also a timely screening of 2017’s The Breadwinner at City Screen on Tues 21st – this beautifully animated tale of a young girl growing up under the Taliban is well worth seeing if you haven’t, all the more so as it’s showing as a fundraiser for those affected by recent events in Afghanistan.
There’s also a chance to see an anime classic in full IMAX glory at Cineworld this week, as they bring 1995’s cult favourite Ghost in the Shell back to the big screen (scattered screenings through the week).
Finally, your budget family-friendly screenings this week are The Croods 2: A New Age at City Screen (showing in their Kids’ Club strand on Sat 18th, plus an Autism-Friendly screening on Sun 19th, tickets £3 for both), while Cineworld’s Movies For Juniors offerings are Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon, Peter Rabbit 2 and Moonbound (Sat 18th, £2.50) and Vue’s Mini Mornings strand has a Julia Donaldson double bill with The Snail and the Whale & Zog and the Flying Doctors (Sat 18th/Sun 19th, £2.49).