York film preview: Magic Mike’s Last Dance, Women Talking and EO
Could it be magic…again?
Channing Tatum’s heading to London in Magic Mike’s Last Dance this week – but with reviews expressing disappointment that the amount of toned flesh has been toned down this time round, has the famously raunchy franchise gone all coy for its final outing?
If you’re not up for a night of men stripping, you can watch Women Talking instead – while weird and wonderful odyssey EO shows you the world through the eyes of a Polish circus donkey…
Magic Mike’s Last Dance
Channing Tatum steps up to the stage once more in this third and final instalment in the hit stripper franchise – and this time, he’s coming to London.
The story finds Tatum’s “Magic” Mike Lane down on his luck after a business deal goes wrong – but things look up when he meets wealthy socialite Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault), who invites him to train up a troupe of dancers in her London theatre for a night her punters will never forget.
Director Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight) is back behind the camera for this closing chapter, which promises a ‘seriously steamy’ performance – though most reviews suggest it’s a deal less steamy than the first two. Great news, you can bring grandma along!
Writer-director Sarah Polley marshals a top-tier ensemble cast – including Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley and Frances McDormand – in this powerful drama about the women of an isolated religious colony struggling to decide their next steps following horrendous revelations of assault.
Based on Miriam Toews’ 2018 novel (itself inspired by real events), the film sees the female members of a Mennonite community gathering to deal with the shocking discovery of their systematic abuse at the hands of the men of the colony – attacks which they had been made to believe were a Satanic trick of their imaginations.
As the women struggle to process what has happened, they realise they must decide what to do next – should they leave and start a new life elsewhere, or stay and fight?
Actor-turned-director Polley (whose three previous features are all well worth checking out) has received plenty of plaudits for her sensitive direction of this hard-hitting tale, with Empire enthusing that it ‘hails the return of Polley as an ambitious and empirical filmmaker’.
Hot on the heels (or rather, hooves) of Colin Farrell’s scene-stealing co-star in The Banshees of Inisherin, here’s another four-legged hero set to capture your heart – but this time he’s the star of the show, in this highly acclaimed Polish tale.
The film follows the adventures of the eponymous EO, a circus donkey who embarks on an odyssey across the Polish and Italian countryside, encountering all manner of colourful characters along the way.
The latest work from veteran Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, this intriguing-looking film has had critics overflowing with praise (and more than a few donkey puns), with Mark Kermode’s review (“The bold and the bray”) hailing it as a ‘strangely wonderful’ picture with ‘moments of heart-stopping tenderness and beauty’.
A lesbian teacher in 80s Tyneside hides her sexuality from her colleagues – but her personal and professional lives collide when one of her pupils discovers her secret, in this politically charged British drama.
Set against the background of the introduction of the notorious Section 28 law (banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in schools), the film follows PE teacher Jean (Rosy McEwen) as she is forced to question her closeted lifestyle when her new pupil Lois (Lucy Halliday) – who is herself being bullied for her sexuality – sees her at a lesbian bar.
Impressive reviews suggest that this is a very promising debut from writer-director Georgia Oakley, which marks out both her and McEwen as ones to watch.
Whoa, you’re halfway there…Parents and kids looking to celebrate making it through those dark and dreary January days have a variety of cinematic options to choose from this week.
Top of the list for many will be Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which sounds far more fun than anyone was expecting it to be, and continues at all four York cinemas this week.
And as is traditional for the school holidays, cinema programmers have dug round the back of the sofa and found a passable European CGI animation garlanded with a two-star review in the Guardian – this time it’s the turn of Epic Tails (Cineworld, Vue, showing daily), a new take on Greek mythology which sees a bunch of furry friends band together after Poseidon nicks off with Jason’s golden fleece.
As ever, there are also budget offerings available throughout the week at Cineworld and Vue – recent hits Strange World and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile are screening daily at Cineworld (tickets £2.50), while Vue have another piece of two-star Euro-fare in the form of Dreambuilders (tickets £2.49), a colourful Danish fantasy with an Inside Out-esque premise centring round the titular little blue critters, who are responsible for building and staging our dreams.
Over at City Screen, there’s a rather higher calibre of import in the form of Studio Ghibli co-production The Red Turtle (Sat 11th, £3.30), a wordless fable about a shipwrecked man whose every attempt to escape his island is thwarted by, you guessed it, a red turtle.
And if none of that takes your fancy, you can always remind the kids how much worse school could be with a trip to Matilda the Musical, showing at Cineworld, Everyman and Vue.
Valentines, Galentines and everything in between
With Avatar: The Way of Water having proved that director James Cameron’s box office Midas touch is alive and thoroughly kicking, this week sees a return to the big screen for another of his all-conquering blockbuster behemoths.
Back in cinemas to mark its 25th anniversary (and just in time for Valentine’s Day), Cameron’s epic Kate’n’Leofest Titanic sets sail on the celluloid seas once more with a reissue of the 3D version first released 10 years ago.
Gawp at the iceberg! Hold yourself back from punching Billy Zane right in his smug smirking face! And perhaps the extra dimension might finally settle all those arguments about whether there might, after all, have been room for two on that makeshift raft…
You can embark at Everyman, Vue and Cineworld (where it’s also showing in IMAX) throughout the week – women and children first, please.
It is, of course, not the only timeless love story back on the big screen this week – two other 90s favourites are on offer in the form of Pretty Woman (Everyman, Sun 12th, Tues 14th) and Sleepless in Seattle (Vue, Fri 10th, Tues 14th).
Over at City Screen, you can enjoy Bogie and Bergman in Casablanca on Sun 12th – maybe she’ll stay with him this time? – while Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette are back on the run in modern classic True Romance on Tues 14th.
If Valentine’s Day has you in a bit more of an ‘Adam Sandler hectoring the mutants on table nine in The Wedding Singer’ kind of a place, then perhaps the latest film in City Screen’s Weimar season – celebrating the iconic German cinema movement of the 1920s and 30s – might be more to your taste: showing on Sun 12th, 1930’s The Blue Angel is the tragicomic tale of a school teacher and a cabaret singer (Marlene Dietrich in her first major role) whose relationship has a far from happy ending.
Love is, however, very much at the heart of Everything Everywhere All at Once, for all its head-spinning reality-hopping – you can catch the unexpected awards frontrunner at Vue on Thurs 16th.
There are also previews of another US indie film which looks, like Everything Everywhere, to exist on the accessible side of surreal: showing at Cineworld and Vue on Weds 15th and Thurs 16th, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a comic live-action/stop-motion hybrid about, well, a talking shell called Marcel who wears a pair of shoes.
Cineworld are also giving BTS fans more time to hang out with their idols with daily screenings of BTS: Yet To Come this week.
And thanks to the genius of Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope, you can’t have Valentine’s Day now without having Galentine’s Day first – you can join in the annual celebration of female friendship with screenings of Bridesmaids at Vue (Sat 11th, Tues 14th) and Mean Girls at City Screen (Mon 13th) – the latter a particularly appropriate choice as it stars Leslie’s real life avatar, Amy Poehler.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to close proceedings with the brilliant (now Grammy-winningly so) Wet Leg, and their Mean Girls-referencing breakout hit Chaise Longue.
What with this and a Buffalo ’66 reference in their follow-up single, this pair are well on the way to being the indie Kermode and Mayo. If they can just get a hello to Jason Isaacs onto the next album, they’ll have sealed the deal…