There follows a public service announcement: the new Mean Girls film is a musical. I repeat, a musical.
I only mention it because the marketing for the film has been rather playing this down – barely a hint of singing or dancing in the trailer, and you’ll note they’ve called it simply Mean Girls, rather than Mean Girls: The Musical (or, if they were doing it properly, Mean Girls! The Musical!!).
Apparently this is a deliberate ploy on the studio’s part to lure in the musical-averse section of the audience – and to be fair, these poor souls aren’t going to see the light all by themselves, so maybe a bit of chicanery is justified?
Anyhow, now you know, so if you do belong to that contingent of stony-faced joy-dodgers, you can steer well clear – and maybe check out bittersweet comedy The Holdovers or survival saga The End We Start From instead…
It’s no surprise that Tina Fey’s supremely quotable 2004 teen classic was given a musical makeover for the stage in 2017 – and this film adaptation of the Broadway hit brings things full circle, as a new generation of Plastics get set to terrorise the big screen once more.
Angourie Rice (Mare of Easttown) steps into Lindsay Lohan’s shoes as fish-out-of-water high school student Cady Heron, who finds herself befriended by queen bee Regina George (Reneé Rapp, star of the stage show) and her ‘mean girl’ clique the Plastics – only for the two to become mortal enemies when Cady falls for Regina’s ex-boyfriend.
30 Rock supremo Fey has once again provided the screenplay, and also reprises her role as Cady’s put-upon teacher Ms. Norbury – expect a 2020s spin on some of the original’s classic moments, numerous doomed attempts to make fetch happen, and perhaps even a cameo from a familiar face or two…
Director Alexander Payne (Election) reunites with his Sideways star Paul Giamatti for this highly acclaimed comedy-drama set in a New England prep school in the 1970s.
Giamatti adds to his impressive gallery of screen grouches as curmudgeonly classics teacher Paul Hunham, who’s unwillingly left in charge of the students who have nowhere to go for the Christmas holiday – including the gifted but troubled Angus (newcomer Dominic Sessa, in what’s said to be a star-making turn).
In time-honoured fashion, an unlikely bond begins to develop between the bickering pair and a third reluctant resident, the school’s long-suffering head chef Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who won a Golden Globe for her performance).
The End We Start From
Jodie Comer stars as a young woman who gives birth in the midst of a national disaster in this survival drama set in the near future.
The story follows Comer’s unnamed protagonist as she, her husband (Joel Fry, Our Flag Means Death) and their newborn child are forced to flee London when it is submerged by severe floods, seeking sanctuary with family in the north – but unforeseen developments mean that their struggles are far from over.
There has been plenty of praise for Comer’s powerful performance in director Mahalia Belo’s debut feature (from a screenplay by Normal People’s Alice Birch), which is as much an exploration of new motherhood as it is a depiction of environmental catastrophe.
Other new releases and previews
Sure to be one of the most talked-about films of the awards season, The Zone of Interest is the long-awaited new film from Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer – it’s not out for a couple of weeks, but you can catch preview screenings of it this weekend at City Screen.
Showing from Fri 19th to Sun 21st, it’s a chilling portrait of the day-to-day family life of Nazi commandant Rudolf Höss, whose home was situated directly outside the walls of Auschwitz.
Already whipping up a storm on social media following its streaming debut is lurid country house thriller Saltburn – it’s out now on Prime Video following its cinema run last year, but if you’d rather sample its decadent delights on the big screen, it’s showing at Everyman on Fri 19th and Vue on Sat 20th.
Mon 22nd sees another Secret Screening taking place at Cineworld, giving you the chance to see a preview of a mystery forthcoming release – will it be haunted pub horror Baghead, tear-jerking drama All of Us Strangers, the new The Color Purple musical, or something else altogether?
Malayalam-language adventure Malaikottai Vaaliban (Cineworld, Vue, Thurs 25th) follows the exploits of a legendary warrior, while Hindi-language action thriller Fighter (Cineworld, Thurs 25th) takes to the skies for its tale of an ambitious new recruit to the Indian Air Force.
Joseph Fiennes IS Gareth Southgate…is not a sentence I ever expected to find myself typing, but so it has come to pass in Dear England, a new play from writer James Graham (of TV hit Sherwood fame) about the none-more-dapper manager’s stewardship of the England team, showing in the NT Live strand at all four York cinemas on Thurs 25th.
No strangers to a stadium chant themselves, Queen Rock Montreal captures Freddie and the boys in their prime, knocking out the hits in a classic 1981 concert – catch it in IMAX at Cineworld from Fri 19th to Sun 21st.
And if you’re in the mood for something a little more refined, City Screen are showing the Dutch National Ballet’s performance of Giselle on Sun 21st, while Dvořák opera Rusalka screens live from Covent Garden at City Screen and Vue on Weds 24th.
City Screen’s Aardman season continues with Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit on Sat 20th, followed by an Autism-Friendly screening of the studio’s newest release, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget on Sun 21st (tickets £3.30 for both).
Everyman’s Toddler Club is offering another recent hit in the choc-tastic form of Wonka, showing on Fri 19th and Sat 20th (£6.25 for children, £8.25 for adult plus toddler), while there’s puppy power aplenty at Vue courtesy of Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie (Sat 20th/Sun 21st, £2.49) and Po springs into action in Kung Fu Panda at Cineworld (Sat 20th/Sun 21st, £2.50).
There’s another noughties favourite at Vue in the form of Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Sat 20th/Sun 21st, £6.99 – £9.99), while their Kids TV strand offers a Julia Donaldson double bill of Zog and the Flying Doctors & The Snail and the Whale (Sat 20th/Sun 21st, £3.99).
Buster goes West and Hathaway’s put to the test: old favourites back on the big screen
This week sees City Screen kick off a season in celebration of one of the icons of silent cinema, Buster Keaton, whose deadpan expressions and death-defying stunts have been entertaining audiences for over 100 years.
They’ll be showcasing some of the comic’s best-known works alongside lesser-seen gems, starting on Sun 21st with 1925’s Go West, which sees his luckless drifter swap New York for the wide plains of Arizona, where he becomes determined to save his new bovine friend from her date with the slaughterhouse.
What do you get if you cross Columbo with Jackanory? It can only be the 80s fantasy classic The Princess Bride – if you’re sitting comfortably, then Peter Falk will begin at Everyman on Sun 21st and Tues 23rd.
And finally, with the Elton John-penned musical version set to hit the West End this summer, you can watch Meryl Streep put Anne Hathway through her paces in The Devil Wears Prada at Vue on Sat 20th, Sun 21st and Thurs 25th – based on current trends, I’d guess we can expect the film of the musical of the film to be with us around, ooh, 2027?