As Ross from Friends can attest, making a list is rarely a good idea when it comes to matters of the heart.
Regency London’s most eligible bachelor is set to learn that lesson the hard way in the Austen-esque Mr. Malcolm’s List, while elsewhere Idris Elba faces off against a savage predator in creature feature Beast.
Plus, a young woman finds her long-lost family have some rather disturbing traditions in supernatural horror The Invitation, and there’s a double whammy for Top Gun fans…
Mr. Malcolm’s List
Mr. Malcolm (rising star Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Gangs of London) is the toast of Regency London, but has tired of potential partners who can’t see beyond his inheritance – and so has devised a list of ten attributes that his perfect match should possess.
When Julia Thistlethwaite (Zawe Ashton) is publicly humiliated after an underwhelming date with the lovelorn aristocrat, she plots revenge by setting up her childhood friend Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto, Slumdog Millionaire) as Mr. Malcolm’s ideal woman – with the intention being that Selina will then reject his inevitable proposal.
You can, of course, guess how that ruse plays out in this Austen-esque period drama – but Variety’s positive review suggests that this is a fun and witty Regency romance, which bears comparison with 2016’s excellent Kate Beckinsale-starring Love and Friendship.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a good old-fashioned survival film, where man pits his wits against an implacable foe – so Beast might be just the ticket if you’re looking for some undemanding big screen thrills this bank holiday weekend.
Idris Elba is on Roy Scheider duty here, playing a widowed father taking his two teenage daughters on holiday to the South African savanna where he first met their mother – but their pilgrimage takes a terrifying turn when they find themselves stalked by a rogue lion, out for revenge after a gang of poachers killed his pride.
It’s the kind of film where people say things like “We’re in his territory now” and inexplicably get out of their car when there’s a killer lion nearby – and if that’s not already enough to recommend it to you, it also boasts a scene where Elba punches a lion in the face. Sold!
Who Do You Think You Are meets Dracula (sort of) in this supernatural horror about a young woman who swiftly comes to regret exploring her family tree.
After the death of her mother, Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel, Game of Thrones) takes a DNA test which leads to her meeting a long-lost cousin (film and TV’s go-to nice-but-dim toff Hugh Skinner), who simply insists that she meets the rest of the family over in England, where a wedding is conveniently coming up.
All seems peachy at first, with the prospect of a romance with smouldering posho Walter (Thomas Doherty, Descendants) on the cards to boot – so it’s a shame that Evie’s new-found kin seem terribly fond of exchanging sinister looks behind her back, getting up to strange nocturnal activities in the basement and wearing creepy face masks when they eat their tea…
Summer holiday round-up
Kids desperately trying to avoid all those ominous back-to-school window displays can seek cinematic sanctuary with favourites old and new this week.
The big green grump is off to meet the in-laws in Shrek 2 at Cineworld (showing daily, tickets £2.50), while Aardman Animation take to the high seas in the exuberantly-titled The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! at Vue (daily, £2.49).
City Screen’s Kids’ Club offerings are Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit on Sat 27th, followed by Sonic the Hedgehog 2 from Mon 29th – Thurs 1st (tickets £3.00 for all).
Meanwhile, Everyman have two more 90s Disney animated favourites in the form of Aladdin (Mon 29th/Weds 31st) and The Little Mermaid (Tues 30th/Thurs 1st) – tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for kids.
And finally, there are a couple of more recent hits on offer at Vue, as our plucky young hero has an out-of-this-world encounter in Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon, while it’s a webslinger free-for-all in the brilliant Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (both showing daily, tickets £6.99 – £9.99).
From The Imposter to Three Identical Strangers, the stranger-than-fiction documentary has become a cinematic staple in recent years – and this week’s new release My Old School promises more jaw-dropping revelations in its tale of a preternaturally talented student in 1990s Glasgow who, inevitably, was not quite what he seemed…hurry down to City Screen before someone spoils it for you; it’s showing throughout the week.
Over at Everyman, there’s chaos behind the scenes of a prestige art-house film in satirical Spanish comedy Offical Competition (showing daily), starring Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas as an eccentric auteur director and her none-too-bright lead actor – incredibly, despite the Cruz-Banderas combo and the film-about-a-film set-up, this is somehow not directed by Pedro Almodóvar, but it’s picked up some pretty promising reviews nonetheless.
In the mood for a movie marathon this bank holiday weekend? You’re in luck, with back-to-back screenings of two beloved blockbusters and a triple bill of one of cinema’s all-time great romances.
First off, Tom Cruise gets a cinematic flypast this weekend with a Top Gun double bill, showing at Cineworld (Fri 26th), City Screen (Sat 27th) and Vue (Fri 26th – Sun 28th).
Then on Sun 28th, City Screen are showing the brilliant Before trilogy in full – starting with 1995’s Before Sunrise, director Richard Linklater’s three spellbinding films chart the relationship of soulmates Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) as they walk and talk their way through three beautiful European backdrops, from Vienna to the Peloponnese peninsula.
City Screen’s Wim Wenders season comes to a close on Sun 28th – but never fear, we’ll always have Paris, Texas, the director’s classic 1984 road movie following vagabond Harry Dean Stanton’s attempts to reunite with his family.
Also finishing this week is City Screen’s Kids in America season, which is closing on Mon 29th with a lesser-seen entry in the 90s teen movie pantheon – 1999’s cult comedy But I’m a Cheerleader, starring Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonne as a gay cheerleader sent to a ‘sexual redirection’ school.
(While we’re here, any chance of a noughties follow-up season please City Screen? Ghost World, Mean Girls, Napoleon Dynamite, Juno, Whip It…I mean, it practically programmes itself!)
Defiantly out and proud, meanwhile, is Maisie Trollette, Britain’s oldest drag artiste and the subject of new documentary Maisie, showing at City Screen on Fri 26th.
Voguing might not come naturally to Audrey Hepburn’s shy bookstore clerk, but Fred Astaire’s there to help her along in classic 1957 musical Funny Face (Mon 29th), which is City Screen’s Dementia-Friendly screening this month.
Showing at City Screen on Tues 30th, acclaimed indie comedy Queen of Glory sees a young Ghanaian-American woman’s life upended when she inherits her mother’s Christian bookshop in the Bronx.
This week’s Aesthetica Film Club selection at City Screen is Foresight: An Urgent Anthology, a compilation of five films by black British directors which explore alternate realities – you can catch it on Thurs 1st.
Two very different troubadours take to the big screen this week as George Ezra: End to End (Cineworld, City Screen, Everyman, Mon 29th) sees the singer trek from Land’s End to John O’Groats – it’s followed by a live performance from the film’s world premiere in London – while Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song (Everyman, Thurs 1st) profiles Laughing Len through the prism of his timeless, much-covered classic.
Everyman also have a couple of old favourites on offer this week, with another screening of Grease in honour of the late Olivia Newton-John on Sun 28th – proceeds go to breast cancer charity Future Dreams – while Arnie is back on the rampage in The Terminator on Weds 31st.
And finally, Pierce Brosnan revs up the invisible car for his Bond swansong in Die Another Day at Vue on Sat 27th, prior to passing the keys to Daniel Craig next week. A blond Bond? It’ll never work, surely…