In the ongoing cinema vs streaming debate, there’s one advantage the big screen has which I don’t think gets mentioned enough: the “When it’s gone, it’s gone” factor.
Last week, for example, I hot-footed it down to catch the final screening of Danish revenge thriller Riders of Justice at City Screen, because I knew it was my last chance to see it – and I was glad I did, because it was a cracker.
Had the same film sneaked out on Netflix, it would most likely have quietly languished on my watchlist for months, before vanishing into the digital ether.
Sometimes, there’s something to be said for having a bit less choice. This week’s catch-’em-while-you-can offerings include a very un-Bourne-like Matt Damon and a wild weekend in Florida…
Matt Damon stars as a father out to prove his estranged daughter’s innocence in this drama from director Tom McCarthy (who previously helmed 2015’s Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight).
Bill (Damon), an oil-rig worker from Oklahoma, travels to Marseille to try and free daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin), who has been imprisoned for the murder of her partner – but he quickly finds himself out of his depth in an unfamiliar country.
Help is at hand when Bill meets and bonds with local actor Virginie (Camille Cottin, TV’s Call My Agent!) and her young daughter Maya (Lilou Siauvaud).
There have been mixed reviews for this one, with several critics feeling that the combination of thriller and tender domestic drama doesn’t quite work – though Variety were impressed by its culture clash element, suggesting that “Bill serves as a mirror of what foreigners see when a certain kind of cowboy barrels through the saloon doors of another country…and it’s not necessarily flattering”.
The familiar pre-film reminder to switch off your phone seems almost inappropriate in the case of Zola, the big screen adaptation of an epic (148-tweet) Twitter thread which went viral in 2015.
The stranger-than-fiction story sees Detroit waitress Zola (Taylour Paige, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) strike up a friendship with customer Stefani (Riley Keough, American Honey), who persuades Zola to join her on a road trip to Florida for a weekend of partying.
As the trailer indicates, however, things get more than a little out of hand, in a wild tale which Rolling Stone called “a disconcerting, curious, abrasive, intelligent, surprising, and likely polarizing joy”.
The Last Letter from Your Lover
Get two love stories for the price of one with this adaptation of the bestselling novel by JoJo Moyes (Me Before You), starring Felicity Jones and Shailene Woodley.
The plot sees journalist Ellie (Jones) becoming intrigued by an old love letter she discovers while researching an article – sparking an obsession with finding out the story of a clandestine romance which took place in the 1960s between socialite Jennifer (Woodley) and Anthony (Callum Turner), a reporter sent to profile her wealthy husband.
As Ellie continues her investigations, she finds a romantic spark of her own with archivist Rory (Nabhaan Rizwan).
There’s a York connection with this one, as the screenplay is co-written by University of York alumnus Nick Payne (who also wrote 2017 Jim Broadbent drama The Sense of an Ending).
Summer holiday round-up
The major new kid-friendly release this week is PAW Patrol: The Movie, the first big screen outing for the popular TV show.
Out on Mon 9th and showing at Cineworld, City Screen and Vue, the film sees Ryder and his trusty canine chums head to the big city to foil Mayor Humdinger’s latest villainous scheme.
Also out this week at Cineworld and Vue is CGI adventure tale Moonbound, which sees a young boy set out to rescue his little sister when she is taken prisoner on, you guessed it, the moon.
Meanwhile, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds buckle their swash at a bargain price at both Cineworld and Vue this week – the updated take on the 1980s favourite is showing in Cineworld’s Movies For Juniors strand (daily, tickets £3.25) and Vue’s Mini Mornings (daily, £2.49). You can also catch it in City Screen’s Kids’ Club on Sat 7th only (£3.00).
Cineworld also have Scooby Doo’s latest big screen jaunt Scoob! showing in Movies For Juniors this week (daily, £3.25), while City Screen’s weekday Kids’ Club offering is Studio Ghibli fave Kiki’s Delivery Service (Mon 9th – Thurs 12th, £3.00).
Beginning this week, there’s a chance to see seven films by one of the most celebrated directors of the modern age, as City Screen begins a season in honour of Wong Kar Wai.
The Hong Kong director’s films are known for their sumptuous visuals and romantic, dreamlike atmosphere, with the likes of Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) citing him as an influence.
With all seven films recently restored for the big screen, this is the perfect opportunity to acquaint yourself with his back catalogue – and if, like me, you are new to his work, this video essay from the BFI forms a handy introduction.
The Wong Kar Wai season begins this Sunday (8th) at 1pm with the director’s debut feature, 1988’s As Tears Go By, a crime thriller set in the Hong Kong underworld which has earned comparisons to Mean Streets.
More mob action is on offer on Mon 9th in Sexy Beast – the final film in City Screen’s Film 4 season was the debut of another feted director, Jonathan Glazer, and stars Ray Winstone as a retired criminal forced back into the game by Ben Kingsley’s psychotic gangster.
Meanwhile, on Weds 11th City Screen have a couple of one-off screenings of new releases – Wendy is a reimagining of the Peter Pan story from Benh Zeitlin, director of 2012’s acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild, while Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a romantic anime from the studio behind the popular My Hero Academia series.
The dark side of childhood fame is the subject of new documentary The Most Beautiful Boy in the World (City Screen, Fri 6th/Sat 7th/Tues 10th), which tells the story of Swedish teenager Björn Andrésen, who shot to international stardom after being cast in the 1971 drama Death in Venice.
City Screen also have a couple more screenings of Edgar Wright’s new music doc The Sparks Brothers on Sat 7th and Thurs 12th.
Meanwhile, Cineworld have daily showings of a couple of lower-profile new releases – Northern Irish horror comedy Boys from County Hell sees a group of friends unwittingly set a Dracula-like monster loose in their small town, while Profile is a computer screen-based thriller about a British journalist who becomes compromised while trying to infiltrate the ranks of ISIS online.
There are a couple of musical offerings courtesy of Vue, taking in both K-pop and Britpop. On Sun 8th they have another screening of Blackpink: The Movie, a celebration of the popular South Korean girl group, while on Tues 10th Oasis doc Supersonic is screening to mark the 25th anniversary of the band’s legendary Knebworth gigs.
And finally, Vue are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Reece Witherspoon favourite Legally Blonde with a handful of screenings this week – you can catch Elle and Bruiser on Sat 7th, Tues 10th and Thurs 12th.