There’s no doubt that it can be easy to get a bit blasé about the Vikings when you live in York.
After all, it’s hard to take them seriously as fearsome warriors after you’ve stood behind one checking his Instagram feed in the Tesco checkout queue.
Fortunately, blood-soaked Norse epic The Northman looks set to do for the Vikings what Gladiator did for, er, gladiators – while an altogether more subtle approach to the art of invasion is on display in World War II spy caper Operation Mincemeat…
Alexander Skarsgård is certainly appropriate casting as the lead in this highly acclaimed Viking revenge epic – his breakout role in TV hit True Blood saw him playing a Viking-turned-vampire by the name of, well, Eric Northman.
Even the seen-it-all Eric might have turned a whiter shade of pale, however, at the gore said to be on display in director Robert Eggers’ action-packed saga.
Inspired by the same Norse mythology that Shakespeare drew on for Hamlet, the story sees Skarsgård’s prince Amleth set out to avenge the death of his father (Ethan Hawke) at the hands of his evil uncle (fellow TV vamp Claes Bang, of Dracula fame).
With the starry lead cast rounded off by Nicole Kidman as Amleth’s mother, by all accounts it’s one of the most weird and wonderful blockbusters we’re likely to see this year – no surprise given that Eggers’ previous films were the richly atmospheric period thrillers The Witch and The Lighthouse.
In a pleasing reminder that there are as many ways to tell a story as there are people to tell it, this drama about a legendary piece of World War II spycraft arrives in cinemas just weeks before a new stage musical opens in London, telling the same tale via the medium of rap and Beyoncé tributes.
While we’re sadly unlikely to see stars Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen breaking out a bit of Single Ladies in this more stately screen version, it’s certainly a fascinating slice of real-life espionage.
The story details the Allied attempt to deceive Nazi spies about a planned attack on Sicily by floating the corpse of a recently-deceased man off the coast of Spain, dressed in a uniform containing false intel.
Firth and Macfadyen play the intelligence officers in charge of masterminding the improbable plan, while the solid supporting cast includes the likes of Jason Isaacs, Kelly McDonald and Penelope Wilton – not to mention rising star Johnny Flynn (also seen in last week’s The Outfit) as an aspiring writer by the name of Ian Fleming…
The Lost City
A jaded romance novelist and her nice-but-dim cover model get sucked into a real-life treasure hunt in this action comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum.
Loretta Sage (Bullock) is enduring the promotional tour for her latest novel in the company of Alan (Tatum), the heartthrob model who embodies her lead character Dash on the book’s cover.
In time-honoured tradition, Loretta finds herself kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who believes she can help him locate the ancient lost city featured in her book – prompting the well-meaning but completely out-of-his-depth Alan to mount a rescue mission to save her.
A brace of favourable three-star reviews suggest this Romancing the Stone update could be just the thing if you’re up for a bit of undemanding fun this Easter, with Time Out claiming that ‘The Lost City is what would happen if Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Miss Congeniality conceived a love child on a Jumanji board’. Admit it, you’d always wondered…
Easter holiday round-up
As Father Ted found out to his cost, rabbits can multiply at an alarming rate if you turn your back for even a moment – and that’s certainly the case in York’s cinemas this week, as our floppy-eared friends have worked their seasonal advantage to comprehensively colonise the big screen.
The infestation starts at Vue, where just-about-serviceable-sounding adventure Rabbit Academy – concerning a team of rabbits fighting off the villainous foxes who want to take over their Easter egg-distribution gig – is once again this week’s Mini Mornings selection (showing daily at 10am, tickets £2.49).
It’s Rabbit Academy again in Cineworld’s Movies For Juniors strand (daily, 10am), and they’re also throwing in Peter Rabbit 2 for good measure (daily, 10:20) – tickets for both are £2.50.
Beatrix Potter’s cheeky mischief-maker has also burrowed his way into City Screen, where Peter Rabbit 2 is their Kids’ Club offering on Sat 16th (11:15, £3.00) – but they’re mixing things up after that, with screenings of Encanto (Tues 19th), Paddington (Weds 20th) and Clifford the Big Red Dog (Thurs 20th) – all showing at 10:45, tickets £3.00.
Clifford also gets an autism-friendly screening on Sun 17th (11:15, tickets £3.00).
Back over at Vue, they’ve also got daily showings of recent hit Sing 2 (tickets at standard price), while for younger viewers the Julia Donaldson double bill Superworm and Zog continues (daily, £4.99).
Current releases Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and The Bad Guys are still plentifully available at Cineworld, Everyman and Vue, as is Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (the latter is also showing at City Screen).
If Daniel Craig’s James Bond was feeling his age a little in No Time To Die last year, it’s no wonder – this year marks the 60th anniversary of 007’s first cinematic outing, and to celebrate, Vue are showing every one of the superspy’s previous adventures over the next few months.
It’s a rare chance for the previous Bond incarnations to escape ITV4’s nefarious clutches and return to their former big screen glory, starting this week with the film that introduced Sean Connery’s suave but tough take on the secret agent to the world, 1962’s Dr. No – you can catch it at Vue on Sat 16th.
Over at Cineworld, another one-man army takes on the bad guys in Die Hard-esque Tamil action thriller Beast, which continues screening daily.
City Screen are showing Benedetta throughout the week – based on a true story, this erotic drama about a 17th century nun’s lesbian affair is the latest release from Basic Instinct provocateur Paul Verhoeven, who really does seem to make a habit of this sort of thing (sorry).
Playing at City Screen on Weds 20th, acclaimed Croatian family drama Murina tells the story of the fraught relationship between a restless teenage girl and her oppressive father, which comes to a head over the course of an old family friend’s visit.
And finally, City Screen’s François Truffaut season continues on Sun 17th with the director’s second film Shoot the Pianist, a film noir homage starring legendary singer Charles Aznavour as a piano player who gets embroiled in the Parisian criminal underworld.