Aviators? Check? Bomber jacket? Check. Steadfast determination to ignore simmering homoerotic undertones? Check…
Top Gun: Maverick is finally cleared for take-off this week, after multiple Covid-related delays – but will it take your breath away all over again?
Meanwhile, the down-at-heel Belcher clan have their feet firmly on the ground in The Bob’s Burgers Movie, and Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts gets the Jubilee party started.
Top Gun: Maverick
Tom Cruise takes to the skies once more in this long-awaited sequel, which sees Pete “Maverick” Mitchell – now firmly ensconced as one of the US Navy’s top pilots – called upon to train a bunch of hot-headed youngsters for a high-stakes mission.
Among their number is one Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of the late lamented Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka Maverick’s best buddy Goose.
He’s not the only echo of the past, as Val Kilmer reprises his role as Maverick’s erstwhile rival Iceman – while Jennifer Connelly joins the cast as a bar owner who has history with our hero.
So, has the super-confident Cruise’s ego been writing cheques his box office can’t cash? Happily, it appears not, with the film premiering to a resoundingly positive reception that saw critics blown away by the film’s live-action aerial set-pieces, and charmed by its old-school blockbuster bravado.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie
Times are tough for the Belchers in this first big-screen outing for the cult animated TV show.
Billed as a ‘musical-comedy-mystery-adventure’, the story sees the family facing a financial crisis when a sinkhole opens right in front of their premises – leaving Bob and Linda with just seven days to stop the business from going under.
Meanwhile, the kids stumble on a murder mystery connected to the sinkhole – and solving it might just help them to save the restaurant too.
Reviews suggest that while it’s not likely to win any new converts, it’s still a tasty super-sized serving of everything fans love about the series.
Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts
As Her Maj prepares to go platinum, here’s a look back at her 70-year reign, taking in the highs, the lows, and the endless, endless waving.
From parliamentary pomp and circumstance to a day at the races, the documentary hones in on different aspects of the Queen’s life and duties, utilising seven decades of archive footage to tell her story.
Piecing it all together is the late, great Notting Hill director Roger Michell, who displays, according to Variety, ‘a level-headed adoration that is neither fussy nor old-fashioned’.
All My Friends Hate Me plus live Q&A
That scourge of middle class thirty-something life, the reunion, is the subject of this promising-looking British comedy, which sees its protagonist’s birthday celebrations start to go increasingly off-piste.
Pete (co-writer Tom Stourton, whose face will be familiar from the likes of Horrible Histories and Stath Lets Flats) arrives at the country mansion of his old university pals for a birthday weekender – but his nagging sense that something feels off proves to be all too correct, in what’s being sold as ‘The Big Chill as a psychological horror’.
Created by and starring a host of upcoming British talent, it’s been picking up some impressive reviews – and this screening will be followed by an in-person Q&A with lead actor and writer Tom Stourton and writer and producer Tom Palmer.
Aesthetica at York Theatre Royal: Technology, Humans and Machines
Our ever-evolving relationship with technology is the subject of this week’s Aesthetica screening at York Theatre Royal, with virtual reality, algorithms and digital isolation among the subjects explored in this compendium of six short films from previous Aesthetica fests.
Ruth Wilson plays three different women whose lives become intertwined in Eleanor, while Timothy Spall plays an elderly recluse whose routine is disrupted by an unexpected visitor in This Time Away.
Meanwhile, a VR wedding anniversary gift has surprising results for Nikki Amuka-Bird (Luther) and Nick Frost in Vert…
Tickets are £5.00, and can be booked from Theatre Royal’s website.
Family films round-up
With half-term almost upon us, there’s an increased scattering of kid-friendly films out in the cinema this week, starting with new release Boonie Bears: Back to Earth.
A big hit in its native China, the Boonie Bears TV show follows the exploits of ursine forest-dwelling brothers Briar and Bramble, and this latest feature-length outing for the duo sees them encounter a visitor from outer space.
It’s on general release at Cineworld and Vue this week – it’s also in Vue’s budget Mini Mornings strand on Sat 28th and Sun 29th (tickets £2.49), and they have an autism-friendly screening on Sun 29th (£2.49).
Cineworld’s budget offering is The Boss Baby 2, showing throughout the week (tickets £2.50), while City Screen ‘s Kids’ Club is showing Martin Scorsese’s 2011 period adventure tale Hugo (Sat 28th, £3.25).
For younger kids, Vue have another one of their ever-popular Julia Donaldson double bills showing daily in the form of The Snail and the Whale and The Gruffalo (tickets £4.99).
Meanwhile, everyone’s favourite Scottish ogre meets the alternately cute and deadly Puss in Boots in Shrek 2, screening daily at Vue (tickets standard price).
Current popular favourites Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and The Bad Guys are still readily available at Cineworld, Vue and Everyman at the standard price, while Everyman are also bringing Encanto back on Sun 29th, for all those families keen to do something different for that milestone 1000th viewing.
It’s common for a film season to be themed around a particular director, actor or genre, but less so a composer.
Ennio Morricone, however, belongs to that select band of composers whose names are as familiar to cinemagoers as your Spielbergs, Scorseses or Cruises – so it makes perfect sense that City Screen have curated a season in the late Italian maestro’s honour, starting on Sun 29th with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Boasting an instantly recognisable Morricone earworm as its main theme, the final instalment in Sergio Leone’s classic ‘Dollars’ trilogy (following A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More) sees Clint Eastwood forge an uneasy alliance with Eli Wallach’s bandit and Lee Van Cleef’s mercenary in a search for buried Confederate treasure.
Meanwhile, a classic of a very different hue follows on Mon 30th, courtesy of City Screen’s Gaspar Noé Presents season, celebrating the influences on the director’s acclaimed new release Vortex.
This week it’s the turn of 1953 Japanese domestic drama Tokyo Story, which like Vortex gives a naturalistic portrait of an ageing married couple and their relationship with their adult children – neither of whom can find the time for their parents during their extended visit to the city, leaving their selfless and kind-hearted daughter-in-law Noriko to look after them.
A regular fixture in those ‘greatest movies of all time’ lists, it’s a truly captivating film, and seeing it for the first time in City Screen’s season of Japanese cinema was one of my big screen highlights of last year – definitely one to catch if you can.
Another cinematic great is referenced in new French romantic drama Bergman Island, which previews at City Screen on Tues 31st, and sees a filmmaker couple (played by Tim Roth and Phantom Thread star Vicky Krieps) hole up on the beautiful island of Fårö – erstwhile home of legendary Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman – to work on their next projects. Tasteful, contemplative arthouse hijinks ensue…
Over to Vue, where the Bates Motel is reopening its doors to show off its lovely 4K restoration, in the original theatrical cut of Psycho (Fri 27th, Tues 31st). Yes, that is a lovely crimson pattern on the shower curtain, isn’t it?
And finally, Lazenby is out and Connery is back in, as Vue’s epic journey through the 007 back catalogue alights at 1971’s Diamonds are Forever (Sat 28th), in which Bond meets Plenty O’Toole and Blofeld targets Washington D.C. with a giant frickin’ laser beam.