Now showing at Everyman Winchester Southgate Street,Winchester,Hampshire SO23 9EG 0871 906 9060
- Bridge Of Spies
- English National Opera Live: The Mikado
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2
- The Lady In The Van
Bridge Of Spies 4 stars
Rudolf Abel is arrested in 1957 New York and labelled a Soviet spy. Legal maven Thomas Watters Jr enlists one of his best insurance lawyers, James B Donovan, to mount a credible defence for the sake of appearances even though the odds are stacked against a fair trial. Sure enough, Abel is convicted, but then a US pilot, Francis Gary Powers, is shot down over the Soviet Union. Consequently, Donovan travels to Berlin to broker a covert deal to exchange Abel for Powers.
- GenreAdaptation, Drama, Historical/Period, Thriller
- CastAlan Alda, Austin Stowell, Tom Hanks, Billy Magnussen, Amy Ryan, Mark Rylance.
- DirectorSteven Spielberg.
- WriterMatt Charman, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen.
- Duration141 mins
- Official sitewww.bridgeofspies.com
Director Steven Spielberg reunites with actor Tom Hanks for an incredible true story of courage and daring that proves one man can make a difference. Scripted by Matt Charman and the Coen brothers, Bridge Of Spies is an espionage thriller that pits a mild-mannered insurance lawyer against the bureaucratic might of the USSR and Germany during the Cold War. Spielberg's fingerprints are evident on each assured set-piece and he elicits another compelling performance from Hanks as an underdog and everyman, whose innate decency inspires everyone around him. However, British co-star Mark Rylance lingers even longer in the memory as the convicted Soviet collaborator, who confronts the harsh reality of his situation with droll humour. Their scenes together are truly wonderful. Rudolf Abel (Rylance) is arrested in 1957 New York and labelled a Soviet spy. Legal maven Thomas Watters Jr (Alan Alda) enlists one of his best lawyers, James B Donovan (Hanks), to mount a credible defence for the sake of appearances even though the odds are stacked against a fair trial. The presiding judge (Dakin Matthews) makes clear his expectations of Abel's fate: "He'll receive a capable defence and God willing, he'll be convicted." Donovan's wife Mary (Amy Ryan) and three children, Carol (Eve Hewson), Peggy (Jillian Lebling) and Roger (Noah Schnapp), cannot fathom why the family man would represent a traitor to the American way of life. Sure enough, Abel is convicted, but then a US pilot, Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell), is shot down over the Soviet Union. Consequently, Donovan travels to Berlin to broker a covert deal to exchange Abel for Powers. Against the advice of superiors, Donovan also opens negotiations with the Stasi for the safe return of an American economics student called Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers), who has been arrested. Playing east against west, Donovan prays for a miracle as snow falls on the divided city. Bridge Of Spies is a slow-burning tale of intrigue and bluff that takes its time establishing Donovan as the potential saviour of not one but three lives. Hanks injects natural warmth and likability to his character, a hate figure to fellow Americans, who viewed everything in black and white. In considerably less screen time, Rylance endears us to his prisoner, who is painfully aware of his chances of survival. "I'm not afraid to die, Mr Donovan," he tells his lawyer, "although it would not be my first choice." As you would expect from Oscar-winning filmmaker Spielberg, who explored the horrors of war in Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, Bridge Of Spies illuminates tensions between east and west with boundless style. Every scene is artfully composed by cinematographer by Janusz Kaminski, every swell of emotion is heightened by composer Thomas Newman.
Carol 5 stars
Shrinking violet Therese Belivet works in the toy section of Frankenberg's department store in 1950s New York. She has an adoring boyfriend, Richard, but her humdrum life lacks excitement until Carol Aird sashays into the store looking for a Christmas present. During a subsequent lunch date, conversation is underscored with an unspoken erotic charge. The bond between the women deepens, kindling a passionate affair, which forces Carol's estranged husband Harge to take drastic action.
- GenreAdaptation, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
- CastSarah Paulson, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Cate Blanchett, Jake Lacy.
- DirectorTodd Haynes.
- WriterPhyllis Nagy.
- Duration119 mins
- Official sitewww.carolfilm.com
Love tears good people apart in Todd Haynes' masterful period drama based on the novel The Price Of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. Elegantly adapted by Phyllis Nagy, Carol charts an unlikely romance between a shop girl and a glamorous housewife against the backdrop of early 1950s New York. The impeccable style of the era conceals a maelstrom of messy, raw emotion, which overflows in the film's heartbreaking second act as forbidden lovers discover the terrible cost of their liaisons. In a year blessed with extraordinary performances from actresses, Haynes' picture boasts the mesmerising on-screen pairing of Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett as independent women from opposite sides of the social divide, who seek refuge in each other's arms. They are both exquisite, exposing the chinks in their characters' brittle armour as giddiness turns to despair in the cold light of day. Every line of dialogue is beautifully tailored, complemented by gorgeous costumes and production design that capture the restrictive social mores of a time when every conversation was conducted beneath gently entwining tendrils of smoke. "Just when you think it can't get any worse, you run out of cigarettes," jokes the title character during one tense exchange. Mara plays shrinking violet Therese Belivet, who works in the toy section of Frankenberg's department store. She has an adoring boyfriend, Richard (Jake Lacy), but her humdrum life lacks excitement until Carol Aird (Blanchett) sashays into the store looking for a Christmas present. The two women exchange pleasantries and Carol orders an expensive train set. She leaves, forgetting her pair of black leather gloves. Therese kindly returns the items and Carol reciprocates with an offer of lunch. Conversation is initially stilted, underscored with an unspoken erotic charge, and Carol enquires about Therese's relationship with Richard. "Would you like to marry him?" she asks. "I... barely know what to order for lunch," jokes Therese. The bond between the women deepens, kindling a passionate affair, which forces Carol's estranged husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) to seek sole custody of their daughter Rindy (Sadie and KK Heim). Best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) is dragged into the acrimonious legal battle and Carol pleads with Harge to let go of her and his bitterness. "We go to court and it gets ugly," she tells him tenderly. "We're not ugly people, Harge." Carol is a triumph, anchored by Mara and Blanchett's flawless embodiment of their star-crossed protagonists. Paulson delivers impassioned support and Chandler oozes weariness and despair as the spouse, who resorts to spite to cling onto his failed marriage. Director Haynes is no stranger to the era, having considered matters of class and sexual orientation in suburban 1950s Connecticut in the Oscar nominated drama Far From Heaven. He is equally accomplished here, rendering the emotional devastation in meticulous, controlled brushstrokes. We're spellbound as his paint dries.
English National Opera Live: The Mikado 3 stars
Elaine Tyler-Hall directs this revival of Jonathan Miller's acclaimed staging of Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera of balletic bellhops and Charlestoning chambermaids is set in a 1930s seaside hotel, which broadcasts live from the stage of the London Coliseum. Nanki-Poo wishes to marry his sweetheart Yum-Yum and he returns home, believing that her would-be groom Ko-Ko has been condemned to death. Unfortunately, the rumours prove false and Ko-Ko has been promoted to Lord High Executioner.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Musical, Romance, Special
- CastRobert Lloyd, Richard Suart, Mary Bevan.
- DirectorJonathan Miller.
- WriterArthur Sullivan, W S Gilbert.
- Duration160 mins
- Official site
- Release03/12/2015 (selected cinemas)
Elaine Tyler-Hall directs this revival of Jonathan Miller's acclaimed staging of Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera of balletic bellhops and Charlestoning chambermaids is set in a 1930s seaside hotel, which broadcasts live from the stage of the London Coliseum. Nanki-Poo (Anthony Gregory) wishes to marry his sweetheart Yum-Yum (Mary Bevan), and returns home, believing that her guardian and would-be groom Ko-Ko (Richard Suart) has been condemned to death for flirting. Unfortunately, the rumours prove false and Ko-Ko has been promoted to Lord High Executioner. Since Ko-Ko must give his consent to any potential love match involving his ward Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo acknowledges that he will never win her hand in marriage. Conducted by Fergus Macleod.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Thursday 3rd December 2015
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2 4 stars
Katniss Everdeen recovers after her bruising encounter with brainwashed Hunger Games competitor Peeta. President Snow is preparing for the rebels' assault on the Capitol and has planted pods as booby traps around the evacuated city to annihilate invaders before they can reach his mansion stronghold. Katniss, Peeta and other allies venture behind enemy lines to launch a covert strike on Snow and bring about lasting peace. However, the casualties of war are high.
- GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Drama, Family, Romance, Science Fiction
- CastJennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Jeffrey Wright, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci.
- DirectorFrancis Lawrence.
- WriterDanny Strong, Peter Craig.
- Duration137 mins
- Official sitewww.thehungergames.co.uk
At a critical juncture in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Woody Harrelson's grizzled mentor Haymitch Abernathy pays tribute to his battle-scarred protegee, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). "I'll say this Katniss, you don't disappoint," he beams. Similar praise could almost be lavished on the concluding chapter of the dystopian saga, based on the novels by Suzanne Collins. This bruising battle royale remains faithful to the books and largely justifies the decision to cleave the final salvo in two a la Harry Potter and Twilight. A nail-biting subterranean set piece, pitting the rebels against a horde of snarling creatures called mutts, is a thing of terrifying beauty reminiscent of Ellen Ripley's hellish encounters with aliens. And Danny Strong and Peter Craig's muscular script doesn't shy away from the moral conundrum of conflict for a generation, whose childhood innocence has been stained with blood. "It's war. Sometimes killing isn't personal," suggests one teenager, trying to make sense of the carnage. If Mockingjay - Part 1 dragged its feet, trading glancing verbal blows between Katniss and Machiavellian warmonger President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the concluding salvo lands one devastating blow after another as simmering animosity ignites full-blown slaughter. Without any fanfare, Part 2 opens on Katniss' anguished face as she recovers from a skirmish with brainwashed Hunger Games competitor Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). The unified Districts are preparing for an assault on the Capitol and Katniss must lead the charge, guided by District 13's crusading President, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), gamesmaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and lovestruck childhood friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). Intelligence reveals that President Snow has planted booby traps known as pods around the ruined city in order to annihilate the rebels before they reach his fortified mansion. Katniss, Peeta, Gale and other valiant allies including Hunger Games victor Finnick (Sam Claflin) venture behind enemy lines to launch a covert strike on Snow. "He needs to see my eyes when I kill him," snarls Katniss. However, casualties are high and the gung-ho heroine must watch as the people she loves, including her plucky sister Primrose (Willow Shields), risk everything in the name of liberty. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is a fitting and relentlessly grim conclusion, distinguished by breathless action sequences that recall the first film back in 2012, before leading lady Lawrence became an Oscar-winning powerhouse. She delivers another emotionally wrought and beautifully measured performance, torn between Hutcherson and Hemsworth's rival suitors for Katniss' hardened heart. Director Francis Lawrence signs off in downbeat style but does make a couple of notable missteps. The most gut-wrenching death in the book is an anti-climax on screen and a wistful yet melancholic coda might have been axed entirely by a braver filmmaker.
The Lady In The Van 3 stars
Playwright Alan Bennett moves into a house in Camden and is befriended by well-to-do neighbours. Soon after, a cantankerous vagrant called Miss Shepherd bullies Alan into letting her take up temporary residence in his driveway. Months turn into years and the playwright despairs as he becomes Miss Shepherd's guardian and suffers regular visits from interfering social services worker Miss Briscoe.
- GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama
- CastDame Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent.
- DirectorNicholas Hytner.
- WriterAlan Bennett.
- Duration104 mins
- Official site
Teasingly billed as "a mostly true story", The Lady In The Van is an entertaining screen adaptation of Alan Bennett's award-winning 1999 play, based on his experiences of a sharp-tongued vagrant called Miss Shepherd, who camped outside his driveway for more than 15 years.
The playwright has lovingly adapted his stage work, employing the same cute theatrical device of the real Alan and an internal self, who endlessly pontificate on the tramp's shady past as they mooch about a north London home.
"Writing is talking to oneself and I've been doing it all of my life," quips the real Alan to neatly explain the duelling on-screen narrators, both played with warmth and wit by Alex Jennings.
Dame Maggie Smith reprises her eye-catching stage role as the eponymous and fragrant tramp, unleashing an array of withering putdowns that would surely have her imperious Dowager in Downton Abbey clucking with approval. It's a tour-de-force performance from the national treasure, tinged with pathos and regret, which reminds us that Smith is a gifted physician comedian as well as a twinkly-eyed sniper with a sardonic one-liner.
Alan (Jennings) moves into a house in Camden and is befriended by well-to-do neighbours including opera fans Rufus (Roger Allam) and Pauline (Deborah Findlay), who live opposite, and statuesque Ursula Vaughan Williams (Frances de la Tour).
Soon after, a cantankerous woman called Miss Shepherd (Smith) settles in their street in her ramshackle vehicle and bullies Alan into pushing her transport, when it refuses to start during a downpour. "You wouldn't see Harold Pinter pushing vans down the street!" Alan berates himself.
When council bureaucracy threatens the old woman's future, the playwright foolishly agrees to let her take up temporary residence on his driveway for a few weeks. Months turn into years and the playwright despairs as he becomes Miss Shepherd's guardian and suffers regular visits from interfering social services worker Miss Briscoe (Cecilia Noble).
When a police officer called Underwood (Jim Broadbent) begins to harass the old woman late at night, Alan speculates about her former life. Meanwhile, Miss Shepherd seeks forgiveness for unspoken sins in the confessional of the local priest (Dermot Crowley). "Absolution is not like a bus pass," the holy man tenderly proclaims. "It does not run out."
The Lady In The Van is an amusing and heart-warming tonic for these cold winter months. Director Nicholas Hytner, who helmed the Olivier Award-nominated stage production, reunites with his leading lady with obvious relish.
He also includes cameos for most of the cast of The History Boys, his last collaboration with Bennett, including James Corden as a market trader, whose cheeky banter fails to curry favour with Miss Shepherd. Supporting characters are sketched lightly in comparison, but all observe Smith's virtuoso performance with admiration.