Films around Cheltenham from 14/8/21

14/8/21 to 20/8/21

The YourScreen ‘Summer of Hope’ season continues online. Details here. The new film becoming available this week is Calamity.

Calamity (2020)

A biography of the true-life Calamity Jane, real name Martha Jane Cannary. Directed by Rémi Chayé in what is referred to as an ‘outline-less’ animation style, with rather beautiful backdrops based on classic travel posters. The moving parts (people’s faces, for instance) look a bit computer-generated to me, but then I’m old-school when it comes to animation. I like Cairncross’s own Halas & Bachelor.


I went to the Guildhall in Gloucester last week to see the reggae star biopic Marley (rather dull, unfortunately). The good news is that the place has been spruced up, there are now proper cinema seats in tiers, the picture and sound are good and the bar is welcoming. The less welcome news is that the programming is uninteresting and consequently the place is effectively empty. This week, for instance, they have The Croods 2, like everybody else, and Off The Rails, in which a cast of excellent British thesps go through the motions in an attempt to extract money from middle aged people who like travelling to pretty European locations. Sadly the final film appearance of Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta. With lots of tunes by Blondie, shoehorned in to make a soundtrack album. ‘It’s as if the cast and crew were planning to make a musical, then got to the set and decided they couldn’t be bothered,’ according to Robbie Collin of the Daily Telegraph.

The Roses

The Roses in Tewkesbury is probably the best non-commercial movie theatre in Gloucestershire, and always worth a visit. Last time I was there, there were considerably more ushers and volunteers than there were customers, but maybe it’s picking up. Not an inspiring programme this week, though. Space Jam and Spirit Untamed are both on elsewhere. The new film is French Exit, a well-upholstered vehicle for Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays a wealthy woman who flees from New York to Paris when they realise her dead husband has left her destitute. Not much liked by the British critics, although one American said ‘Michelle Pfeiffer gives a performance for the ages’. Perhaps he meant aged.

The Sherborne

Mark Cunningham’s little venture in Kingsholm, Gloucester, is delightful and deserving of everybody’s support, but at the moment he only has The Croods 2 and Jungle Cruise. The Croods 2 is also on at both Cineworlds, Vue in Stroud and the Guildhall. It’s an animated family comedy about cavemen and cavewomen, targeted at younger children. Jungle Cruise is also at the multiplexes. It’s a pre-war-style adventure flick made by the people behind the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, with similarities to the Indiana Jones films and The Mummy. Well done and possibly due for a sequel.

Cineworld Cheltenham

It’s still the wide open spaces in Cineworld a lot of the time. New this week are Free Guy, a Ryan Reynolds comedy set in the world of video gaming and alternative reality. Described by the Financial Times as ‘perhaps the funniest comedy about intellectual property rights yet made’, which almost makes me want to see it.

Then there’ s The Courier, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Greville Wynne, the real MI6 courier who ferried secrets back and forth to Russia at the height of the Cold War and was supposedly responsible for the setting up of the hotline that was intended to save us all from nuclear incineration. Apparently a worthy effort.

The Last Letter From Your Lover is a romantic melodrama from a Jojo Moyes novel, with Felicity Jones as a journalist investigating a long-lost love affair and seemingly becoming involved in one of her own.

People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan. Cinema version of the cult mockumentary TV comedy series about a rubbish pirate radio station. It seems to be obligatory for people to go on exotic trips when turning their shows into movies. The trailer looks dismal, but then I don’t suppose I’m the target market.

The Suicide Squad is a sequel to an earlier superhero comedy drama, just called Suicide Squad. No marks for originality in the titling department, but it is apparently quite funny. I’m told, though, that it tries too hard to impress and resembles a DC attempt to make a Deadpool film.

Old is still running at both Cineworlds. Another weird M. Night Shyamalan film, this time about a group of people who go to a beach that mysteriously causes them to age rapidly. As so often with Shyamalan, this is full of interesting ideas but doesn’t work as well as it might.

Stillwater , in both Cineworlds, is about a blue-collar American (Matt Damon), who flies to Marseille to try and extricate his daughter from prison, where she is being held for a murder she claims not to have committed. Baffled by cultural differences and the French legal system, he tries to take matters into his own hands. Damon is good and there’s a strong supporting cast.

Cineworld in Gloucester and Vue in Stroud have pretty much all the same films, with the exception of two franchise horrors, The Forever Purge and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It at Vue.

Thanks to Stephen Lane of the Cheltenham 24/7 Film Club for keeping me informed about some of these. They can be found on Meetup , if you are interested in joining them in their regular film outings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *