Films around Cheltenham from 16 October

The Guildhall

Well, I went over to The Guildhall this week (Thursday morning) to see Souad, which I have written about as a Film of The Week. There were four people in the audience. Two of them left during the film, leaving just Stephen Ilott and me. This is shame, because the seats are now comfortable, the screen and sound are good, the cafe is cheap and welcoming and it’s all-round a good experience. Unfortunately, telling people what’s coming up doesn’t seem to be the The Guildhall’s strong point. There’s the website and a printed listing in the foyer, but they don’t always agree.

This coming week, there are more chances to see The Nest, Balloon, Pig and No Time to Die. Nothing new, then. Souad is really very good, and I would suggest petitioning The Guildhall to bring it back.

Really, though, the plight of The Guildhall is all a bit of shame. Use it or lose it, Gloucester.

The Roses

The Roses has nothing at all except No Time to Die. I haven’t seen it and the word of mouth I am hearing is not encouraging me to change my mind. I’m told the first 20 minutes is one long shot, and pretty good. The explosions and sound effects are exciting throughout. But Daniel Craig is getting on in years and looks rather like he dresses at Oxfam. And Bond has bizarrely been turned into some kind of sensitive new man who bonds with a woman and even fathers a child. Suggestions that he goes to parenting classes, learns to change nappies and talks a lot about this feelings can probably be discounted. Spoiler alert: he … No, I won’t tell you.

The Sherborne

Paw Patrol, Around the World in 80 Days, The Many Saints of Newark, No Time to Die, The Adams Family 2: nothing new, in other words.

The Tivoli

I dropped in one lunchtime this week. There were three customers. I am told, however, that it does get quite lively on Saturdays and Sundays. I was mainly trying to find out what was coming up. There’s an illuminated sign outside, but it shows the films for about 10 seconds, then goes to a kind of screensaver. Useless, in other words. There is no printed handout available, although Empire Cinemas have them in their normal downmarket cinemas in the Midlands and elsewhere.

Any old iron?

I really wanted to know when Dune was coming on, but my eye was drawn to a forthcoming bit of Event Cinema briefly listed on the sign outside, namely the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Spartacus. I saw this in Moscow in 1989, and wouldn’t mind another look. It was a hoary old production then and, things being what they are, it probably still is. So much the better.

Unfortunately, the staff on duty downstairs (the upstairs reception desk has no apparent function at all) were not able to find it on their iPads, which don’t seem to be linked to the same site as the display panel outside. There are also problems with ticketing: slow and inefficient. All these things have been brought to the attention of Empire’s management, which, oddly, doesn’t appear to be doing anything about them.

There is a new film this week, though. The Last Duel (2021) is veteran director Ridley Scott’s historical drama about France during the 100 Years War, which took place in the 14th century. It stars Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck and Harriet Walter, among others, and is based on a a supposedly true incident: the last legal duel ever fought in France. It seems to have had a troubled journey to the screen, not least because the duel was occasioned by the rape of an aristocrat’s wife by his friend and page. Rape and Disney are not a happy combination, unless you’re talking about the rape of cultural patrimony. There were also the usual Covid difficulties with shooting.

Anyway, opinions vary, but it seems to be a kind of character-driven piece rather than an out-and-out epic, which is all to the good. I’ll see what I can find out for next week.

Dune (2021) is on on Thursday. This is an adaptation of the famously unfilmable Frank Herbert sci-fi epic, with Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and lots of extras. The director is Denis Villeneuve, who made the brilliant Incendies (2010). The trailer looks like a lot of Star Wars outtakes to me, but it has had good reviews, not least from people who care about the book. That’s a good sign.

The Cineworlds

Here things are predictably predictable. The new film is something called Halloween Kills, part of the slasher franchise that began in 1978, with John Carpenter’s original, about a man called Michael Myers (not that one) who escapes form a lunatic asylum and goes on a killing spree. That’s the only one I’ve seen and I didn’t think much of it. I note in passing that this week we observed World Mental Health Day. Thank you Hollywood, for 40 years of fear-mongering. Fact: psychiatric patients are much more likely to be killed by ‘normal’ people than the other way round.

Otherwise there is The Last Duel, but nothing else new until Wednesday, when there is a screening of a documentary, Tom Petty: Somwere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers (2021). Wildflowers, released in 1994, was apparently his greatest album but it seems to have passed me by. Then Dune arrives on Thursday.

That’s Cheltenham. Gloucester is the same, but with Candyman once a day and no Tom Petty.

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