Films around Cheltenham from 6 November 2021

The Cineworlds

The new film this week at the Cineworlds is Eternals, another from the everlasting fount of mediocrity that is Marvel Studios. This one is directed by Chlo√© Zhao, the Chinese-born, LA-educated, director of the multi-Oscar-winning Nomadland (2020). It stars two Brits: Gemma Chan, who made her name with Channel Four’s android saga Humans, and Richard Madden, of Bodyguard fame. As for the plot, here’s a priceless line of dialogue: ‘We’re Eternals. We came here seven thousand years ago, to protect humans from the Deviants.’ If only life were like the movies.

Cineworld Gloucester also has The Card Counter, directed by Paul Schrader, which may be more interesting. An Iraq war veteran turned professional gambler, and a young proteg√©, encounter a man who was a civilian consultant in ‘enhanced interrogation’ at Abu Ghraib, but who escaped any punishment. The young man has reasons for wanting to take violent revenge, but the veteran instead takes him along as they attempt win the World Series of Poker. Nonetheless, the past continues to intrude. Schrader is an intriguing, deeply God-bothered director, whose rather good 2017 film First Reformed (2017), starring Ethan Hawke, won a screenplay Oscar.

On Sunday at 15:00 in Cheltenham, you can also see the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Aram Khatchaturian’s ballet Spartacus, live from Moscow. I’d like to tell you how much it costs, but as usual Cineworld’s website isn’t working properly. It’s also on at Vue in Stroud, where I’m willing to bet it’s cheaper. It was going to be on at The Tivoli, and was listed on their website, app, and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it board outside. Now it’s not available. No explanation. Don’t get me started.

The Tivoli

The Tivoli also has Eternals, but nothing new otherwise. It still has Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch.

The Sherborne

The Sherborne has No Time To Die, The Addams Family 2, and, from Friday, Dune.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall this week hosts The French Film Festival. You’ll find a separate piece about that by Pamela Weaver here.

The Roses

The Roses this week has The Green Knight, The Many Saints of Newark, Sweetheart, and Balloon. Both The Many Saints of Newark and Sweetheart have been seen locally. Patrick Bliss will be leading a discussion about Sweetheart after the 7.30 screening on Thursday 11 November.

The Green Knight stars Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, who has to battle the mysterious, supernatural knight with the unusual pigmentation. Based on the medieval poem some of us laboured through 45 years ago, and apparently pretty good, with spectacular cinematography and strong performances from Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Barry Keoghan and others, as well as the lead. Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian said it is ‘a stunning experience’.

Balloon (2019) is the acclaimed Tibetan film that has been hanging around since wowing the festival circuit a couple of years back. Some small boys find a condom and believe it to be a toy balloon. This innocent fun, however, proves rather troublesome, because it is the family’s only remaining contraceptive in a land where the ruling Chinese are enforcing their One-Child Policy. If you are member of Cheltenham Film Society, you will probably prefer to watch this on Tuesday rather than travelling to Tewkesbury and waiting until Friday.

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