Films around Cheltenham from 20/11/21

The Cineworlds

Nothing much new at Cineworld Cheltenham in the early part of the week. Two children’s animations on Sunday: Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds and Tom & Jerry: The Movie. I’ve only seen the trailers, but I wasn’t impressed. Thefirst one clearly thinks a farting horse is a guaranteed laugh-riot. The second demonstrates the decline in the art of combining live action and cartoon characterssince the days of Mary Poppins, free on TV this week: we can thank computers and greed for that.

From Monday, Cry Macho lopes on to the screen, with Clint Eastwood back in the saddle. Stephen Ilott has seen it. ‘Hardly a great film, yet it put a smile on my face throughout.’ There’s also Mothering Sunday. Stephen thought it was good, not great. I thought it was worse than I’d imagined possible. Period drama clichés and inaccuracies, astonishingly uninteresting acting from the two leads, whose sex scenes were about as erotic as a trip to the dental hygienist and who seemed not to have anything at all going on between their ears in the long passages they spent wandering round naked or looking trembly-lipped and moody. Meanwhile, old stagers Olivia Colman and Colin Firth did their greatest hits (sour-faced old aristocratic wife and diffident, anguished aristocratic husband). The script had no spark or surprise. The music was dreary. The frocks, houses, steam trains, horses and countryside were all of merchantable quality, so no chance of getting a refund under the Sale of Goods Act. Very disappointing, because it looked good on paper, which is perhaps where is should have stayed. Both of these new films are only on during the day. Don’t ask me why. Ask Cineworld.

On Wednesday, a new Disney animation arrives. Encanto is a computer-animated musical about a village in Colombia where everyone has a superpower except one girl, Madrigal. The setting is new for Disney. It was supposed to have been set in Brazil, but the studio opted for Colombia. Investors were told that the film reflected ‘magical realism’ but I suspect fans of Gabriel Garcia Márquez will be disappointed. The songs are by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who apparently did Hamilton and Moana. I’m not saying anything about any of that.

Meanwhile, the real action is off-screen. Wikipedia is very excited about ‘The line of toys coming to retailer stores, featuring interactive playsets including the Magical Casa Madrigal, Singing Mirabel and Magic Butterfly doll, Sing and Play Mirabel doll, Mirabel and Isabela fashion doll assortment, Mirabel’s Musical Accordion, 7-inch key character plush assortment and character role play dresses. Additional JAKKS products for the film will be featured in future waves coming in 2022.’ Also, there are tie-in books, T-shirts, Capybara Pillow Pet, Personalized Headboard Wall Decals, and Picnic Time Baskets, Coolers, Blanket, and Cutting Board. The new Funko Pop! figures of several characters will start shipping in January 2022. Oh, the excitement.

On Thursday, there’s a chance to see Rocky IV: Rocky vs Drago (Director’s Cut). This is a tarted-up version of Sly Stallone’s 1985 Cold War instalment in the boxing saga, with his muscle-bound oaf taking on a bigger, meaner Soviet-backed opponent. A shame, because I’d rather hoped ‘Drago’ was a fighter who chose to step into the ring in a ballgown, heels and lots of costume jewellery. ‘A ridiculous and largely pointless undertaking’ according to whichever anonymous drone writes the standfirsts on the Guardian’s website reviews.

On Friday, something genuinely new. House of Gucci is Ridley Scott’s glossy and expensive account of internecine war in the cheesy handbag empire, with an all-star cast including Adam Driver, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Jared Leto and someone called Lady Gaga, the sort of name that would in other circumstances be a hate crime. Something of a return to his roots for Scott, who started off making commercials, it runs to 2 hours 38 minutes, which seems a little excessive. But then, nothing succeeds like excess. Ask Gucci.

Pretty much the same stuff at Gloucester, plus Pitbull, the Polish cop drama, and minus Mothering Sunday and Rocky. On Thursday there is Antim: The Final Truth, an Indian crime thriller, with popular actor Salman Khan sporting a turban for the first time in his 30-year career to play a Sikh policeman battling a gangster. Shot mostly in a studio in Mumbai, it also purports to examine the harsh conditions for Indian farmers that force them to turn to crime. It has been released in India in five languages. Cineworld gets the Hindi version.

The Tivoli

Nothing new at The Tivoli, except Encanto from Thursday. Mothering Sunday has gone (no loss) and The French Dispatch is back on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 14:00.

The Sherborne

The Sherborne has Ron’s Gone Wrong on Saturday and Sunday during the day. Dune is on until Thursday at 18:00. I don’t know why Mark is starting these evening shows so early. Perhaps he fancies an early night. On Friday, though, he starts Spencer, with shows at 18:00 and 20:30. The Sherborne has been refurbished. I haven’t been to see it yet, but apparently it is a bit more spacious. Tickets are now £7.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall has Spencer and The French Dispatch at various times from Saturday through to Thursday. I haven’t seen The French Dispatch but if I do go, I’ll probably go to the Guildhall. Cheaper and, weirdly, more comfortable than the much-ballyhooed Tivoli. On Friday during the day there is The Last Duel, Ridley Scott’s other film of the moment. He seems to have split himself in two. Perhaps he’ll explain how that works. It would be useful.

A couple of one-offs on Sunday. At 17:00 there is Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr. Dinosaur Jr are kind of a big deal in West Coast American Grunge circles. Neil Young liked them. Apparently their gimmick is that they never speak to each other, communicating only through music. They did speak to the filmmaker, though. The trailer is very colourful and the music is actually rather good: loud, distorted, but also melodic and poppy. ‘We didn’t care if anybody listened to us… We’re here to assault people,’ says one of them. Then at 19:15 there is Dettori, a feature-length documentary about Frankie, the champion jockey, directed by Anthony Wonke, who has won lots of awards for war documentaries but also made well-received films about the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and the jockey AP McCoy. One for horsey people, of whom there are apparently a few around Cheltenham.

The Roses

The Roses has The French Dispatch, Ron’s Gone Wrong and Dune over the weekend, but nothing in the week as far as I can tell. There’s a ‘relaxed’ screening of Ron’s Gone Wrong and a subtitled The French Dispatch if those are important to you. Again, the Roses is more comfortable and cheaper than The Tivoli, if you fancy Wes Anderson’s film.

One thought on “Films around Cheltenham from 20/11/21

  1. The Tivoli will be showing Event cinema (opera, ballet, theatre, exhibitions) as soon as the satellite is in place – Bath Tivoli is already showing these. There is a good market in Cheltenham for these live transmissions. Pre lockdown we would all be there at Cineworld, always a full house.

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