Films around Cheltenham from 11/12/21

The Cineworlds

New from Friday: Clifford:The Big Red Dog (2021), children’s live/action, with John Cleese, whose most prominent appearances these days seem to be on Twitter; and Spider-Man: No Way Home, the latest in the endless franchise. This time Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is exposed as the sticky-fingered superhero and Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has to help him go back under cover.

Gloucester, meanwhile, still has the Polish Dziewczyny Z Dubaju, for a couple of days. The film, about young girls and minor celebrities going to Dubai for sex work, some by mistake and some knowingly, seems to have been quite a hit. My Polish friend tells me there has been a lot of speculation in Poland about the reality behind the story. She also tells me the director ‘is also scandalous’. Tsk.

The Tivoli

The Tivoli has C’mon, C’mon plus all the stuff everybody else has. Spidey from Wednesday. You won’t need your spidersenses to work out that it’s the most expensive place to see it, if you’re planning a family outing.

The Sherborne

The Sherborne has Mothering Sunday and The French Dispatch. The last place left to see Wes Anderson’s style-driven journalism film. Ironically, visual elegance is the least important thing in journalism. But wit is important, so let’s give Wes the benefit of the doubt. As for Mothering Sunday, maybe wait till then in case something better crops up. I’m sure Josh’s mum is proud of him, though.

The Guildhall

Two new things at The Guildhall on Friday, so well done them. Both during the day, sadly, but we’re all working from home now, wink wink, so it could be worse. A Boy Called Christmas is a British kids’ adventure, in which a plucky lad goes searching for his father who is in the frozen north looking for the land of the elves. He had a feisty reindeer called Blitzen (presumably Donner is on kebab duty) and a loyal pet mouse. The trailer seems to have been assembled from other films and stories. Based on a book by Matt Haig, whose depressing adult novel about a library you go to when you die was a big hit with my book club this year, especially among librarians.

Much more interesting is A Christmas Carol. This is a part live-action, part-animated, part ballet film made in Wales by a couple of people called Morris. Voices by Simon Russell Beale, who once played a wicked actor’s trick on me, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis and Carey Mulligan. Story by Charles Dickens. Apparently the Cheltenham ukulele maestro Phil Collins now does a very good one-man Dickens show, if you are looking for something unusual to entertain the troops.

The Roses

Lots of predictable stuff in Tewkes, but on Friday Patrick has managed to get The Power of the Dog, a new Western by Jane Campion, who of course made The Piano and lots of other weirder stuff. This one stars Ben Cumberbatch, possibly least likely cowboy since John Cleese is Silverado, who plays a grizzled rancher who takes a dislike to the effeminate teenage stepson of his brother, who has acquired him by marrying a young widow. I believe it’s a Netflix film, which probably explains why Patrick is only allowed to show it once, at 11.15am. Netflix loves cinema, and is the future of cinema: didn’t you read the memo?

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