Films around Cheltenham from 19/3/22

The Roses

The Duke shows up at The Roses this week, but there are two new films to see. There is The Real Charlie Chaplin, directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney, which consists of a blend of original audio recordings, personal archive and dramatic reconstructions to tell the story of Chaplin’s career. Then there is Belle, a Japanese animated Science Fantasy film directed by Mamoru Hosoda, and inspired by the tale of Beauty and The Beast, memorably brought to life by Jean Cocteau. Suzu is a shy student who escapes into a virtual world where her persona is Belle, a renowned singer. One day her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature and Suzu must uncover the identity of this mysterious beast, and of course, discover her true self. (PW)

The Guildhall

The new film at the Guildhall this week, starting Tuesday, is Flee, an animated film directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, based on the true story of a gay Afghan academic who fled Afghanistan as a child and is now living in Denmark. The film recounts the story of his journey from Afghanistan and the revelation of a secret he has kept for 20 years. Otherwise, becalmed as we are in the Sargasso Sea of Awards Season, there are further screenings of The Duke, Cyrano, Souvenir Part II and Belfast. (PW)

The Cineworlds

Three notable new films at the Cineworlds this week: The Nan Movie, Phantom of the Open and X.

The Nan Movie is a TV spin-off, giving a big screen outing to the foul-mouthed granny caricature devised by the comedian Catherine Tate. Nan goes on a journey (of course) with her grandson (Mathew Horne) to mend fences with her estranged sister (Katherine Parkinson) in Ireland. When she gets there, we learn about her past and the reasons why she is so stroppy. Personally, I find Catherine Tate about as funny as anthrax, but some people will like it. Cineworld’s blurb describes a trip by car from London to Ireland as ‘a proper day out’, which suggests limited familiar with the geography of these islands.

Phantom of the Open is a bit more promising. Like about half of all British comedies, it’s in the Full Monty mould, being about quirky working folk achieving some sort of life-affirming audience-friendly triumph. It’s based on the true story of a man from Barrow-in-Furness (where they built nuclear submarines) who manages to get into the British Open Golf tournament without ever really having played the sport.The blurb is predictable: ‘With pluckiness and unwavering self-belief, Maurice pulls off a series of stunning, hilarious, and heartwarming attempts to compete at the highest level of professional golf, drawing the ire of the golfing elite but becoming a British folk hero in the process.’ But it has the benefit of a really strong cast: Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins and Rhys Ifans. Strange that Cineworld mention that the redoubtable Sally once had a BAFTA nomination and fail to mention that she won the Best Actress Oscar for that thing in which she falls in love with a swamp monster.

Then there’s X. I read some stuff about this in the week. It’s a supposed amateur porn/slasher film about some amateur porn/slasher filmmakers who shoot their stuff in an old Texan couple’s remote house and find the puritanical wrinklies turning on them for their sinful activities, in all sorts of repulsive ways. The story goes that that the amateur film was somehow discovered and taken up by the studios. Wild horses (or even slightly irritated ones) would not drag me to this. Odd that misogynistic and sadistic stories are considered acceptable as long as they are sanctioned by Hollywood or pretend to be the authentic self-expression of young non-professionals. Just don’t try getting the green light for a nice romcom about people in love.

Gloucester and Cheltenham are the same this week. Of course, they’re very much not: except in the eyes of Cineworld. (JM)

The Tivoli

The Tivoli has all last week’s stuff, plus the golf film. Would you like to hear how I once played on the council’s pitch-and-putt in Tommy Taylor’s Lane, got whacked in the head and rendered briefly unconscious by my young son, and then wasn’t offered so much as an Elastoplast until I’d agreed to sign the accident book absolving the council of any responsibility? Thought not. Legal note: I exaggerate for comic effect. (JM)

The Sherborne

A couple of interesting things at The Sherborne this week. As well as Sing 2 and The Duke, there’s Unchartered and the British black comedy Tales of the Creeping Death, with Ricky Tomlinson of Brookside fame (for readers as old as yours truly). More notable, though is Olga, a Swiss/French film about a Ukrainian girl who goes to do gymnastics in Switzerland and is pressured into changing her nationality, just as the 2014 Euromaidan uprising against the pro-Russian national government is breaking out. We have picked this for the Cheltenham International Film Festival in May and it was well-liked by our selection panel. The Sherborne is putting on two showings, with takings going to the Red Cross/DEC Ukraine fund, on Sunday evening and Wednesday afternoon. Recommended.

Leave a Reply

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