Films around Cheltenham from 2 April 2022

The Eclectic Cinema

Have you tried The Electic Cinema yet? It’s Cheltenham’s little cinema club, based in The Playhouse. (It’s a pun on The Electric Cinema, by the way, something founder Andrew Holt had to explain to me.)

This week’s theme is Weird Films. On Monday, 4 April, Andrew is putting on The Love Witch, a very entertaining parody of the horror/sexploitation films of the 1970s, made almost as a one-woman project by Anne Biller. A young witch comes to a Californian town and ensnares various young men, and not to their advantage. Recommended. There’s a very interesting interview with the director on the site.

On Wednesday, 6 April, he follows that up with Berberian Sound Studio by Peter Strickland. This one features Toby Jones as a sound-effects recordist working in a film studio in Italy, making some sort of giallo film called The Equestrian Vortex. It’s strange, creepy and sometimes baffling, in Strickland’s manner. I did wonder when I saw the film whether its title refers to the New York avant-gardiste Cathy Berberian. If so, it’s another posthumous nod from popular culture, after her appearance in Steely Dan’s ‘Your Gold Teeth’: ‘Even Cathy Berberian knows / There’s one roulade she can’t sing’. Followed by a plink. Note to rock fans: the film features smashing pumpkins. And melons. And much more violence against soft fruit. (JM)

The Roses

Unfortunately for Patrick Bliss, who runs The Roses’s film programme, the Oscar for Best Film went to CODA, only available on Apple TV+, so he had to show Power of the Dog, for which Jane Campion won the Oscar for Best Director.

Next week Belfast returns for a few more screenings but there are some new films. First, there is Marry Me, a rom-com starring Jennifer Lopez as one half of a celebrity power couple who are about to get married in front an audience of fans. At the last minute the bride discovers the groom has been unfaithful, so on a whim she picks out a member of the audience, played by Owen Wilson, and marries him instead. Will there be a happy ending? Probably.

There is also Dog, a road movie/ buddy comedy directed by Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum. It’s the story of two Army veterans: one is Channing Tatum and the other is a dog. Tatum’s character, Briggs, is required to escort the dog to the funeral of his (the dog’s) former handler, somewhere along the Pacific coast. After encountering a number of tricky situations the couple form a strong bond. Well they would, wouldn’t they?

On Friday 8th two more films open: The Bad Guys, the animated film about animal criminals, which is already showing at Cineworld, and Phantom of the Open, (also at Cineworld) a comedy loosely based on the real life character who managed to play in the 1976 British Open Golf Championship despite never having played golf before. I cringed at the trailer and couldn’t help wondering if Mark Rylance was short of money, but I am assured by someone whose judgment I usually respect that it is actually very funny and a classic plucky British underdog type of film. (PW)

The Guildhall

l feel I am in a fairground hall of mirrors – wherever I look I see the same films on screen. The Duke and Death on the Nile are back again and The Phantom of the Open starts a three week run. The Bad Guys and The Batman start on Friday 8 April. (PW)

The Cineworlds

Lots of kids’ films, for the Easter holidays, but the only new film seems to be Morbius. It’s a comic-book film, so you know what you’re getting.

‘One of Marvel’s most compelling and conflicted characters comes to the big screen as Oscar® winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero, Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder, and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. What at first appears to be a radical success, a darkness inside him is unleashed and transforms this healer into a hunter.’

Really? Sorry Hollywood, the game’s pretty much up, isn’t it? Stick to organising prize- fights at awards ceremonies. (JM)

The Tivoli

The Tivoli has Morpheus, The Phantom of the Open, Batman and Death on the Nile. It has also, inexplicably, brought back Steven Spielberg’s superfluous and bland West Side Story. Skip it and watch the Stephen Sondheim documentary on Sky Arts instead. It’s on Wednesday at 21:00. (JM)

The Sherborne

The Sherborne has Bad Guys and Cyrano, with Phantom of the Open starting on Friday.

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