Films around Cheltenham from 16 April 2022

The Roses

It’s still school holiday time, so Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Fantastic Beasts of Dumbledore (that’s not him in the picture) continue and there is another screening of Coppelia on Easter Monday afternoon. For grown-ups, particularly the ones who like to leave the cinema with a smile on their faces, there is Master Cheng, as described last week. (PW)

The Guildhall

Phantom of the Open, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Master Cheng all continue. On Friday 22 April there is the opening of Operation Mincemeat, a World War II espionage drama directed by John Madden, based on a book by Ben Macintyre and starring Colin Firth, Mathew Macfadyen, and Jason Isaacs. The actual Operation Mincemeat was a plan devised in 1943 to deceive the Axis high command that the Allied invasion from the south would be through Greece, rather than Sicily. The operation was the subject of a previous film, The Man Who Never Was (1956), directed by Ronald Neame, based on a 1953 book of the same title by Ewan Montagu, the intelligence agent who conceived the plan (played by Firth in the new film). Wouldn’t it be nice to have some original stories? (PW)

[The critics seem to feel the same way, greeting the film with little real enthusiasm. Here’s Deborah Ross in the Spectator: ‘ It’s a classic tale of British second world war derring-do and the sort of film you’ll watch with your dad on a Sunday afternoon, before or after Ice Cold in Alex.’ More seriously, she casts doubt on the way the supposed intelligence officers – who include a young Ian Fleming – comport themselves, something of a problem in what is pitched as traditional historical drama. JM.]

The Cineworlds

Department of Desperate Marketing. One of my friends who has an Unlimited card for Cineworld has just received this: ‘We all know the cornerstone of any great cinema experience is the snacks, so we’re delighted to say you have been gifted a complimentary bag of Jimmy’s Popcorn! Simply pop on over to the snacks counter and present your Unlimited card to redeem your FREE bag of Toffee OR Salted Caramel Popcorn.Offer valid until Thursday 28 April 2022.’

Aside from the magnificent catering offer – Cineworld’s Cheltenham page now invites you to ‘Join Us For A Coffee’, by which it means its bleak concession for Starbucks, the world’s worst purveyors of the brown panacea – the multiplex has the odd film. This week there’s a lot of last week’s stuff, plus Operation Toejam (as mentioned above) and The Northman (pictured above).

This is the new one from Robert Eggers, who gave us The Witch and The Lighthouse, both highly praised. It’s a full-on Viking revenge story, about a young prince, called Amleth, whose uncle kills his father and kidnaps and marries his mother: the name, and well as the plot, are presumably supposed to ring bells. The star is Alexander Skarsgård, so plus points for Nordic authenticity. The Queen is Nicole Kidman. Ethan Hawke is in there too and Anya Taylor-Joy plays a character called ‘Olga of the Birch Forest’.

Here’s what Anthony Lane says about it in the New Yorker: ‘Blood, mud, iron, fire, decapitated horses, and more blood: such are the main components of “The Northman,” a new movie from Robert Eggers. It’s a gutsy piece of work, not only in the reach of its ambition but also in its willingness to show us actual guts.’

That might drag you in, if you find Game of Thrones a bit tame, but be warned that he also says Eggers’s film is ‘at once overwhelming and curiously uninvolving’. I have a liking for Viking, but I think they were actually a lot more interesting than all this suggests. They were extraordinary craftsmen and traders, who created beautiful artefacts and remarkable stories while traversing great swathes of the world: from America to Russia and even further south.

Nice use of runes in the title sequence, but I don’t really see the Vikings as the progenitors of Swedish Death Metal, which seems to be this film’s spiritual and aesthetic inspiration. Nonetheless, i may go and take a look. (JM)

Gloucester has all the same stuff.

The Tivoli

Dumbledore, Mincemeat, The Lost City, Northman, Batman. All with the boutique luxury experience that you are enjoying so much, not to mention the prices. Plenty of room, too.

The Sherborne

The Bad Guys, Phantom of the Open, a couple of showings of Cyrano, and at the end of the week, Dumbledore. If you want to see one of these (the Mark Rylance golf film has its admirers), and you have never been to The Sherborne, give it a try. It’s a lot of fun. More fun than any cinema in Cheltenham, certainly.

2 thoughts on “Films around Cheltenham from 16 April 2022

  1. Hi John, I totally agree about lucky old Oxford where I used to work, with its Ultimate Picture Palace. Really the film list at Cheltenham is too depressing. Room for an entrepreneur surely like the woman who started up the cinema in Belsize Park with delicious food and the wonderful Electric in Portobello Rd.
    Dream on. Thanks for your incisive & enjoyable comments

    1. It’s all very unfortunate. The things I care about most – music, films, magazines and newpapers, books – all used to be a licence to print money, both for the entrepreneurs and the creators. Now nobody knows how to earn a living from them. The early cinemas were founded by people who understood show business and customer service. Now they are in the hands of people who think they are working in catering. I know entrepreneurs. I know film lovers. Unfortunately, they rarely come in the same package. Nonetheless, I am optimistic. Who knows what might happen?

Leave a Reply

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