Films around Cheltenham from 23 April 2022

The Roses

On Monday there is the first screening of The Outfit, a crime thriller directed and co-written by Graham Moore. It is set in 1950s Chicago, starring Mark Rylance (again) as a tailor who makes stylish suits for the local mobsters, allowing them to use his premises for a spot of money laundering. The intricate plot involves gang rivalry, family disputes, a murky past and FBI infiltration (or not). Sounds entertaining: I just hope the script is better than the pretty dreadful pun in the title.

Then on Wednesday and Thursday there are screenings of The Worst Person in the World, a Norwegian rom-com directed by Joachim Trier, which has received much critical acclaim and the Best Actress Award at Cannes for Renate Reinsve, who plays the main character Julie. It left me unmoved. It’s a perfectly watchable film but I am clearly too old to relate to a woman of 30 (yes, 30) with plenty of choices of career and eligible boyfriends but who can’t make up her mind about any of it. On the other hand I am probably of the generation that recognises a male fantasy when she sees one. We quoted Deborah Ross on Operation Mincemeat last week. I’m with her on this one too: ‘I felt nothing and didn’t care. Maybe I am the Hardest Hearted Person in the World.

On Thursday evening there is an intriguing double bill. The main feature is Wildhood a film set in Nova Scotia, directed by Bretten Hannam, which follows a Two Spirit teenager and his brother who travel in search of their birth mother, and reconnect with their indigenous heritage along the way. This is preceded by Twinkleberry, a short film about a year group of students at Tewkesbury School, 30 of whom identified as LGBTQ+.

Finally, hang on to your hats, Downton Abbey: a New Era opens on Friday and continues for the foreseeable future. (PW)

The Guildhall

Operation Mincemeat continues at the Guildhall all next week and most of the following one. That’s it – disheartening, isn’t it? (PW)

The Cineworlds

The only new film I can see at The Cineworlds is The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. This is a sort of ‘meta’ exercise, in which Nicholas Cage plays a character called Nick Cage, who is a version of himself, or all those stories we’ve heard about him. (Does he get a flat in Royal York Crescent in Bath, and then sell it in a hurry, I wonder?) Here he is broke and more or less unemployable, so he agrees to appear at some Eurotrash zillionaire’s party. Then a CIA again (toothsome Tiffany Haddish) gets him to do some sort of espionage thing and the film turns into a knowng rerun of lots of his action-movie greatest hits.

This is what passes for Tinseltown making fun of itself, but the trailer makes it clear it is not The Day of the Locust or even Hail Caesar! The fawning American press have fallen over themselves to like it. No human beings have seen it yet.

Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian said the title is the funniest bit, which is pretty damning, but reminded us that Cage can do good work if he feels like it: ‘Cage has already done a far more interesting postmodern film about the film business – Spike Jonze’s Adaptation, written by Charlie Kaufman, in which Cage gave a far better (dual) performance in a much funnier and better written film as the tormented screenwriter-artist Charlie Kaufman and his middlebrow twin brother Donald. In comparison, this feels lightweight.’

Downton Abbey: A New Era starts on Friday. Memo to Cineworld: service your defibrillators now. (JM)

The Tivoli

The Tivoli has the Cage film, plus all last week’s stuff, but also one interesting thing, running each afternoon at 16:45. It’s Ennio, a documentary about the celebrated and prolific film composer Ennio Morricone, who died last July. The director is Giuseppe Tornatore, who made Cinema Paradiso back in the pre-Cambrian era (OK, 1988). I’m all for the subject – my favourite is his score for The Mission – but the film comes in at 2hr 45m, which is a long stretch even if you’re not slouching on one the Tivoli’s sofas, which do my back in. We are promised interviews with the directors he worked with, plus concert footage, clips from the movies, etc. According to his exhausting Wikipedia entry, Morricone influenced Metallica, Muse, Dire Straits and Radiohead. No good deed goes unpunished. (JM)

The Sherborne

The Sherborne has The Bad Guys, Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore or whatever it’s called and then Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Saturday. (JM)

Cheltenham Film Society

You have to be a member, but the society is showing Gagarine at the Bacon Theatre on Tuesday. It’s good. Almost worth jumping through hoops for. (JM)

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