Films around Cheltenham from 14 May 2022

All written by Pamela Weaver this week, except where stated, and with an added soupçon of sarcasm by JM (of course).

The Cineworlds

Cheltenham and Gloucester both continue to screen Downton, Mincemeat, Dr Strange, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Fantastic Beasts and Everything Everywhere All at Once. Sarkaru Vaari Paata continues in Cheltenham. There are three new films being screened in each: The Lost City, Firestarter and Father Stu.

The Lost City, directed by Aaron Nee, stars Sandra Bullock. Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe and Brad Pitt. Sandra Bullock plays author Loretta Sage, who ends up in one of her own exotic adventure novels. While on tour promoting a new book she is kidnapped by an eccentric millionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who hopes she can lead him to the ancient city’s lost treasure she writes about in the book. The handsome hunk (Channing Tatum, of course), who is the model photographed as the hero on the series’s covers, has to turn into a ‘real’ hero to rescue her.

Firestarter, directed by Keith Thomas, is a reworking of a 1984 film (of course),based on an a novel of the same name by Stephen King (of course). Zac Efron plays the father of a girl who has the superpower suggested by the film’s title, and the two of them must go on the run to avoid both a secret government agency (of course) and a bounty hunter who wants to use her power for sinister purposes (of course). The critical reception suggests the film is more damp squib than roaring blaze.

Father Stu, directed by Rosalind Ross, is based on the true story of a former boxer who survives a motor cycle accident, starts going to church to please his girl friend and then discovers his true vocation is to be a Catholic priest (of course). Mark Wahlberg is Father Stu (pictured above, praying to be released) and his mother and father are played by Jackie Weaver and Mel Gibson – sounds like a scary family. (PW) Catholicism and Mel Gibson: what could possibly go wrong? (JM)

The Roses

Operation Mincemeat infiltrates the stronghold of Downton Abbey next week, though Downton carries on regardless. There is also a new film, Benedetta, directed by Paul Verhoeven. This is loosely based on the life of a 17th century nun Benedetta Carlini, who became known for performing miracles, but was subsequently declared to be a heretic and who became sexually involved with a young novice. It is described as a “wickedly entertaining tale of religious obsession and carnal sin” – all sounds a bit Ken Russell to me. Benedetta is played by Virginie Efira, soon to be seen giving an excellent performance in Waiting for Bojangles, screening at the Roses on May 24th as part of the Cheltenham International Film Festival.

The Guildhall

Downton- sur-Plage continues, with Operation Mincemeat returning at the end of the week. Starting on Friday there is The Northman, directed by Robert Eggers. It is another ‘loosely based on’ type of film, this time using Scandinavian mythology as its inspiration. The hero, Amleth (supposedly turned into Hamlet for Shakespeare) sets off to avenge the death of his father and reclaim his lost kingdom, in warlike and bloodthirsty manner. The starry cast includes Alexander Skarsgard, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman and Björk. If half-crazed men with bare chests and bared teeth is your kind of spectacle, this is for you. (Not me: I’ve been to an England match at Wembley, and didn’t much enjoy it. JM)

The Sherborne

The Sherborne has Sonic 2 and Mincemeat. Really… 

The Tivoli

The Tivoli has Downton, Mincemeat, Dr Strange and Everything, Everywhere All at Once, which is rather how I feel compiling this listing.

[Pamela has been compassionate leave to help her cope with the lingering death of an old and faithful friend: cinema.]

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