Now showing at Ryedale Palace Chancery Lane,Malton,North Yorkshire YO17 7HW 01653 698899
- Before I Go To Sleep
- The Boxtrolls
- The Hundred-Foot Journey
Before I Go To Sleep 4 stars
Following an accident, 47-year-old wife Christine Lucas suffers from anterograde amnesia. She wakes each morning without any memory or who she is or how she came to be sleeping in a strange bed next to a man she does not know. Consumed by fear, Christine races into the bathroom where a series of photographs on the wall begin to fill in the blanks, letting her know that the man is her husband Ben and they have shared many happy years together.
- GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
- CastColin Firth, Mark Strong, Nicole Kidman, Anne-Marie Duff.
- DirectorRowan Joffe.
- WriterRowan Joffe.
- Duration92 mins
- Official site
There has been a rich harvest of taut thrillers in 2014 including the independent American features Blue Ruin and Cold In July and gritty British films Locke and Starred Up. With David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl looming on the horizon, this is undoubtedly a year when audiences will catch themselves returning to filthy habits and furiously biting their nails in the dark of an unbearably tense cinema. Before I Go To Sleep is guaranteed to jangle nerves and drop a few jaws as summer mellows into autumn. Based on SJ Watson's best-selling novel, this ingenious thriller places us in exactly the same hellish predicament as the heroine, who wakes up each morning without any memory of the past, including her own identity. Through the eyes of this terrified wife, we absorb scraps of information from supposedly reliable sources and try to piece together the truth, unsure if writer-director Rowan Joffe is leading us a merry, sadistic dance. Following a car accident, 47-year-old Christine Lucas (Nicole Kidman) is diagnosed with anterograde amnesia. Each morning, she wakes in a strange bed next to a man she does not know and creeps into the adjacent bathroom where a series of photographs on the wall begin to fill in the blanks, letting her know that the man is her husband Ben (Colin Firth) and they have shared many happy years together. "You store up information for a day, wake up, and it's all gone," explains Ben, whose love for his wife holds strong. He leaves for work and Christine continues to learn about her past from information in the house. Then she receives a mysterious telephone call from someone called Dr Nash (Mark Strong), who instructs her to look in the wardrobe. "We've been keeping a video diary. I'm not sure Ben knows," confides the medic. The subsequent footage casts doubt on the facts that underpin Christine's fragile existence. "Don't trust anyone!" whispers Christine to herself in the video diary, tears glistening in her eyes. As Christine reconnects with Claire (Anne-Marie Duff), who is supposedly her best friend, contradictory testimonies drive her to the brink of insanity. Before I Go To Sleep drips-feeds us fragmented flashbacks, clouding our judgement of characters as they orbit Christine, purportedly out of love. Kidman captures the fragility of a woman at the mercy of her condition, who knows she must stare into the abyss before sleep robs her of a day's detective work. Firth and Strong offer sterling support and Joffe cranks up the tension masterfully with each hairpin twist. The guessing game of who to trust is part of the film's diabolical appeal and the script engineers some wonderful bluffs until a gasp-inducing big reveal that should have audiences teetering precariously on the edge of their seats.
Pride 5 stars
Mark Ashton is the charismatic and outspoken leader of impassioned campaigners, who operate out of the Gay's The Word bookshop in London. Reading news stories about the miner's strike, Mark recognises a cause to champion. "Mining communities are being bullied just like we are," he tells his coterie and they form LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - with the intention of raising funds for a randomly selected Welsh community.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period
- CastBill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Ben Schnetzer, George MacKay, Jessica Gunning, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton, Joseph Gilgun.
- DirectorMatthew Warchus.
- WriterStephen Beresford.
- Duration120 mins
- Official sitewww.pridemovie.co.uk
Theatre director Matthew Warchus, who succeeds Kevin Spacey as artistic director of the Old Vic in London next year, will need to de-clutter his awards-laden mantelpiece. His second feature film is a barnstorming culture-clash comedy drama based on the inspirational true story of a group of gays and lesbians, who supported the miners during the 1984 strike and raised thousands of pounds for beleaguered communities, which dared to stand up to the Thatcher government.
This uplifting story of solidarity in the face of adversity and police intimidation is an absolute joy; an unabashed, irresistible crowd-pleaser in the magnificent mould of The Full Monty and Billy Elliot that rouses the audience to bellowing laughter while choking back a deluge of hot, salty tears.
Pride embraces and subverts stereotypes, deftly weaving together stories of personal triumph and anguish as the spectre of Aids casts a long shadow over the gay community.
Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) is the charismatic and outspoken leader of young, impassioned campaigners, who operate out of the Gay's The Word bookshop in London run by Gethin (Andrew Scott). Reading news stories about the miner's strike, Mark recognises a cause to champion.
"Mining communities are being bullied just like we are," he tells his coterie comprising Mike (Joseph Gilgun), Jonathan (Dominic West), Jeff (Freddie Fox), Steph (Faye Marsay) and closeted new boy, Joe (George MacKay). They form LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - and rattle tins for a randomly selected Welsh community.
Mining representative Dai (Paddy Considine) invites Mark and co to the Dulais Valley where committee members Hefina (Imelda Staunton), Cliff (Bill Nighy) and Sian (Jessica Gunning) embrace the fund-raisers with open arms. However, some of the locals are repulsed.
"We're being backed up by perverts," sneers homophobic mother Maureen (Lisa Palfrey), kindling conflict between some of the neighbours and the LGSM.
Pride is a life-affirming ode to tolerance, acceptance and self-belief that defiantly lives up to its title, waving a flag for stellar home-grown filmmaking.
Performances are exemplary, ignoring a few wobbles with the Welsh accents, including a fiery turn from Schnetzer as a fresh-faced trailblazer and sobs aplenty from Mackay as the catering student, who cannot conceal his sexuality forever.
Scriptwriter Stephen Beresford strikes a perfect balance between hilarity and heartbreak, sharing polished one-liners among the ensemble cast including Menna Trussler as a clucky old dear, who labours under the illusion that all lesbians are vegetarians.
Warchus' film builds to a rousing crescendo that delivers a knock-out emotional wallop and opens the floodgates. As Frankie Goes To Hollywood professed during that turbulent summer of 1984: "When two tribes go to war/A point is all you can score." The characters in Pride score their points with unbridled passion and wit.
The Boxtrolls 4 stars
An orphaned boy named Eggs is raised by gentle subterranean creatures that have been unfairly demonised by the terrified, fromage-fixated residents of Cheesebridge. When pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher and his henchmen begin to exterminate the Boxtrolls, Eggs joins forces with the surviving creatures and a girl called Winnie to protect the beasties from harm.
- GenreAdaptation, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Fantasy
- CastToni Collette, Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Sir Ben Kingsley.
- DirectorGraham Annable, Anthony Stacchi.
- WriterIrena Brignull, Adam Pava.
- Duration97 mins
- Official sitewww.theboxtrolls.co.uk
Based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls is a rollicking stop-motion animated romp from the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman that proves weird can be truly wonderful. With faint echoes of Raymond Briggs' Fungus The Bogeyman, Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi's quirky fantasy imagines a race of subterranean creatures, who root through bins in search of spare parts for their mechanical creations.
Despite a hearty appetite for slimy bugs, these pungent, green-skinned denizens of the underworld are cute rather than scary, possessing relatable human traits such as a passion for music or a quivering fear of the unknown. They spare troll blushes by wearing empty cardboard boxes and the former contents of these mouldering cartons provide each expressive character with a name such as Fish, Knickers, Sweets, Clocks and Fragile (ho ho!).
The meticulous detail of the movable figures and miniature sets is impressive, and co-directors Annable and Stacchi corral a vast team of animators, who produce thrilling chases and quieter moments of ribald humour.
The well-to-do, Victorian-era city of Cheesebridge is visited under the cloak of darkness by the eponymous beasties. One dark night, a Boxtroll called Fish (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) kidnaps the infant son of a local inventor (Simon Pegg) and spirits away the child to the underground lair.
This shocking act plays into the grubby hands of pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Sir Ben Kingsley). "Prepare to say bye-bye to your brie, cheerio to your cheddar!" cackles Snatcher, striking fear into the heart of Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) and the other fromage-fixated noblemen.
They grant Snatcher a place at the cheese-tasting top table if the exterminator and his henchmen - Mr Trout (Nick Frost), Mr Pickles (Richard Ayoade) and Mr Gristle (Tracy Morgan) - kill every last Boxtroll. Unaware that he is human, abducted boy Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) ventures above ground with the Boxtrolls and encounters Lord Portley-Rind's snooty daughter, Winnie (Elle Fanning).
She initially believes the horror stories about Boxtrolls devouring children - "Eat me. I'm sure I'm delicious!" - but once Winnie learns the truth about Eggs' past, she agrees to help vanquish Snatcher and his snivelling cohorts.
The Boxtrolls is a delight for the young and young at heart, hinging on the notion that families come in all shapes and sizes. Irena Brignull and Adam Pava's script is laden with verbal and visual gags, striking a gently mischievous tone throughout like when Winnie spots Eggs tugging at the crotch of his uncomfortable suit and whispers, "Don't snatch them in public. That's why they are called privates!"
Frost, Ayoade and Morgan provide the majority of the comic relief between action-packed set-pieces. Remain seated during the end credits for a hilarious scene of existential angst, which succinctly reminds us how pain-staking and time-consuming the stop-motion animation process is.
The Hundred-Foot Journey 3 stars
Papa Kadam and his family flee Mumbai after an arson attack on their restaurant, which results in the death of Papa's wife. They seek refuge in a French village, which boasts a Michelin star establishment run by widow Madame Mallory. The building across the road happens to be vacant and Papa purchases the property with the intention of opening his own eaterie serving traditional Indian fare. This rivalry sparks hostility between the Kadams and Mallory, which spirals out of control.
- GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Romance
- CastManish Dayal, Om Puri, Helen Mirren, Charlotte Le Bon.
- DirectorLasse Hallstrom.
- WriterSteven Knight.
- Duration122 mins
- Official sitewww.dreamworksstudios.com/films/the-hundred-foot-journey
Made to a tried and tested recipe laid out in Richard C Morais's novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey is an uplifting comedy drama charting the battle of wits between two restaurateurs in a close-knit French village. It's a familiar story of feuds and reconciliation, love and loss, laced with the heady spices of one family's proud Indian heritage. Screenwriter Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things) offsets the sweetness of the central narrative with tart one-liners, and garnishes with crowd-pleasing performances from Helen Mirren and Om Puri as fierce rivals, who learn to see eye to eye over the simmering saucepans. Lasse Hallstrom's handsome confection is comfort food for the soul. Myriad scenes of chefs searing fresh meats and fishes, or lovingly stirring the ingredients of thick sauces, tantalise the senses and make your mouth water. Papa Kadam (Om Puri) and his five children - Mansur (Amit Shah), Hassan (Manish Dayal), Mahira (Farzana Dua Elahe), Mukhtar (Dillon Mitra) and Aisha (Aria Pandya) - flee Mumbai after an arson attack on their restaurant, which results in the death of Papa's beloved wife (Juhi Chawla). Initially, the Kadams settle in London but they leave because talented chef Hassan discovers that "the vegetables have no soul, no life." So the clan seeks new horizons in Europe. Shortly after crossing the Swiss border into France, the brakes on the Kadams' van fail and they crash close to the village of Saint-Antonin, which boasts a Michelin star establishment Le Saule Pleureur run by widow Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). The building across the road from Mallory's restaurant is vacant and Papa dreams of serving traditional Indian fare to the good people of France. Eldest son Mansur tries to dissuade his father from competing with Le Saule Pleureur: "It is the best restaurant for 50 miles and the President of France eats there!" Unperturbed, Papa opens Maison Mumbai with Hassan as head chef. This sparks a bitter rivalry with Madame Mallory's own chef Jean-Pierre (Clement Sibony) that spirals out of control. Thankfully, Madame's pretty sous chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) is more welcoming and she inspires Hassan to learn classic French cuisine including boeuf bourguignon and pigeon aux truffes. The Hundred-Foot Journey trades heavily on the spiky banter between Mirren and Puri, the former adopting a cod-French accent as she tells the Kadams, "If your food is anything like your music, I suggest you tone it down." Their interplay is a solid and appealing foundation for a sweet romantic subplot between Dayal and Le Bon. When Knight's script veers into slightly darker territory, and adds the poisonous tang of fame to the feel good mix, the film stumbles. Thankfully, director Hallstrom restores balance with a last-minute dollop of shameless sentimentality to ensure audiences leave with their bellies full of unbridled joy.