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Now showing at City Screen Picturehouse 13-17,Coney Street,York,Yorkshire YO1 9QL 0871 902 5726

  • Gone Girl
  • Magic In The Moonlight
  • Maps To The Stars
  • Sarah's Key
  • The Grand Seduction
  • What We Did On Our Holiday

Gone Girl 4 stars

On her fifth wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne vanishes without trace. Her husband Nick works with the police to front a high-profile media campaign to secure the safe return of his "amazing Amy". In the glare of the spotlight, fractures appear in the Dunnes' marriage and police and public both question Nick's innocence. With Amy's creepy ex-boyfriend Desi Collings as another suspect, Detectives Rhonda Boney and Jim Gilpin search for answers.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastNeil Patrick Harris, Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Boyd Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, Missi Pyle, Patrick Fugit, Kim Dickens.
  • DirectorDavid Fincher.
  • WriterGillian Flynn.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration149 mins
  • Official sitewww.gonegirlmovie.cok
  • Release02/10/2014

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to Gone Girl. If, like me, you haven't read Gillian Flynn's 2012 psychological thriller and you know nothing of the serpentine twists that propelled the novel to the top of the bestsellers list then jealously guard your cluelessness. There's an undeniable delight watching Flynn wrong-foot us with this spiky satire on media manipulation and the glossy facade of celebrity marriages. When the central characters promise to love, honour and obey, till death do them part, one of them takes that vow very seriously. Admittedly, you have to dig deep beneath the surface of David Fincher's polished film to find the jet black humour but it's there, walking hand-in-hand with sadism and torture that propel the narrative towards its unconventional denouement. The film version of Gone Girl is distinguished by a career-best performance from Rosamund Pike as the pretty wife, who vanishes without trace on her fifth wedding anniversary and is presumed dead at the hands of her handsome husband (Ben Affleck). Pike has to plumb the depths of human emotion in a demanding and complex role, by turns brittle and steely, terrified and driven. She's almost certain to earn her first Oscar nomination. In stark contrast, Affleck is solid but little more as the spouse who pleads his ignorance but hides secrets from the people he adores. As battles of the sexes go, it's a resolutely one-sided skirmish. On the morning of his anniversary, Nick Dunne (Affleck) calls detectives Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) to his home. There are signs of a struggle and his wife Amy (Pike) is missing. Nick's sister Margo (Carrie Coon), who has never liked Amy, assures her sibling that everything will be fine. "Whoever took her's bound to bring her back," she quips cattily. Nick and Amy's distraught parents (David Clennon, Lisa Beth) front a high-profile media campaign to secure the safe return of "amazing Amy". In the glare of the spotlight, fractures appear in the Dunnes' marriage and police and public question Nick's innocence. Gone Girl holds our attention for the majority of the bloated 149-minute running time, with a couple of lulls and a disjointed final act. Pike's mesmerising theatrics light up the screen and there is strong support from Neil Patrick Harris as Amy's creepy old flame. Fincher's direction is lean, complemented by snappy editing and a discordant score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who won the Oscar for their music to The Social Network. Once you regain your balance from Flynn pulling the rug from under your feet, this is a slick yet slightly underwhelming whodunit that doesn't quite scale the dizzy heights of shock and suspense previously achieved by Jagged Edge, The Usual Suspects or indeed, Fincher's 2005 film, Se7en.

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Thursday 2nd October 2014

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Magic In The Moonlight 3 stars

movie title

Celebrated magician Stanley Crawford answers a plea from his good friend Howard Burkan to travel the French Riviera and debunk a psychic medium called Sophie Baker, who has promised to help wealthy widow Grace Catledge make contact with her late husband. Posing as businessman, Stanley heads for the Catledge villa and witnesses Sophie's boggling feats of mind-reading and clairvoyance that defy rational explanation.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastColin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Simon McBurney, Eileen Atkins.
  • DirectorWoody Allen.
  • WriterWoody Allen.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration98 mins
  • Official site
  • Release19/09/2014

There is a soupcon of magic and moonlight but considerably more insecurities and bluster in Woody Allen's playful yet lightweight romantic comedy set on the sun-kissed 1920s French Riviera. The writer-director's frequent forays away from his beloved New York to European soil have been decidedly hit-and-miss affairs and Magic In The Moonlight disappoints more than it delights.

Allen affectionately evokes the era from the opening croon of the Cole Porter classic You Do Something To Me performed by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra, and the writer-director loads the soundtrack with upbeat jazzy tunes that telegraph the characters' emotions like You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love) by Smith Ballew and His Piping Rock Orchestra to underscore a blossoming central romance.

Regrettably, sparkling one-liners are in short supply on the Cote d'Azur and the on-screen chemistry between Colin Firth and Emma Stone is lukewarm, never threatening to set our pulse racing like her smouldering pairings with Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love or real-life beau Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man.

The film opens in 1928 Berlin, where magician Stanley Crawford (Firth) delights a sell-out audience in his guise as Chinese conjurer Wei Ling Soo. Backstage, he berates his crew for their incompetence and lives up to the description of his best and perhaps only friend Howard Burkan (Simon McBurney) as "a genius with all the charm of a typhus epidemic".

Howard entreats Stanley to accompany him to the Riviera to debunk a psychic medium called Sophie Baker (Emma Stone), who has promised to help wealthy widow Grace Catledge (Jacki Weaver) make contact with her late husband.

In return, Grace has pledged to fund an expensive institute fronted by Sophie's mother (Marcia Gay Harden). Swatting aside warnings about Sophie's beauty - "A pretty face never hurt a cheap swindler," retorts Stanley dryly - the magician bids fond farewell to his fiancee (Catherine McCormack) and heads for the Catledge villa posing as businessman Stanley Taplinger.

In no time at all, Stanley is almost as smitten with Sophie as Grace's lovesick son Brice (Hamish Linklater) and the celebrated magician struggles to find a rational explanation for her boggling feats of mind-reading and clairvoyance.

Magic In The Moonlight is a valentine to Allen's lifelong fascination with tricks and illusions, and he engineers one moment of misdirection to quickly untangle the knotty central plot. An even bigger trick would be convincing us that Firth and Stone make a perfect match but it's doubtful Houdini could have pulled off that gross deception.

Supporting cast, who have a canny knack of scoring Oscar nominations in Allen's work, are subdued, even Eileen Atkins in the plum role of Firth's straight-talking aunt, who can sniff romance on her nephew like cheap cologne.

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Thursday 2nd October 2014

Maps To The Stars 4 stars

Thirteen-year-old Benjie Weiss is the pre-pubescent prince of the box office whose upwards trajectory is carefully managed by his mother Christina. Back at home, Benjie's father, self-help guru Dr Stafford Weiss, realigns the chakras of wealthy clientele including fame-hungry actress Havana Segrand, who is pinning her resurgence on a remake of the film that made her mother, Clarice Taggart, a star.

  • GenreDrama, Romance
  • CastMia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, John Cusack, Evan Bird.
  • DirectorDavid Cronenberg.
  • WriterBruce Wagner.
  • CountryCan/US/Ger
  • Duration112 mins
  • Official site
  • Release26/09/2014 (selected cinemas)

At the end of the 1990 comedy Pretty Woman, as Julia Roberts and Richard Gere savour their fairy-tale romance, a nameless man strolls across a sidewalk and hollers to the hills. "Welcome to Hollywood!" he bellows, "What's your dream? Everybody comes here, this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don't, but keep on dreamin' - this is Hollywood."

More than two decades later, that rose-tinted dream turns sour in David Cronenberg's relentlessly grim satire of ambition, greed and dark familial secrets.

Scriptwriter Bruce Wagner, who crafted this lacerating portrait while he was working as a limousine driver in Tinseltown, is unflinching in his depiction of how far some starlets will go to extend their 15 minutes of fame... even if it means thrusting a stiletto heel into the head of a rival to clamber up the pecking order.

Precocious child stars bound for rehab and New Age healers are in Wagner's sights as he laments the death of raw talent and berates the rise of the perfectly packaged commodity.

And they don't come more lucrative than 13-year-old Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird), the pre-pubescent prince of the box office whose upwards trajectory is carefully managed by his mother Christina (Olivia Williams).

Back at home, Benjie's father, self-help guru Dr Stafford Weiss (John Cusack), realigns the chakras of wealthy clientele including fame-hungry actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), who is pinning her resurgence on a remake of the film that made her mother, Clarice Taggart (Sarah Gadon), a star.

Havana hopes her friend Carrie Fisher (playing herself) might put in a good word with the director of the remake, indie wunderkind Damien Javitz (Gord Rand). While Havana awaits news on the role, she employs a new personal assistant, a "disfigured schizophrenic" called Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), whose sardonic take on Hollywood attracts handsome limo driver Jerome Fontana (Robert Pattinson).

Meanwhile, Benjie succumbs to the green-eyed monster when a young co-star (Sean G Robertson) steals his thunder and Stafford prepares a defence to counter slurs on his reputation: "Worst case scenario: I go on Oprah again, do the whole Lance Armstrong thing."

Maps To The Stars is anchored by Moore's fearless and emotionally raw performance as a screen siren, who is haunted - literally - by the ghost of her more successful mother.

Wasikowska is similarly impressive as a daughter undone by the sins of her father and Pattinson continues to shove a stake through the heart of his image as a swooning teen dreamboat in the Twilight saga.

Screenwriter Wagner doesn't always achieve smooth transitions between black comedy, drama and tragedy, and he tips the wink too early to the skeletons rattling in the Weiss family closet. However, he does puncture over-inflated egos of the rich and supposedly fabulous with the skill of someone who has been there and almost done that.

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Thursday 2nd October 2014

Sarah's Key 3 stars

movie title

Magazine journalist Julia and her architect husband Bertrand inherit an apartment in the quarter where the Jews were herded almost 70 years earlier. Julia becomes fascinated by the history of the building and she learns that the apartment once belonged to the Starzynski family, which included 10-year-old Sarah and her little brother Michel. Through letters and public records, Julia discovers the heartbreaking fate of the children and their parents.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Historical/Period
  • CastDominique Frot, Niels Arestrup, Melusine Mayance, Kristin Scott Thomas, Frederic Pierrot, Aidan Quinn.
  • DirectorGilles Paquet-Brenner.
  • WriterGilles Paquet-Brenner, Serge Joncour, Tatiana De Rosnay.
  • CountryFr
  • Duration110 mins
  • Official site
  • Release05/08/2011 (selected cinemas)

Tatiana de Rosnay's novel Elle S'appelait Sarah provides the inspiration for this moving drama centred on the real-life roundup of Parisian Jews at the Velodrome d'Hiver in July 1942, many of whom were transported to Auschwitz for extermination. In the present day, magazine journalist Julia (Kristin Scott Thomas) and her architect husband Bertrand (Frederic Pierrot) inherit an apartment in the quarter where the Jews were herded almost 70 years earlier. Julia becomes fascinated by the history of the building and she learns that the apartment once belonged to the Starzynski family, which included 10-year-old Sarah (Melusine Mayance) and her little brother Michel. Through letters and public records, Julia discovers the heartbreaking fate of the children and their parents, and she ventures to New York to meet a man, William Rainsferd (Aidan Quinn), whose murky past is unknowingly entwined with the Starzynskis.

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Thursday 2nd October 2014

The Grand Seduction 3 stars

movie title

Tickle Cove resident Murray French hopes to persuade a company to build a factory on the island. However, the factory owners need proof that the island has a resident doctor. So Murray and his neighbours woo disgraced medic Paul Lewis to their coastal idyll, with a view to persuading the doctor to stay. The islanders secretly listen to Paul's telephone conversations so they can transform Tickle Cove into Paul's perfect new home.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Romance
  • CastGordon Pinsent, Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Liane Balaban.
  • DirectorDon McKellar.
  • WriterKen Scott, Michael Dowse.
  • CountryCan
  • Duration113 mins
  • Official site
  • Release29/08/2014 (selected cinemas)

Don McKellar directs this English language remake of the charming 2003 comedy La Grand Seduction, transplanting the chicanery from a tiny village on the north coast of Quebec to the equally picturesque surroundings of Newfoundland. Tickle Cove is a proud fishing community, which has been in gradual decline since the heydays when every man in the village headed out to sea to earn his keep. Village resident Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) is determined to halt the decline and he hopes to persuade a company to build a factory on the island. However, there is a stumbling block: the factory owners need proof that the island has a resident doctor. So Murray and his neighbours woo disgraced medic Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) to their coastal idyll, with a view to persuading the doctor to stay forever. The great and the good of Tickle Cove secretly listen to Paul's telephone conversations with his partner Helen (Anna Hopkins) so they can glean valuable insights to his favourite foods, drink and pastimes. Armed with this inside information, the village folk transform Tickle Cove into Paul's perfect new home. However, Kathleen (Liane Balaban), who runs the post office, urges caution, fearful of the consequences if Paul discovers the truth about the underhand scheme.

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Thursday 2nd October 2014

What We Did On Our Holiday 4 stars

Gordie McLeod is poised to celebrate his 75th birthday in the Scottish Highlands. His self-obsessed son Gavin is hosting the lavish party to impress the neighbours and hopefully secure the captaincy of the local golf club. As the party beckons, Gavin's less successful brother Doug and his wife Abi arrive with their three children in tow. The birthday celebrations are unexpectedly thrown into disarray and a media scrum descends on the family's doorstep.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastDavid Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Amelia Bullmore, Ben Miller, Emilia Jones, Harriet Turnbull, Bobby Smalldridge.
  • DirectorAndy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin.
  • WriterAndy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration95 mins
  • Official site
  • Release26/09/2014

In 2007, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin abandoned the conventions of a tightly scripted sitcom and took a more fluid approach to mining laughs in the breakout hit Outnumbered. While the adult characters' lines were committed to the page, the young actors were allowed to improvise around suggestions from Hamilton and Jenkin, and consequently delivered natural performances, reacting instinctively to set-ups and punchlines.

The writer-directors adopt the same winning recipe for this uproarious feature film debut, an ill-fated family road trip laced with absurdity that touches the heart and tickles the funny bone.

Once again, it's the younger cast who scene-steal with aplomb, explaining why a bout of car sickness is a source of joy ("It's like being a fountain!") and succinctly distilling the anguish and betrayal of parental infidelity into a single throwaway line: "Dad had an affair with a Paralympic athlete with one foot."

That's not to say that Hamilton and Jenkin short-change the rest of the ensemble cast including David Tennant, Rosamund Pike and Glaswegian firebrand Billy Connolly. They snaffle a generous smattering of belly laughs too, like when Connolly's cantankerous grandfather tries to explain Hitler's seizure of land in terms a bairn might understand: "Like Monopoly, but with more screaming."

Gordie McLeod (Connolly) is poised to celebrate his 75th birthday in the Scottish Highlands. His self-obsessed son Gavin (Ben Miller) is hosting the lavish party to impress the neighbours and hopefully secure the captaincy of the local golf club.

Gavin's long-suffering and neurotic wife Margaret (Amelia Bullmore) remains in the background, occasionally exploding with pent-up rage. As the party beckons, Gavin's less successful brother Doug (David Tennant) and his wife Abi (Rosamund Pike) arrive with their three children in tow: 11-year-old Lottie (Emilia Jones), who scribbles repeatedly in her notebook so she can remember which lies she is supposed to tell; six-year-old Mickey (Bobby Smalldridge), who is obsessed with Vikings; and five-year-old Jess (Harriet Turnbull), whose best friends are two rocks christened Eric and Norman.

The birthday celebrations are unexpectedly thrown into disarray and a media scrum descends on the family's doorstep along with an interfering Social Services officer called Agnes (Celia Imrie), who casts doubt on Doug and Abi's ability to nurture their dysfunctional brood.

What We Did On Our Holiday is a rip-roaring riot, laying bare the petty jealousies and deep-rooted fears within a family while dealing with serious issues through the unblinkered eyes of the three children.

Tennant and Miller spark a fiery sibling rivalry with excellent support from Pike and Bullmore, the latter proving that it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for. Hamilton and Jenkin eschew cloying sentimentality in the film's tricky final third, striking a pleasing and ultimately winning balance between musing and amusing.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 2nd October 2014

This film is also showing at:

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