Sponsored feature | Film critic Mark Walsh is looking forward to what’s on the big screen.
The NHS and healthcare system in this country is facing greater stress than at any time during its existence, so this adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play about a geriatric ward at a Yorkshire hospital facing closure could not be more timely.
Bennett’s play was well received upon its release in 2018, brought to the screen in its film debut by the skilled adapter and writer Heidi Thomas (Cranford TV, Ballet Shoes, Little Women) and directed by theater veteran Richard Eyre, who directed his 2001 film Iris Won Jim Broadbent won an Academy Award and also received a Judi Dench nomination.
Dench and Eyre are reunited here; She is a sick former librarian on the ward, and focuses her interests more on cataloging books than on the books themselves. Fellow patients on the ward include Derek Jacoby and Julia Mackenzie, but their place of residence is threatened by Department of Health advisor Colin (Russell Tovey).
He only sees these costs as avoidable, rather than necessary, and that includes his father, Joe (David Bradley), who is also a patient on the ward and the on-off relationship between the two doesn’t help matters.
Hope lies with the medical staff on the ward, where Dr. Valentine (Paley Gill) can still find care in a crisis; He is supported by his ward sister Jennifer Saunders as Sister Gilpin.
When a concert is organized in honor of the hardworking sister, the locals feel an opportunity to engage the press to see if there is still any way to save the pavilion before it’s too late. While the play is only five years old, a lot has changed since then and so Thomas and Ayer add a covid-related coda to keep Bennett’s play relevant, while striving to retain his wit and wisdom.
The board opens on Friday, March 17th.
Seven Samurai (Season of Rediscovery)
Chances are, if you haven’t watched Akira Kurosawa’s three-hour epic, you may have seen one of the Magnificent Seven’s versions of it inspired by it. No wonder the film, one of the most popular films ever made in Japan, was remade in this way after being compared to a Western film upon its original release.
When their village faces a threat from a gang of bandits, the locals decide they need protection, so they recruit a group of samurai warriors to help defend their lands.
Warriors and villagers form an intricate bond, but they face an uphill battle to be ready for the bandits’ attack. Kurosawa made the most expensive film ever made in Japan at the time, with a complete set created for The Village and a filming period that took nearly a year, making what turned out to be the longest film of his career but also one of the best-earned and now regularly appearing in lists. The greatest movies ever.
Members get the chance to enjoy it for free, as with all editions of reDiscover Season.
Seven Samurai premieres on Sunday, March 19.
Your name / weather with you
Once upon a time, the Japanese anime hitting screens in the UK were just Studio Ghibi provinces and the occasional manga too, but two of the best non-Ghibli anime in recent years are making their way to the Picturehouse this Easter for a double bill, and the chance to reconnect – or Experience for the first time – two animators who show off not only their visual craft but their storytelling prowess.
Both films are written by Makoto Nitsu, who in addition to writing and directing these and many others in a 20-year career, is also a manga author and artist.
Your Name is a blockbuster hit, and it still ranks as the third highest-grossing animated movie of all time.
The movie revolves around the lives of two high school students, Mitsuha and Taki. Having desired to be a boy in Tokyo one day, Mitsuha finds herself in Taki’s body and vice versa, an exchange that later occurs several times.
As they try to figure out what’s going on, they discover that they can leave messages for each other, sometimes by writing on their skin before they swap again.. As they learn more about each other’s lives, they also discover that their situation is more complex than they first thought, and that swapping their bodies may be The key to surviving the danger caused by the fragments of a passing comet.
Nitsu followed up his success in 2019 with Weathering With You, this time about a young high school student with a difficult home life who meets a girl who can control the content of the sky by means of prayer. Both films deal with the hardships of adolescence in a sensitive way, but Nitsu’s knack for personality and drama make it more accessible to all ages.
A great opportunity to capture this wonderful animation on the big screen again.
Your name/weather bill is on display with you on Saturday, April 8th.
Ringu (25th Anniversary Edition) – Plus a special intro from the Evolution of Horror podcast
Along with some of the greatest action and anime ever to hit Japan, this month’s Picturehouse is also giving customers the chance to witness a defining moment in another very powerful genre of Japanese cinema: horror.
It’s inspired by Hideo Nataka’s 1998 movie, both a sequel and a remake, but it’s the original that retains that unnerving power.
It stars Nanako Matsushima as Rikio, a journalist investigating rumors of a cursed videotape that may be related to her niece’s death.
When she watches the tape and then receives a phone call consisting only of the same screaming sounds heard on the tape, Reiko becomes convinced that she is cursed and now has only days to free herself from the curse.
Nakata exploits the timeless themes of curses that locate the film alongside classic folk horror, but with a more modern spin, and creates images that burn themselves inside your brain for days.
The movie comes with an introduction from the Evolution Of Horror podcast created by Mike Munser that explains a different horror movie in each version.
Ringo premieres Friday, March 31st.
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