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Now showing at Malvern Theatres Grange Road,Malvern,Worcestershire WR14 3HB 01684 892277

  • Eye In The Sky
  • The Witch

Eye In The Sky 3 stars

Operation Cobra has been tracking the movements of radicalised British men and women, who have joined the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabab. One high profile target is under surveillance at a house in Kenya. At a command base in Sussex, Colonel Katherine Powell has a direct link to US drone pilot Steve Watts and she watches in horror as covert footage reveals targets in the house are wearing suicide vests primed for an imminent attack.

  • GenreDrama, Thriller, War
  • CastBarkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul, Helen Mirren.
  • DirectorGavin Hood.
  • WriterGuy Hibbert.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.bleeckerstreetmedia.com/eyeinthesky
  • Release15/04/2016

The art of modern warfare is no longer consigned to battlefields on the ground. Devastating missile attacks, pinpointed by drones, have allowed politicians to strike at the heart of supposed terrorist networks without having to stare into the whites of the enemies' eyes. Yet with greater power comes crushing responsibility - all technology is prone to error and one misplaced explosion can be exploited as propaganda to intensify the cycle of violence. "Revolutions are fuelled by postings on YouTube," observes one nervous politician in Eye In The Sky, an intelligent and timely thriller that asks if there is such a thing as acceptable collateral damage in the pursuit of global freedom. Gavin Hood's nerve-racking film, tightly scripted by Guy Hibbert, doesn't have the answer to that complex moral conundrum. Instead, events on screen put the characters - and us - through the emotional wringer as a joint American and British taskforce decides if the slaughter of one innocent child is a tolerable consequence of neutralising a jihadist cell. Operation Cobra has been tracking radicalised British men and women linked to the Somali group al-Shabaab. One high profile target, Susan Danford (Lex King), is under surveillance at a house in Kenya, monitored by agents including Jama Farah (Barkhad Abdi). Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) takes control of the operation from London while Foreign Secretary James Willett (Iain Glen), who is at an arms fair in Singapore, watches a live video feed from a US drone piloted by Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) in Nevada. At a command base in Sussex, Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) has a direct link to Watts and explains that the objective is "to capture not kill". When covert footage reveals targets in the house are wearing suicide vests primed for an imminent attack, priorities change. The clock is ticking and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic deliberate. Meanwhile, Watts and his spotter, Airman Carrie Gershon (Phoebe Fox), notice a nine-year-old girl (Aisha Takow) selling bread near the target house, who would be killed in a missile strike. Eye Is The Sky is dedicated to Rickman. He delivers a tightly coiled performance as the go-between, who needs political and legal assent before issuing his command. Mirren is in equally imperious form while Paul exudes the anguish of a man wrestling with the consequences of defying orders. Hibbert's lean script envisions an almost tragic-comic contrast between the Brits, who repeatedly refer up the chain of command, and the unflinching Americans. This gallows humour dissipates some of the suffocating tension. With the precision of a drone missile, Hood's film begs uncomfortable questions about matters of life and death when they can be distilled to the squeeze of a joystick trigger in an air-conditioned cubicle thousands of miles from the intended kill zone.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Wednesday 4th May 2016
Thursday 5th May 2016

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The Witch 4 stars

William stands accused of "prideful conceit" before other members of his Puritan Christian community in 17th-century New England. Unbowed and unmoved, he is excommunicated with his wife Katherine and children. The family establishes a new homestead and plants crops in time for the birth of a son, Samuel. A witch, who lives in the nearby forest, steals the baby during a game of peekaboo with daughter Thomasin. Katherine is devastated and William struggles to hold together his family.

  • GenreHorror, Thriller
  • CastAnya Taylor-Joy, Kate Dickie, Ralph Ineson, Harvey Scrimshaw.
  • DirectorRobert Eggers.
  • WriterRobert Eggers.
  • CountryUS/UK/Can/
  • Duration93 mins
  • Official sitewww.a24films.com/films/witch/
  • Release11/03/2016

Suspicion is like a malignant tumour. Addressed quickly, it can be excised with clinical precision by common sense and logical reasoning, leaving behind emotional scars that will heal over time; left untreated, the suspicion swells and steadily infects clear rational thought, poisoning loved ones against each other.

Set in 17th-century New England, The Witch is a slow-burning thriller about a fervently religious family torn asunder by the belief that their teenage daughter is in league with the Devil. Writer-director Robert Eggers delivers a stylish and ambitious debut of remarkable clarity and emotional power that burrows under our skin and leaves us scratching helplessly in the dark, at the mercy of his dark and unsettling parable.

He steadfastly avoids the jump shocks and scares that have become emblematic of the modern horror genre. The eponymous hag doesn't materialise unexpectedly out of the darkness, accompanied by a burst of staccato strings, characters don't abandon their senses and stumble blindly to their doom.

Instead, Eggers cranks up suspense until we are whimpering for mercy, underscoring our discomfort with a chilling orchestral score composed by Mark Korven.

William (Ralph Ineson) stands accused of "prideful conceit" before other members of his Puritan Christian community. Unbowed and unmoved, he is excommunicated with his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie), eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) and the twins Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson).

The family travels by rickety cart to a clearing and establishes a new homestead and plants crops in time for the birth of a son, Samuel. A witch (Bathsheba Garnett), who lives in the nearby forest, steals the baby during a game of peekaboo with Thomasin and uses the child's freshly spilt blood to restore her youthful lustre.

Katherine is devastated and William struggles to hold together his family as grief and guilt corrupt their love. "We will conquer this wilderness. It will not consume us," he growls. Poor Katherine's faith wavers - "Since Sam disappeared, I cannot see Christ's help as near" - and the conspiratorial twins accuse Thomasin of witchcraft, based on whispered conversations with the family's prized goat.

Matters come to a head when Caleb secretly ventures into the forest, gun in hand, and stumbles upon a moss-thatched cottage...

The Witch begins as a coming of age story, focusing on Thomasin's awkward transition to adulthood. Once Samuel vanishes, nerves jangle and Eggers confidently unpicks the seams of the family's existence, eliciting a spellbinding lead performance from Taylor-Joy as the virginal teen, whose sexual awakening doesn't go unnoticed by her hormone-addled brother.

The script evokes the period in both dialogue and design, and cinematographer Jarin Blaschke uses lighting to stunning effect to suggest unspeakable horrors lurking just out of our field of vision. As much as we want to look away, we're riveted to the spot.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Thursday 5th May 2016