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All films start at 7.45pm unless otherwise stated.

Friday 15, Saturday 16 and Tuesday 19 February

STAN & OLLIE (PG)

Stan and Ollie is the heart-warming story of Laurel and Hardy’s 1953 British tour, undertaken years after their last film and with their celebrity on the wane. Commencing in modest provincial theatres on route to a speculative triumphant finale in London, the duo are sustained by their innate love of performing and the support of their formidable wives Lucille (Shirley Henderson) and Ida (Nina Arianda).

Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly capture the legendary comedians’ body language, mannerisms and routines, in a poignant study of lifelong friendship and a fitting tribute to two of cinema’s comedy giants.

USA, 2019, 98 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Thursday 21 February

MONSTERS AND MEN (15)

When an unarmed black man is shot and killed by police in Brooklyn, the local community is left reeling. In a highly topical, intelligent and affecting drama, director Reinaldo Marcus Green explores the incident’s consequences, through the experiences of a devoted young father and husband who witnesses the incident and records it on his phone, a righteous cop in line for promotion and a teenage baseball sensation.

Monsters And Men is beautifully performed by an ensemble cast, a work framed by empathy that invites thought and reflection.

USA, 2018, 96 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer ::

Friday 22 and Saturday 23 February

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (15)

Saoirse Ronan provides a show-stopping performance as Mary Stuart in a thrilling political melodrama of 16th century statecraft, centred on rival queens, each beholding the other with fear and fascination. Returning to her native Scotland after the death of her husband, Mary seeks to reclaim her rightful throne from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. Margot Robbie plays Elizabeth in a story of rivalry in a masculine world, in which female regents must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence.

UK, 2018, 124 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Tuesday 26 February

BURNING (15)

Burning is a sublime mystery thriller of obsessive love, adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story, Barn Burning.

Jong-su is an isolated young man living in Seoul, working in a menial job and dreaming of becoming a writer. After he’s accosted by Hae-mi, who remembers him from a shared village childhood, they begin a relationship and he is asked to care for her elusive cat while she goes on a trip. But when she returns, she is accompanied by the wealthy, urbane and inscrutable Ben, with whom she is evidently involved.

Chang-dong Lee directs an epic, slow-burning film that effortlessly immerses the viewer in Jong-su’s world as his jealousy builds.

South Korea (Korean dialogue with English subtitles), 2018, 148 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Thursday 28 February

DESTROYER (15)

Nicole Kidman is terrific, and almost unrecognisable, as jaded police detective Erin Bell, in Karyn Kusama’s brooding thriller. Still reeling from the trauma of an undercover assignment to infiltrate a notorious criminal gang, Erin is forced to confront her demons when signs indicate that its scarily unstable frontman Silas has re-emerged.

Destroyer breaks film-noir conventions, and is driven by vengeance and soul-destroying guilt, enveloping a gritty character study of Kidman’s anti-hero in the sinister underbelly of Los Angeles.

USA, 2018, 121 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Friday 1, Saturday 2 and Tuesday 5 March

GREEN BOOK (12A)

Green Book is based on the uplifting true story of world-class African-American pianist Don Shirley and Italian-American Tony Lip. Before embarking on a concert tour of the American Deep South in 1962, and well aware of the racism he may encounter in the region, Shirley requires someone to act as both chauffeur and protector. Though Tony has his own problematic racial views, he possesses the required muscle and the pair embark on a life changing road trip.

Green Book is an entertaining and eminently watchable story of race, class and redemption, that doesn’t sugar coat the tensions of the time, starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen.

USA, 2018, 130 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Thursday 7 March

VICE (15)

The story of Dick Cheney, the most powerful Vice President in history, and how his policies changed the world as we know it. An eye-opening picture of Cheney’s wild, quiet, and shadowy power, Vice features a hilarious and alarmingly plausible performance from Christian Bale in the lead role, brilliantly capturing the former vice-president’s bland magnificence. The strong supporting cast of Adam McKay’s entertaining biopic includes Sam Rockwell, Amy Adams and Steve Carrell.

USA, 2018, 132 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

Friday 8 and Saturday 9 March

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (15)

Melissa McCarthy gives a powerhouse performance as the audacious literary forger and caustic wit Lee Israel, in this darkly humorous biopic. It’s the early 1990s, and her celebrity biographies are out of fashion, she’s been thrown out of every literary party in town for drunkenness and on top of it all, her cat is sick. Desperate measures are clearly called for, and spurred on by her roguish drinking buddy Jack (Richard E Grant), she is soon ‘discovering’ correspondence from Noël Coward and other literary giants. McCarthy is a revelation, imbuing her character with poignancy and a great line in alcohol-fuelled barbs, defiantly asserting, ‘I’m a better Dorothy Parker than Dorothy Parker!’.

USA, 2018, 106 mins

Reviews: :: The Guardian :: The Observer :: The Telegraph ::

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Stoke Film Theatre, College Road, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2EH Registered Charity no. 504600