Is Glass a fitting trilogy closer for M Night Shyamalan?

Copyright: Universal Pictures

By Adam Brannon
Film Reviewer from Movie Metropolis for What’s On Hub

M. Night Shyamalan is back behind the camera! Quick, run! Joking aside, Shyamalan’s career is as convoluted as his signature third-act twists. Starting off with the fabulous The Sixth Sense and then almost derailing his career with catastrophic failures like The Happeningit appeared we had all but lost that once promising directorial flair.

Thankfully in 2016’s Split, Shyamalan returned to form somewhat with a nicely pace, tense thriller starring James McAvoy as Kevin, a guy with multiple personality disorder. Of course, the infamous twist, possible Shyamalan’s best, that this film was set in the same universe as the fabulous Unbreakable was almost too much to handle.

Copyright: Universal Pictures

Fast-forward three years and Glass is the film that rounds out the surprise trilogy, bringing together McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson for the mother of all showdowns. Or that’s what the trailers would have you believe.

Three weeks after the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Bruce Willis’ David Dunn pursuing James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Elijah Price (Samuel L Jackson) emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men. Sandwiched in between this is Sarah Paulson’s Dr Ellie Staple who desperately wants to prove that these men simply hold delusions of grandeur.

As a rule, trilogy closers generally tend to the weakest of the three films with Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: Apocalypse cementing my point and Glass unfortunately follows a similar pattern. While by no means a bad film, Shyamalan desperately tries to add too many plot threads into the mix at the end resulting in a messy climax that trips all over itself.

Thankfully, the first act, and the majority of the second live up to expectations. James McAvoy is absolutely exceptional as Kevin and his multiple personalities. Switching between them at the flash of a light, he is staggering to watch and is the highlight in a film that for the most part, gets the best out of its stars. Samuel L Jackson and Sarah Paulson are great with the former looking like he’s having an absolute blast reprising a role that’s been dormant for 19 years.

The less said about Bruce Willis the better. He seems to be sleepwalking through the entire film, so it’s probably for the best that he appears fleetingly every now and then.

The script is typical Shyamalan. It’s clunky, filled with overly expositional dialogue and sometimes downright jarring, but the intriguing premise allows you to overlook this more often than not. There are some nice touches as Sarah Paulson’s character tries to explain away the powers of the main trio, making them and us as the audience doubt their superhuman abilities.

Those expecting a film packed with action will be disappointed. Glass is very much a character piece. The action that is there is well-filmed and realistic considering the film’s incredibly small budget, but it’s limited to the beginning and end of the movie, though the finale is such a mess that it’s really not worth mentioning.

Much of Glass takes place within the Raven Hill Memorial Hospital and follows Paulson’s daily studies of the trio and while this does dampen the pacing somewhat, it’s a refreshing change to the action-packed blockbusters that we have become accustomed to in the genre.

When it comes to cinematography, again, it’s typical Shyamalan. Long-tracking shots, super close-ups and peculiar camera angles are all present and correct. In Split, the impact of his unusual camerawork wasn’t too grating, but here it creates quite the distraction. There’s also another Shyamalan staple: the director’s cameo. The one in Glass is overly long and completely unnecessary, but it’s something we’ve come to expect over the last couple of decades.

Overall, Glass is a film that is both longer and weaker than its two predecessors but can still get by on its own merits thanks to a stunning performance by James McAvoy, the class brought by Samuel L Jackson and Sarah Paulson and a great sense of ambition. Unfortunately, budgetary restraints have resulted in a film that is subtle to the point of being dull and while praise should be given for effort, Glass proves to be just a little underwhelming.

Our score: ★★★☆☆

Watch if you liked: Split, Signs, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable.

Glass is showing now at Odeon Luxe Cinema, Hull

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Celebrate The Sweet Sound Of Motown In Hull This January


It’s time to Go Loco, Down in Acapulco as The Greatest Hits of Motown, How Sweet It Is returns to Hull City Hall in January.

Now in its 17th year, this stunning live show combines first-class music with the slickest choreography and an amazing band, to deliver truly outstanding performances.

With songs from legendary artists such as Lionel Richie, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, The Isley Brothers and Edwin Starr among others, this show will have audiences Dancing On The Ceiling.

Experience the ultimate Motown celebration; The Greatest Hits of Motown How Sweet It Is live at Hull City Hall on 11 January 2019.

Tickets on sale now from the Hull City Hall Box Office, by calling 01482 300 306 or online www.hulltheatres.co.uk.


Is Mary Poppins Returns a wondrous return for the British nanny?

Copyright: Disney

By Adam Brannon
Film Reviewer from Movie Metropolis for What’s On Hub

It was 1964 when the world was introduced to a practically-perfect British nanny in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins. Back then, Julie Andrews starred as the eponymous character alongside Dick van Dyke and David Tomlinson. It was an instant hit and became one of Disney’s most-loved feature films.

That is, by everyone apart from the author of Mary Poppins, PL Travers. So incensed by what she felt was Disney’s misunderstanding of her source material, she banned all future work with the studio.

So, 54 years later and with Travers’ estate finally agreeing to a sequel (I wonder how much Disney executives had to pay for that), we get a sequel that no-one was really asking for. Mary Poppins Returns brings the titular character back into the hearts of newcomers and fans alike, but is the film as practically-perfect in every way like its lead? Or is it a bit of a dud?

Copyright: Disney

Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) learns that his house will be repossessed in five days unless he can pay back a loan. His only hope is to find a missing certificate that shows proof of valuable shares that his father left him years earlier. Just as all seems lost, Michael and his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) receive the surprise of a lifetime when Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), the beloved nanny from their childhood, arrives to save the day and take the Banks family on a magical, fun-filled adventure.

Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins? You’re right to be sceptical. After all, how can an American actress bring to life a character so quintessentially British? Remarkably, she does it, with a cracking British accent to match. Blunt is, as she is in all her films, picture-perfect and oozing charisma. In fact, the entire cast is fabulous with the likes of Colin Firth and Meryl Streep joining the party as a sneaky bank manager and Mary Poppins’ cousin respectively. We’ve also got Julie Walters popping up every now and then as Ellen the housekeeper.

The new Banks children are absolutely wonderful. Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson show a range of emotions that would make seasoned actors blush, but here they thrive and look like they were having a blast. And that’s a trait clearly shared by the entire cast. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s plucky lamp-lighter, Jack, is obviously having the time of his life and this makes the whimsical nature of Mary Poppins Returnseven more apparent.

In its hey-day, Mary Poppins was a technical revolution. Mixing live-action with colourful animation made the screen burst alive with imagination. Of course, special effects have moved on in the 50+ years that Mary has been away from our screens, but you’ll be pleased to know that each sequence feels just as magical. From under the sea adventures to topsy-turvy houses, the ‘action’ scenes are beautifully filmed by director Rob Marshall. One scene in particular, involving hundreds of lamp-lighters is absolutely astounding and exquisitely choreographed.

The setting of Depression-era London lives and breathes before your very eyes. The CGI and practical effects used to create the capital in 1935 is astonishing, and testament to the teams behind the film. That £130million budget was clearly very well spent.

Then there are the songs. We all know the masterpieces from the original, but will there be any here that children will still be singing along to when they grow older? That’s debatable, but there are three or four that have the potential to be future classics. Look out for Trip the Light Fantastic, which makes up part of the film’s best scenes.

The finale is typical sickly-sweet Disney, but in a movie populated by cartoon penguins, Irish dogs and the meaning of childhood, why shouldn’t it be? The world is filled with such atrocities, it’s nice to sit back, relax with the family and enjoy a film that allows you to escape into your own imagination.

Any downsides? Well, while the pacing is nearly spot on, there’s no denying that Mary Poppins Returns is a long film by family film standards. At 130 minutes, it feels like this sequel is perhaps more for fans of the original than the children that the older film was clearly made for.

But these are small gripes in a sequel that pleasantly surprises on each and every turn. While lacking in the typical Disney poignancy, the film’s message is read loud and clear. There’s no doubt that Mary Poppins Returns is yet another hit for the studio and you’re sure to leave the cinema with a huge smile on your face. Mary is back and she means business.

Our score: ★★★★☆

Watch if you liked: Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

Mary Poppins Returns is showing now at Odeon Luxe Cinema, Hull

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How To Get Tickets For The Tony Award- Winning Show: The King and I in Hull


Following the critically acclaimed Broadway smash hit run of the The King and I and its sold out record breaking season at the world famous London Palladium, comes the announcement that the multi-Tony Award winning production will embark on a major UK tour and it’s coming to Hull!

This unmissable, majestic production comes to Hull New Theatre from 11-22 February 2020. Casting will be announced in early 2019.

Tickets are on sale from 10am on Thursday 20 December.

The news of the tour comes hot on the heels of the cinema release of the live production of The King and I: From the London Palladium, which has become the biggest live event in cinemas of 2018 following last week’s first global screenings. The production in cinemas has taken in excess of  $2.5m at the box office already. In the UK the film reached the number one spot, with more than double the box office of the next film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.  More than 135,000 movie goers packed cinemas across the globe for the initial performance to watch The King and I: From the London Palladium. Such has been the demand for tickets, Trafalgar Releasing has scheduled encore screenings both in the UK and globally throughout December and into 2019. The film has already broken all equivalent records.

The West End critics heaped praise on The King and I, the Daily Mail “left the London Palladium on a bright cloud of music”, while the The Times awarded the show “Five stars for a sumptuous King and I” declaring it “a hit”. Daily Express hailed it “London’s theatrical event of 2018” whilst The Daily Telegraph concurred proclaiming the show “looks and sounds ravishing”. Another five stars were awarded from the Sunday Express and the Financial Times called it “simply spellbinding”.

Acclaimed Tony Award-winning Bartlett Sher will once again direct the production and be reunited with the celebrated creative team that brought this majestic production of The King and I to life at the Palladium earlier this year.

Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. With one of the finest scores ever written including: Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You and Shall We Dance, featuring a company of over 50 world-class performers, and full scale orchestra, The King and I is a testament to the lavish heritage of gloriously romantic musical theatre – it is the greatest musical from the golden age of musicals.

Producer Howard Panter says: “The response from London audiences to this multi-award winning production of The King and I  was unprecedented.  Critical plaudits, box office records and standing ovations at every show – we were overwhelmed with the rapturous response. Coupled with the reaction to the global cinema screenings of the film version – which is the biggest theatre event in cinemas of the year and number one at the Box Office. This really is musical theatre at its very best, so we are thrilled that we can now share this wonderous production with theatre lovers up and down the country next year.”

Tickets for The King and I at Hull New Theatre from 11-22 February 2020 are available in person at the Hull City Hall box office, over the phone 01482 300 306 or online at www.hulltheatres.co.uk from 10am on Thursday 20 December 2018.

Top 6 New Year’s Eve Parties In Hull & East Yorkshire


2018 is almost over and it is nearly time to make those New Year resolutions.

But, first we need to make sure 2018 goes out with bang. So, at What’s On Hub we have created the ultimate guide to New Year’s Eve in and around Hull.

Swap the Christmas jumpers and paper hats for sparkling dresses and suits, and let’s celebrate the New Year. Time to pop the bubbly!

1. DoubleTree by Hilton, Hull

Hull’s new 4-Star hotel only opened its doors a year ago, but have had a year full of fantastic events. So head into the city centre for a very stylish, festive celebration in the grand ballroom for a very special New Year’s Eve Ball. £59 tickets include a 5-course banquet, prosecco and dancing.

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2. Comedy Lounge

For a New Year’s Eve night out with a twist, head to Hull’s only dedicated Comedy Lounge, for a hilarious evening of stand-up. For only £25, the evening includes, 4 talented comedians, a tasty all-you-can-eat buffet and a glass of bubbly as the clock strikes midnight.

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3. Nineteen Restaurant & Bar, Burstwick Country Golf Club

If you’re looking to get out of the city this New Year’s Eve, celebrate at Nineteen Restaurant & Bar, set in the beautiful East Yorkshire countryside. For just £15, guests will be greeted with an arrival drink and later in the night a freshly prepared Fork Buffet with slices meats and fresh fish, followed by a night of live music from tribute artist Steve-O.

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4.The Flamborough Fire Festival

Get wrapped up this New Year’s Eve and head to the famous cliffs of Flamborough, for the spectacular Flamborough Fire Festival. This year’s FREE festival will include, a burning Viking Longship, a Sea of Flames, Torchlight Procession and a Midnight Firework Display. It’s the perfect family event.

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5.  P&O Ferries

Jump on board and join the party this New Year. The ship might remain in dock but that doesn’t mean the party stops. P&O Ferries bringing you entertainment from the UKs most in demand party band, the Vibetown. Tickets cost £59 per person.

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6. Cave Castle

Bring in the New Year at Cave Castle’s Gala Dinner. Great food, amazing music and an impeccable atmosphere, start 2019 as you mean to go on. New Year’s overnight packages are also available and include a table at the Gala Dinner, accommodation and brunch on New Year’s Day. Tickets cost £85 per person.

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Why You Go See Jack And The Beanstalk At Bridlington Spa


Full disclosure here, I am not normally a panto person. I always found the humour a bit ‘silly’ so my three poor children had a ‘deprived’ childhood. Oops, I hope they forgive me because I went to the opening night of Bridlington Spa’s panto and had a blast.

Jack and the Beanstalk was beautifully produced and is the familiar story of the family who have to sell their dairy cow, and the hapless son is tricked into accepting some beans for her. The beans are thrown out and grown overnight (magically) into a huge beanstalk. Atop the beanstalk is a terrible giant who terrorises the village by way of his henchman ‘Fleshcreep ‘ who was brilliantly over acted by Alexander Lee. The giant kidnaps the Princess and Jack and the rest of the cast all go up the beanstalk to rescue her and defeat the giant Blunderbore played by Christopher Withmore.

The production starred Marina Sirtis as the Empathetic Fairy. She starred in Star Treck so be prepared for lots of Star Trek, Klingons, Enterprise and Beam me up jokes.

Jack was played by Aaron Steadman who had to prove himself worthy of the hand of his beloved Princess Amelia played by Lucy Edge (a veteran of panto yet still so young). Jack and Amelia sang beautifully and were the perfect romantic interest.

Jack’s brother, Simon was played by Lloyd Warbey who children will know from Art Attack. He was superb in this role. Funny, a bit daft and great at ad libbing. (I was there for the opening night). He interacted with the kids in the audience and the local dancers on stage.

Princess Amelia’s father was played by John Lyons who is known best for appearances in A Touch of Frost (his pension with all the repeats as he jokes with the audience.

The star of the show for me had to be Andre Vincent playing Jack and Simon’s mother, Dame Trott. A perfect dame, flirty, a bit rude, outrageous costumes and a great rapport with the audience. One child further back kept shouting out and Dame Trott interacted with the child brilliantly.

In the end of course, the giant is defeated, Fleshcreep reformed and Jack and the Princess can marry. So too can Dame Trott and the King.

This is a production for both children and adults (I never realised that groups of adults went to panto together). There are jokes which go right over the children’s heads which the adults got, yet there was plenty there for the children to shout back at in the usual panto style.

Finally, I must mention the young dancers from the local school in Bridlington, (Collette Tyler School of Dance) They supplied the able senior girls as dancers and villagers and their younger troupe of dancers too. There were lots of costume changes for them and they were on and off stage all evening. They were happy and in the main, were well rehearsed. It’s great to see youngsters learning stagecraft from the Professionals.

Will I go to panto again? Oh yes, I will and I will have a great time.

The show runs until 6th January with tickets from £16.50. Don’t miss it.

Why You Should See Cinderella in Hull this Christmas


This was FAB.U.LOUS!

I had a Mummy and daughter date with my 5 year old to see Cinderella at the Hull New Theatre. The atmosphere was great, full of eager kiddies most of them glammed up as their fave princess. My little girl was excited to say the least and we were well and truly entertained from start to finish.

I’ll be honest, I’m not too keen on pantos normally; all of this “he’s behind you!” lark and cringy gags and jokes. But by ‘eck, did I laugh at this one!

Cinderella is the tale of dreams and wonder, and it didn’t cease to amaze. It was everything you want from a pantomime… lots of laughs, audience participation, brilliant dancing (from the Mums at least 😉) real animals and even a really impressive magic trick from illusionist Martyn James.

They included lots of well known songs that we couldn’t help but sing and jig along to, including “Come Alive” from The Greatest Showman and Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” which both of us absolutely loved!

The set was great; very detailed and well presented. The choreography, dancing and singing were brilliant, there was lots to see. The laughs were there for the grown ups too, thankfully most of them unbeknown to the kids but there were a few riskay bits that the kids were exposed to. I guess it’s normal for a panto these days.

There was one scary bit in the second half you might want to watch out for, where they showed a video of them walking through the forest. There were a couple of really young ones crying but this video was in 3D, so if your little ones are a bit sensitive to scary things just don’t get the 3D glasses or they can just close their eyes and hug you tight. We were warned about this before they played it and it was short lived so no-biggie.

The step sisters Claudia and Tess (played by David Dale and Tommy Wallace) were fantastic, their outfits fabulously garish. They were fun, energetic and they seemed to play their roles effortlessly.

Bernie Clifton, was one of the biggest names in the show. He played Cinderella’s dad; Baron Hardup, and was the source of most of the gags in the show, which kept both adults and kids laughing all the way through.

But it was Anita Dobson, playing step-mother; Baroness Angelique, who was the real star of the show. She was truly brilliant at her role; a typical meany and encouraged her daughters to be so too. Even though her hubby was alive and kicking, she was most certainly seeking a more flashy life and so she tried to palm her two daughters onto the prince to ensure she got to splash the cash. She tried to make sure that Cinderella didn’t get her chance, but thank goodness for Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, who was played by the wonderful Jocasta Almgill. She, along with Hannah Nicholas as Cinderella, gave outstanding all-round performances.

I can’t recommend going to see this enough.

It’s showing at Hull New Theatre almost every day until 30th December, so you need to book tickets pretty quick.

You can book online at hulltheatres.co.uk, by phone on 01482 300 306 or in person at the New Theatre and City Hall Box Offices.

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