Join the Crowd, check out Bathsheba and Cinderella at Royston’s Picture Palace

Far From The Madding Crowd stars Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts

Far From The Madding Crowd stars Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts - Credit: Archant

Handsome and captivating costume drama is on the programme at Royston’s Picture Palace this weekend, with one film drawn from the classics and the other a fresh take on a fairy tale.

The latest film version of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd was only released a few weeks ago, but audiences at the community cinema will be able to see it on their doorsteps.

Danish director Thomas Vinterburg’s take on the familiar story of a headstrong woman making her way in the stifling society of Victorian Dorset has been given a warm welcome by most critics, although it’s generally reckoned that the 1967 John Schlesinger version with Julie Christine and Terence Stamp remains a more memorable piece of work.

This time round it’s Carey Mulligan in the central role of Bathsheba Everdene with Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge as the three men who hope to make her theirs

Will she pick the solid farmer, the repressed landowner or the dashing soldier – or will she go her own way?

There are 7.30pm performances on both Friday and Saturday evening.

Then on Sunday afternoon there’s a 3.30pm showing for Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh’s live action reboot of the familiar fairy tale which will be a winner with family audiences.

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Cate Blanchett is the wicked stepmum and Downton Abbey’s Lily James steps up as the downtrodden heroine itching to escape her domestic duties and go to the ball with a little magical help from Helena Bonham-Carter’s fabulously flaky fairy godmother.

The cast is packed with familiar faces, the Disney production is lavish and although there’s been some comment about the heroine’s superthin waist Cinders is a much more positive role model for young girls with more to say about her destiny than was the case in the earlier House Of Mouse animation.

On general release this week there’s knockabout espionage comedy Spy, in which Bridesmaids breakout star Melissa McCarthy gets her name above the title, stepping up from her humdrum CIA desk job to show the big boys how it’s done. Bridesmaids director Paul Fieg calls the shots and there are roles for the likes of Jude Law, Jason Statham and Miranda Hart.

There’s also Survivor, in which Pierce Brosnan continues to plough his post-Bond furrow in a thriller in which he shares top spot with Milla Jovovich. It’s a high-octane tale of a US embassy worker on the run and trying to clear her name after being framed for crimes she didn’t commit – and thwart a terror attack on London at the same time. Bonkers, but good fun.