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Now showing at Empire Basildon Festival Way, Festival Leisure Park,Basildon,Essex SS14 3WB 0871 471 4714

  • A Royal Night Out
  • Avengers: Age Of Ultron
  • Avengers: Age Of Ultron 3D
  • Cinderella
  • Far From The Madding Crowd
  • Fast & Furious 7
  • Home
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Mad Max: Fury Road 3D
  • Moomins On The Riviera
  • My Old Lady
  • Pitch Perfect 2
  • Pitch Perfect 2 (Subtitled)
  • Poltergeist
  • Poltergeist 3D
  • San Andreas
  • San Andreas 3D
  • Shaun The Sheep Movie
  • Spooks: The Greater Good
  • The Age Of Adaline
  • The Book Of Life
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water
  • Tomorrowland: A World Beyond
  • Two By Two
  • Unfriended

A Royal Night Out 3 stars

movie title

Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, and her sister Princess Margaret briefly escape Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day with the teeming crowds outside the royal residence. They mingle with their subjects, completely incognito, as the people of London marked the end of the Second World War with an exuberant evening of revelry.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance, Thriller
  • CastJack Reynor, Sarah Gadon, Emily Watson, Bel Powley, Rupert Everett.
  • DirectorJulian Jarrold.
  • WriterTrevor De Silva, Kevin Hood.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official site
  • Release15/05/2015

In this celebrity-obsessed age of 24-hour social media and omnipresent paparazzi, it's inconceivable that younger members of the royal family could mingle with us, the unwashed hoi polloi, without attracting attention. Heirs to the throne would be engulfed by a sea of flashing smart phones, their every word regurgitated and scrutinised in 140 poorly punctuated characters.

Seventy years ago, Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, and her sister Princess Margaret briefly escaped from Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day with the teeming crowds outside the royal residence. They mingled with their subjects, completely incognito, as the people of London marked the end of the Second World War with an exuberant evening of revelry.

Screenwriters Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood use this true event as the starting point for a heart-warming comedy of manners, which propels the two princesses on journeys of self-discovery in a capital awash with carnal desire and potential danger.

A Royal Night Out is frothy fun, embellishing fact with outlandish fiction under the jaunty direction of Julian Jarrold, who previously unbuttoned the stifled emotions of the era in the 2008 remake of Brideshead Revisited.

The film opens with archive footage of Winston Churchill announcing the end of the conflict with Germany. Jubilant crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace where King George VI (Rupert Everett) is preparing a radio address with encouragement from Queen Elizabeth (Emily Watson).

Their daughters, Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Princess Margaret (Bel Powley), yearn to celebrate with the people but the Queen is resistant. "We'll be walled up in this mausoleum for the rest of our lives," despairs Margaret. "I'm completely cheesed!"

Princess Elizabeth persuades her father to let them venture out for one night and the girls excitedly don their frocks, only to discover that their mother has arranged for two soldiers, Captain Pryce (Jack Laskey) and Lieutenant Burridge (Jack Gordon), to chaperone them at all times.

By chance, the princesses elude their escorts and head out into London on their own where Elizabeth finds an unlikely protector: a deserter called Jack (Jack Reynor), who isn't a fan of people of privilege.
"Family well-off by chance?" he asks, oblivious to his companion's true identity.
"We manage," replies Elizabeth tersely.

A Royal Night Out is timed perfectly to coincide with the 70th anniversary of VE Day and an air of wistful nostalgia blows through every frame of Jarrold's perky picture. Gadon is luminous in a restrictive role, while Powley has considerably more fun as the rebel, who brandishes her superlative of choice - "wizard!" - with plummy gusto.

The script predominantly opts for laughter rather than lamentation, and is careful not to offend with a simmering romantic subplot between Elizabeth and Jack. There's nothing here that will have the filmmakers entering the Tower Of London through Traitor's Gate.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015

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Avengers: Age Of Ultron 3 stars

movie title

Tony Stark hopes to jumpstart world peace using a dormant artificial intelligence program but he unwittingly unleashes the villainous Ultron. Nick Fury marshals superhero team of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye to protect mankind from annihilation, testing the bonds of trust between the team members in the process. Uneasy alliances are forged and the Avengers cross paths with mysterious and powerful siblings Wanda and Pietro Maximoff.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastChris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, James Spader, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
  • DirectorJoss Whedon.
  • WriterJoss Whedon.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration141 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/avengers
  • Release23/04/2015

As the roaring success of last year's Guardians Of The Galaxy confirmed, our appetite for films set in the Marvel Comics universe is voracious. This eagerly anticipated sequel to the 2012 action adventure Avengers Assemble is poised to smash box office records with the same unstoppable clobber of a rampaging Incredible Hulk. Director Joss Whedon is back at the helm to lay the narrative groundwork for the 2016 blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War, which will tear the eponymous team apart as governments worldwide prepare to pass an act regulating superhuman activity. In many respects, Avengers: Age Of Ultron is business as usual. Whedon's film fleshes out the back stories of existing characters, introduces new friends and foes to the fray, and continues the relentless cross-pollination of this menagerie of mighty misfits. Marvel Comics chairman Stan Lee makes his traditional cameo and Whedon's script glisters with polished one-liners, including one gem to pithily illustrate how quickly an evil artificial intelligence can infect the World Wide Web: "He's spreading faster than a Catholic rabbit." While the sequel delivers exactly what we expect, it lacks some of the pizazz of the first film and pacing noticeably sags in the middle, plus overly enthusiastic editing of set pieces reduces some skirmishes to an incomprehensible blur, which strain the eyes in 3D. In the breathless action sequence which opens the film, the Avengers storm a Hydra stronghold in the central European city of Sokovia under the control of Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) in order to reclaim Loki's magical staff, the Chitauri Scepter. During the melee, emotionally scarred siblings Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who have been subjected to secret Hydra experiments, are unleashed. Wanda infects the mind of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), using her dark sorcery to convince the billionaire that he will bring about the deaths of the entire team. Tormented by his nightmarish vision, Stark secretly plans to harness the power of the Chitauri Scepter to awaken a dormant artificial intelligence program to protect mankind. "I don't want to hear that 'man wasn't meant to meddle' medley," Stark tells scientist Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) as justification for his covert operation. Instead, Stark unwittingly unleashes the villainous Ultron (voiced by James Spader). Steve Evans aka Captain America (Chris Evans) clashes with Stark for control of the Avengers comprising Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Banner aka The Incredible Hulk and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Rivalries intensify and fragile bonds of trust fray as mankind's survival hangs in the balance. Thankfully, the Avengers have a new, yet familiar, ally: an android called Vision (Paul Bettany). By introducing a hulking automaton arch-nemesis, Avengers: Age Of Ultron duplicates some of the large-scale digital destruction of the Transformers franchise. Spader's vocal performance lends gravitas to his mechanised megalomaniac while Downey Jr predictably snaffles the majority of the droll quips. Seeds of romance between Ruffalo and Johansson, sown in the first film, are heavily watered as a diversion from the bone-crunching. Running jokes about Captain America's aversion to swearing and the size of Thor's hammer don't run out of puff before the 141 frenetic minutes come to a suitably bombastic close. Marvel films have a habit of sneaking a teaser into the end credits. Age Of Ultron doesn't disappoint the ardent fan boys and girls on this front either.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Avengers: Age Of Ultron 3D 3 stars

movie title

Tony Stark hopes to jumpstart world peace using a dormant artificial intelligence program but he unwittingly unleashes the villainous Ultron. Nick Fury marshals superhero team of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye to protect mankind from annihilation, testing the bonds of trust between the team members in the process. Uneasy alliances are forged and the Avengers cross paths with mysterious and powerful siblings Wanda and Pietro Maximoff.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastChris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, James Spader, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
  • DirectorJoss Whedon.
  • WriterJoss Whedon.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration141 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/avengers
  • Release23/04/2015

As the roaring success of last year's Guardians Of The Galaxy confirmed, our appetite for films set in the Marvel Comics universe is voracious. This eagerly anticipated sequel to the 2012 action adventure Avengers Assemble is poised to smash box office records with the same unstoppable clobber of a rampaging Incredible Hulk.

Director Joss Whedon is back at the helm to lay the narrative groundwork for the 2016 blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War, which will tear the eponymous team apart as governments worldwide prepare to pass an act regulating superhuman activity.

In many respects, Avengers: Age Of Ultron is business as usual. Whedon's film fleshes out the back stories of existing characters, introduces new friends and foes to the fray, and continues the relentless cross-pollination of this menagerie of mighty misfits.

Marvel Comics chairman Stan Lee makes his traditional cameo and Whedon's script glisters with polished one-liners, including one gem to pithily illustrate how quickly an evil artificial intelligence can infect the World Wide Web: "He's spreading faster than a Catholic rabbit."

While the sequel delivers exactly what we expect, it lacks some of the pizazz of the first film and pacing noticeably sags in the middle, plus overly enthusiastic editing of set pieces reduces some skirmishes to an incomprehensible blur, which strain the eyes in 3D.

In the breathless action sequence which opens the film, the Avengers storm a Hydra stronghold in the central European city of Sokovia under the control of Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) in order to reclaim Loki's magical staff, the Chitauri Scepter.

During the melee, emotionally scarred siblings Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who have been subjected to secret Hydra experiments, are unleashed. Wanda infects the mind of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr), using her dark sorcery to convince the billionaire that he will bring about the deaths of the entire team.

Tormented by his nightmarish vision, Stark secretly plans to harness the power of the Chitauri Scepter to awaken a dormant artificial intelligence program to protect mankind. "I don't want to hear that 'man wasn't meant to meddle' medley," Stark tells scientist Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) as justification for his covert operation.

Instead, Stark unwittingly unleashes the villainous Ultron (voiced by James Spader). Steve Evans aka Captain America (Chris Evans) clashes with Stark for control of the Avengers comprising Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanov aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Banner aka The Incredible Hulk and Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Rivalries intensify and fragile bonds of trust fray as mankind's survival hangs in the balance. Thankfully, the Avengers have a new, yet familiar, ally: an android called Vision (Paul Bettany).

By introducing a hulking automaton arch-nemesis, Avengers: Age Of Ultron duplicates some of the large-scale digital destruction of the Transformers franchise. Spader's vocal performance lends gravitas to his mechanised megalomaniac while Downey Jr predictably snaffles the majority of the droll quips.

Seeds of romance between Ruffalo and Johansson, sown in the first film, are heavily watered as a diversion from the bone-crunching. Running jokes about Captain America's aversion to swearing and the size of Thor's hammer don't run out of puff before the 141 frenetic minutes come to a suitably bombastic close.

Marvel films have a habit of sneaking a teaser into the end credits. Age Of Ultron doesn't disappoint the ardent fan boys and girls on this front either.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Cinderella 4 stars

movie title

Ella loses her mother and father, but inherits a vindictive stepmother Lady Tremaine and two brattish stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella. Treated as a servant by her new family, who cruelly nickname her Cinderella, the plucky heroine catches the eye of dashing Prince Charming, who must pick a bride to ensure the security of the kingdom. So he throws a lavish ball where Ella makes a grand entrance with some magical help from her Fairy Godmother.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Family, Family, Fantasy, Romance
  • CastDerek Jacobi, Stellan Skarsgard, Richard Madden, Holliday Grainger, Cate Blanchett, Sophie McShera, Lily James, Ben Chaplin, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell.
  • DirectorKenneth Branagh.
  • WriterChris Weitz.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration113 mins
  • Official sitemovies.disney.com/cinderella/
  • Release27/03/2015

Slavishly adapted from Disney's classic 1950 animated musical, Kenneth Branagh's live action version of the fairy-tale romance doesn't skimp on the period detail. Sandy Powell's luxurious costumes, Dante Ferretti's opulent set designs and Patrick Doyle's sweeping orchestral score conjure a magical world of unerring love in which even we gasp at the gargantuan splendour of the grand ball where the prince must choose his wife.

While this Cinderella unquestionably dazzles the senses, screenwriter Chris Weitz is shackled to fond memories of the hand-drawn film and consequently, he has almost no room for flourishes of originality.

The plot arc is predetermined, the ugly stepsisters don't hack off their heels or toes to squeeze into a misplaced glass slipper, and Helena Bonham Carter's fairy godmother isn't quite as eccentric as she or we would like as she engineers the film's best set-piece with a flick of her wand.

"I don't go transforming pumpkins for just anyone!" she chirps. No, the special effects wizards do and they accomplish the pivotal sequence with aplomb. Before all of the jiggery-pokery with a pumpkin, four mice and a goose, Ella (Lily James) is consigned to the kitchen by her vindictive stepmother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and brattish stepsisters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera).

Emboldened by the dying words of her mother (Hayley Atwell) - "Have courage and be kind" - Ella tries to rise above the bullying. When the name-calling becomes too frightful, she escapes on horseback and catches the eye of the dashing Prince (Richard Madden), who must pick a bride at the behest of the dying King (Derek Jacobi).

So the Prince throws a lavish ball where Ella makes her grand entrance then disappears as the clock chimes midnight, leaving behind footwear that would surely pose a health and safety risk in any other film. "Find that girl - the forgetful one who loses her shoes!" decrees the Captain of the royal guard (Nonzo Anosie).

Cinderella will enchant a generation of girls, who dream of donning the tiara of a Disney princess. James and Madden are an attractive screen pairing, while Blanchett draws inspiration from Joan Crawford to cast a formidable shadow from beneath the brim of her character's extravagant hats.

"I do love a happy ending, don't you?" gushes one of the characters. Branagh's film certainly does, without a hint of irony. The main feature is preceded by the animated short Frozen Fever, which continues the adventures of sisters Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) as they prepare for a birthday celebration.

Lovable snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and hunky Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) also return and the script includes a cute reference to the blockbusting film when ice queen Elsa sneezes and chirrups, "A cold never bothered me anyway!" A generation of men, who take to their beds at the first sniffle, would disagree.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015

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Far From The Madding Crowd 3 stars

movie title

Bathsheba Everdene turns down a marriage proposal from sheep farmer Gabriel Oak because she does not believe that she needs a husband to possess or tame her. Soon after, Bathsheba inherits her uncle's estate and defies expectation to turn around the ailing farm. Gabriel, who has fallen on hard times, is hired by Bathsheba as the estate's shepherd and he continues to pine for her from afar as Bathsheba entertains amorous advances from wealthy farmer William Boldwood and dashing Sergeant Troy.

  • GenreAdaptation, Classic, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
  • CastCarey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Jessica Barden, Michael Sheen, Juno Temple.
  • DirectorThomas Vinterberg.
  • WriterDavid Nicholls.
  • CountryUS/UK
  • Duration119 mins
  • Official site
  • Release01/05/2015

The 2015 re-release of John Schlesinger's 1967 version of Far From The Madding Crowd provided a timely reminder of the raw emotional power of Thomas Hardy's late 19th-century novel and Julie Christie's luminous portrayal of spirited heroine, Bathsheba Everdene.

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg brings a delicate touch to this handsome new incarnation, which runs 50 minutes shorter than its predecessor and is undernourished as a consequence.

One tragic supporting character, who should shatter our hearts to smithereens, is reduced to a simplistic two-dimensional plot device, and the heroine's vacillations between three potential suitors seem more haphazard than usual in a noticeably rushed final act.

Moreover, one of these paramours has significantly more screen time, so her choice is inevitable. Feelings are tightly buttoned beneath Janet Patterson's splendid costumes and when one of the characters does eventually lose control and commits a fatal "crime of passion" at a Christmas party, we're just as surprised by the outburst as the film's clucky social set.

The film opens in 1870 with Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan) living with her aunt Mrs Hurst on the adjacent property to handsome sheep farmer, Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts).

She rebuffs his heartfelt advances, telling a crestfallen Gabriel, "I don't want a husband. I don't want to be some man's property". Soon after, Bathsheba inherits her uncle's vast estate and defies expectation to turn around the ailing farm, aided by her companion Liddy (Jessica Barden).

Gabriel, who has fallen on hard times, is hired by Bathsheba as the estate's shepherd and continues to pine for her from afar.

Meanwhile, emotionally repressed and wealthy farmer William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) makes his feelings for Bathsheba known, but her head is turned by dashing and reckless Sergeant Troy (Tom Sturridge), whose heart was broken at the altar by servant girl Fanny (Juno Temple).

These three suitors leave Bathsheba in an emotional whirl and when Boldwood offers her financial security as his bride, she turns to brooding Gabriel for advice.
"I need some who's objective, indifferent," Bathsheba tells the shepherd.
"Then I'm afraid you're asking the wrong man," pointedly responds Gabriel.

Anchored by Mulligan's nuanced performance, Far From The Madding Crowd is a visually arresting, but ultimately anaemic portrait of rural desires. Schoenaerts wrestles in vain with a West Country accent, while Sheen and Sturridge have limited screen time to match fond memories of Peter Finch and Terence Stamp in respective roles in the 1967 film.

While Vinterberg's vision, filmed on location in pastoral Dorset, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, lacks emotional heft, it packs a mighty visual punch thanks to cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen.

Rolling landscapes look invitingly wild and untamed, bathed largely in natural light, and the nascent beauty of leading lady Mulligan shines through the artfully composed muck and grime.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015

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Fast & Furious 7 3 stars

movie title

Following the death of corrupt British soldier Owen Shaw, Dominic Toretto, Brian O'Conner and their crew are granted permission to return to America as free men. Brian and Mia look forward to settling down and Dominic comes to terms with the return of Letty from the dead. Owen's older brother Ian seeks revenge for the killing of his sibling and he begins by slaying Han-Seoul-Oh. When the rest of the team learn about Han's death, they come together for one final and potentially lethal mission.

  • GenreAction, Romance, Thriller
  • CastDwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Djimon Hounsou, Lucas Black, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham.
  • DirectorJames Wan.
  • WriterChris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson.
  • CountryUS/Jpn
  • Duration137 mins
  • Official sitewww.fastandfurious7.co.uk
  • Release03/04/2015

It's not the gleaming high-octane motors, scantily clad women or outlandish gravity-defying stunts that will have audiences burning rubber to their multiplexes to see this seventh instalment of The Fast And The Furious franchise. Instead, it's the final screen appearance of handsome leading man Paul Walker, who died halfway through production, which will invariably guarantee supercharged box office returns for James Wan's sleek sequel.

Fast & Furious 7 is dedicated to Walker's memory and his unfinished scenes have been respectfully completed using previously unseen footage from earlier films, or by digitally grafting his facial features onto the bodies of his brothers, Caleb and Cody, who act as stand-ins.

The digital trickery is impressive and while the joins aren't completely seamless, we suspend our disbelief, which is already hovering in the troposphere after the stunt team mocks the laws of physics to drive one car out of the penthouse of an Abu Dhabi skyscraper and across the void to a neighbouring tower block.

Screenwriter Chris Morgan's desire to top the outrageous set pieces of previous films repeatedly sacrifices realism, going for broke when he hopes to persuade us that Vin Diesel, Walker and their co-stars could skydive their vehicles into position on a winding mountain road by driving cars out of an airplane and opening parachutes attached to their plummeting vehicles at the last second.

It's an understatement when one of the characters whoops, "I can't believe we pulled that off!" The action begins directly after events of Fast & Furious 6 with corrupt British soldier Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) on life support in a London hospital.

Owen's older brother Ian (Jason Statham) seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Walker) and their crew. Ian hacks into the computer of federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to ascertain the whereabouts of the team and doles out a near fatal pummelling to Hobbs in the process.

"I'm gonna put a hurt on him so bad, he's gonna wish his momma had kept her legs closed," barks the hospitalised federal agent. Meanwhile, Dominic's crew prepare for war. "It looks like the sins of London followed us home," growls the bad boy, who reunites with fast-talking Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and technical wizard Tej (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges) to neutralise the threat posed by Owen with help from a hacker called Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel).

Fast & Furious 7 stitches together all of the previous films including a cameo for Lucas Black as Sean Boswell from the lacklustre third chapter Tokyo Drift. Diesel, Walker and co continue to display superhuman strength and resilience, surviving spectacular crashes with barely a graze, while Statham plies his usual brand of muscular destruction.

A heartfelt, if protracted, coda between Diesel and Walker provides the former with an opportunity to publicly say farewell to his cinematic brother in arms.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Home 3 stars

movie title

An extra-terrestrial race called the Boov invades Earth under the command of Captain Smek with a view to claiming the third rock from the sun as their new home. The Boov round up the humans and relocates the entire species. A resourceful teenage girl called Tip, whose mother was abducted, evades capture and goes on the run. She crosses paths with an outcast Boov named Oh, who has been banished by his otherworldly kin. They join forces to save Earth.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastJim Parsons, Steve Martin, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Jones.
  • DirectorTim Johnson.
  • WriterTom J Astle, Matt Ember.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official sitewww.meettheboov.com
  • Release20/03/2015

Humans and cute aliens unite to save Earth in Tim Johnson's entertaining but shamelessly contrived computer-animated adventure. The new dog performing old tricks on the DreamWorks block, which previously housed Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon, lacks the belly laughs and heart-breaking emotion of those films, but merrily rehashes elements from all three.

Thus the extra-terrestrial invaders discover they like to wave their hands in the air like they just don't care to our music and the central duo discovers that self-sacrifice is an important part of friendship.

Johnson's film has some solid gags and the colour palette is bright, although there are disappointingly few visual tricks up the animators' sleeves to justify the increased ticket price for the 3D version.

In a neat piece of short-hand, the invaders turn out to be the extra-terrestrial equivalent of mood rings, changing colour to reflect their emotional state: yellow for fear, pink for love, red for anger, blue for sadness and green for dishonesty. It's a merchandiser's dream and every parent's nightmare: children begging for the same stuffed toy in multiple shades.

An extra-terrestrial race called the Boov invades Earth under the command of power-hungry Captain Smek (voiced by Steve Martin) with a view to claiming the third rock from the sun as their new home.

The Boov round up the humans and relocate the entire species to Australia. Back in America, a resourceful 11-year-old girl called Tip (Rihanna), whose mother (Jennifer Lopez) was abducted from their apartment, evades capture and goes on the run with her rotund pet cat.

She encounters a fugitive Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons), who has accidentally sent an email invitation to his "warming of house party" to everyone in the galaxy, including the Boov's sworn enemy, the Gorg. Tip and Oh are poles apart: she is spunky and brave, while he turns tail at the first sign of peril.

"If probability falls below 50%, the Boov give up," explains Oh. Working together, they forge a touching friendship and Tip helps her extra-terrestrial chum to embrace his flaws.

Based on the children's book The True Meaning Of Smekday by Adam Rex, Home ticks all of the boxes, but does so without any obvious verve, originality or sense of urgency. Parsons riffs on his nerdy character in The Big Bang Theory, while Rihanna lends her distinctive Barbadian tones to the plucky, pint-sized heroine.

She also has two songs on the soundtrack including the dance anthem Only Girl (In The World), which provides moments of unnecessary distraction as Tip talks over the top of the music.

At one point during the chase, Oh turns to Tip and screams, "This is not a sustainable friendship model." Johnson makes it work for 94 minutes, but only just.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Mad Max: Fury Road 4 stars

movie title

Immortan Joe rules the Citadel with an iron fist and he intends to mastermind the propagation of mankind in his own cruel image using five women called The Wives. Imperator Furiosa kidnaps these slaves and flees across the Wasteland. They join forces with Max Rockatansky, who has knowledge of the Wasteland and can help the fugitives find sanctuary in the deadly shifting sands. In the process, Max lights a fuse on a bitter and bloody road war between Furiosa and Immortan Joe.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastNicholas Hoult, Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
  • DirectorGeorge Miller.
  • WriterGeorge Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris.
  • CountryAustralia/
  • Duration120 mins
  • Official sitewww.madmaxmovie.com
  • Release14/05/2015

Fasten your seat belts and hold on white-knuckle tight as writer-director George Miller invites you to an orgy of high-octane auto mayhem that makes Fast & Furious 7 looks like a sedate Sunday afternoon drive. Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth instalment of the post-apocalyptic franchise, delivers a blitzkrieg of propulsive pursuits featuring almost 150 hand-built death machines of every conceivable shape and size.

These thrillingly choreographed sequences of carmageddon build to a jaw-dropping finale, replete with roof-mouthed metronome-like poles that allow road warriors to swoop down and snatch their prey from adjacent vehicles.

If the original Mad Max released in 1979 was soaked in testosterone, Fury Road adds a heady whiff of oestrogen by introducing a badass tribe of warrior women called the Vuvalini, who ride proudly into battle armed with explosive-tipped spears.

One prime specimen is Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), the enigmatic driver of a mighty 18-wheeler mobile war rig. She reports to Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), despotic leader of the Citadel, who is propagating the species in his cruel image using The Wives.

These five enslaved women (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Courtney Eaton, Abbey Lee) are impregnated by Immortan Joe to provide him with a viable male heir. Furiosa kidnaps The Wives and flees across the Wasteland with Immortan Joe and his army in hot pursuit.

Among the chasing horde is shaven-headed, tattooed acolyte Nux (Nicholas Hoult), who believes that death in battle will grant him entry to the warrior paradise of Valhalla. As Nux puts the pedal to the metal, his poisoned blood is replenished by a living donor, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), strapped to the front of the hot rod.

During the chase, Max breaks free from Nux and begrudgingly helps Furiosa and The Wives to evade Immortan Joe's clutches, bound for a lush oasis known as the Green Place.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a tour-de-force of adrenaline-pumping thrills. Computer trickery is kept to a bare minimum: stunt drivers actually performed these mind-boggling feats in real vehicles at dizzying speeds.

When director Miller briefly does take his foot off the accelerator, he hopes we'll be giddy enough on exhaust fumes to care deeply about plot and characterisation. Both sit quietly in the back seat, waiting for the next rev of a V-8 engine.

Hardy perfects an array of grunts and growls in place of dialogue. He's a dull boy though next to Theron's gutsy alpha female, who goes toe-to-toe and trades blow for bone-crunching blow with the grizzled anti-hero, channelling her character's sense of loss into vengeance.

Keays-Byrne takes a leaf out of Hardy's book from The Dark Knight Rises and dons a nightmarish face mask made of horse teeth. Miller's rambunctious ride is heightened by a deafening soundtrack courtesy of Grammy-nominated composer Junkie XL.

You'll feel the teeth rattle in your head as his sonic boom of drums, strings, thrashing electric guitars and a soaring 80-voice choir competes with the crash-bang-wallop of the on-screen carnage.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Mad Max: Fury Road 3D 4 stars

movie title

Immortan Joe rules the Citadel with an iron fist and he intends to mastermind the propagation of mankind in his own cruel image using five women called The Wives. Imperator Furiosa kidnaps these slaves and flees across the Wasteland. They join forces with Max Rockatansky, who has knowledge of the Wasteland and can help the fugitives find sanctuary in the deadly shifting sands. In the process, Max lights a fuse on a bitter and bloody road war between Furiosa and Immortan Joe.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastNicholas Hoult, Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
  • DirectorGeorge Miller.
  • WriterBrendan McCarthy, George Miller, Nick Lathouris.
  • CountryAustralia/
  • Duration120 mins
  • Official sitewww.madmaxmovie.com
  • Release14/05/2015

Fasten your seat belts and hold on white-knuckle tight as writer-director George Miller invites you to an orgy of high-octane auto mayhem that makes Fast & Furious 7 looks like a sedate Sunday afternoon drive. Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth instalment of the post-apocalyptic franchise, delivers a blitzkrieg of propulsive pursuits featuring almost 150 hand-built death machines of every conceivable shape and size.

These thrillingly choreographed sequences of carmageddon build to a jaw-dropping finale, replete with roof-mouthed metronome-like poles that allow road warriors to swoop down and snatch their prey from adjacent vehicles.

If the original Mad Max released in 1979 was soaked in testosterone, Fury Road adds a heady whiff of oestrogen by introducing a badass tribe of warrior women called the Vuvalini, who ride proudly into battle armed with explosive-tipped spears.

One prime specimen is Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), the enigmatic driver of a mighty 18-wheeler mobile war rig. She reports to Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), despotic leader of the Citadel, who is propagating the species in his cruel image using The Wives.

These five enslaved women (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Courtney Eaton, Abbey Lee) are impregnated by Immortan Joe to provide him with a viable male heir. Furiosa kidnaps The Wives and flees across the Wasteland with Immortan Joe and his army in hot pursuit.

Among the chasing horde is shaven-headed, tattooed acolyte Nux (Nicholas Hoult), who believes that death in battle will grant him entry to the warrior paradise of Valhalla. As Nux puts the pedal to the metal, his poisoned blood is replenished by a living donor, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), strapped to the front of the hot rod.

During the chase, Max breaks free from Nux and begrudgingly helps Furiosa and The Wives to evade Immortan Joe's clutches, bound for a lush oasis known as the Green Place.

Mad Max: Fury Road is a tour-de-force of adrenaline-pumping thrills. Computer trickery is kept to a bare minimum: stunt drivers actually performed these mind-boggling feats in real vehicles at dizzying speeds.

When director Miller briefly does take his foot off the accelerator, he hopes we'll be giddy enough on exhaust fumes to care deeply about plot and characterisation. Both sit quietly in the back seat, waiting for the next rev of a V-8 engine.

Hardy perfects an array of grunts and growls in place of dialogue. He's a dull boy though next to Theron's gutsy alpha female, who goes toe-to-toe and trades blow for bone-crunching blow with the grizzled anti-hero, channelling her character's sense of loss into vengeance.

Keays-Byrne takes a leaf out of Hardy's book from The Dark Knight Rises and dons a nightmarish face mask made of horse teeth. Miller's rambunctious ride is heightened by a deafening soundtrack courtesy of Grammy-nominated composer Junkie XL.

You'll feel the teeth rattle in your head as his sonic boom of drums, strings, thrashing electric guitars and a soaring 80-voice choir competes with the crash-bang-wallop of the on-screen carnage.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Moomins On The Riviera 4 stars

Moomin, Moominpappa, Moominmamma, Snorkmaiden and Little My embark on an exciting adventure by sea to the French Riviera. In this sun-kissed playground of the rich and fabulous, there are manifold distractions and Snorkmaiden's head is turned by suave playboy Clark Tresco, which infuriates Moomin. Meanwhile, Moominpappa befriends aristocrat Marquis Mongaga and adopts the name de Moomin in order to impress his new acquaintance.

  • GenreAdaptation, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastNathaniel Parker, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Russell Tovey, Ruth Gibson, Stephanie Winiecki.
  • DirectorXavier Picard.
  • WriterAnnina Enckell, Leslie Stewart, Hanna Hemila, Beata Harju, Xavier Picard.
  • CountryFin/Fr
  • Duration77 mins
  • Official sitewww.moominsontheriviera.com
  • Release22/05/2015

Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson's lovable characters, the Moomins, sprung to life as a comic strip and picture books, then made an indelible mark in the UK as a 1980s stop-motion animated children's television series narrated by Richard Murdoch.

A Japanese anime TV version and a theme park on the island of Kailo followed in the 1990s as part of a merchandising boom that has firmly installed these rotund creatures, who resemble hippopotamuses, in global pop culture. Jansson's inquisitive creations set sail for the big screen in this lovingly hand-drawn animation, based on the original comic strips.

Moomins On The Riviera is a cautionary tale about the corruptive power of greed and jealousy, which takes a few gentle sideswipes at the cult of celebrity and the inflated price of modern art. The inoffensive script maintains a gentle pace, despite the extravagance of the setting with its luxury yachts and speedboats, reminding audiences of all ages that money can't buy the happiness of a family united.

In the aftermath of a pirate shipwreck close to the Moomins' island home, Moominpappa (Nathaniel Parker), Moominmamma (Tracy Ann Oberman), Moomintroll (voiced by Russell Tovey), Snorkmaiden (Stephanie Winiecki) and Little My (Ruth Gibson) embark on an exciting adventure by sea to the French Riviera.

In this sun-kissed playground of the rich and fabulous, there are manifold distractions. "Why do people in the south keep their hedgehogs in the water?" innocently wonders one of the clan, glimpsing a sea anemone in the rippling water.

Snorkmaiden's head is turned first by her Hollywood idol Audrey Glamour (Shelley Blond) and then by suave aristocratic playboy, Clark Tresco (Dave Brown). "Cousin, I need you to take my place in the story. I'm getting married," she coos to Moomintroll in a sweet moment of script in-jokery.

He is particularly infuriated by the skimpiness of Snorkmaiden's two-piece bikini. "You can't wear that!" he scolds. "It's like you're wearing nothing!"

Meanwhile, Moominpappa befriends artist Marquis Mongaga (Philippe Smolikowski) and adopts the name de Moomin in order to impress his new acquaintance. Moominmamma becomes exasperated and retires to the relative calm of the family's trusty boat, hoping that the rest of her brood will come to their senses and remember the family motto - "Live in peace, plant potatoes and dream" - in time for the journey home.

Directed with a light touch by Xavier Picard, Moomins On The Riviera is an entertaining introduction for younger audiences to the cuddly characters, and a nostalgia trip for the rest of us, created with the blessing of Jansson's niece Sophia.

Visuals retain the naive charm of original illustrations, even with the introduction of potentially grown-up scenes like Moominpappa suffering a whiskey-induced hangover. Vocal performances for this dubbed English language version are solid, and the 77-minute running time passes in the blink of an eye.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

My Old Lady 3 stars

movie title

Mathias Gold abandons New York in dire financial straits bound for the French capital, where he intends to sell the apartment he has just inherited from his estranged father. Wandering around the extremely desirable abode, Mathias is shocked to find an old lady called Mathilde Girard living in the apartment with her spiky daughter Chloe. It transpires that Mathias cannot sell the apartment until Mathilde dies because of an ancient property rule of "viager".

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastKristin Scott Thomas, Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith.
  • DirectorIsrael Horovitz.
  • WriterIsrael Horovitz.
  • CountryUK/Fr/US
  • Duration107 mins
  • Official site
  • Release21/11/2014 (selected cinemas)

Draconian French property law forces a fifty-something bachelor to renovate his plans for a financially stable future in Israel Horovitz's entertaining character study. Adapted by the writer-director from his own stage play, My Old Lady brings together strangers from opposite sides of the world and thrusts them together in a des res Parisian apartment.

The subsequent clash of personalities unlocks painful family secrets and salves deep wounds that have been festering for years. Savvy casting of Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas as the buyer and sellers in this comedy of manners is better than the film deserves.

The actors elevate a solid if unremarkable script, adding warmth, spikiness and roughly hewn charm to their hastily sketched characters as the plot engineers a couple of predictable twists.

Smith is in her element, armed with a fine array of withering putdowns that would surely meet the approval of the Dowager Countess, her imperious matriarch in Downton Abbey. "Englishness is so obvious," she opines at one point. So are some of Horovitz's intentions.

Mathias Gold (Kline) abandons New York in financial straits, bound for the French capital where he intends to sell an apartment he has just inherited from his estranged father. Wandering from room to room, Mathias is shocked to find a 92-year-old lady called Mathilde Girard (Smith) living in the apartment with her daughter Chloe (Scott Thomas).

It transpires that Mathias cannot sell the apartment until Mathilde, the sitting tenant, dies because of an ancient property rule of "viager", which also stipulates that he must pay her a monthly fee of 2,400 Euros. Unable to return to America, Mathias takes up residence in the apartment with the women and spies on Chloe and her current beau (Stephane De Groot).

The penniless American secretly sells off some of the contents to raise the money for Mathilde's fees. "How did you get to 57 and 11 months and have so little to show for it?" she asks with genuine bewilderment. As Mathias delves into his father's past, he discovers deep personal ties to the Girards that alter his desire to see Mathilde six feet under.

My Old Lady doesn't stray too far from its stage origins, unfolding largely as static conversations within different rooms of the apartment. Kline and Thomas are an attractive pairing while Smith trots out her bon mots with expert comic timing and a twinkle in her eye. "Precision is the key to long life. Precision... and wine!" she trills.

Horovitz keeps the tone brisk and light, even when skeletons are tumbling out of the family closet with alarming frequency.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 27th May 2015

Pitch Perfect 2 4 stars

movie title

Fat Amy suffers an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in the presence of President Obama, which threatens to bring Barden University's all-female a cappella group into disrepute. In order to restore their pride, the Bellas enter a global singing competition that has never been won by an American group. Beca, Fat Amy, Chloe, Lilly, new recruit Emily and the other Bellas prepare to pitch-slap their talented rivals into submission.

  • GenreComedy, Family, Musical, Romance
  • CastAnna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow, John Michael Higgins.
  • DirectorElizabeth Banks.
  • WriterKay Cannon.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration115 mins
  • Official sitewww.pitchperfect2-uk.tumblr.com
  • Release15/05/2015

Lightning almost strikes twice in the eagerly anticipated sequel to the feel-great comedy Pitch Perfect. Actress Elizabeth Banks nestles in the director's chair for this uproarious second outing and she confidently conducts a choir of familiar faces through soaring musical mash-ups and pitch-slapping putdowns.

Screenwriter Kay Cannon, who penned the original, enforces the message of femme power by contriving a spectacular fall from grace for the Barden Bellas in order that her plucky heroines rediscover their sisterly solidarity. Beyonce's anthemic "Run The World (Girls)" is a fitting opener for one medley of redemption, emphasising that while these girls wanna have fun, they won't do so at the expense of friendships or their careers.

Cannon pads out her admittedly flimsy premise with parallel romantic subplots and introduces a Latin American exchange student, whose life-or-death heritage becomes a running joke that limps before the two hours are up.

Thankfully, Rebel Wilson turbo-charges her scenes and is rewarded with the film's only solo - Pat Benatar's power ballad "We Belong" - that builds to a rousing call to arms for the broken-hearted.

Three years after all-female group the Barden Bellas triumphed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, the girls perform for President Obama and his wife. Fat Amy (Wilson) suffers a wardrobe malfunction during a Miley Cyrus-themed aerial routine and drags the good name of Barden University into the gutter.

In the wake of Muffgate, commentators John Smith (John Michael Higgins) and Gail Abernathy-McKadden (Elizabeth Banks) cast the Bellas into the wilderness and mock Beca (Anna Kendrick) when she claims they can become the first American group to win the World A Cappella Championships.

Beca, Fat Amy, Chloe (Brittany Snow), Stacie (Alexis Knapp), Jessica (Kelley Jakle), Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean), softly spoken beatboxer Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) and new recruits Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) and Flo (Chrissie Fit) prepare for musical battle.

However, the path to glory in Copenhagen is blocked by well-drilled reigning champions, Das Sound Machine, led by the statuesque Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) and her right-hand herr Pieter (Flula Borg).

The Bellas' make-or-break performance beckons and Beca frets about her song choices. "You're the most talented person I know," gushes Fat Amy soothingly, "and I've met three of The Wiggles... intimately."

Pitch Perfect 2 hits many of the high notes of the original film. Beca's romance with boyfriend Jesse (Skylar Astin) is inert in the sequel so the spotlight shifts to Fat Amy's on-off-on-off flirtation with Bumper (Adam DeVine).

Banks and Higgins lasso some of the heartiest guffaws, the latter spewing chauvinism with aplomb as he casually describes the Bellas as "an inspiration to girls all over the country who are too ugly to be cheerleaders".

Musical sequences are choreographed with verve, including a rousing finale that astutely goes back to acca-basics to tug the heartstrings.

Pitch Perfect 2 (Subtitled) 4 stars

movie title

Fat Amy suffers an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in the presence of President Obama, which threatens to bring Barden University's all-female a cappella group into disrepute. In order to restore their pride, the Bellas enter a global singing competition that has never been won by an American group. Beca, Fat Amy, Chloe, Lilly, new recruit Emily and the other Bellas prepare to pitch-slap their talented rivals into submission.

  • GenreComedy, Family, Musical, Romance
  • CastAnna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Elizabeth Banks, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, John Michael Higgins.
  • DirectorElizabeth Banks.
  • WriterKay Cannon.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration115 mins
  • Official sitewww.pitchperfect2-uk.tumblr.com
  • Release15/05/2015

Lightning almost strikes twice in the eagerly anticipated sequel to the feel-great comedy Pitch Perfect. Actress Elizabeth Banks nestles in the director's chair for this uproarious second outing and she confidently conducts a choir of familiar faces through soaring musical mash-ups and pitch-slapping putdowns.

Screenwriter Kay Cannon, who penned the original, enforces the message of femme power by contriving a spectacular fall from grace for the Barden Bellas in order that her plucky heroines rediscover their sisterly solidarity. Beyonce's anthemic "Run The World (Girls)" is a fitting opener for one medley of redemption, emphasising that while these girls wanna have fun, they won't do so at the expense of friendships or their careers.

Cannon pads out her admittedly flimsy premise with parallel romantic subplots and introduces a Latin American exchange student, whose life-or-death heritage becomes a running joke that limps before the two hours are up.

Thankfully, Rebel Wilson turbo-charges her scenes and is rewarded with the film's only solo - Pat Benatar's power ballad "We Belong" - that builds to a rousing call to arms for the broken-hearted.

Three years after all-female group the Barden Bellas triumphed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, the girls perform for President Obama and his wife. Fat Amy (Wilson) suffers a wardrobe malfunction during a Miley Cyrus-themed aerial routine and drags the good name of Barden University into the gutter.

In the wake of Muffgate, commentators John Smith (John Michael Higgins) and Gail Abernathy-McKadden (Elizabeth Banks) cast the Bellas into the wilderness and mock Beca (Anna Kendrick) when she claims they can become the first American group to win the World A Cappella Championships.

Beca, Fat Amy, Chloe (Brittany Snow), Stacie (Alexis Knapp), Jessica (Kelley Jakle), Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean), softly spoken beatboxer Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) and new recruits Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) and Flo (Chrissie Fit) prepare for musical battle.

However, the path to glory in Copenhagen is blocked by well-drilled reigning champions, Das Sound Machine, led by the statuesque Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) and her right-hand herr Pieter (Flula Borg).

The Bellas' make-or-break performance beckons and Beca frets about her song choices. "You're the most talented person I know," gushes Fat Amy soothingly, "and I've met three of The Wiggles... intimately."

Pitch Perfect 2 hits many of the high notes of the original film. Beca's romance with boyfriend Jesse (Skylar Astin) is inert in the sequel so the spotlight shifts to Fat Amy's on-off-on-off flirtation with Bumper (Adam DeVine).

Banks and Higgins lasso some of the heartiest guffaws, the latter spewing chauvinism with aplomb as he casually describes the Bellas as "an inspiration to girls all over the country who are too ugly to be cheerleaders".

Musical sequences are choreographed with verve, including a rousing finale that astutely goes back to acca-basics to tug the heartstrings.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 24th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Poltergeist 3 stars

movie title

Eric Bowen and his wife Amy move into a new home with their three children: teenage daughter Kendra, son Griffin and youngest child Madison. Angry spirits invade the home and focus their attention on little Madison, making contact with her through the white noise on a TV screen before spiriting away the terrified girl into the netherworld. Eric and Amy turn to supernatural expert Dr Claire Powell and medium Carrigan Burke to return Madison to the land of the living.

  • GenreAdaptation, Horror, Thriller
  • CastSam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements, Jane Adams, Jared Harris, Kyle Catlett, Saxon Sharbino.
  • DirectorGil Kenan.
  • WriterDavid Lindsay-Abaire.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official sitewww.foxmovies.com/movies/poltergeist
  • Release22/05/2015

They're back!... the malevolent spirits from Tobe Hooper's 1982 horror resurface in director Gil Kenan's contemporary update, which supplants old school shocks with a whirlwind of computer-generated hocus pocus.

The original film was a masterpiece of sustained creepiness and inspired wild theories about a curse - supposedly borne when filmmakers used actual skeletons in the swimming pool scene - to explain the deaths of four cast members including angelic 12-year-old lead actress, Heather O'Rourke.

Regrettably, the might of modern technology dilutes the shock of the neat set-up and renders this revamp of Poltergeist an entirely scare-free affair. Screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire appears to have been influenced by modern horror films including Insidious and Annabelle, adding demonic toy clowns and a reality TV ghost hunter to his volatile mix.

There's a cute wink to the 1982 film in his script when the family learns that their home was built on a former cemetery and someone quips, "It's not as if it was an ancient burial ground." The iconic scene with a little girl and a flickering TV screen is also recreated.

In unconvincing fits and bursts, Kenan's film strives to set itself apart from the past, including the use of 3D that only really makes sense for a nasty moment with an electric drill.

Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell) and his wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) move into a new home with their three children: truculent teenager Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), scaredy-cat Griffin (Kyle Catlett) and cutie-pie Madison (Kennedi Clements).

The family notices odd electrical discharges around the house and Madison begins to converse with imaginary friends that live in her wardrobe. "They're lost people - not pretend, mommy," the tyke sweetly informs Amy.

Spirits make contact with Madison through white noise on a TV and spirit her away to the netherworld. Eric and Amy turn to Dr Claire Powell (Jane Adams), a professor of paranormal psychology, for assistance.

She brings in two trusty assistants, Boyd (Nicholas Braun) and Sophie (Susan Heyward), to capture evidence of the parallel spirit realm, where Madison is lost. "Someone should go in there and show her the way back here," suggests Griffin.

So Claire summons paranormal expert Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), who hosts the reality TV show Haunted House Cleaners, to return Madison to the land of the living.

Poltergeist has creaking doors aplenty and bumps in the night but savvy 21st century audiences will be wise to these hoary scare tactics. Rockwell and DeWitt are solid while Clements exudes sweetness like her predecessor.

Harris is a poor replacement for Zelda Rubinstein's iconic spookfinder, Tangina, but the remake is already on shaky ground by the time he enters the fray, replete with wavering Irish accent. When Amy tells her son Griffin there is nothing to be afraid of, she was right.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Poltergeist 3D 3 stars

movie title

Eric Bowen and his wife Amy move into a new home with their three children: teenage daughter Kendra, son Griffin and youngest child Madison. Angry spirits invade the home and focus their attention on little Madison, making contact with her through the white noise on a TV screen before spiriting away the terrified girl into the netherworld. Eric and Amy turn to supernatural expert Dr Claire Powell and medium Carrigan Burke to return Madison to the land of the living.

  • GenreAdaptation, Horror, Thriller
  • CastSam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements, Jane Adams, Jared Harris, Kyle Catlett, Saxon Sharbino.
  • DirectorGil Kenan.
  • WriterDavid Lindsay-Abaire.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official sitewww.foxmovies.com/movies/poltergeist
  • Release22/05/2015

They're back!... the malevolent spirits from Tobe Hooper's 1982 horror resurface in director Gil Kenan's contemporary update, which supplants old school shocks with a whirlwind of computer-generated hocus pocus.

The original film was a masterpiece of sustained creepiness and inspired wild theories about a curse - supposedly borne when filmmakers used actual skeletons in the swimming pool scene - to explain the deaths of four cast members including angelic 12-year-old lead actress, Heather O'Rourke.

Regrettably, the might of modern technology dilutes the shock of the neat set-up and renders this revamp of Poltergeist an entirely scare-free affair. Screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire appears to have been influenced by modern horror films including Insidious and Annabelle, adding demonic toy clowns and a reality TV ghost hunter to his volatile mix.

There's a cute wink to the 1982 film in his script when the family learns that their home was built on a former cemetery and someone quips, "It's not as if it was an ancient burial ground." The iconic scene with a little girl and a flickering TV screen is also recreated.

In unconvincing fits and bursts, Kenan's film strives to set itself apart from the past, including the use of 3D that only really makes sense for a nasty moment with an electric drill.

Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell) and his wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) move into a new home with their three children: truculent teenager Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), scaredy-cat Griffin (Kyle Catlett) and cutie-pie Madison (Kennedi Clements).

The family notices odd electrical discharges around the house and Madison begins to converse with imaginary friends that live in her wardrobe. "They're lost people - not pretend, mommy," the tyke sweetly informs Amy.

Spirits make contact with Madison through white noise on a TV and spirit her away to the netherworld. Eric and Amy turn to Dr Claire Powell (Jane Adams), a professor of paranormal psychology, for assistance.

She brings in two trusty assistants, Boyd (Nicholas Braun) and Sophie (Susan Heyward), to capture evidence of the parallel spirit realm, where Madison is lost. "Someone should go in there and show her the way back here," suggests Griffin.

So Claire summons paranormal expert Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), who hosts the reality TV show Haunted House Cleaners, to return Madison to the land of the living.

Poltergeist has creaking doors aplenty and bumps in the night but savvy 21st century audiences will be wise to these hoary scare tactics. Rockwell and DeWitt are solid while Clements exudes sweetness like her predecessor.

Harris is a poor replacement for Zelda Rubinstein's iconic spookfinder, Tangina, but the remake is already on shaky ground by the time he enters the fray, replete with wavering Irish accent. When Amy tells her son Griffin there is nothing to be afraid of, she was right.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

San Andreas 3 stars

The San Andreas Fault, which runs for more than 800 miles through California, gives way, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake that decimates the west coast. Search and rescue helicopter pilot Chief Ray Gaines takes to the air to hunt for survivors including his estranged wife Emma, who is engaged to wealthy real estate developer Daniel Reddick. Reunited in unimaginable tragedy, Ray and Emma head from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter Blake.

  • GenreAction, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastCarla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Dwayne Johnson, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi.
  • DirectorBrad Peyton.
  • WriterCarlton Cuse.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewwws.warnerbros.co.uk/sanandreas/
  • Release28/05/2015

The San Andreas Fault, which runs for more than 800 miles through California, gives way, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake that decimates the west coast. Search and rescue helicopter pilot Chief Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) takes to the air to hunt for survivors including his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino), who is engaged to wealthy real estate developer Daniel Reddick (Ioan Gruffudd). Reunited in unimaginable tragedy, Ray and Emma head from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Just when it seems that the worst could be over for the family, a doom-saying professor at California Institute of Technology (Paul Giamatti) reveals that a bigger earthquake is on the way that will be felt as far away as the east coast.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

San Andreas 3D 3 stars

The San Andreas Fault, which runs for more than 800 miles through California, gives way, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake that decimates the west coast. Search and rescue helicopter pilot Chief Ray Gaines takes to the air to hunt for survivors including his estranged wife Emma, who is engaged to wealthy real estate developer Daniel Reddick. Reunited in unimaginable tragedy, Ray and Emma head from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter Blake.

  • GenreAction, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastIoan Gruffudd, Alexandra Daddario, Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Archie Panjabi.
  • DirectorBrad Peyton.
  • WriterCarlton Cuse.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewwws.warnerbros.co.uk/sanandreas/
  • Release28/05/2015

The San Andreas Fault, which runs for more than 800 miles through California, gives way, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake that decimates the west coast. Search and rescue helicopter pilot Chief Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) takes to the air to hunt for survivors including his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino), who is engaged to wealthy real estate developer Daniel Reddick (Ioan Gruffudd). Reunited in unimaginable tragedy, Ray and Emma head from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Just when it seems that the worst could be over for the family, a doom-saying professor at California Institute of Technology (Paul Giamatti) reveals that a bigger earthquake is on the way that will be felt as far away as the east coast.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 28th May 2015

This film is also showing at:

Shaun The Sheep Movie 4 stars

movie title

Shaun and the flock grow tired of the daily routine on Mossy Bottom Farm under the watchful eye of Bitzer the sheepdog. So the herd hoodwinks the Farmer into taking a well deserved day. Unfortunately, the cunning plan goes awry and the Farmer ends up in the Big City suffering from a nasty bout of memory loss. Shaun and his fleecy friends head for the metropolis to bring the Farmer back home but they attract the attentions of a nasty animal containment officer called Trumper.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Children, Children's, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastJohn Sparkes, Justin Fletcher.
  • DirectorRichard Starzack, Mark Burton.
  • WriterRichard Starzack, Richard Goleszowski, Mark Burton.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration85 mins
  • Official sitewww.shaunthesheep.com
  • Release06/02/2015

Bristol-based Aardman Studios works its stop-motion animated magic on a colourful big screen adventure for the mischievous sheep, who first appeared in Wallace and Gromit's 1995 escapade A Close Shave and has been baad to the bone in a self-titled CBBC series since 2007.

Drawing loving inspiration from other Aardman films including Chicken Run, Shaun The Sheep Movie is a shear delight, melding slapstick and subtler humour to appeal to young fans and their wranglers.

Directors Mark Burton and Richard Starzack shepherd this boisterous romp through various twists and turns at a breathless pace. They litter the screen with wry visual gags, including an airborne cow clearing the roof of the Over The Moon public house.

Stop-motion visuals burst with colour and action sequences are orchestrated with mind-boggling technical precision. As usual, Shaun is at the centre of the madcap action. The flock grows tired of the daily routine on Mossy Bottom Farm under the watchful eye of Bitzer the sheepdog.

So the animals hoodwink the Farmer into taking a well-deserved day off so they can do the same. Unfortunately, this cunning plan goes awry and the Farmer ends up with a nasty bout of memory loss after a high-speed journey to The Big City inside a runaway caravan.

Off the hoof, Shaun and his fleecy friends board the 62 bus from Mossy Bottom to the metropolis, determined to bring their beloved master back home. Unfortunately, they attract the attention of a nasty animal containment officer called Trumper, who doesn't want any farmyard escapees on the lamb on his patch.

Aided by an orphan dog named Slip, the sheep disguise themselves as humans to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting residents of The Big City and track down the Farmer.

In human form, the sheep enjoy haute cuisine at a bistro called Le Chou Brule, while the Farmer discovers a new calling with hair clippers at an upscale boutique. Back at Mossy Bottom, The Naughty Pigs run amok in the farmhouse, oblivious to the hare-brained antics of the other four-legged residents.

Shaun The Sheep Movie will have families flocking in droves to local cinemas. There's nothing woolly about Burton and Starzack's screenplay, which doesn't pause to bleat between set pieces, propelling the narrative forward without sacrificing the characterisation.

There are some lovely interludes here like Shaun's temporary incarceration in an animal shelter, which also houses a psychotic cat from the same litter as Hannibal Lecter and a dog with BARK and BITE tattooed on its knuckles.

As with other Aardman offerings, the animators' imprints are occasionally visible in the expressive clay protagonists, which is part of the film's undeniable charm. Ewe won't be disappointed.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015

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Spooks: The Greater Good 3 stars

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Harry Pearce, Head of Counter-Terrorism Department at MI5, oversees the handover of deadly terrorist Qasim. The transfer is a disaster and Qasim escapes custody. Soon after, Harry vanishes without trace. High-ranking MI5 operatives enlist Harry's protege Will Crombie to track down his former mentor. In the process, Will stumbles upon a deadly conspiracy and a diabolical plot masterminded by Qasim to detonate a dirty bomb in the heart of London.

  • GenreAction, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastElyes Gabel, Kit Harington, Jennifer Ehle, Peter Firth, Tuppence Middleton, David Harewood, Lara Pulver.
  • DirectorBharat Nalluri.
  • WriterSam Vincent, Jonathan Brackley.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration104 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/spooksthemovie
  • Release08/05/2015

During a nine-year run on BBC One, Spooks thrilled viewers with the morally conflicted escapades of members of Section D of MI5, including one gruesome death sequence involving a deep fat fryer that sparked a deluge of complaints.

The show concluded in 2011 with the death of a pivotal character, effectively bringing down the curtain on the high-stakes spy game. After four years in dramatic limbo, familiar faces return in this glossy big-screen mission penned by Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent, who co-wrote the majority of episodes of the final two series.

There's a comforting air of familiarity about this Bourne Identity-style caper that serves as a reboot of the franchise and wedges the door ajar for further assignments, presuming lead actor Kit Harington can be wooed away from Game Of Thrones. Director Bharat Nalluri, who was closely associated with the TV version, maintains a brisk pace and orchestrates a couple of nail-biting action sequences.

Sir Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), Head of Counter-Terrorism at MI5, oversees the handover of terrorist Qasim (Elyes Gabel) to the CIA. The transfer, via the traffic-clogged roads of London, reaches a standoff when Qasim's gun-toting henchmen attack the police escort.

Harry makes the bold decision to avoid bloodshed by releasing the prisoner. Qasim narrowly escapes a subsequent pursuit by MI5 agent June Keaton (Tuppence Middleton) and her partner. Soon after, Harry vanishes without trace, shouldering the blame for the debacle.

Dame Geraldine Maltby (Jennifer Ehle), Deputy Director General of MI5, and Oliver Mace (Tim McInnerny), Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, enlist Harry's protege Will Crombie (Kit Harington) to track down his mentor. Will reluctantly agrees and unwittingly stumbles into a deadly conspiracy.

"I had to find someone I can trust: it's a short list," Harry informs Will when they eventually meet. With the clock ticking before Qasim detonates a dirty bomb in the heart of London, Will attempts to navigate a web of intrigue, some of it spun by Harry, aided by fellow agent Erin Watts (Lara Pulver).

Spooks: The Greater Good references tragic events from the final episode of the TV series and reopens old wounds to cast doubt on the ulterior motives of some of the key players.

Fans will savour these gossamer thin ties to the past but Nalluri's picture works well as a stand-alone feature for the uninitiated. Firth affects the same furrowed brow to suggest he is custodian of too many secrets, while Harington expends energy in bruising fight sequences.

The plot twists and turns, and threatens to tie itself in knots, but thankfully unravels with a satisfying dose of treachery. As Harry reminds his idealistic protege, "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later, they make you choose."

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
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The Age Of Adaline 3 stars

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In the 1930s, Adaline Bowman is driving to her parents' house as the snow falls. She is the victim of a freak car accident and is struck by lightning - a bizarre combination which causes her to remain a luminous 29 years old and never age. Adaline knows she will have to watch everyone she loves die and slip away. So she resolves to live alone and never allow anyone close to her for fear of hurting them.

  • GenreDrama, Romance
  • CastEllen Burstyn, Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Amanda Crew, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker.
  • DirectorLee Toland Krieger.
  • WriterSalvador Paskowitz, J Mills Goodloe.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration113 mins
  • Official site
  • Release08/05/2015

The Age Of Adaline is a rose-tinted fairy story for every image-obsessed Hollywood actress. Lee Toland Krieger's swooning romance centres on a beautiful woman, who is "immune to the ravages of time" and retains her twenty-something radiance for almost eight decades without the intervention of a plastic surgeon or Botox jab.

She defies wrinkles, crow's feet and the relentless pull of gravity to remain forever young while the world around her withers and rusts. If the catalyst for this miracle - a car crash on snow-laden roads followed by a plunge into sub-zero water and a lightning bolt strike - could be replicated in a Californian hospital, you suspect that at least one starlet would volunteer as a guinea pig to test the outlandish theory.

However, with great beauty comes great responsibility and sadness. The eponymous heroine of Krieger's film cannot allow anyone to get close, who might reveal her secret.

As one character, who does stumble upon the truth, solemnly observes: "All these years, you've lived but you've not had a life." When death is no longer the full stop to your glorious existence, how can you appreciate every lesson learnt, every moment of regret or hard-fought victory?

In 1937, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) is the victim of a freak accident, which condemns her to remain 29-years-old. Her daughter Flemming (Cate Richardson) grows up, forcing Adaline to dodge uncomfortable questions about her glowing appearance.

She resolves to live alone and to change her identity and home every decade. On New Year's Eve, almost 80 years after the fateful accident, Adaline meets handsome San Francisco philanthropist, Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman).

He woos Adaline and persuades her to accompany him to his parents' 40th wedding anniversary party. She walks into the Jones homestead and comes face to face with Ellis' father William (Harrison Ford), who takes one look at his son's sweetheart and gasps: "Adaline!"

He is her long-lost beau from the 1960s, who she abandoned without explanation. Adaline is distraught and tells her daughter that there can be no future to her relationship with Ellis. <"What are you talking about?" despairs Flemming (now played by Ellen Burstyn). "You've got nothing but future!"

The Age Of Adaline gently plucks heartstrings as the time-defying protagonist struggles to let Ellis into her unedifying existence. Director Krieger employs a gushing voiceover to fill in the gaps in Adaline's past.

This florid and unintentionally hilarious narration risks derailing the entire, sticky sweet enterprise. Thankfully, Lively delivers a measured performance and she kindles simmering screen chemistry with Huisman. Ford is terrific as the emotionally scarred patriarch, who fears he is losing his grip on sanity, grounding the film in tear-stained reality while the rest of the script demands dizzying suspensions of disbelief.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
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Tuesday 26th May 2015
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The Book Of Life 3 stars

movie title

In the town of San Angel on the Day Of The Dead, underworld gods La Muerte and Xibalba bet on the outcome of a love triangle involving friends Manolo, Joaquin and Maria. La Muerte, ruler of the Land of the Remembered, believes that sensitive Manolo will get the girl while Xibalba, ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, selects courageous Joaquin as his champion and secretly boosts the young man's chances with an enchanted medal of protection.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Romance
  • CastRon Perlman, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Kate del Castillo, Diego Luna, Ice Cube.
  • DirectorJorge R Gutierrez.
  • WriterJorge R Gutierrez, Douglas Langdale.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration95 mins
  • Official sitewww.bookoflifemovie.co.uk
  • Release24/10/2014

In Mexican culture, Dia de los Muertos or Day Of The Dead is an important annual gathering for families and friends to honour the memory of loved ones who are no longer with them. The three-day celebration, which begins on October 31, traditionally involves adorning graves and specially constructed altars with sugar skulls, flowers and other gifts with special significance to the departed.

This fiesta of remembrance provides a vibrant and poignant backdrop to Jorge R Gutierrez's fantastical computer-animated fable about three friends, who discover there is love after death.

The Book Of Life razzle dazzles our eyes, especially in 3D, cramming as much retina-searing colour and detail as possible into each frame. Co-writer Douglas Lansdale adds plentiful humour to offset the film's air of tragedy including a chorus of singing nuns and a waspish grandmother, voiced by Grey DeLisle, who scene-steals with every purse-lipped outburst.

Museum tour guide Mary Beth (voiced by Christina Applegate) leads a group of unruly schoolchildren through an exhibition about Mexican folklore. She leads the whippersnappers to a chamber that houses the fabled Book Of Life and recounts one particular story, which unfolds in the town of San Angel on the Day Of The Dead.

Rival gods La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) and Xibalba (Ron Perlman) agree a wager on the resolution of a love triangle involving two boys, Manolo (Diego Luna) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum), who are both in love with their friend Maria (Zoe Saldana).

La Muerte, ruler of the Land of the Remembered, believes that sensitive Manolo will get the girl and realise his musical ambitions rather than take up the mantle of his matador father (Hector Elizondo). "Music is not a profession fit for a Sanchez bullfighter!" rages the old man.

Meanwhile, Xibalba (Ron Perlman), ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, selects courageous Joaquin as his champion and secretly boosts the young man's chances with an enchanted medal of protection.

When the time finally comes for Maria to choose between her suitors, conniving Xibalba attempts to influence her decision to ensure he wins the bet.

The Book Of Life inhabits a macabre universe that Tim Burton has made his own but director Gutierrez and his team of animators opt for a more jaunty, upbeat tone enhanced by a bouncy soundtrack replete with cover versions of Elvis Presley, Radiohead and Rod Stewart. "What is it with Mexicans and death?" asks a goth kid on the museum tour, somewhat tongue in cheek.

Luna and Tatum deliver lively vocal performances and Saldana essays a spunky heroine, who epitomises girl power, flanked by a cute porcine sidekick. Action sequences are orchestrated at a brisk pace, punctuated by soaring serenades.

Gutierrez's film strikes a pleasing balance between giggles and soul-searching, tackling tricky themes of mortality, self-sacrifice and the afterlife without giving young audiences nightmares.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water 3 stars

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SpongeBob continues to work in the Krusty Krab diner, run by the irrepressible Eugene Krabs, where he is custodian of the secret recipe of the Krabby Patty, which is coveted by rival Plankton. Following a fight between the fast food moguls, the recipe vanishes. Bikini Bottom teeters on the brink of apocalypse and everyone blames Plankton. However, SpongeBob senses that dark forces are at play and it transpires that a greedy pirate called Burger Beard has stolen the recipe using a magical book.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastTom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Antonio Banderas, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown.
  • DirectorPaul Tibbitt.
  • WriterJonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official sitewww.squarepantsmovie.co.uk
  • Release27/03/2015

In the pantheon of animated films about absorbent bathroom products dressed in pleasingly geometric undergarments, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie stands tall. The 2004 feature film was a guilty pleasure, retaining all of the madcap charm and childish exuberance of the Nickelodeon cartoon series created by Stephen Hillenburg.

More than a decade later, SpongeBob and the residents of the underwater community of Bikini Bottom hit dry land in this deranged sequel, which splices colourful animation and live action.

Familiarity with the TV incarnation certainly helps because at its worst, Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel's script is a psychedelic mess that defies reasoning. For every trippy interlude, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water also delights with its unabashed exuberance and irreverence, cramming in all of the familiar characters plus a flock of seagulls to squawk the infectious theme tune: "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants! Absorbent and yellow and porous is he? SpongeBob SquarePants..."

Parents with a low threshold to boundless good cheer should prepare for a very long 93 minutes. SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny) flips burgers in a diner run by the irrepressible Eugene Krabs (Clancy Brown), where he is custodian of the secret recipe of the Krabby Patty.

Arch rival Plankton (Doug Lawrence) attempts to steal the list of ingredients, but the recipe vanishes into thin air. In the absence of the famed Krabby Patty, Bikini Bottom teeters on the brink of apocalypse. "The sandwich gods are angry at us," screams scuba-diving squirrel Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence).

Everyone blames Plankton but SpongeBob knows he is innocent. It transpires that a greedy pirate called Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) has stolen the recipe using a magical book, which allows the salty seadog to rewrite history.

Plankton joins forces with his computer wife Karen (Jill Talley) to create a time machine to erase Burger Beard's meddling, but the plan fails. Unable to restore balance from beneath the waves, SpongeBob, loyal starfish pal Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), Mr Krabs, Sandy and curmudgeonly Squidward Tentacles (Rodger Bumpass) venture onto dry land to defeat the pilfering pirate.

Burger Beard is armed to the teeth, so SpongeBob and co use the magical book to adopt superhero identities to defeat their nemesis.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water doesn't quite match the pure entertainment of the first film but it comes close. However, a protracted sequence involving a time-travelling dolphin called Bubbles (Matt Berry) is perhaps a hallucinogenic trip too far. Banderas appears to be having a ball as the hirsute antagonist, who has always dreamt of running his own burger bar.

Vocal performances are as lively as the animation, accompanied by a jaunty soundtrack including one upbeat song with the lyrics: "It's better when you and me equals we/Working together in harmony."

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
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Tomorrowland: A World Beyond 3 stars

At the 1964 World Fair, a young boy called Frank Walker takes a magical trip to a world called Tomorrowland in the company of a girl called Athena. Many years later, Frank is a grizzled, world weary inventor, who is haunted by his memories of Tomorrowland and the beautiful Athena. A spirited young woman called Casey Newton, who has also glimpsed this futuristic realm, gatecrashes Frank's life at the most inopportune moment and compels him to venture back to Tomorrowland.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastHugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy.
  • DirectorBrad Bird.
  • WriterBrad Bird, Damon Lindelof.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration130 mins
  • Official sitewww.movies.disney.com/tomorrowland
  • Release22/05/2015

For a big budget fantasy which vociferously encourages children to dream, Tomorrowland: A World Beyond is disappointingly - and ironically - short on invention and ingenuity. Director Brad Bird, who cast early cinematic spells in animation with The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, engineers a trio of slick set pieces in the opening hour.

In particular, his female protagonist's first glimpse of the titular kingdom is a breath-taking assault on the senses including the haunting image of synchronised divers somersaulting downwards into circular pools of water suspended one above another.

Once the cogs of a preposterous plot begin to whir, any exhilaration quickly dissipates, leaving us to slog through an exceedingly pedestrian second hour that is heavy on exposition and light on wonder. As soon as one character starts ranting about a secret brotherhood founded by Gustave Eiffel, Thomas Edison, Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla - a narrative thread that might have come untangled from Dan Brown's outlandish Da Vinci Code - all hope is lost.

Aside from a pair of duelling robots, casually introduced into the underwhelming finale, it's difficult to see what will hold the attention of young children, who aren't already asleep or kicking the chair in front of them in boredom.

At the 1964 New York World Fair, young inventor Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) fails to impress judge David Nix (Hugh Laurie) with his misfiring jetpack. However, the boy does catch the eye of an enigmatic girl called Athena (Raffey Cassidy), who gives Frank a lapel pin emblazoned with a capital T that magically grants him access to a parallel dimension called Tomorrowland.

Eventually, Frank is banished from the fantastical realm and his beloved Athena. Many years later, Frank (now played by George Clooney) is a grizzled recluse, haunted by the past.

A spirited young woman called Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), who has glimpsed this futuristic realm by touching her own lapel pin, gatecrashes Frank's life at the most inopportune moment.

"You've been manipulated to believe you're part of something incredible," Frank warns Casey as they travel back to Tomorrowland to discover the fairy-tale realm has been corrupted beyond recognition.

Tomorrowland: A World Beyond has teasing flashes of the beguiling flight of fantasy that Bird surely intended. A high-speed pursuit with robot assassins around Frank's booby-trap laden home is executed at a breathless pace, and rising star Cassidy from Worsley near Manchester outshines Clooney and Robertson in their underwritten roles.

However, a framing device which allows Frank and Casey to jointly narrate the story - and constantly bicker - grates and is ultimately superfluous. Somewhere between Bird's plodding direction in the second act and his convoluted script co-written by Damon Lindelof, Tomorrowland becomes a test of endurance rather than a pulse-quickening tumble down the rabbit hole of the human spirit.

Two By Two 2 stars

Dave and his inquisitive young son Finny belong to a fluffy land-based species called Nestrians, who are excellent homemakers. They are denied safe passage on Noah's ark and adopt laughable disguises to pose as carnivorous hyena-like Grymps alongside a genuine mother animal called Hazel and her daughter Leah. The roaring flood arrives but Finny and Leah are stranded on dry land with a giant slug called Obesey and his parasitic passenger, Stayput.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy
  • CastAva Connolly, Tara Flynn, Paul Tylak, Patrick FitzSymons, Callum Maloney, Dermot Magennis.
  • DirectorSean McCormack, Toby Genkel.
  • WriterRichie Conroy, Marteinn Thorisson, Mark Hodkinson, Toby Genkel.
  • CountryGer/Bel/Lu
  • Duration87 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/pages/Ooops-Noah-is-gone/222749614584770
  • Release01/05/2015

The biblical story of Noah, neatly encapsulated in six chapters of the book of Genesis, provides a weak catalyst for this derivative computer-animated adventure, which strives to emulate the Ice Age films but falls woefully short of that franchise's visual sophistication and belly laughs. Co-directors Toby Genkel and Sean McCormack chart a pedestrian course through shallow dramatic waters, bringing together cuddly critters in a race against time to escape an apocalyptic downpour.

Vocal performances are lacklustre, like the visuals, and the absence of jeopardy in the closing frames is palpable. Crucially, Two By Two defies its own flimsy set-up without obvious reason, such as inviting a family of three giraffes into the ark, while only allowing one member of other species to apparently board the gargantuan gopher wood vessel.

Noah is mentioned but never seen - instead a sanctimonious, self-serving lion captains the ship aided by a pair of grouchy gorillas. Any wholesome messages about family unity, teamwork and tolerance buried in the ham-fisted script are submerged beneath a thick glaze of syrupy sentiment as the film reaches its underwhelming conclusion.

Dave (voiced by Dermot Magennis) and his inquisitive young son Finny (Callum Maloney) belong to a fluffy land-based species called Nestrians, who are excellent homemakers. "All the animals of the world have been called to a gathering," Dave explains to his incredulous boy. "There's a flood coming. We'll drown if we don't leave."

On cue, storm clouds gather and the heavens open, ushering the two Nestrians on their exhausting trek for survival. They arrive to discover that "all animals are welcome on Noah's ark... as long as you're on Noah's list."

Alas, Dave and Finny are rejected for travel as well as two bat-like predators called Griffins (Aileen Mythen, Magennis again). The resourceful Nestrians adopt laughable disguises to pose as carnivorous hyena-like Grymps alongside a genuine mother animal called Hazel (Lara Flynn) and her daughter Leah (Ava Connolly).

The roaring flood arrives but Finny and Leah are stranded on dry land with a giant slug called Obesey (Paul Tylak) and his parasitic passenger, Stayput (Patrick Fitzsymons). As the youngsters head for higher ground, Dave and Hazel desperately attempt to turn around the ark.

Fittingly, Two By Two is a damp squib. Elements of the vastly superior Finding Nemo are flung into the bland mix, offset by the feeble villainy of The Griffins, whose attempts to eat Finny and Leah are pathetic. The closest the film comes to a joke is one passenger announcement aboard the ark: "Our approximate sailing time is 40 days and 40 nights. We are expecting some choppy seas and light drizzle."

Thankfully Genkel and McCormack's film only lasts 87 minutes, but that still feels like a slog.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015
Thursday 28th May 2015

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Unfriended 3 stars

movie title

It is one year since high school student Laura Barns committed suicide as a result of online abuse. Laura's best friend Blaire Lily seeks emotional support in the company of her boyfriend Mitch and friends Adam, Jess and Ken. During a Skype chat with her social circle, Blaire notices an uninvited user with the screen name billie227 has gatecrashed their call. This shadowy figure refuses to leave and soon after, Blaire and co receive cryptic messages from Laura's Facebook account.

  • GenreHorror, Romance, Thriller
  • CastMatthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman, Moses Jacob Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Shelley Hennig.
  • DirectorLeo Gabriadze.
  • WriterNelson Greaves.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration83 mins
  • Official sitewww.unfriendedmovie.co.uk
  • Release01/05/2015

An online prank spirals out of control in Unfriended, which takes the philosophical concept of a 'ghost in the machine' to the outlandish next level. Directed by Levan Gabriadze and written by Nelson Greaves, this sleek horror pits a group of high school students against an online predator, one year after their classmate committed suicide.

In a neat twist, the film unfolds on the laptop of one heroine. Browser windows, video chat links and instant messengers open and close on her cluttered desktop with a click of her trackpad button, seemingly in real time.

Occasionally, director Gabriadze exploits this stylistic conceit for maximum impact, like when the heroine begins to disclose a secret about the dead girl, then deletes and repeatedly edits her response before clicking Send. From each amendment, we piece together unsettling facts that are never spoken aloud.

By exploiting technology from a first-person perspective, Unfriended keeps us at a safe distance from the blood-curdling terror, which lessens the impact of the obligatory jolts. And even though protagonists are supposed to be savvy teens, they evidently haven't watched enough horror films to instinctively know that you don't investigate noises in the dark on your own.

It is the one-year anniversary of the death of California high school student Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman), who committed suicide after someone posted a humiliating video of her at a party. Laura's best friend Blaire (Shelley Hennig) is on her laptop, enjoying an intimate video chat with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), who wants to lose his virginity with her at prom.

Their flirtation is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of friends Adam (Will Peltz), Jess (Renee Olstead) and Ken (Jacob Wysocki) for a group conflab. Blaire notices that an uninvited user with the screen name billie227 has gate-crashed the conversation.

The friends assume it is a technical glitch. Soon after, Blaire receives a cryptic message, apparently from Laura's dormant Facebook account. The school friends are convinced that classmate Val (Courtney Halverson) is responsible and they attempt to unmask her as the troll. "You each have dirty little secrets," explains billie227 in a message. "I want to expose them."

Unfriended sustains dramatic momentum but does have a couple of unintentionally hilarious moments like when Blaire is directed to a web forum dramatically headlined: DO NOT ANSWER MESSAGES FROM THE DEAD.

Hennig and co deliver solid performances straight to camera, as if they are staring into webcams. The intriguing set-up promises more than the film can ultimately deliver. Even though the ghoulish payoff is a let-down, director Gabriadze has undoubtedly stumbled upon an intriguing new way to unsettle audiences, who will think twice about logging onto social media as soon as the end credits roll.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 23rd May 2015
Sunday 24th May 2015
Monday 25th May 2015
Tuesday 26th May 2015
Wednesday 27th May 2015

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