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

  • Angels Vs Bullies
  • As Above, So Below
  • Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
  • Deliver Us From Evil
  • Earth To Echo
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • If I Stay
  • Into The Storm
  • Let's Be Cops
  • Lucy
  • Lucy (Subtitled)
  • Million Dollar Arm
  • NT Live: Medea
  • Planes 2: Fire & Rescue
  • Rio 2
  • RSC Live: The Two Gentlemen Of Verona
  • Sex Tape
  • Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For
  • Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For 3D
  • The Expendables 3
  • The House Of Magic
  • The Inbetweeners 2
  • The Keeper Of Lost Causes
  • The LEGO Movie
  • The Love Punch
  • The Nut Job
  • The Purge: Anarchy
  • The Unbeatables
  • What If

Angels Vs Bullies 3 stars

Gabriel is a student at an ailing school, which specialises in music. Late one night, Gabriel breaks into the building to create some graffiti art and he is stunned to encounter the ghost of a beautiful young teenager, who died as a result of bullying. The ghost girl warns Gabriel that fellow student Lucy, who is the lead singer of school rock band, Spray Can Angels, is being bullied mercilessly and she too is on the verge of taking her life.

  • GenreAction, Drama, Indie
  • CastEleanor Corcoran, Rosie Woolman, Harry Goodwins.
  • DirectorChris Turner.
  • WriterChris Turner.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration81 mins
  • Official sitewww.angelsvsbullies.co.uk
  • Release22/08/2014 (selected cinemas)

Gabriel (Harry Goodwins) is a student at an ailing school, which specialises in music. A visit from inspectors is imminent and could result in severe consequences for staff and pupils. Late one night, Gabriel breaks into the building to create some graffiti art and he is stunned to encounter the ghost of a beautiful young teenager (Eleanor Corcoran), who died as a result of bullying. In turn, Gabriel meets other spirits but he appears to be the only student at the school able to see these spectres. The ghost girl warns Gabriel that fellow student Lucy (Rosie Woolman), who is the lead singer of school rock band, Spray Can Angels, is being bullied mercilessly and she too is on the verge of taking her life. With the end of term concert on the horizon, Gabriel must save Lucy from her tormentors and the school from closure in this drama shot on location in Basildon, Essex.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
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Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
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Thursday 4th September 2014

As Above, So Below 3 stars

movie title

Scarlett is a gung-ho tomb raider and academic, who hopes to complete her late father's quest to uncover the resting place of the fabled Philosopher's Stone. This odyssey leads her to the spooky catacombs of the French capital, which houses the remains of six million dead, in the company of friend George, cameraman Benji and three locals. As the treasure hunters venture into the darkness, they come face to face with shocking visions from the past.

  • GenreHorror, Thriller
  • CastFrancois Civil, Ali Marhyar, Edwin Hodge, Marion Lambert, Ben Feldman, Perdita Weeks.
  • DirectorJohn Erick Dowdle.
  • WriterDrew Dowdle, John Erick Dowdle.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration93 mins
  • Official sitewww.asabovesobelowmovie.co.uk
  • Release29/08/2014

A globe-trotting, puzzle-laden treasure hunt a la The Da Vinci Code gets the found footage horror treatment in As Above, So Below. Taking its title from ancient words linked to magic and the occult in Hermetic texts, John Erick Dowdle's picture ventures into the catacombs beneath Paris, which house the remains of more than six million people - more the double the population of the French capital.

This claustrophobic labyrinth of skeletal remains is a spooky setting for Dowdle's descent into subterranean madness, co-written by his brother Drew, which follows a gung-ho academic as she searches for the alchemical substance known as the Philosopher's Stone.

The film cuts between helmet-mounted cameras and a surprisingly robust handheld device, which document this foolhardy journey through the city of the dead. Natural jerks and twitches of the footage disguise the filmmakers' limited budget for special effects, ensuring a couple of jump-out-of-your-seat jolts as something nasty emerges at speed from the dark.

If the bones of this archaeological quest are grounded in myth or documented fact, the flesh and gristle of the Dowdles' story are an overblown conflation of hocus pocus and forced psychological terror.

Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks) is a gung-ho tomb raider, who intends to complete her late father's quest to uncover the fabled Philosopher's Stone. Ignoring the dire warning of a friend, who describes her father's obsession as "a path to madness", Scarlett uncovers a vital clue in the Middle East that leads her to Paris with a trusty cameraman called Benji (Edwin Hodge) in tow.

In the French capital, Scarlett reunites with old pal George (Ben Feldman), who agrees to translate the symbology of the relic in Iran. Their back-and-forth reasoning of cryptic clues points to a secret chamber beneath the city. Thus Scarlett enlists the help of three Cataphiles - Papillon (Francois Civil), Souxie (Marion Lambert) and Zed (Ali Marhyar) - who know their way around the tunnels and can safely shepherd the expedition.

Passing beneath a doorway which bears the inscription, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here", the sextet crawls into the dark. Paranoia runs rampant and the interlopers confront shocking visions from their past, which systematically drive each member of the team to the brink of madness.

As Above, So Below is reminiscent of the 2005 British horror The Descent and the film's best sequences focus on characters as they panic or hyperventilate with fear in confined spaces. Weeks essays a no-nonsense heroine, whose penchant for peril is neatly explained by her determination to honour her father's memory.

The remainder of the good-looking cast are easy fodder for grisly demises. The script's tenuous grasp on reality slips completely in a frenetic and bewildering finale that will leave many in the audience scratching their heads.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes 4 stars

movie title

Simian flu has ravaged the globe, killing almost the entire human race. In San Francisco, one-time military man Dreyfus, who lost his entire family to the virus, leads the human survivors. The truce between humans and apes is tested to breaking point when a diplomatic mission led by Malcolm, his wife Ellie and teenage son Alexander enters the forest to request access to the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with its electricity.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastKeri Russell, Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell.
  • DirectorMatt Reeves.
  • WriterMark Bomback, Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration130 mins
  • Official sitewww.dawnofapes.com
  • Release17/07/2014

Blending state-of-the-art special effects with an intelligent script, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes conjures two hours of animal magic that looks set to be crowned king of the blockbuster swingers. Tim Burton's abortive Planet Of The Apes is now a distant memory thanks to the 2011 revamp Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and this superior sequel, which pushes the art of motion-capture performance to new limits.

Andy Serkis' exemplary work as Caesar, the super-intelligent chimpanzee who leads the ape uprising, is the film's emotional heartbeat. His ability to convey the character's rage, despair and passion through movement and subtle gesture is breathtaking.

Toby Kebbell is also compelling as Caesar's war-mongering rival, who believes the key to his species' survival is the extermination of humans. Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver's script elegantly draws parallels between the feuding primates, juxtaposing tender scenes of parenting with bruising skirmishes that create divisions on both sides.

Ten winters have passed since simian flu ravaged the globe. In the absence of law and order, basic resources such as water, food and electricity are dangerously depleted. One-time military man Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), who lost his entire family to the virus, leads survivors of the ALZ-113 virus in San Francisco.

He dispatches a team led by family man Malcolm (Jason Clarke) to access the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with electricity. In the forest that envelops the dam, the scouting party encounters apes led by Caesar, including his ambitious second-in-command Koba (Kebbell), impetuous son Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) and Bornean orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval).

Malcolm's trigger-happy compatriot Carver (Kirk Acevedo) shoots one of the apes and the humans are banished to their stronghold. Once Dreyfus learns about the neighbouring ape community, he asks Malcolm and co to refrain from telling the other survivors.

"They're talking apes with big-ass spears!" shrieks Carver. Malcolm realises that he must earn Caesar's trust to gain access to the dam so he prepares to return to the forest with wife Ellie (Keri Russell) and teenage son Alexander (Kodi Smith-McPhee).

"If you're not back in three days, we're going to go out there and kill every last one of them," warns Dreyfus.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a slick thrill ride with brains as well as brawn. The grim mood, which permeates the first half, leads to all-guns-blazing war and director Reeves orchestrates these brutal sequences with elan.

Digital effects are jaw-dropping, giving birth to a realistic army of blood-thirsty apes who cram every chaotic, blood-spattered frame. The film's strong anti-gun message comes through loud and clear, but the appetite for destruction overpowers diplomacy.

"I always think ape better than humans," laments Caesar as his dream of lasting peace founders. "I see now how like them we are."

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
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Deliver Us From Evil 3 stars

movie title

Detective Ralph Sarchie and thrill-seeking partner Butler answer two calls in one night: a domestic dispute involving Iraq war veteran Jimmy Tratner and infanticide at the city zoo. As the two cops investigate these connected incidents, they cross paths with Spanish priest Mendoza, who claims that a demonic presence is responsible for the bloodshed.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Horror, Romance, Thriller
  • CastEric Bana, Olivia Munn, Edgar Ramirez, Joel McHale, Sean Harris.
  • DirectorScott Derrickson.
  • WriterPaul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration118 mins
  • Official sitewww.deliverusfromevil-movie.net
  • Release22/08/2014

Based on the book Beware The Night by retired NYPD police officer Ralph Sarchie, Deliver Us From Evil is a supernatural horror about Sarchie's real-life encounters with the forces of darkness on the streets of New York. Great swathes of Scott Derrickson's film are hard to swallow, especially scenes inside the bedroom of Sarchie's cherubic daughter, who becomes a prime target for malevolent retribution.

"I think it's ridiculous to blame invisible powers for the things people do," remarks the sceptical lead character, echoing our concerns. However, the director and co-writer Paul Harris Boardman treat the source material with utmost seriousness and expect us to do the same.

Derrickson is well versed in the tropes of the genre, having previously made The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and Sinister starring Ethan Hawke. He engineers some mildly creepy shocks between set pieces, culminating in a camera-shaking showdown between good and evil that leaves many questions unanswered.

The film opens in night-time Iraq with two soldiers Tratner (Chris Coy) and Santino (Sean Harris) descending nervously into an underground lair, which could conceal the enemy. A live night-vision feed from a camera affixed to Tratner's helmet cuts out and we hear blood-curdling screams.

Moving forward three years, Detective Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) patrols his south Bronx beat with thrill-seeking partner Butler (Joel McHale). Dedicated to his soul-destroying job, Sarchie finds it hard to leave behind the stresses of the day when he returns home to his wife Jen (Olivia Munn) and daughter Christina (Lulu Wilson).

He is infamous in the department for his sixth sense - he instinctively knows which emergency calls to respond to and which to leave to the rest of the squad. In the space of a single night, Sarchie answer two calls: a domestic dispute involving Iraq war veteran Tratner and an infanticide at the city zoo committed by a disturbed mother (Olivia Horton).

CCTV footage reveals she was spurred on by a hooded figure, who turns out to be Santino. As the two cops investigate these connected incidents, they cross paths with Spanish priest Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), who claims that a demonic presence is responsible for the bloodshed.

Sceptical at first, Sarchie witnesses horrific visions, which suggest that Mendoza might be telling the truth. As the detective edges closer to the horrifying truth, he endangers not only himself and Butler but also his wife and child.

Deliver Us From Evil unfolds at a consistent, steady pace, opening Sarchie's bloodshot eyes to a world of unspoken horror. Bana is suitably gruff in a two-dimensional and largely unsympathetic role but he doesn't have sufficient screen time with Munn and Wilson to convince us to invest in the family's wellbeing.

Harris is genuinely unsettling as the possessed antagonist, whose presence lights the fuse on blood-spattered madness.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
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Earth To Echo 3 stars

movie title

Best friends Alex, Munch and Tuck are devastated when a highway construction project tears apart their community of Clark County, Nevada, forcing the lads and their families to relocate to different parts of the country. On their last day together, they follow strange signals on their mobile phones into the desert and uncover a friendly alien robot, who has become stranded on Earth. The boys nickname the robot Echo and pledge to help their otherworldly friend return home.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Drama, Family, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastReese Hartwig, Astro, Teo Halm, Ella Wahlestedt.
  • DirectorDave Green.
  • WriterHenry Gayden.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration91 mins
  • Official sitewww.callhimecho.com
  • Release25/07/2014

In 1982, ET phoned home and now another stranded extra-terrestrial requires assistance from pint-sized heroes to safely return to the stars in Dave Green's fantastical family-oriented adventure. Earth To Echo begs obvious similarities to Steven Spielberg's classic coming-of-age story and the 1987 fantasy *Batteries Not Included.

Green's special effects-laden picture lacks the emotional wallop of the former and the unabashed charm of the latter, but does tread a familiar path through fresh eyes by employing the found footage format a la Paranormal Activity.

Characters address an omnipresent video camera, verbalising their excitement and fear as a night-time bicycle ride into the desert becomes a rescue mission of galactic proportions. "I'm Reginald. I'm a bit of an acquired taste... that's what my mom says," confesses one of the boys in his endearingly nervous introduction.

Like all examples of the genre, the lens invariably points in the right direction, regardless of realism, to capture important conversations and push forward the storyline.

"What you're about to see is what happened to me and my friends one year ago," explains Tuck (Brian "Astro" Bradley). In fragmented footage, we meet Tuck's best friends Alex (Teo Halm) and Reginald aka Munch (Reese Hartwig) after they learn that a highway construction project is going to tear apart their community of Clark County, Nevada.

The lads will have to relocate to different parts of the country, signalling the end of their balmy childhood. On their last night together, the boys follow strange signals on their mobile phones into the desert. "I never understood why people like the outdoors," wheezes Munch.

They uncover a friendly robot, who has become stranded on Earth, and the boys pledge to help their otherworldly friend locate the missing parts of his spaceship so he can return home.

Plucky classmate Emma (Ella Wahlestedt) joins the trio as they evade shady government officials led by Dr Lawrence Masden (Jason Gray-Stanford), who are also hunting Echo. "He just wants to go home!" pleads one of the children. "That will not happen," sneers Masden, "that thing is far too valuable."

Earth To Echo is a state-of-the-art ode to ET and its imitators that ups the technical ante for a generation that prefers to swipe at tablets and smart phones rather than go outside and play. Green employs special effects at key junctures, but, for the most part, he's reliant on the young cast to carry his film.

Halm, Bradley and Hartwig are appealing without being too winsomely cute, and there are some genuinely touching scenes of the boys choking back emotion as the enormity of the situation, and the risks, become clear.

The titular robot's personality is encapsulated in a few beeps and trills that should, if nothing else, remind audiences to keep their mobile devices switched off for the duration.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 30th August 2014
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Guardians Of The Galaxy 4 stars

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Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora, genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, his tree-like sidekick Groot and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax The Destroyer, whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction
  • CastBradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin.
  • DirectorJames Gunn.
  • WriterJames Gunn, Nicole Perlman.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration128 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/guardians
  • Release31/07/2014

From its visually stunning opening set to the funky strains of Come And Get Your Love by Native American rock band Redbone, Guardians Of The Galaxy lends the Marvel Comics big screen universe a delightful retro twang. The sardonic anti-hero is seldom parted from his Walkman and he inspires his cohorts to greatness with repeated references to Kevin Bacon and Footloose. As the slick special effects attest, the budget for this intergalactic romp is big - so too are the laughs courtesy of director James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman. The opening sequence affectionately nods to Raiders Of The Lost Ark and when the mystery surrounding the film's fabled treasure is revealed, the space cowboy casually notes the trinket has "a shiny suitcase, Ark of the Covenant, Maltese Falcon vibe". Gunn doesn't skimp on the spectacle - if anything, a couple of the outlandish set pieces are too long - but he adds a comic twist to each deafening blast of pyrotechnics. Thus a centrepiece prison break is underscored by Rupert Holmes' 1979 hit Escape (The Pina Colada Song) and when the anti-hero barely escapes death in his spaceship and an extra-terrestrial girlfriend stumbles up from the hold, he looks at her with embarrassment and confesses, "I'm going to be honest with you. I forgot you were here". Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves led by blue-skinned tyrant Yondu (Michael Rooker), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a thief for hire, who steals a mystical orb sought by sadistic warlord Ronan (Lee Pace) and his army of Sakaarans. Peter evades Ronan's clutches and eventually aligns himself with a motley crew of mercenaries comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), his tree-like sidekick Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan. When Peter learns the orb is an ancient artefact with the power to destroy the universe, he must put selfish desires to one side to repel Ronan and his underlings including fearsome intergalactic hunter Korath (Djimon Hounsou). Guardians Of The Galaxy is a blast. Pratt brings swagger and dry wit to his emotionally wounded hero, while Saldana adds sass and sex appeal to her otherworldly assassin. Bautista is marvellous as the hulk who takes everything literally - "Nothing goes over my head, my reflexes are too fast" - but almost every scene is stolen by the computer-generated double-act of Rocket and Groot. Cooper voices his feisty gun-toting fur ball with a wonderful blend of defiance and sarcasm, and breaks our hearts when it seems that he might be separated from his beloved sidekick forever. Cameos from Benicio Del Toro and Glenn Close hint at a wider canvas of political intrigue that director Gunn will be keen to explore in a sequel star-dated for release in 2017.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
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How To Train Your Dragon 2 4 stars

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During one of his regular sorties with Toothless, Hiccup stumbles upon a lost world full of rescued dragons and a valiant dragon rider named Valka, who turns out to be Hiccup's long lost mother. A tearful family reunion with Hiccup's father Stoick is cut short when diabolical dragon hunter Drago Bludvist storms the lost world and takes control of all of the majestic creatures using a gargantuan Alpha dragon called a Bewilderbeast.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Family, Family
  • CastKristen Wiig, America Ferrera, Jay Baruchel, Djimon Hounsou, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler.
  • DirectorDean DeBlois.
  • WriterDean DeBlois.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.howtotrainyourdragon.co.uk
  • Release27/06/2014 (Scotland); 11/07/2014 (nationwide)

Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the 2010 computer-animated adventure How To Train Your Dragon soared tantalisingly close to perfection. Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois' brilliantly executed story of one boy's remarkable friendship with a supposedly fearsome dragon was deeply touching, distinguished by richly detailed visuals and an intelligent script.

The sequel, directed solely by DeBlois, expands the narrative arcs of the characters, testing their mettle in the aftermath of tragedy and conflict. Boys cross the rubicon to manhood, parents make selfless sacrifices to protect their brood and evil poisons an innocent heart.

As a wise woman in the film proclaims, "Good dragons under the control of bad people do bad things". Five years have passed since Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) befriended Toothless and the inhabitants of the village of Berk now live in harmony with the dragons.

Hiccup's father Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) continues to preside over the people. He hopes Hiccup will accept his destiny as the next tribal chief but the boy prefers to soar through the clouds astride his trusty Night Fury.

During a regular sortie with Toothless, Hiccup stumbles upon a lost world of rescued dragons and a valiant rider named Valka (Cate Blanchett), who turns out to be a long-lost face from the past. "It's not everyday you find out your mother is some kind of crazy, feral, vigilante dragon lady!" whoops Hiccup.

A tearful family reunion with Stoick is cut short by diabolical dragon hunter Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou), who storms this lost world and takes control of the majestic fire-breathing creatures using a gargantuan Alpha dragon. World domination beckons and all that stands in Drago's way are Hiccup, Toothless and the boy's plucky friends Astrid (America Ferrara), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Snotlout (Jonah Hill) and the twins Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) and Tuffnut (TJ Miller).

In almost every aspect, How To Train Your Dragon 2 matches its polished predecessor... except one. The addition of Oscar winner Blanchett to the vocal fold is a calamitous misjudgement. From the outset, the Australian actress is engaged in a futile tug-of-war with her Scottish accent that initially roams the British Isles and eventually strays across the entire Commonwealth.

Her verbal strangulations are horribly distracting and undermine some of the film's most emotionally charged moments of reconciliation and remembrance.

For his part, writer-director DeBlois charts a breathless course between drama, action and comedy, the latter delivered with scenery-chewing gusto by Craig Ferguson as Stoick's best friend Gobber the Belch. "[Valka's] meatballs could kill more beasts than a battle axe. I still got a few knocking around in here!" he grimaces, pointing to his belly.

Flying sequences deliver a vertiginous thrill, especially in 3D, including a couple of death-defying battles that slalom and swoop at dizzying speed. Blanchett aside, lightning nearly strikes twice.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
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Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
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If I Stay 3 stars

Musical prodigy Mia Hall goes for a drive along snow-laden roads with her parents Denny and Kat, and little brother Teddy. Mia wakes from a head-on collision and watches paramedics rush her lifeless body into an ambulance. At the hospital, where her grandparents solemnly await news, Mia observes from a distance as medical staff attempt to save her life on the operating table. "This kid's waking up an orphan... if she ever wakes up," one doctor tells his staff.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance, Teenage
  • CastJamie Blackley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Liana Liberato, Joshua Leonard, Stacy Keach.
  • DirectorR J Cutler.
  • WriterShauna Cross.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration107 mins
  • Official sitewww.ifistaymovie.com
  • Release29/08/2014

Young adults who shed their body weight in tears at The Fault In Our Stars earlier this summer, will be similarly dehydrated by the conclusion of RJ Cutler's heart-tugging drama. Based on Gayle Forman's bestselling novel, If I Stay centres on a talented teenager in limbo between life and death, who must choose between waking from her coma or skipping merrily towards the light.

How the heroine makes this choice isn't entirely clear. Nothing happens when she whispers in the ear of her baby brother that she intends to fight for life but as soon as her resolve weakens and she pleads with the universe to end her misery, it's mere seconds before the pearly gates swing open and beckon her come hither.

Screenwriter Shauna Cross sidesteps a serious discussion of mortality by distilling the teenager's ruminations into a series of flashbacks and montages of an enviably carefree childhood and a fairy-tale school romance.

Add into the overwrought mix the heroine's natural aptitude for the cello and her impending audition for the world renowned Juilliard School for Performing Arts in New York City, and it seems churlish, not to mention ungrateful, for her to consider anything but a return to terra firma.

The musical prodigy is Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz), who has never felt like she fits in with her parents Denny (Joshua Leonard) and Kat (Mireille Enos) or little brother Teddy (Jakob Davies). "I've always felt like this Martian in my family," Mia tells Adam (Jamie Blackley), her school's resident dreamboat, who plays guitar in the band Willamette Stone and is destined for great things, including falling for Mia.

Their romance burns bright until Willamette Stone are signed to a record label and the pressure of touring takes Adam away from Mia. Soon after, Denny and Kat pack the children into the car for an ill-fated drive down snow-laden roads.

Mia wakes from a head-on collision and watches paramedics rush her lifeless body into an ambulance. At the hospital, where her grandparents (Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Rose) solemnly await news, Mia observes from a distance as medical staff attempt to save her life on the operating table.

"This kid's waking up an orphan... if she ever wakes up," one doctor tells his staff.

If I Stay shamelessly tugs heartstrings, constructing an idyllic cocoon of love for Mia, which is shattered to smithereens by cruel misfortune. Moretz and Blackley are an attractive pairing and spark pleasing screen chemistry that sustains our interest through some mawkish and emotionally manipulative moments.

The fractured chronology is unavoidable but hampers dramatic momentum, reducing a middle section laden with reminiscence and regret to a crawl. A hoary and contrived finale is sign-posted well in advance so teenagers have plenty of time to arm themselves with enough tissues to contain their sobs and sniffles.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
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Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
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Into The Storm 3 stars

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Veteran storm chaser Pete consults his data and notes that an unprecedented weather system is heading for the town of Silverton, which could unleash a series of devastating meteorological events on the community. As Pete, colleague Allison Stone and fellow storm chasers race to the scene, their cameras recording every heart-stopping event.

  • GenreAction, Thriller
  • CastMatt Walsh, Sarah Wayne Callies, Richard Armitage, Max Deacon.
  • DirectorSteven Quale.
  • WriterJohn Swetnam.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration89 mins
  • Official sitewww.intothestormmovie.com
  • Release22/08/2014

Eighteen years ago, Dutch director Jan de Bont capitalised on the success of Speed to harness the full fury of Mother Nature in Twister. The special effects-laden action thriller followed rival teams of daredevil storm chasers as they converged on Oklahoma during a spate of devastating tornadoes.

Back in the real world, the intervening years have born witness to increasingly extreme weather systems across the globe - tsunamis, hurricanes, floods - that have devastated communities and highlighted our helplessness against the elements.

It's an ideal time for director Steve Quale to send us back into the eye of the cinematic storm in this adrenaline-fuelled disaster movie. Quale and his army of digital effects wizards unleash a wave of cyclones on an unsuspecting Midwest town and witness the carnage through the lenses of crazed storm chasers and terrified residents, who cannot outrun the swirling winds.

As a visual spectacle, Into The Storm boasts all of the sound and fury you crave and expect, including one vortex bearing down on an airport and throwing around passenger jets as if they were toys. However, in the calm before this digitally-rendered hell, screenwriter John Swetnam doesn't spend enough time fleshing out his multitude of characters to ensure we care deeply that they survive the onslaught.

Storm chaser and documentary filmmaker Pete Moore (Matt Walsh) is poised to lose his funding unless he can drive his armour-plated vehicle Titus inside a tornado. Meteorologist Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies) predicts a weather system will sweep through the town of Silverton and she joins Pete on the road with three camera operators: Lucas (Lee Whittaker), Daryl (Arlen Escarpeta) and new boy Jacob (Jeremy Sumpter).

On the outskirts of town, the storm chasers encounter adrenaline junkies Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep), who give chase, determined to place themselves in harm's way to guarantee more hits on their YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, Silverton high school vice principal Gary Morris (Richard Armitage) prepares for graduation of the senior class. Before the ceremony, he clashes with his two sons, 17-year-old son Donnie (Max Deacon) and younger brother Trey (Nathan Kress), who are grieving the loss of their mother. As the graduation begins, tornado sirens sound...

Into The Storm plays to its strengths, capturing the decimation of large swathes of Silverton from multiple angles in the air and on the ground. The first-person conceit doesn't always work - shaky handheld footage reduces some action sequences to a blur - but it does afford Quale one excellent opportunity to pluck our heartstrings when Donnie and classmate Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey) record tearful farewells to their parents.

Armitage, Callies and co are largely forgettable. Logic is smashed to smithereens well before Allison traces the predicted path of the storm and gasps dramatically, "It's heading straight for the school!"

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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Let's Be Cops 2 stars

movie title

Ryan O'Malley and best friend Justin Miller misread the dress code for their college reunion party and turn up dressed as police officers. On the way home, the buddies embrace the power afforded by the uniform including an impromptu stop and search of goons working for sadistic Russian mobster Mossi Devic. The following day, Ryan buys a patrol car and persuades Justin to slip back into his fake cop persona to woo his crush and apprehend Devic.

  • GenreAction, Comedy, Romance
  • CastRob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr, Jake Johnson, Nina Dobrev, James D'Arcy.
  • DirectorLuke Greenfield.
  • WriterNicholas Thomas, Luke Greenfield.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration104 mins
  • Official sitewww.letsbecops.com
  • Release27/08/2014

If the title of Luke Greenfield's hare-brained buddy movie was a rhetorical question, the unequivocal answer would be: Let's not! Lifeless, limp and relentlessly unfunny, Let's Be Cops is a scattershot comedy about downtrodden pals, who don LAPD uniforms for a party and discover newfound respect because of the badge. Films of this ilk propel characters on a journey of self-discovery laden with mishaps and misadventures, at the end of which, they glean valuable life lessons about self-belief and courage.

The lessons we learn from Greenfield's picture are manifold: an amusing dramatic premise doth not a laughter riot make; it's never a good sign when you yearn to punch the lead characters within five minutes of them appearing on screen; and misfiring punchlines do not suddenly become hilarious if one of the actors delivers them AT THE TOP OF HIS VOICE.

Ryan O'Malley (Jake Johnson) has frittered away 11,000 dollars he earned from a TV commercial for genital herpes. He lacks direction, as does best friend Justin Miller (Damon Wayans Jr), a videogame designer whose idea for an immersive experience as a LAPD officer is shot down in flames by his zombie-obsessed boss (Jonathan Lajoie).

These much maligned misfits misread the dress code for their college reunion party and turn up in costumes, which Justin bought for his videogame presentation. On the way home, the buddies embrace the power afforded by the uniform including an impromptu stop and search of goons working for sadistic Russian mobster Mossi Devic (James D'Arcy).

The following day, Ryan buys a patrol car and persuades Justin to slip back into his fake cop persona to woo his crush: a pretty waitress called Josie (Nina Dobrev), who dreams of swapping lunch orders for a career as a make-up artist.

Unfortunately, Josie is also the object of Devic's demented affections. Real-life officer Segars (Rob Riggle) swallows Ryan and Justin's buffoonish bluff and shares valuable surveillance on Devic. "He is the Devil's nephew!" warns Segars, whose hard-nosed superior, Detective Brolin (Andy Garcia), becomes suspicious of Ryan and Justin and decides to test their mettle.

Women apparently love a man in uniform but it's hard to imagine anyone loving Luke Greenfield's ridiculous comedy of errors, which attempts to hop on the 21 Jump Street bandwagon and misses by a mile. As a double-act, Johnson and Wayans Jr are irritating and it beggars belief that they accomplish their deception when the characters go out of their way to be exposed as charlatans.

Garcia must have been short of a month's rent to accept his thankless supporting role while Dobrev serves up a two-dimensional loved interest, who apparently has a track record for attracting psychos. Action sequences are perfunctory and the script makes ill-advised forays into homophobia, racism and misogyny in search of elusive giggles.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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Lucy 3 stars

movie title

American twenty-something Lucy is kidnapped by Korean mob boss Mr Jang and forced to work as a drugs mule, carrying a consignment of a valuable synthetic drug called CPH4 sewn into her stomach. During her captivity, Lucy gets into a fight and one of her captors kicks her in the stomach, releasing CPH4 into her system. The drug significantly increases her physical and mental abilities, unleashing telepathic and telekinetic powers.

  • GenreAction, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastMorgan Freeman, Scarlett Johansson, Amr Waked, Choi Min-sik, Julian Rhind-Tutt.
  • DirectorLuc Besson.
  • WriterLuc Besson.
  • CountryFr
  • Duration89 mins
  • Official sitewww.lucymovie.co.uk
  • Release22/08/2014

Derriere-numbingly long films may be all the rage but at a lean 89 minutes, Lucy, the new action thriller from Luc Besson, is all the better for bucking this Hollywood trend. And with a kidnapping, killing sprees and questionable drugs thrown into the fray, there's certainly enough in that hour and a half to halt you from slipping out of the cinema.

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a carefree student living in Taiwan, who is tricked by her new boyfriend Richard into doing his dirty work and carrying a briefcase, jam-packed with potent new drugs, into a hotel for him.

But there's no time for pleasantries here and before the concierge has greeted Lucy, Richard has been dispatched and Lucy is held hostage by the neighbourhood's merciless mob of local drug lords headed up by the unsparing Mr Jang (Choi Min-sik).

Waking up, Lucy discovers that the mob has taken the liberty of surgically implanting thousand of pounds worth of a deadly blue drug, CPH4, which increases the user's brain capacity, into her stomach. And more than that, if the bright blue crystals leak, it will kill her. But leak it does and Lucy, who is sent across the world as a drug mule, soon finds her brain working on disturbing new levels, signposted in the film with frequent updates on the percentage of brain capacity she's using.

As well as being hell-bent on exacting revenge on the mobsters, Lucy also busies herself by tracking down the eminent professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) in Paris who has spent decades researching the brain's potential.

In a deft twist to Johansson's role as a human-like operating system in Spike Jonze's Her, Lucy sees the actress' voice take on a lifeless tone, shedding personality and lightness as her brain's potential expands. Much has been made of the film's neurological theory not stacking up, but scientific soundness isn't the mission here - entertainment is.

And while there are some rather odd moments - the flashes to a prehistoric Lucy, the strained conversation Lucy has with her mum and the missed opportunity to kill Mr Jang while she can - Lucy is nevertheless a punchy film, which demands your attention every minute of the way.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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Lucy (Subtitled) 3 stars

movie title

American twenty-something Lucy is kidnapped by Korean mob boss Mr Jang and forced to work as a drugs mule, carrying a consignment of a valuable synthetic drug called CPH4 sewn into her stomach. During her captivity, Lucy gets into a fight and one of her captors kicks her in the stomach, releasing CPH4 into her system. The drug significantly increases her physical and mental abilities, unleashing telepathic and telekinetic powers.

  • GenreAction, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastMorgan Freeman, Amr Waked, Choi Min-sik, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Scarlett Johansson.
  • DirectorLuc Besson.
  • WriterLuc Besson.
  • CountryFr
  • Duration89 mins
  • Official sitewww.lucymovie.co.uk
  • Release22/08/2014

Derriere-numbingly long films may be all the rage but at a lean 89 minutes, Lucy, the new action thriller from Luc Besson, is all the better for bucking this Hollywood trend. And with a kidnapping, killing sprees and questionable drugs thrown into the fray, there's certainly enough in that hour and a half to halt you from slipping out of the cinema.

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a carefree student living in Taiwan, who is tricked by her new boyfriend Richard into doing his dirty work and carrying a briefcase, jam-packed with potent new drugs, into a hotel for him.

But there's no time for pleasantries here and before the concierge has greeted Lucy, Richard has been dispatched and Lucy is held hostage by the neighbourhood's merciless mob of local drug lords headed up by the unsparing Mr Jang (Choi Min-sik).

Waking up, Lucy discovers that the mob has taken the liberty of surgically implanting thousand of pounds worth of a deadly blue drug, CPH4, which increases the user's brain capacity, into her stomach. And more than that, if the bright blue crystals leak, it will kill her. But leak it does and Lucy, who is sent across the world as a drug mule, soon finds her brain working on disturbing new levels, signposted in the film with frequent updates on the percentage of brain capacity she's using.

As well as being hell-bent on exacting revenge on the mobsters, Lucy also busies herself by tracking down the eminent professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) in Paris who has spent decades researching the brain's potential.

In a deft twist to Johansson's role as a human-like operating system in Spike Jonze's Her, Lucy sees the actress' voice take on a lifeless tone, shedding personality and lightness as her brain's potential expands. Much has been made of the film's neurological theory not stacking up, but scientific soundness isn't the mission here - entertainment is.

And while there are some rather odd moments - the flashes to a prehistoric Lucy, the strained conversation Lucy has with her mum and the missed opportunity to kill Mr Jang while she can - Lucy is nevertheless a punchy film, which demands your attention every minute of the way.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014

Million Dollar Arm 3 stars

Sports agent JB Bernstein and business partner Ash Vasudevan are on the brink of financial ruin. They hit upon a novel and outlandish idea: a competition to bring two cricket bowlers from India to America to challenge for a lucrative Major League Baseball contract. Flanked by translator Amit and scout Ray Poitevint, JB travels around India and unearths two raw talents: Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh.

  • GenreBiography, Drama, Family, Family
  • CastAasif Mandvi, Alan Arkin, Jon Hamm, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell, Bill Paxton, Madhur Mittal.
  • DirectorCraig Gillespie.
  • WriterThomas McCarthy.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration124 mins
  • Official site
  • Release29/08/2014

If Jerry Maguire and Slumdog Millionaire gave birth to an impossibly cute love child, it would look something like Million Dollar Arm. Based on an incredible true story, Craig Gillespie's unapologetically feel-good sports drama follows a down-on-his-luck agent, who attempts to introduce baseball to India via an outlandish rags-to-riches competition.

Screenwriter Tom McCarthy fashions an armful of well-worn cliches into an irresistibly sweet and charming tale of triumph against adversity that scores a home run when it matters.

Key to the film's appeal is handsome leading man Jon Hamm, who swaps the tailored suits of Mad Men for more casual attire as he travels around south Asia, searching for diamonds in the rough to an evocative soundtrack composed by AR Rahman.

Hamm lights up the screen and enjoys comic interludes with Alan Arkin playing a grouchy baseball scout, who steps into the stifling heat of foreign climes and growls: "Get me to a hotel and don't wake me up again until someone's throwing a baseball."

Sports agent JB Bernstein (Hamm) and business partner Ash Vasudevan (Aasif Mandvi) are on the brink of financial ruin. They need to find fresh talent who can, in the words of Cuba Gooding Jr in Jerry Maguire, show them the money.

Unfortunately, home-grown sports stars are thin on the ground and overseas audiences are nuts about cricket, a sport which JB abhors: "It's like an insane asylum opened up and all the inmates were allowed to play a game." Late one night, JB has a brainwave: a competition to bring two bowlers from India to America to challenge for a lucrative Major League Baseball contract.

Wealthy businessman Chang (Tzi Ma) finances the scheme but demands results within 12 months. Flanked by translator Amit (Pitobash) and scout Ray Poitevint (Arkin), JB travels around India and unearths two raw talents: Dinesh Patel (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku Singh (Suraj Sharma).

They head for JB's plush apartment in America where fish-out-of-water Dinesh and Rinku train under pitching coach Tom House (Bill Paxton). JB neglects his charges until Brenda (Lake Bell), the pretty ER nurse who rents his guesthouse, pricks his conscience. "They need to see you care," she warns him.

Million Dollar Arm is a polished amalgamation of countless other sports movies that compel us to root for the underdog. Familiarity breeds delight in Gillespie's film, relying on a strong ensemble cast to milk laughter and tears when it seems the script will strike out.

Cinematographer Gyula Pados contrasts the rich colours of India with cold, clinical greys of corporate profit-driven America. The romantic subplot involving Hamm and Bell follows the same trajectory as the rest of the film, but we're powerless to resist each predictable beat of the characters' hearts.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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NT Live: Medea 3 stars

Helen McCrory returns to the National Theatre to assume the demanding title role in Euripides's powerful tragedy in a new version by Ben Power. This live broadcast from in London is directed by Carrie Cracknell with music written by Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp.

Helen McCrory returns to the National Theatre to assume the demanding title role in Euripides's powerful tragedy in a new version by Ben Power. This live broadcast from in London is directed by Carrie Cracknell with music written by Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 4th September 2014

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Planes 2: Fire & Rescue 3 stars

movie title

During a flight with his mentor Skipper, Dusty Crophopper suffers a malfunction and learns that his gearbox is failing. Unfortunately, the model of his gearbox is now out of production, so Dusty must limit his revs or risk a fatal crash. Forced to abandon his racing dreams, Dusty agrees to fly to Piston Peak National Park to train become the town's new fire-fighting plane.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastDane Cook, Teri Hatcher, Stacy Keach, Julie Bowen, Hal Holbrook, Ed Harris, John Michael Higgins.
  • DirectorRoberts Gannaway.
  • WriterJeffrey M Howard.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration83 mins
  • Official sitemovies.disney.com/planes/
  • Release01/08/2014 (Scotland); 08/08/2014 (UK)

If the first Planes film, a spin-off from Pixar's Cars, appeared to be propelled by merchandising opportunities rather than creative necessity, this action-packed sequel attempts to stand on its own landing gear with a stirring tale of heroism and self-sacrifice.

As the title suggests, Planes 2: Fire & Rescue immerses us in the daredevil world of fire-fighting, honouring the men and women - and aircraft - who "fly in when others are flying out". It's a touching sentiment and screenwriter Jeffrey M Howard engineers some moving exchanges between the characters, some of whom are a splutter away from the scrap heap.

Director Bobs Gannaway employs the 3D format to striking effect in aerial sequences and the animation of raging infernos is impressively realistic. However, there's an inescapable feeling that this gung-ho adventure should have taken a flight path directly to the home formats rather than the big screen.

Soaring over Propwash Junction with his mentor Skipper (voiced Stacy Keach), Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) suffers a malfunction. Back at the hanger, trusted mechanic Dottie (Teri Hatcher) diagnoses a failing gearbox. "From now on, you have to keep down your torque to less than 80 percent," she instructs Dusty, putting an end to his illustrious racing career.

Dusty angrily defies Dottie and careens into the town's airport, causing a small fire. The incident casts doubt on the ability of veteran fire and rescue truck Mayday (Hal Holbrook) to service the airport's needs. So Dusty agrees to abandon his racing dreams in order to earn his certificate as the town's fire-fighting plane.

The plucky crop duster heads to Piston Peak National Park to train under helicopter Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), who was once a TV star, and his team including scooper Lil' Dipper (Julie Bowen), helicopter Windlifter (Wes Studi) and ex-military transport plane Cabbie (Dale Dye).

As Dusty masters the art of airborne fire-fighting, he also learns valuable lessons about friendship and endurance. As Blade reminds him, "If you give up today, think of all the lives you can't save tomorrow."

Planes 2: Fire & Rescue is geared towards younger viewers, hammering home the importance of team work and the valuable contribution of emergency services.

There is a handful of verbal and visual gags to engage older audiences: a front cover of industry magazine Cariety; a bar patron drunkenly confiding, "She left me for a hybrid. I didn't hear it coming!" A spoof of the long-running motorcycle police series CHiPs includes a cameo for Erik Estrada as Blade Ranger's partner on air patrol.

On the whole, though, Gannaway's sequel lacks the sophistication and emotional richness of yesteryear's Frozen or recent Pixar fare. Animation is crisp and colourful and the vocal performances are similarly warm so audiences feel a toasty glow before the first plumes of smoke from the computer-generated blazes.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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Rio 2 3 stars

movie title

Neurotic blue macaw Blu and Jewel are settled with their owners Linda and Tulio in Rio. The birds raise three children but Jewel worries the brood is too domesticated. So she insists that the entire family answers the call of the wild and heads to the Amazon. In this lush paradise, the city birds discover a flock of thriving blue macaws led by Jewel's father Eduardo and her charming old flame, Robert.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Romance
  • CastLeslie Mann, Jamie Foxx, Rodrigo Santoro, Anne Hathaway, Will.i.am, Jemaine Clement, Jesse Eisenberg, George Lopez, Jane Lynch, Kristin Chenoweth, Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars.
  • DirectorCarlos Saldanha.
  • WriterDon Rhymer, Carlos Saldanha.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration101 mins
  • Official sitewww.riomovies.com
  • Release04/04/2014

Intoxicating samba rhythms and the exuberance of Brazilian carnival get toes tapping in Carlos Saldanha's assured and undemanding sequel, which transports the feathered protagonists away from Rio de Janeiro for a rollicking rumble in the Amazonian jungle. As with the original film, Rio 2 promotes a serious ecological message: the wanton destruction of the rainforest and its impact on native wildlife.

This cri de coeur is woven by Saldanha and co-writer Don Rhymer into a familiar yarn about love overcoming adversity, a story that sees one neurotic city bird stripped of his home comforts and fluttering back to nature in order to please his family.

"Happy wife, happy life," counsels a Toucan called Rafael (George Lopez). He is one of the wacky computer-animated critters, who festoon the colour-saturated screen and guarantee hordes of happy children.

Little ones will gurgle with glee at the slapstick including a hungry anteater called Charlie, whose lasso-like tongue is always on the prowl for tasty snacks. Adults meanwhile can savour the dry humour of musical interludes including a ballad between a toxic tree frog and a cockatoo entitled Poisonous Love which includes the delightful boast, "If you play ping pong, I'll play ping ponger".

Neurotic blue macaw Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) are at the centre of the action once again. The birds have settled with owners Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) in Rio and have three children, Carla (Rachel Crow), Bia (Amandla Stenberg) and Tiago (Pierce Gagnon).

Jewel fears the brood is too domesticated so when Tulio and Linda uncover evidence of thriving blue macaws in the Amazon, the mother insists her entire family answers the call of the wild.

In the lush paradise, the city birds are reunited with Jewel's long-lost father Eduardo (Andy Garcia) and her tuneful childhood pal, Roberto (Bruno Mars). Jewel is thrilled - "We found our family. This changes everything!" - but Blu struggles to acclimatize to his new surroundings.

Meanwhile, deranged cockatoo Nigel (Jemaine Clement) and love-sick amphibian sidekick Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth) hatch a diabolical scheme to exact revenge on the unsuspecting macaws. I'll be pooping on your party promptly," cackles the flightless villain to himself.

Rio 2 is a predictable fish-out-of-water adventure that forces Blu to ditch his sat nav and lead the flock in a battle against illegal loggers, who are tearing down the jungle. The enduring love between the hero and his passionate wife invariably trumps mankind's voracious greed.

Comic relief from Clement, Chenoweth and the supporting cast is gentle and inoffensive and the soundtrack shimmies to upbeat numbers from Hathaway, Mars and an infectious opening refrain from Janelle Monae entitled "What Is Love?". Even if some gags induce groans rather than giggles, the rhythm is gonna get you.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014

RSC Live: The Two Gentlemen Of Verona 3 stars

Simon Godwin makes his RSC debut to direct Shakespeare's exuberant romantic comedy live from Stratford-upon-Avon. During a trip to Milan, best friends Valentine and Proteus fall head over heels in love with the same woman, the Duke's daughter Silvia. However, Proteus is already betrothed to his sweetheart Julia back in Verona and the Duke does not believe that Valentine is a suitable match for his only child.

  • GenreComedy, Romance, Special
  • DirectorSimon Godwin.
  • WriterWilliam Shakespeare.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration180 mins
  • Official siteonscreen.rsc.org.uk
  • Release03/09/2014 (selected cinemas)

Simon Godwin makes his RSC debut to direct this live broadcast of the first full staging of Shakespeare's exuberant romantic comedy in Stratford-upon-Avon for 45 years. During a trip to Milan, best friends Valentine and Proteus fall head over heels in love with the same woman, the Duke's daughter Silvia. However, Proteus is already betrothed to his sweetheart Julia back in Verona and the Duke does not believe that Valentine is a suitable match for his only child so he keeps Silvia locked away from her ardent suitor. Rivalry between the two friends escalates out of control as they vie for Silvia's affection while contending with fierce outlaws.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 3rd September 2014

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Sex Tape 3 stars

When they first meet, Jay and Annie cannot keep their hands off each other. Two children later, the opportunities for amorous one-on-one time are few and far between, so, on a rare night together, Annie suggests they make a sex tape. Jay and Annie energetically work their way through every position in The Joy Of Sex but the exhausted husband forgets to erase the video file and it uploads to the cloud and syncs to several other iPads, which the couple have given away as presents.

  • GenreComedy, Romance
  • CastCameron Diaz, Ellie Kemper, Rob Corddry, Jason Segel, Rob Lowe.
  • DirectorJake Kasdan.
  • WriterNicholas Stoller, Kate Angelo, Jason Segel.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official sitesextape-movie.tumblr.com
  • Release03/09/2014

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, who previously locked horns in the raunchy comedy Bad Teacher, reunite for this equally potty-mouthed tale of a married couple who decide to spice up their sex lives by committing their amorous antics to film. When they first meet, Jay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz) cannot keep their hands off each other and enjoy a frenetic sex life. Two children later, the opportunities for amorous one-on-one time are few and far between, so, on a rare night together, Annie suggests they make a sex tape. Jay and Annie energetically work their way through every position in The Joy Of Sex but the exhausted husband forgets to erase the video file and it uploads to the cloud and syncs to several other iPads, which the couple have given away as presents. Once Jay and Annie realise their energetic efforts are available to download to friends, family and even Annie's boss Hank (Rob Lowe), they race through the night to steal or destroy the iPads and spare their blushes.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For 3 stars

movie title

Exotic dancer Nancy Callahan vows revenge against scheming Senator Roark, the man responsible for the death of her beloved: police detective John Hartigan. Her quest intersects with the blood-spattered escapades of reckless gambler Johnny, whose winning streak comes to an end at Roark's poker table, and private detective Dwight McCarthy, who is powerless to resist his manipulative old flame Ava.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe.
  • DirectorFrank Miller, Robert Rodriguez.
  • WriterFrank Miller.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.sincity-2.com
  • Release22/08/2014 (London); 29/08/2014 (nationwide)

Crime pays handsomely in this visually arresting sequel to the 2005 neo-noir anthology based on Frank Miller's comic series. Blessed with the same black-and-white aesthetic, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For is as twisted and depraved as its predecessor, festooning every frame with corrupt cops, gun-toting hoodlums and scantily clad molls.

Lurid splashes of colour, like a murderous vamp's emerald eyes or a working girl's tumbling copper curls, temporarily draw the eye away from the misery, degradation and mutilation including an eyeball being wrenched from its socket. Directors Robert Rodriguez and Miller linger on the darker side of human nature, relishing the crisp snap of one character's fingers as they are broken with pliers, or the exaggerated splatter of an arrow scything through a henchman's noggin.

The film wears its 18 certificate as a badge of honour. Once again, three stories entwine on the godforsaken streets of Sin City.

The ghost of police detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) haunts exotic dancer Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba). She descends into booze-fuelled hell, desperate to put a bullet between the eyes of scheming Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Nancy manipulates her protector Marv (Mickey Rourke) into taking down the politician and his goons, regardless of the consequences.

Meanwhile, cocksure gambler Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his lucky charm Marcie (Julia Garner) prepare to take on Roark at the poker table. Johnny humiliates his powerful host and suffers horrific consequences. "I can't protect you," the chief of police informs Johnny. "Then why you a cop?" retorts the gambler.

Nearby, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) struggles to rein in his violent impulses following an encounter with old flame Ava Lord (Eva Green). She begs Dwight to help her escape the clutches of her sadistic husband Damien (Marton Csokas) and his hulking bodyguard Manute (Dennis Haysbert). Love really hurts.

The plan goes awry and Dwight turns to old flame Gail (Rosario Dawson) and avenging angel Miho (Jamie Chung) to help him evade the cops (Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven).

Arriving almost a decade after the first chapter, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For plunges us headfirst into a grimy universe where a bullet to the head settles most arguments. Style pummels emotion into submission and snappy dialogue from the comics - "I was born at night, but it wasn't last night" - enhance the feeling that characters talk at not to each other.

Rodriguez and Miller direct set pieces including a car chase and sword fight at a breathless lick, melding heavily stylised live action and animation for each orgy of violence. Green sheds her inhibitions to play an archetypal femme fatale with lip-smacking gusto, enforcing what we already knew from the first film: the female of the species is far deadlier than the male.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

This film is also showing at:

Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For 3D 3 stars

movie title

Exotic dancer Nancy Callahan vows revenge against scheming Senator Roark, the man responsible for the death of her beloved: police detective John Hartigan. Her quest intersects with the blood-spattered escapades of reckless gambler Johnny, whose winning streak comes to an end at Roark's poker table, and private detective Dwight McCarthy, who is powerless to resist his manipulative old flame Ava.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe.
  • DirectorRobert Rodriguez, Frank Miller.
  • WriterFrank Miller.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.sincity-2.com
  • Release22/08/2014 (London); 29/08/2014 (nationwide)

Crime pays handsomely in this visually arresting sequel to the 2005 neo-noir anthology based on Frank Miller's comic series. Blessed with the same black-and-white aesthetic, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For is as twisted and depraved as its predecessor, festooning every frame with corrupt cops, gun-toting hoodlums and scantily clad molls.

Lurid splashes of colour, like a murderous vamp's emerald eyes or a working girl's tumbling copper curls, temporarily draw the eye away from the misery, degradation and mutilation including an eyeball being wrenched from its socket. Directors Robert Rodriguez and Miller linger on the darker side of human nature, relishing the crisp snap of one character's fingers as they are broken with pliers, or the exaggerated splatter of an arrow scything through a henchman's noggin.

The film wears its 18 certificate as a badge of honour. Once again, three stories entwine on the godforsaken streets of Sin City.

The ghost of police detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) haunts exotic dancer Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba). She descends into booze-fuelled hell, desperate to put a bullet between the eyes of scheming Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Nancy manipulates her protector Marv (Mickey Rourke) into taking down the politician and his goons, regardless of the consequences.

Meanwhile, cocksure gambler Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his lucky charm Marcie (Julia Garner) prepare to take on Roark at the poker table. Johnny humiliates his powerful host and suffers horrific consequences. "I can't protect you," the chief of police informs Johnny. "Then why you a cop?" retorts the gambler.

Nearby, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) struggles to rein in his violent impulses following an encounter with old flame Ava Lord (Eva Green). She begs Dwight to help her escape the clutches of her sadistic husband Damien (Marton Csokas) and his hulking bodyguard Manute (Dennis Haysbert). Love really hurts.

The plan goes awry and Dwight turns to old flame Gail (Rosario Dawson) and avenging angel Miho (Jamie Chung) to help him evade the cops (Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven).

Arriving almost a decade after the first chapter, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For plunges us headfirst into a grimy universe where a bullet to the head settles most arguments. Style pummels emotion into submission and snappy dialogue from the comics - "I was born at night, but it wasn't last night" - enhance the feeling that characters talk at not to each other.

Rodriguez and Miller direct set pieces including a car chase and sword fight at a breathless lick, melding heavily stylised live action and animation for each orgy of violence. Green sheds her inhibitions to play an archetypal femme fatale with lip-smacking gusto, enforcing what we already knew from the first film: the female of the species is far deadlier than the male.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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The Expendables 3 3 stars

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Barney Ross founded mercenary group the Expendables with his good friend Conrad Stonebanks, who eventually turned his back on the team to become an arms dealer. Barney was ordered to kill his friend for the greater good but Conrad survived the assassination. Many years later, Conrad resurfaces and Barney recruits some new faces to the Expendables team to take on this deadly adversary.

  • GenreAction, Thriller
  • CastJason Statham, Jet Li, Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Kellan Lutz, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford.
  • DirectorPatrick Hughes.
  • WriterCreighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Sylvester Stallone.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration126 mins
  • Official sitewww.theexpendables3film.co.uk
  • Release14/08/2014

Following a spectacular stunt aboard a moving train that opens this third instalment of the action franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger turns to Sylvester Stallone and wearily confides, "I'm getting out of this business... and so should you." Sage advice from the former governor of California. His words fall on deaf ears because The Expendables is a cash cow for Stallone, who directed and co-wrote the opening salvo in 2010 and has been reliving his muscle-bound glory days ever since.

Australian director Patrick Hughes, who impressed with the gritty low-budget western Red Hill, takes charge of this outlandish mission festooned with bone-crunching hand-to-hand combat, pithy one-liners and deafening explosions. And The Expendables 3 certainly opens with a bang. Several.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his crew of battle-hardened mercenaries - Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) - orchestrate a prison breakout. Their target: original Expendables member Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes), who has been off the grid for several years. "I heard you killed more people than the plague," growls Toll Road to his new comrade.

The bolstered team heads to Mogadishu at the behest of chief Max Drummer (Harrison Ford), where a spectacular skirmish at the dockyards brings Barney face-to-face with a ghost from the past. Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), co-founder of the Expendables, who Barney was ordered to kill, is alive and exceeding well on the ill-gotten gains of the arms trade.

Faced with an adversary, who possesses unlimited supplies of state-of-the-art weaponry, Barney retires the old team and enlists the help of Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and retired medic Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to bring down Stonebanks. They assemble a fearless younger crew comprising bareknuckle brawler Smilee (Kellan Lutz), nightclub bouncer Luna (Ronda Rousey), hacker Thorn (Glen Powell), weaponry specialist Mars (Victor Ortiz) and infuriatingly talkative former Spanish Armed Forces operative Galgo (Antonio Banderas).

The Expendables 3 is an entertaining and ridiculously far-fetched tour of duty that sensibly welcomes fresh faces to the fold and provides Banderas, Ford, Gibson and Snipes with sizeable roles to turn back the clocks. "I haven't had so much fun in years," cackles Ford after he lays waste to hordes of enemy soldiers.

The clash between old school brute force and modern day tech savvy provides the scriptwriters with a rich vein of humour. Thus when Barney outlines his heavy-handed solution to toppling Stonebanks, Luna snorts derisively, "It's a great plan... if it was 1985."

Stallone looks good for his age and sparks brotherly banter with Statham, whose wavering accent is a prime target for put-downs. They look like proud fathers, passing the mantle to the next generation of action heroes, who could potentially help the Expendables sequels reach double digits while Stallone does his bit for the cause with a zimmer frame rocket launcher.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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The House Of Magic 3 stars

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Ginger tabby cat Thunder is abandoned by his owners at the roadside. He seeks refuge in a ramshackle mansion owned by a retired magician called Lawrence, who performed under the moniker The Illustrious Lorenzo. The old man is subsequently involved in a traffic accident and recuperates in hospital. Lawrence's scheming nephew Daniel hatches a scheme to dispatch his uncle to a retirement home and sell the house for vast profit.

Curiosity almost kills the cat in The House Of Magic. Set largely within the confines of an ageing conjurer's home, Jeremy Degruson and Ben Stassen's undemanding computer-animated fantasy centres on a discarded feline, whose pluck and determination overcome adversity. The film doesn't overstay its welcome at a brisk 85 minutes and boasts flashes of visual brio.

That inventiveness is shoe-horned into lively opening sequences, which cut back and forth between a traditional third-person perspective and the four-legged hero's point of view as he clambers up a tree or cowers beneath oncoming traffic.

There's a quickening of the pulse, especially in 3D, as the camera replicates the tentative scamper of the cat along a branch as the animal prepares to leap the divide to an open window. Sadly, Degruson and Stassen lose the will to push visual boundaries as the story unfolds and the grand finale, involving a snivelling villain and a wrecking ball, is an anti-climax.

Ginger tabby cat Thunder (voiced by Murray Blue) is abandoned by his owners at the roadside. "You must have done something wrong because they chucked you like a cheap burrito," growls a passing dog (Joey Carmen).

The heavens open and Thunder seeks refuge from the downpour in a ramshackle mansion owned by a retired magician called Lawrence, who performed under the moniker The Illustrious Lorenzo.

The magician's two performing animals, Jack the rabbit (George Babbit) and Maggie the mouse (Shanelle Gray), view Thunder as a threat and they attempt to shoo the pussy back into the storm. Once their moggie-loving master catches sight of Thunder, he welcomes the homeless kitty to his new home.

Lawrence is subsequently involved in a traffic accident and recuperates in hospital. The old man's scheming nephew Daniel (Grant George) hatches a scheme to dispatch his uncle to Rhode Island Senior Retirement Home and sell the house for vast profit.

Luckily, Daniel is allergic to cats, and the magician's other animals and fantastical mechanised creations, including doves Carlo (Babbit again) and Carla (Kathleen Browers), sabotage viewings of the house and attack potential buyers. "As long as I'm here, you're all safe," naively purrs Thunder.

With its bright colours and linear narrative, The House Of Magic should engage younger audiences. Parents should be prepared for tears and screams before bedtime though when a snarling Doberman, which is chasing Thunder through undergrowth, appears to burst out of the screen and snaps its hungry jaws.

Older children will have to amuse themselves because the animation lacks the sophistication of Pixar, while the script operates on a single unchallenging level.

Solid vocal performances complement the archetypal characters, with fleeting comic relief from Carmen's pooch, who boldly claims to be "the Marlon Brando of Chihuahuas".

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014

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The Inbetweeners 2 3 stars

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Jay heads to Australia for a gap year, where he enhances his status as an incorrigible ladies man. With the promise of more sex than they can handle, Will, Neil and Simon head down under to join their pal and the four misfits abroad attempt to impress the female of the species including Katie, Polly and Lucy. The lads' ham-fisted chat-up lines and amorous overtures often lead to toe-curling humiliation.

  • GenreComedy, Drama
  • CastSimon Bird, James Buckley, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison, Emily Berrington.
  • DirectorDamon Beesley, Iain Morris.
  • WriterDamon Beesley, Iain Morris.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration96 mins
  • Official site
  • Release06/08/2014

Some of the Inbetweeners may have bagged jobs. Some of them may have even found girlfriends, but thankfully The Inbetweeners 2, the comedy series' second foray onto the big screen, shows our fumbling foursome back on reassuringly awkward form. And with three hugely popular E4 series behind them and the most successful British comedy of all time to their name in their first film, there's no need to change the discomforting formula here.

Although almost a year has passed since the lads' holiday to Malia, the four anti-heroes haven't matured in the slightest. Despite getting a place at Bristol University, Will (Simon Bird) is still chronically uncool and is yet to make any real mates on campus; hapless Simon (Joe Cooper) isn't faring much better up in Sheffield where he's lumbered himself with a demanding girlfriend who destroys his hoodies; randy Jay (James Buckley) has moved to Australia but is working in a toilet and sleeping in a tent in his uncle's garden, and dim-witted Neil (Blake Harrison) has somehow landed a job in the bank but is still as gullible as ever.

Fed up with their lives and enticed by Jay's boastful emails about his conquests with Kylie and Dannii Minogue and five-star lifestyle, Will, Simon and Neil decide to surprise him by heading down under for a four-week break.

Predictably, Jay has been fibbing about his 'DJ' job and his bed posts have no more notches in them than before he left Blighty. In fact, it turns out that he actually misses his ex-girlfriend Jane (Lydia Rose Bewley), first seen in The Inbetweeners Movie.

Rather than kip on Jay's bullying uncle's lawn, the gang tag along with Will's prep school classmate, the popular and pretty Katie (Emily Berrington), who he bumps into, and head to the traveller paradise Byron Bay in a car that has a mural of Peter Andre's face on the side of it.

When it looks like Katie is interested in him, Will tries to woo her, giving a toe curling performance on an acoustic guitar and then racing beefed up love rival Ben (Freddie Stroma) in a stomach-churning water park ride complete with high-octane bodily functions.

The 'bants', as Jay and Neil would call them, come thick, fast and foul here and each of the four friends has their own tortuous meltdown, with varying degrees of putridity and penis jokes bandied around.

Gross, puerile and filled with playground gags, The Inbetweeners 2 is everything you'd expect it to be.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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The Keeper Of Lost Causes 4 stars

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When a stake-out goes disastrously awry, Detective Carl Morck is sidelined to the vaults of Department Q, home to cold cases, which require a quick read-through before they are signed off. The department's Muslim custodian, Assad, struggles to connect with his new boss but the two men eventually learn to trust one another when they re-open the investigation into the disappearance of controversial politician Merete Lynggaard.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Thriller, World
  • CastNikolaj Lie Kaas, Fares Fares, Sonja Richter, Rasmus Botoft, Mikkel Boe Folsgaard.
  • DirectorMikkel Norgaard.
  • WriterNikolaj Arcel.
  • CountryDen/Ger/Sw
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official site
  • Release29/08/2014 (selected cinemas)

Based on the novel by Jussi-Adler Olsen, this gripping Scandinavian thriller is the opening chapter of a series devoted to the investigations of Detective Carl Morck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and his plucky assistant Assad (Fares Fares), who are thrown together in tragic circumstances. When a stake-out at a suspect's residence goes disastrously awry and his good friend Hardy (Troels Lyby) is paralysed for life, Morck is removed from active duty to recuperate. When he eventually returns to work, Morck is sidelined to the vaults of Department Q, home to cold cases, which require a quick read-through before they are signed off. The department's Muslim custodian, Assad, struggles to connect with his new boss but the two men eventually learn to trust one another when they re-open the investigation into the disappearance of controversial politician Merete Lynggaard (Sonja Richter), who vanished without trace from a ferry five years ago and is presumed dead. The cops question Merete's emotionally unstable brother Uffe (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard) and learn that a man in a hooded coat was aboard the ferry on the fateful day that Merete disappeared.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

The LEGO Movie 4 stars

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Emmet is an ordinary LEGO mini-figure, who is mistaken for a mythical figure known as Master Builder by an ancient wizard Vitruvius. Before he can clear up this unfortunate misunderstanding, Emmet is press-ganged into leading the quest to defeat a nefarious LEGO tyrant aided by a rogue's gallery of historical and fictional mini-figures including Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Abraham Lincoln.

  • GenreAction, Animation/Cartoon, Children's, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastLiam Neeson, Channing Tatum, Morgan Freeman, Jonah Hill, Elizabeth Banks, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell, Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt.
  • DirectorChristopher Miller, Phil Lord.
  • WriterPhil Lord, Christopher Miller.
  • CountryAustralia/
  • Duration100 mins
  • Official sitewww.thelegomovie.com
  • Release14/02/2014

It was Christmas 1984. I remember excitedly tearing snowman-festooned wrapping paper off a large box and staring wide-eyed at the LEGO construction set that had been the subject of countless unsubtle hints to my parents. Those tiny coloured construction bricks became a building site for my imagination, and even now, I get fuzzy pangs when I see film-themed kits cluttering up the shelves of toy shops.

That same warm glow permeates Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's rollicking adventure, which cleverly employs the latest technical wizardry to mimic the crude, imperfect movements of stop-motion animation.

The LEGO Movie is a hoot, celebrating the enduring power and popularity of a toy invented in the late 1940s. Directors Lord and Miller, who donned hard hats at the helm of the first Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs film, strike a delicious tone of irreverence throughout to ensure parents enjoy the ride just as much as younger audiences.

The unlikely hero is a socially awkward LEGO mini-figure called Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), who works on a building site in his hometown of Bricksburg. Desperate to fit in, Emmet follows the dictates laid down by President Business (Will Ferrell), who is actually - shock, gasp! - arch-villain Lord Business in disguise.

This nefarious tyrant plans to destroy Bricksburg and the neighbouring districts of Cloud Cuckoo Land and Middle Zealand using an artefact known as The Kragle.

Ancient wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) and his sassy henchwoman Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) mistake Emmet for a mythical figure known as Master Builder, who possesses the power to create anything out of LEGO bricks with his mind.

According to prophecy, Master Builder will locate the Piece Of Resistance and destroy The Kragle. "A Special One? What a load of hippy, dippy baloney!" cackles Lord Business.

Emmet is press-ganged into leading the perilous quest to defeat the despot aided by a rogue's gallery of mini-figures including Wyldstyle's boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders), Abraham Lincoln (Will Forte) and a classic 1980s-era blue spaceman named Benny (Charlie Day).

The heroes are pursued by schizophrenic law-maker and -breaker Bad Cop (Liam Neeson). "Rest in pieces!" he guffaws as LEGO cannons destroy their home world.

Fast-paced and crammed with primary colours, The LEGO Movie pulls out all the stops to dazzle and delight. The script is peppered with wry one-liners, cinematic homages and an infectious theme song - Everything Is Awesome - that burrows into the brain and refuses to leave quietly.

Pratt, Ferrell and co deliver ebullient vocal performances, which are complemented by frenetic action sequences by LEGO land, sea and air. The final 10 minutes provide an unexpected, heart-warming surprise, guaranteed to have kids big and small grinning with glee.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014

The Love Punch 3 stars

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Richard Jones and his ex-wife Kate are crippled by loneliness as they lead unfulfilled separate lives. Shortly after the couple's daughter Sophie flies the nest for university, Machiavellian French businessman Vincent Kruger plunders the pension fund of Richard's company, leaving the Joneses on the brink of financial ruin. A trip to Paris to confront Kruger ends badly so Kate suggests they steal the hulking diamond necklace, which Kruger's unsuspecting fiancee is set to wear on their wedding day.

  • GenreAction, Comedy, Romance
  • CastEmma Thompson, Tuppence Middleton, Pierce Brosnan, Louise Bourgoin, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie.
  • DirectorJoel Hopkins.
  • WriterJoel Hopkins.
  • CountryFr
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official site
  • Release18/04/2014

Opening with a barman preparing a martini - shaken not stirred - The Love Punch is a ham-fisted caper that nods affectionately to leading man Pierce Brosnan's years of service as James Bond. Indeed, the film's centre-piece jewel theft would have been effortlessly executed by 007 in mere minutes.

However, writer-director Joel Hopkins's third feature isn't concerned with the finer points of pilfering a 10 million diamond from a heavily guarded mansion on the Cote d'Azur. His script is intentionally divorced from reality.

Somehow, the first-time criminals manage to throw grappling hooks up hundreds of feet in order to scale a mountainside in ill-fitting wet suits, then smuggle the gem in a hiding place that would result in horrific injuries for one of the team.

When the couple need sensitive information, they video conference their teenage son (Jack Wilkinson) and call upon his dubious talents as a hacker. Simple.

The Love Punch is not great art and the outcome is achingly predictable, but the on-screen chemistry of Brosnan and Emma Thompson fizzes and there are some hearty laughs amidst the nonsense. Richard Jones (Brosnan) and his ex-wife Kate (Thompson) are crippled by loneliness as they lead unfulfilled separate lives.

He is poised to retire to the golf course with best friend Jerry (Timothy Spall) while she reluctantly agrees to blind dates organised by Jerry's well-meaning wife, Penelope (Celia Imrie). "Taking your laptop into the garden is not 'getting out there'," Penelope reminds Kate.

Shortly after the couple's daughter Sophie (Tuppence Middleton) flies the nest for university, Machiavellian French businessman Vincent Kruger (Laurent Lafitte) plunders the pension fund of Richard's company, leaving the Joneses on the brink of financial ruin.

A trip to Paris to confront Kruger ends badly so Kate suggests they steal the hulking diamond necklace, which Kruger's unsuspecting fiancee (Louise Bourgoin) is set to wear on their wedding day. "What have we got to lose?" wonders Richard aloud. "Our dignity? Our freedom?" replies his former spouse.

Blessed with a wonderful running joke about Jerry's unlikely secret military past, The Love Punch won't be troubling awards committees. It's simplistic, lightweight fluff, which uses the robbery as a plot device to reunite Richard and Kate then stoke the embers that clearly still smoulder between them.

Thompson and Brosnan are an attractive pairing and they bring a veneer of class to proceedings, which is otherwise lacking in the writing and direction.

Both actors appear to be having a blast in the film's sun-baked Riviera locations, and Spall and Imrie add depth to colourful supporting characters, who view their collusion in the theft as a catalyst to re-invigorate their marriage. A candlelit meal for two closer to home would surely be a simpler and cheaper option.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 3rd September 2014

The Nut Job 3 stars

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Mischievous squirrel Surly lives in idyllic Liberty Park in the sprawling 1950s metropolis of Oakton City with his rat pal Buddy and fellow squirrels Andie and Grayson. Like all animals of his kind, Surly is mad about nuts and he orchestrates a daring heist of one of the city's shops for the tasty snack. Little does Surly know that the new owner of the store, King, is the leader of a gang of robbers who intend to tunnel from the store to the First Oakton Bank located across the street.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastLiam Neeson, Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser, Maya Rudolph, Stephen Lang.
  • DirectorPeter Lepeniotis.
  • WriterLorne Cameron.
  • CountryCan/S Kore
  • Duration86 mins
  • Official site
  • Release01/08/2014

All of the hastily sketched characters in Peter Lepeniotis' 1950s-set computer-animated adventure go nuts at some point during the poorly paced proceedings. A money-grabbing ex-con goes gaga at the sight of rats, a pet pug is driven barking mad by her owner's repeated use of a silver dog whistle, a girl scout whoops with maniacal glee as a runaway food cart careens into oncoming traffic, and an army of woodland critters loosen their tenuous grasp on civility when they stumble upon a horde of cashews, pistachios, macadamias and walnuts. Protagonists of the two-legged and four-legged persuasions in The Nut Job might be bright-eyed and - in the case of the squirrels - bushy-tailed but most of Lepeniotis and co-writer Lorne Cameron's script feels tired. The narrative lacks fluidity, most of the animals don't exist beyond a single personality trait and there's a palpable absence of jeopardy during a centrepiece bank heist. References to a certain foodstuff are sprinkled liberally throughout the dialogue - "We found it: the Lost City of Nutlantis!" - so any parents who wake suddenly from a sneaky power-nap in the dark are soon reminded where they are. Raccoon (voiced by Liam Neeson) and his red bird sidekick Cardinal preside over the animal denizens of Liberty Park in the sprawling metropolis of Oakton City. Winter is fast approaching, so every groundhog, squirrel, mouse and mole gathers supplies to add to the food store in the trunk of the great oak. Everyone except for mischievous squirrel Surly (Will Arnett), who has always ploughed a lone furrow. "I'm independent, which means 'looking out for number one'," Surly reminds fellow squirrels Andie (Katherine Heigl) and Grayson (Brendan Fraser). When a raid on a food cart goes disastrously wrong, Surly is banished to the city by the other animals. The ravenous rodent stumbles upon a store selling nuts and plots a daring heist with trusty rat pal, Buddy (Rob Tinkler). Little does Surly know that the new owner of the store, King (Stephen Lang), is the leader of a gang of robbers, who intend to tunnel from the shop's basement to First Oakton Bank and plunder the vault. The Nut Job orchestrates some pleasing slapstick and visuals are colourful, including a couple of sprightly chases, but Lepeniotis' film doesn't justify a release on the big screen rather than a debut on home formats. Vocal performances raise a smile, but little more, and the squirrelly love triangle involving Surly, Andie and Grayson is clumsily contrived. Neeson uses his trademark growl to lend an air of menace to the dictatorial raccoon, who believes, "animals are controlled by the amount of food they have". Pickings are certainly slim here.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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The Purge: Anarchy 3 stars

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Diner waitress Eva Sanchez fails to secure a pay rise to pay for drugs for her terminally ill father. She returns to her apartment crestfallen and forlornly prepares dinner for the old man and her daughter Cali ahead of the start of the annual Purge. Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, a grief-stricken father called Sergeant prepares to slay the drunk driver responsible for killing his young son. A siren sounds announcing the start of the Purge and Sergeant takes to the streets in his armour-plated car.

  • GenreAction, Horror, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastFrank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Kiele Sanchez, Zach Gilford, Zoe Soul.
  • DirectorJames DeMonaco.
  • WriterJames DeMonaco.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration103 mins
  • Official sitewww.thepurgeanarchy.co.uk
  • Release25/07/2014

Set in a dystopian future America, which has legalised murder for one night of the year, James DeMonaco's home invasion thriller milked every drop of gut-wrenching tension from its fiendishly simple premise. At the box office, which is Hollywood's trusted barometer of success, the film took almost 30 times its modest three-million dollar budget.

For the inevitable sequel, written and directed once again by DeMonaco, the action moves forward 12 months onto the streets of Los Angeles, where the divide between rich and poor, hunter and hunted is even more pronounced.

The elderly and sick sell themselves to the upper class families as human sacrifices on Purge night in exchange for a paltry fee for their loved ones and an underground anti-Purge movement has declared war on the New Founding Fathers of America. March 21, 2023, 4.34pm.

The denizens of LA slowly make their way home, preparing to batten down the hatches. Diner waitress Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo) fails to secure a pay rise to pay for drugs for her terminally ill father (John Beasley).

She returns to her apartment crestfallen and forlornly prepares dinner for the old man and her daughter Cali (Zoe Soul). Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, a grief-stricken father called Sergeant (Frank Grillo) prepares to slay the drunk driver responsible for killing his young son.

A siren sounds announcing the start of the Purge at 7pm and Sergeant takes to the streets in his armour-plated car, bound for the driver's home with an arsenal of weapons in the boot. En route, he crosses paths with a stricken Eva and Cali, and a bickering couple, Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez), whose car has broken down.

Against his better judgement, Sergeant allows these four terrified strangers to seek refuge in the car. "He's out here voluntarily," loudly whispers one of the group. "That means he's out here to do something nasty."

Like its predecessor, The Purge: Anarchy trades in nail-biting suspense rather than gratuitous gore. The anticipation of a senseless kill - any time, any place - is more important than the actual dismemberment.

In the absence of obvious star names in the cast, DeMonaco relishes the luxury of being able to slice and dice his characters at will, heightening our sense of unease since there's no guarantee any of them will make it to 7am unscathed.

The underlying social commentary about the class and wealth divide is poorly developed and strains credibility on a wider canvas. However, as an unabashed adrenaline rush, DeMonaco's sequel comes close to replicating the nail-biting thrills and blood spills of the original.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014

The Unbeatables 3 stars

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Table football champion Amadeo beats local bully Flash, who vows revenge. Many years later, Flash returns to the village as a footballing superstar with a contract, signed by the mayor, granting him permission to build a gargantuan stadium on top of the village. Faced with the prospect of bulldozers and devastation, Amadeo agrees to face Flash and his team mates on the pitch in a match that will decide if the village stands or falls.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Romance
  • CastAnthony Head, Rupert Grint, Peter Serafinowicz, Rob Brydon, Stanley Townsend, Darren Boyd.
  • DirectorJuan Jose Campanella.
  • WriterMichael Broadbridge, Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri, Gaston Gorali.
  • CountrySp/Arg/Ind
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official sitewww.foosball-themovie.com
  • Release08/08/2014 (Ireland & Scotland); 15/08/2014 (UK)

A young man realises heroes come in all shapes and sizes in this computer-animated fantasy from Juan Jose Campanella, Argentinian director of the Oscar-winning drama The Secret In Their Eyes. Amadeo (voiced by Rupert Grint) lives in a small village, where he works in a bar run by his father (Darren Boyd). Painfully shy and insecure, Amadeo's sole joy is playing the table football in the bar. Local bully Flash (Anthony Head) challenges Amadeo to a game and with the lovely Laura (Eve Ponsonby) cheering him on, Amadeo miraculously overcomes his nerves to emerge victorious. Flash is humiliated and vows revenge. Many years later, Flash returns to the village as a footballing superstar with a slimy agent (Stanley Townsend) in tow and a contract, signed by the mayor, granting him permission to build a gargantuan stadium on top of the village. Faced with the prospect of bulldozers and devastation, Amadeo agrees to face Flash and his team mates on the pitch in a match that will decide if the village stands or falls. In the run-up to this vital showdown, the table footballers magically come to life. Skip (Ralf Little), the captain of the green and yellow striped team, vows to help Amadeo emerge victorious and he rallies his troops including diminutive teammates Rico (Rob Brydon) and Loco (Peter Serafinowicz). Unfortunately, pickings are slim in the village and Amadeo will have to select his players from his eccentric friends and neighbours.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

This film is also showing at:

What If 3 stars

movie title

Medical school dropout Wallace vows to steer clear of romance and seeks refuge in the company of his sister Ellie and her son Felix. By chance, he meets talented animator Chantry, who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben. Chantry and Wallace become good friends but both recognise a spark of attraction that could be fanned into a full-blown affair. They wrestle with their feelings for one another and contemplate whether the person you should spend the rest of your life with is your best friend.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastDaniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Mackenzie Davis, Rafe Spall, Megan Park, Adam Driver.
  • DirectorMichael Dowse.
  • WriterElan Mastai.
  • CountryIre/Can
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.whatifmovie.com
  • Release20/08/2014

If you subscribe to a notion of free will - that we are architects of our own destiny rather than slaves to unseen forces - which in itself would be an act of free will, then it's easy to fixate on the never ending jumble of what ifs. What if I had worked harder at school; what if I had chosen another profession; what if I had taken a leap of faith and said, "I love you"; what if an actor other than Daniel Radcliffe had been cast in Michael Dowse's romantic comedy?

Casey Affleck was reportedly interested in playing the film's emotionally bruised hero but eventually passed on the role. It's our loss. Radcliffe allows some of the woodenness of his Hogwarts years to creep into his portrayal of a medical school dropout, who stumbles upon love when he least expects it.

On-screen chemistry with the luminous Zoe Kazan simmers pleasantly but never reaches boiling point, diminishing our investment in the characters as they struggle to overcome the fear of rejection and verbalise their churning emotions.

With a different lead actor, who allowed the laughs in Elan Mastai's script to build naturally rather than forcing them, What If could have been an emotionally richer, funnier and sexier slice of modern day twenty-something angst with the potential to usurp the genre's reigning champion: (500) Days Of Summer.

Wallace (Radcliffe) is disillusioned with love, convinced that he will never meet a significant other like his kooky roommate Allan (Adam Driver), who intends to marry his sweetheart, Nicole (Mackenzie Davis).

"In fairy tales, love inspires you to be noble and courageous," opines Wallace, "but in real life, love is just an all-purpose excuse for selfish behaviour." Vowing to steer clear of romance, Wallace seeks refuge in the company of his sister Ellie (Jemima Rooper) and her son Felix (Lucius Hoyos).

At this low ebb, Wallace encounters talented animator Chantry (Kazan), who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall). Chantry and Wallace become good friends but both secretly acknowledge a spark of attraction that could be fanned into a full-blown affair.

As they wrestle with unspoken desire, Chantry's sister Dalia (Megan Park) makes a play for Wallace. This unexpected attention piques Chantry's jealousy and forces uncomfortable truths into the open.

What If follows a time-honoured rom-com recipe and has many of the ingredients to delight but Michael Dowse's lightweight confection fails to rise properly. While Kazan eases into her role, Radcliffe is an awkward fit and his comic timing is slightly off throughout.

Outlandish stretches of credibility in the final act certainly don't help but screenwriter Mastai has an ear for snappy dialogue than ensures plenty of smiles if not quite guffaws.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Friday 29th August 2014
Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014
Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

This film is also showing at:

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