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Now showing at Cineworld Newport Friars Walk Friars Walk Shopping Centre, Usk Plaza,Newport,Gwent NP20 1UH 0871 200 2000

  • Dad's Army
  • Deadpool
  • Dirty Grandpa
  • Goosebumps
  • Goosebumps 3D
  • Point Break
  • Point Break 3D
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 3D
  • The Revenant

Dad's Army 2 stars

England, 1944. The Second World War is on a knife edge and in the cosy community of Walmington-on-Sea, blustering bank manager George Mainwaring proudly leads the local Home Guard. Colonel Theakes reveals that he intends to sort the military wheat from the chaff and "Walmington feels chaffy." Soon after, Mainwaring learns that a German spy has infiltrated the town and is transmitting secrets back to Berlin.

  • GenreComedy, Historical/Period, War
  • CastCatherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Daniel Mays, Bill Paterson, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, Blake Harrison.
  • DirectorOliver Parker.
  • WriterHamish McColl.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration100 mins
  • Official site
  • Release05/02/2016

How do you improve on the perfection of Jimmy Perry and David Croft's sitcom Dad's Army, which began active service in 1968 and remains a jewel in the crown of the BBC comedy archives? You don't.

If you're director Oliver Parker and screenwriter Hamish McColl, you pepper a flimsy plot that would barely stretch to one TV episode let alone 100 minutes with the show's catchphrases and pray our abiding affection for the characters will compensate for long passages without a discernible punchline.

Original cast members Ian Lavender and Frank Williams are conscripted to cameo roles to heighten the whiff of nostalgia. Limp innuendo-laden banter about sausages barely merits a smirk, pratfalls are predictable and a terrific ensemble cast of gifted comic actors go on patrol without an arsenal of decent one-liners.

From uninspired beginning to muddled end, it's a cultural smash'n'grab that goes through the motions and will ultimately be remembered as a badly missed opportunity.

England, 1944. The Second World War is on a knife edge and in the cosy community of Walmington-on-Sea, blustering bank manager George Mainwaring (Toby Jones) proudly leads the local Home Guard. His hapless rank and file includes Sergeant Wilson (Bill Nighy), Lance Corporal Jones (Tom Courtenay) and Privates Frazer (Bill Paterson), Pike (Blake Harrison), Walker (Daniel Mays) and Godfrey (Michael Gambon), a mild-mannered soul who frequently drifts off into his own world.

The fate of the Home Guard hangs in the balance when Colonel Theakes (Mark Gatiss) reveals that he intends to sort the military wheat from the chaff and "Walmington feels chaffy." Soon after, Mainwaring learns that a German spy has infiltrated the town and is transmitting secrets back to Berlin.

This search for a traitor coincides with the arrival of glamorous magazine writer Rose Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who intends to pen a flattering article about the heroics of the Home Guard. George is smitten and finds Rose most charming and agreeable.

"They said that about the Ripper," coldly retorts Mrs Mainwaring (Felicity Montagu), hard-nosed leader of Walmington-on-Sea's women's auxiliary army, which includes Pike's mother (Sarah Lancashire) and Walker's sweetheart Daphne (Emily Atack).

Dad's Army opens with a limp set piece involving a stand-off between the Home Guard and runaway livestock. "We're supposed to be locking horns with the Hun not Bertie the bull!" despairs one of the men, echoing our mounting frustration.

Jones lightens the darkening mood with a few moments of physical humour, including choking on a slice of cake, while Nighy relies on his usual snorts and tics for merriment. Montagu, Lancashire and co bring a diluted degree of girl power to proceedings that might be dismissed as tokenism without their characters' pivotal involvement in the hare-brained and lacklustre denouement.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Deadpool 4 stars

Former Special Forces operative Wade Wilson discovers he has cancer. He is offered a second chance by The Recruiter, who works for an experimental program known as Weapon X, which promises to induce a regenerative mutation to the cancerous cells. Wade undergoes treatment and is transformed into a mentally unstable hero called Deadpool, who is blessed and cursed with accelerated healing powers, disfigured skin and a politically incorrect sense of humour.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction
  • CastMorena Baccarin, Gina Carano, Ryan Reynolds, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein.
  • DirectorTim Miller.
  • WriterRhett Reese, Paul Wernick.
  • CountryUS/Can
  • Duration108 mins
  • Official sitewww.fox.co.uk/deadpool
  • Release10/02/2016

Just when it seemed that the Marvel Comics takeover of multiplexes was becoming a homogenous exercise in rapacious cross-branding, along comes Deadpool to deliver a swift kick to the franchise's dangling nether regions. Tim Miller's hyperkinetic origin story is like a newborn puppy that has yet to be house-trained: boundlessly energetic, blissfully oblivious to the rules, and prone to leave a steaming hot mess in a favourite pair of slippers when your guard is down. "I may be super, but I'm no hero," grins Ryan Reynolds' titular man in figure-hugging red spandex, breaking down the fourth wall to address us directly. He's not joking, for once. In an opening salvo of high-speed automotive carnage that combines gratuitous dismemberment with gleeful irreverence, his masked avenger ricochets bullets through the heads of bad guys and pushes a car cigarette lighter into the mouth of one unfortunate henchman. "Don't swallow," he quips. The relentless barrage of pop culture references and post-modern in-jokes hinges on Reynolds' ability to charm us and he barrels through every frame with a cocksure swagger that is impossible to resist. Former Special Forces operative Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a low-rent assassin for hire, who works out of a bar called Sister Margaret's Home For Wayward Girls run by his wise-cracking buddy Weasel (TJ Miller). A loner by heart, Wade falls in love with sassy sex club worker Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who shares his passion for creative love-making. "Happy International Women's Day," she purrs, giving him one eye-watering new experience. The furious bed-hopping ends when Wade discovers he has inoperable cancer. A recruiter (Jed Rees) from an experimental program known as WeaponX invites Wade to undergo a radical procedure, which aggressively attacks the cancerous cells. Sadistic program director Ajax (Ed Skrein) and henchwoman Angel Dust (Gina Carano) torture and abuse Wade, transforming him into a hideously deformed mutant with the power of self-healing. Reborn as Deadpool, Wade moves in with a no-nonsense landlady named Al (Leslie Uggams). "She's the Robin to my Batman... except she's old, black and blind," he quips. Aided by two bona fide X-Men - Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) - Wade vows revenge on Ajax and his underlings. Relentlessly lurid and unapologetically foul-mouthed, Deadpool is a sinful treat. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick's script is crammed to bursting with zinging one-liners and a miasma of filth and toilet humour. Some gags narrowly miss their target, but the duds are invariably followed up in quick succession by sly digs at comic book conventions or self-referential barbs at the expense of Reynolds' good looks. Director Miller relies too heavily on slow-motion in his action sequences, but when it comes to the machine-gun dialogue, his film doesn't pause for breath.

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Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

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Dirty Grandpa 2 stars

Seventy-something man of mystery Dick Kelly buries his wife and emotionally blackmails his grandson Jason into driving him to their summer home in Florida. "It's what she would have wanted," Dick assures Jason, who is a corporate lawyer in the same firm as his father. The two men hit the road and are soon diverted to Daytona Beach, where Jason has a chance to reignite romance with old flame Shadia while perpetually libidinous Dick pursues Shadia's obliging friend, Lenore.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastZoey Deutch, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Aubrey Plaza.
  • DirectorDan Mazer.
  • WriterJohn Phillips.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.dirtygrandpa.movie
  • Release29/01/2016

In the prank TV show Jackass and a subsequent feature film, Johnny Knoxville donned latex to give octogenarians a bad name as politically incorrect grandpa Irving Zisman. Director Dan Mazer and screenwriter John Phillips channel a similar vibe of old men behaving crudely in this raunchy cross-generational road trip that pairs raging bull Robert De Niro and wholesome High School Musical alumnus Zac Efron.

It's a tantalising juxtaposition - wizened, worldly experience and youthful exuberance - and Phillips' expletive-laden script should mine a rich vein of humour by upending expectations about how these characters behave in polite society.

Alas, the drunken fraternity humour that runs rampant is wearisome and occasionally distasteful, including double standards in its treatment of homophobia. De Niro visibly savours his feisty old coot's potty-mouthed outbursts.

For his part, Efron gamely loses his shirt and his trousers, flashing his washboard stomach in a series of humiliations that include a mistaken case of exposure to a minor on a beach.

Seventy-something man of mystery Dick Kelly (De Niro) buries his wife and emotionally blackmails his grandson Jason (Efron) into driving him to their summer home in Florida. "It's what she would have wanted," Dick assures Jason, who is a corporate lawyer in the same firm as his father (Dermot Mulroney) and is poised to walk down the aisle with his controlling fiancee (Julianne Hough).

Jason arrives at his grandfather's home and walks in on the old timer in a state of gleeful undress, enjoying a pornographic film. "You caught me taking a number three," cackles Dick, without a flush of shame.

The two men hit the road and are soon diverted to Daytona Beach, where Jason has a chance to reignite romance with old flame Shadia (Zoey Deutch) while perpetually libidinous Dick pursues Shadia's obliging friend, Lenore (Aubrey Plaza).

"The greatest gift a grandson can give his grandfather is a hot college girl who wants to have unprotected sex with him before he dies," declares Dick but standing in his way are loutish college dudes Cody (Jake Pickering) and Brah (Michael Hudson).

Dirty Grandpa drinks from the same filthy glassware as The Hangover and its bromantic brethren. The two leads throw themselves into the fray with abandon, weathering numerous indignities including a topless dance off in search of cheap laughs.

Amidst the filth, scriptwriter Phillips dispenses pat life lessons about taking charge of your destiny and respecting elders. A running gag involving a drug dealer (Jason Mantzoukas) and two inept police officers (Mo Collins, Henry Zebrowski) runs out of puff while the sight of De Niro repeatedly shoving his thumb up his co-star's bottom as a laddish prank gets a thumbs down on its first airing let alone the fourth or fifth.

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Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

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Goosebumps 4 stars

Gale Cooper moves from New York to Delaware with her teenage son Zach. Their new next door neighbour is the mysterious Mr Shivers, whose daughter Hannah is also an enigma. Zach and his new friend, socially awkward student Champ, break into Mr Shivers' home and discover he is actually renowned author RL Stine. In the process of uncovering the truth, Zach accidentally unleashes Slappy from Night Of The Living Dummy. The demented mannequin releases monsters from the rest of Stine's books.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Family
  • CastDylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Jack Black, Ryan Lee.
  • DirectorRob Letterman.
  • WriterDarren Lemke.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration103 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/GoosebumpsUK
  • Release05/02/2016

Comic whirlwind Jack Black ramps up his manic energy to gale force 10 in this fast-paced fantasy adventure based on the series of children's books by RL Stine. Directed with brio by Rob Letterman, Goosebumps is a wicked delight, packed full of spooks and scares that should have adults jumping out of their seats almost as often as little ones.

Explosions of comic book violence, including a slip-sliding tussle between the Abominable Snowman and high school students on an ice rink, are orchestrated with black humour and vim. Darren Lemke's lean script barely pauses for breath between the eye-popping set pieces, but still finds time to flesh out a compelling teenage love story that remains the right side of sickly sweet.

Digital effects are impressive, seamlessly integrated with live action to conjure scenes of large-scale destruction including a runaway ferris wheel and a town under attack from a giant praying mantis.

It's huge fun, especially in 3D when some of the ghoulish things that go bump in the night appear to leap out of the screen. Letterman opens with the calm before the computer-generated storm as Gale Cooper (Amy Ryan) arrives in Delaware with her teenage son Zach (Dylan Minnette) to take up the position of vice-principal at Madison High School.

Their new next-door neighbour is the mysterious Mr Shivers (Black), whose daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush) is also an enigma. Zach and his socially awkward student Champ (Ryan Lee) break into Mr Shivers' home and discover that the truculent father is actually renowned author RL Stine.

In the process of uncovering this startling truth, Zach unlocks one of Stine's books and accidentally unleashes Slappy (voiced by Black) from Night Of The Living Dummy. The demented mannequin subsequently releases monsters from the rest of Stine's back catalogue and the grotesque creations run amok in Madison.

"Why couldn't you have written about unicorns and rainbows?" shrieks Champ.
"Because that doesn't sell 400 million copies," snaps Stine, who realises the only way to defeat Slappy is to pen another bestseller on his typewriter.

Meanwhile, Champ's high school crush Taylor (Halston Sage) and Gale's sister Lorraine (Gillian Bell) are caught up in the mayhem as zombies, a werewolf and assorted monstrosities besiege the high school.

Goosebumps careens wildly between action, comedy and touching drama, with a generous smattering of pithy verbal gags that will go above the heads of children and strike a bullseye with parents. Black leads from the front, plying the wide-eyed lunacy that has served him well, with Minnette as his straight man and foil, whose prime concern is rescuing the people he loves.

Slappy's army of grotesque henchcreatures won't induce nightmares, but might just send a pleasing shiver down young spines. A tricksy treat.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Goosebumps 3D 4 stars

Gale Cooper moves from New York to Delaware with her teenage son Zach. Their new next door neighbour is the mysterious Mr Shivers, whose daughter Hannah is also an enigma. Zach and his new friend, socially awkward student Champ, break into Mr Shivers' home and discover he is actually renowned author RL Stine. In the process of uncovering the truth, Zach accidentally unleashes Slappy from Night Of The Living Dummy. The demented mannequin releases monsters from the rest of Stine's books.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Family
  • CastDylan Minnette, Jack Black, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee.
  • DirectorRob Letterman.
  • WriterDarren Lemke.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration103 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/GoosebumpsUK
  • Release05/02/2016

Comic whirlwind Jack Black ramps up his manic energy to gale force 10 in this fast-paced fantasy adventure based on the series of children's books by RL Stine. Directed with brio by Rob Letterman, Goosebumps is a wicked delight, packed full of spooks and scares that should have adults jumping out of their seats almost as often as little ones.

Explosions of comic book violence, including a slip-sliding tussle between the Abominable Snowman and high school students on an ice rink, are orchestrated with black humour and vim. Darren Lemke's lean script barely pauses for breath between the eye-popping set pieces, but still finds time to flesh out a compelling teenage love story that remains the right side of sickly sweet.

Digital effects are impressive, seamlessly integrated with live action to conjure scenes of large-scale destruction including a runaway ferris wheel and a town under attack from a giant praying mantis.

It's huge fun, especially in 3D when some of the ghoulish things that go bump in the night appear to leap out of the screen. Letterman opens with the calm before the computer-generated storm as Gale Cooper (Amy Ryan) arrives in Delaware with her teenage son Zach (Dylan Minnette) to take up the position of vice-principal at Madison High School.

Their new next-door neighbour is the mysterious Mr Shivers (Black), whose daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush) is also an enigma. Zach and his socially awkward student Champ (Ryan Lee) break into Mr Shivers' home and discover that the truculent father is actually renowned author RL Stine.

In the process of uncovering this startling truth, Zach unlocks one of Stine's books and accidentally unleashes Slappy (voiced by Black) from Night Of The Living Dummy. The demented mannequin subsequently releases monsters from the rest of Stine's back catalogue and the grotesque creations run amok in Madison.

"Why couldn't you have written about unicorns and rainbows?" shrieks Champ.
"Because that doesn't sell 400 million copies," snaps Stine, who realises the only way to defeat Slappy is to pen another bestseller on his typewriter.

Meanwhile, Champ's high school crush Taylor (Halston Sage) and Gale's sister Lorraine (Gillian Bell) are caught up in the mayhem as zombies, a werewolf and assorted monstrosities besiege the high school.

Goosebumps careens wildly between action, comedy and touching drama, with a generous smattering of pithy verbal gags that will go above the heads of children and strike a bullseye with parents. Black leads from the front, plying the wide-eyed lunacy that has served him well, with Minnette as his straight man and foil, whose prime concern is rescuing the people he loves.

Slappy's army of grotesque henchcreatures won't induce nightmares, but might just send a pleasing shiver down young spines. A tricksy treat.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Point Break 2 stars

Seven years after an unexpected tragedy, extreme sports thrill-seeker Johnny Utah reemerges as a rookie FBI agent, desperate to prove his worth. Instructor Hall dispatches Johnny to France in the company of British agent Pappas to identify robbery suspects among the big wave surfers. By chance, Johnny rides a monstrous tube of water with gang leader Bodhi and is welcomed into the fold by accomplices Roach, Chowder and Grommet.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRay Winstone, Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Delroy Lindo, Teresa Palmer.
  • DirectorEricson Core.
  • WriterKurt Wimmer.
  • CountryUS/Ger/Chi
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewww.pointbreakmovie.co.uk
  • Release05/02/2016

Released in 1991, the original Point Break starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves was a testosterone-fuelled, homoerotic classic of the era about an emotionally scarred FBI agent, who goes undercover to bring down a gang of bank-robbing surfer dudes. Buff male characters shot lingering glances at each other dressed in tight-fitting wet suits, performed daredevil feats of one-upmanship and famously described Reeves' pretty boy thrill-seeker as young, dumb and full of one particular bodily fluid.

Director Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Academy Award for The Hurt Locker almost 20 years later, embraced the preposterousness of the set-up and charted an undeniably entertaining path through the water-drenched madness.

Ericson Core's muscle-flexing remake seeks the same extreme sports nirvana, but falls desperately short. The philosophical mumbo jumbo of the original film has been elevated to ludicrous new heights by screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, while action sequences rely too heavily on digital trickery to dazzle.

Crucially, the central relationship between the reckless cop and the sensei-like leader of the robbers lacks tantalising moral ambiguities or shifts in the balance of power. Sad to say, the 2016 incarnation should be retitled Pointless Break.

The film opens with Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) and best friend Jeff (Max Thieriot) filming a motorcycle ride along a hilltop for their online fan base. A leap across a chasm onto a needle of rock culminates in tragedy and Johnny retires from the scene.

Seven years later, he reemerges as a rookie FBI agent, desperate to prove his worth to Instructor Hall (Delroy Lindo). Johnny gets his chance when he realises that a four-strong team of extreme sports fanatics are committing crimes in order to complete the fabled eight ordeals of Ono Ozaki, an environmentalist and athlete, who believed in harnessing the planet's natural forces to find the path to enlightenment.

Hall dispatches Johnny to France in the company of British agent Pappas (Ray Winstone) to identify suspects among the big wave surfers. By chance, Johnny rides a monstrous tube of water with gang leader Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) and is welcomed into the fold by accomplices Roach (Clemens Schick), Chowder (Tobias Santelmann) and Grommet (Matias Varela).

They invite Johnny to shrug off past mistakes and seek pure adrenaline rushes around the world. "We can only have responsibility for our own path," counsels Bodhi. "Let others have theirs."

Point Break is a shadow of its former self, lacking all of the swaggering charm that allowed us to overlook the gaping plot holes and leaps in logic. Ramirez smoulders alone, Bracey is a bland hero and his romantic subplot an Australian daredevil (Teresa Palmer) is a fruitless diversion.

Director Core enlists some of the best athletes and stuntmen to enliven his action set pieces. Alas, even their impressive feats of strength and nerve-racking endurance can't save the film from a spectacular wipeout.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Point Break 3D 2 stars

Seven years after an unexpected tragedy, extreme sports thrill-seeker Johnny Utah reemerges as a rookie FBI agent, desperate to prove his worth. Instructor Hall dispatches Johnny to France in the company of British agent Pappas to identify robbery suspects among the big wave surfers. By chance, Johnny rides a monstrous tube of water with gang leader Bodhi and is welcomed into the fold by accomplices Roach, Chowder and Grommet.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRay Winstone, Delroy Lindo, Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Teresa Palmer.
  • DirectorEricson Core.
  • WriterKurt Wimmer.
  • CountryUS/Ger/Chi
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewww.pointbreakmovie.co.uk
  • Release05/02/2016

Released in 1991, the original Point Break starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves was a testosterone-fuelled, homoerotic classic of the era about an emotionally scarred FBI agent, who goes undercover to bring down a gang of bank-robbing surfer dudes. Buff male characters shot lingering glances at each other dressed in tight-fitting wet suits, performed daredevil feats of one-upmanship and famously described Reeves' pretty boy thrill-seeker as young, dumb and full of one particular bodily fluid.

Director Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Academy Award for The Hurt Locker almost 20 years later, embraced the preposterousness of the set-up and charted an undeniably entertaining path through the water-drenched madness.

Ericson Core's muscle-flexing remake seeks the same extreme sports nirvana, but falls desperately short. The philosophical mumbo jumbo of the original film has been elevated to ludicrous new heights by screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, while action sequences rely too heavily on digital trickery to dazzle.

Crucially, the central relationship between the reckless cop and the sensei-like leader of the robbers lacks tantalising moral ambiguities or shifts in the balance of power. Sad to say, the 2016 incarnation should be retitled Pointless Break.

The film opens with Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) and best friend Jeff (Max Thieriot) filming a motorcycle ride along a hilltop for their online fan base. A leap across a chasm onto a needle of rock culminates in tragedy and Johnny retires from the scene.

Seven years later, he reemerges as a rookie FBI agent, desperate to prove his worth to Instructor Hall (Delroy Lindo). Johnny gets his chance when he realises that a four-strong team of extreme sports fanatics are committing crimes in order to complete the fabled eight ordeals of Ono Ozaki, an environmentalist and athlete, who believed in harnessing the planet's natural forces to find the path to enlightenment.

Hall dispatches Johnny to France in the company of British agent Pappas (Ray Winstone) to identify suspects among the big wave surfers. By chance, Johnny rides a monstrous tube of water with gang leader Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) and is welcomed into the fold by accomplices Roach (Clemens Schick), Chowder (Tobias Santelmann) and Grommet (Matias Varela).

They invite Johnny to shrug off past mistakes and seek pure adrenaline rushes around the world. "We can only have responsibility for our own path," counsels Bodhi. "Let others have theirs."

Point Break is a shadow of its former self, lacking all of the swaggering charm that allowed us to overlook the gaping plot holes and leaps in logic. Ramirez smoulders alone, Bracey is a bland hero and his romantic subplot an Australian daredevil (Teresa Palmer) is a fruitless diversion.

Director Core enlists some of the best athletes and stuntmen to enliven his action set pieces. Alas, even their impressive feats of strength and nerve-racking endurance can't save the film from a spectacular wipeout.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 3D 4 stars

Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and his sister Leia bear the deep emotional scars of their encounters with the Dark Side of the Force, led by Supreme Leader Snoke and his protege Kylo Ren. A valiant scavenger called Rey, First Order stormtrooper Finn and Resistance X-wing pilot Poe Dameron become embroiled in the battle between good and evil.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastJohn Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong'o, Max von Sydow, Oscar Isaac, Peter Mayhew, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill.
  • DirectorJJ Abrams.
  • WriterJJ Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration135 mins
  • Official sitewww.starwars.com/films/star-wars-episode-vii-the-force-awakens
  • Release17/12/2015

Give the people what they want, but little else. Director JJ Abrams, who defied the Do Not Resuscitate order on Star Trek and reanimated that wheezing intergalactic saga, atones for George Lucas' cardinal sin of Episode I: The Phantom Menace with a rollicking and unabashedly old-fashioned battle beyond the stars that should shatter box office records rather than fans' sky high dreams.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the sincerest form of flattery of Lucas and his galaxy far, far away that has inspired religious fervour since the heady summer of 1977. Episode VII busily reconstitutes elements from the original trilogy as a giddy 135-minute showdown between the light and dark sides of the Force approximately 30 years after tumultuous events of Return Of The Jedi.

Verbal references and visual nods to earlier chapters abound: the thrum of duelling lightsabres, the beeps of deadpanning droids, the slow and steady countdown to interplanetary doom by hulking superweapon. It's the greatest hits of Star Wars, lovingly and slickly repackaged with an impressive cast of fresh-faced newcomers and wizened old hands, swish digital effects and John Williams' grandiose orchestral score.

The gossamer thin storyline is hand-me-down and some of the plot holes large enough for a four-legged AT-AT combat walker but rejoice, padawan hopefuls, rejoice: the Force is palpable in Episode VII and can only get stronger in subsequent films.

The Rebel Alliance's hard fought victory at the Battle of Endor is a fading memory. The First Order has risen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire, under the yoke of snarling Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his unpredictable protege, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) spearheads the rebellion, which includes fearless X-wing starfighter pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Outrageous misfortune brings together self-doubting heroes and villains including self-sufficient scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) from the desert planet Jakku, First Order stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) and a cute rolling BB-8 droid hardwired with killer comic timing.

Their fates conveniently entwine with wisecracking smuggler and scoundrel Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Wookiee sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), prophetic canteen owner Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o), ruthless First Order base leader General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and the mechanised Morecambe and Wiser: C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). "The galaxy is counting on us," growls Han.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens panders shamelessly to the intergalactic faithful, striking a delightfully pleasing balance between adrenaline-pumping thrills, laconic humour and soap opera histrionics. Ridley and Boyega make a sizable impact amidst the cacophonous sound and merchandising fury, capturing the vulnerability and anguish of conflicted characters haunted by murky pasts.

Ford has lost none of his bounder's roughly hewn, twinkly eyed charm, delivering droll one-liners with consummate ease. Director Abrams shepherds his handsomely crafted behemoth through every comfortingly predictable turn with aplomb. "Chewie... we're home," grins Han as he is reunited with the ramshackle Millennium Falcon early in the film. And so are we.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

The Revenant 4 stars

Hugh Glass guides a team of 19th-century fur trappers and hunters under the command of Captain Andrew Henry. The men come under attack from Native Americans and Glass is mauled by a grizzly bear, which is protecting its cubs. Captain Henry leaves behind two men, Fitzgerald and Bridger, to tend to Glass and his son, Hawk. Fitzgerald decides to expedite matters by killing Hawk and dragging Glass' near lifeless body into a freshly dug grave. The explorer regains consciousness and vows revenge.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Drama, Romance, Western
  • CastLeonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck.
  • DirectorAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
  • WriterAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mark L Smith.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration156 mins
  • Official sitewww.foxmovies.com/movies/the-revenant
  • Release15/01/2016

If film awards were bestowed for dogged determination and perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, The Revenant would sweep the 2016 Oscars. Mexican auteur Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu chose to shoot his sprawling historical epic in chronological order using natural light.

These bold aesthetic choices limited filming to just a couple of hours each day and when Mother Nature decided to withhold snow from the unforgiving Canadian wilderness, the entire production moved to Argentina at considerable expense.

Actor Tom Hardy was forced to drop out of the comic book adventure Suicide Squad to accommodate the extended filming schedule, the budget ballooned and one crew member famously described the mood on set as "a living hell".

Trials and tribulations behind the scenes haven't tarnished Inarritu's audacious vision because The Revenant is a tour-de-force of technical brio and emotionally cold storytelling. It's not a journey into the heart of darkness for the sentimental or faint of heart. Explosions of violence are graphic and a horrifying bear attack early in the film unfolds in a single, unbroken take that shreds our nerves beyond repair.

Leading man Leonardo DiCaprio puts himself through the wringer for his art. In one stomach-churning scene, the fervent vegetarian eats a wild bison's liver on camera because the role demands it. Such unswerving dedication makes him a deserved frontrunner for the Academy Award.

He plays 19th-century explorer Hugh Glass, who guides a team of fur trappers and hunters under the command of Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson). The men come under attack from Native Americans led by tribal chief Elk Dog (Duane Howard), whose daughter Powaqa (Melaw Nakehk'o) has been kidnapped.

The interlopers flee for their lives and Glass is subsequently injured in a mauling from a grizzly bear, which is protecting its cubs. Henry leaves behind two men, Fitzgerald (Hardy) and Bridger (Will Poulter), to tend to Glass and his son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), while the rest of the trappers head for safety.

"Glass is to be cared for... as long as necessary," orders the Captain, "and a proper burial when it's time. He's earned that." Fitzgerald decides to expedite matters by killing Hawk and dragging Glass' near lifeless body into a freshly dug grave.

The explorer regains consciousness some time later and vows to hunt down the men who killed his boy. "I ain't afraid to die," growls Glass. "I done it already."

The Revenant is a gruelling two and a half hours in the company of a filmmaker who refused to compromise. Aided by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman), Inarritu conjures a nightmarish and unflinching vision of a grieving father's revenge mission.

DiCaprio is mesmerising, dragging his wounded body across frozen landscapes before locking horns with Hardy's scowling rival in an adrenaline-pumped climax that leaves us gasping for air.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

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