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Now showing at Cineworld Newport Wales Newport Retail Park, Seven Styles Avenue,Newport,Gwent NP19 4QQ 0871 200 2000

  • A Little Chaos
  • Avengers Assemble + Captain America: The Winter Soldier + Avengers: Age Of Ultron
  • Avengers: Age Of Ultron
  • Avengers: Age Of Ultron 3D
  • Bolshoi Ballet: Ivan The Terrible
  • Child 44
  • Cinderella
  • Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream Alliance
  • Fast & Furious 7
  • Get Hard
  • Home
  • Hot Tub Time Machine 2
  • John Wick
  • Paddington
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
  • Penguins Of Madagascar
  • Rio 2
  • Testament Of Youth
  • The Divergent Series: Insurgent
  • The Divergent Series: Insurgent 3D
  • The Duff
  • The Emperor's New Clothes + Q&A With Russell Brand: Live Satellite Transmission
  • The Salvation
  • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water
  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown
  • The Water Diviner
  • Woman In Gold

A Little Chaos 3 stars

movie title

King Louis XIV hires renowned landscape gardener Andre Le Notre to transform the grounds of Versailles into a fantasia "of exquisite and matchless beauty". It is a Herculean task, so Le Notre hires fellow landscapers to oversee different sections of the garden. Sabine De Barra catches his eye. She flouts rigid form and prefers a more haphazard approach to her planting. The arrival of Sabine in the court sets tongues wagging and incurs the wrath of Andre's jealous wife, Madame Le Notre.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
  • CastAlan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Helen McCrory, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jennifer Ehle.
  • DirectorAlan Rickman.
  • WriterAlison Deegan, Alan Rickman, Jeremy Brock.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration117 mins
  • Official site
  • Release17/04/2015

Sexual tension and skulduggery blossom in the magnificent gardens of the Palace of Versailles in Alan Rickman's entertaining second directorial feature. A Little Chaos is considerably more formal and predictable than the title suggests, but what this lusty period romp lacks in originality, it compensates with colourful performances and an uplifting bouquet of courtly intrigues.

Rickman sows the seeds of our simple enjoyment with a largely British cast led by Oscar-winner Kate Winslet as a spirited landscape gardener, who refuses to kowtow to expectations or gender stereotypes.

She is nestled between handsome Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts as her green-fingered love interest and Stanley Tucci in a typically scene-stealing comic role as the effete Duc d'Orleans, who is a stranger to restrained sophistication and "speaks from the opposite end of the fashion scale".

Some of Britain's finest stately homes, estates and mansions including Blenheim Palace, Cliveden, Hampton Court Palace and Waddesdon Manor double handsomely for late 17th-century France. Rickman's garden is exceedingly well turned out.

The director makes his mark in front of the camera as King Louis XIV, who has hired renowned landscape gardener Andre Le Notre (Schoenaerts) to transform the grounds of Versailles into a fantasia "of exquisite and matchless beauty".

It is a Herculean task, so Le Notre hires fellow landscapers to oversee different sections of the garden. Sabine De Barra (Winslet) catches his eye. She flouts rigid form and prefers a more haphazard approach to her planting.

The arrival of Sabine in the court sets tongues wagging - "You are no one where everybody is someone," a chaperone tells her - and incurs the wrath of Andre's jealous wife, Madame Le Notre (Helen McCrory).

Fellow labourers including Moulin (Danny Webb) rush to support Sabine in her epic undertaking and the gardener wins the approval of the king's mistress Madame De Montespan (Jennifer Ehle) by challenging the monarch's description of women in his court as faded and overblown roses. "That fate awaits all roses, sire," Sabine responds confidently.

A Little Chaos has the requisite array of heaving bosoms, lingering glances and deceptions, accentuated by swathes of eye-catching costumes and composer Peter Gregson's lively score.

Winslet isn't stretched in the lead role but she brings grit and determination to her trendsetter. On-screen sexual tension with Schoenaerts barely simmers, while McCrory vamps it up to the hilt as the wicked wench who envies Sabine's ability to impress powerful men with her intellect.

Rickman downplays his beleaguered monarch and enjoys one truly delightful scene with Winslet, in which he casts off the king's finery to mourn lost love. The resolution of the entangled plots will surprise no one, but A Little Chaos is a hardy perennial that will weather most criticism and delivers gentle sprays of laughter and romance when it counts.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

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Avengers Assemble + Captain America: The Winter Soldier + Avengers: Age Of Ultron 3 stars

When a dangerous new enemy threatens the safety of mankind, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., scours the globe in search of the ultimate team of superheroes. Aided by fellow agent Maria Hill, Fury recruits Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow to save the day.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Science Fiction
  • CastChris Evans, Stellan Skarsgard, Cobie Smulders, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson.
  • DirectorJoss Whedon.
  • WriterJoss Whedon.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration461 mins
  • Official siteuk.marvel.com/avengers-assemble
  • Release23/04/2015

More is less in Avengers Assemble, the special effects-laden amalgamation of four Marvel Comics franchises. Bringing together characters from Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk, Joss Whedon's frenetic romp deftly knits together plot strands from the earlier films, threaded with tongue-in-cheek humour. There's a clear presumption that audiences will have seen the pictures that inspire this battle royale, accounting for a paucity of fresh character development, which undermines the relationship between the two heroes without a franchise.

However, while psychological substance may be thin, exhilarating action-packed sequences abound, choreographed at breakneck pace by writer-director Whedon, who knows how to seamlessly meld live action with digital trickery for maximum impact. Interestingly, he keeps the Avengers disjointed for most of the film, only bringing everyone together in the same location for the protracted final showdown to decide mankind's fate - and the likelihood of a sequel.

Thor's evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) plots to exterminate mankind by harnessing the power of the pulsating Tesseract cube. Aided by an army of aliens, Loki steals the artefact from the subterranean headquarters of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D, and enslaves scientist Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and ace marksman Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to do his nefarious bidding.

"As of now, we are at war," declares Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D, to the dismay of fellow agents Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Desperate times call for innovative measures and Fury scours the globe for the ultimate team of superheroes, uniting the inflated egos and rippling muscles of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

"You're going to leave the world's fate to a handful of freaks?" scoffs one political leader. However, Fury has great faith in his team, so long as they can overcome their petty jealousies and insecurities.

Avengers Assemble doesn't quite scale the dizzy heights of the original Iron Man but for almost two and a half hours, we're entertained and energised by Whedon's distinctive vision of the Marvel universe. The writer-director gifts many of the best lines to Downey Jr including a belting quip about Thor's olde worlde vernacular.

There is also a lovely moment when Thor attempts to defend the actions of Loki, only to learn that his scheming sibling has killed 80 people in two days. "He is adopted," deadpans the hammer-wielding god.

Since the cast and script don't take anything too seriously, nor do we, marvelling at the outrageously overblown special effects. Gwyneth Paltrow cameos as Iron Man's valiant assistant Pepper Potts but Oscar winner Natalie Portman was clearly too busy with motherhood to put in a physical appearance to shore up Thor's back story.

When Ruffalo mutates into the not-so-jolly green giant, the final battle becomes hilariously one-sided - a blur of computer-generated green as the green ball of anger flies through the air at speed, pummelling everything and everyone to a pulp. "Hulk smash!" he growls. Avengers Assemble is simply smashing.

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Wednesday 22nd April 2015

Avengers: Age Of Ultron 3 stars

movie title

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

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

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) hopes to jumpstart world peace using a dormant artificial intelligence program but he unwittingly unleashes the villainous Ultron (James Spader). Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) calls together his superhero team of Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to protect mankind from annihilation, testing the bonds of trust between the team members in the process. Uneasy alliances are forged and the Avengers cross paths with mysterious and powerful siblings Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). The team also encounters an old friend in his new form as Vision (Paul Bettany).

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 23rd April 2015

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Avengers: Age Of Ultron 3D 3 stars

movie title

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

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

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) hopes to jumpstart world peace using a dormant artificial intelligence program but he unwittingly unleashes the villainous Ultron (James Spader). Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) calls together his superhero team of Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to protect mankind from annihilation, testing the bonds of trust between the team members in the process. Uneasy alliances are forged and the Avengers cross paths with mysterious and powerful siblings Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). The team also encounters an old friend in his new form as Vision (Paul Bettany).

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 23rd April 2015

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Bolshoi Ballet: Ivan The Terrible 3 stars

Yuri Grigorovich's ballet of intrigue and murder in 16th-century Russia.

  • GenreDrama, Special
  • CountryRus
  • Duration135 mins
  • Official site

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015

Child 44 3 stars

movie title

Leo Demidov, best friend Alexei Andreyev and cowardly rival Vasili Nikitin work side by side as Moscow's secret police under the aegis of Major Kuzmin. Alexei's young son dies on the train tracks in suspicious circumstances and the grieving father becomes convinced that a murderer is on the loose. When Leo investigates, Kuzmin shoots him down: "Stalin tells us murder is strictly a capitalist disease."

  • GenreAdaptation, Historical/Period, Romance, Thriller, War
  • CastJason Clarke, Tom Hardy, Vincent Cassel, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Noomi Rapace, Paddy Considine, Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman.
  • DirectorDaniel Espinosa.
  • WriterRichard Price.
  • CountryUS/UK/Cze/
  • Duration137 mins
  • Official sitewww.child44film.com
  • Release17/04/2015

Adapted from the first novel of Tom Rob Smith's award-winning trilogy, Child 44 is a dense crime thriller steeped in the suspicion and paranoia of the Stalin-era Soviet Union.

Scriptwriter Richard Price faces an uphill battle - one he doesn't always win - to condense more than 400 pages of political intrigue and sinewy subplots into a free-flowing narrative that won't distract multiplex audiences from their popcorn.

He succeeds in fits and spurts, aided by Swedish director Daniel Espinosa, who energised the Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds thriller Safe House, and performs some of the same magic here in propulsive action sequences.

Espinosa flexes his muscles in compelling early scenes, recreating a key moment in the Battle of Berlin in 1945, when Soviets raised their flag over the Reichstag building. War-hardened soldier Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) is the man wielding the standard, cheered on by best friend Alexei Andreyev (Fares Fares), while cowardly comrade Vasili Nikitin (Joel Kinnaman) watches enviously from the sidelines.

Fast-forward eight years and these three men are working side by side as Moscow's secret police under the aegis of Major Kuzmin (Vincent Cassel). Alexei's young son dies on the train tracks in suspicious circumstances and the grieving father becomes convinced that a murderer is on the loose.

When Leo investigates, Kuzmin shoots him down: "Stalin tells us murder is strictly a capitalist disease." Soon after, Leo's wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) is branded a traitor but the policeman refuses to disown her. "You should have given me up - that's what wives are for," she coldly informs him, before they are banished to the bleak industrial town of Voualsk.

Leo is determined to unmask the boy's murderer and joins forces with local lawmaker General Nesterov (Gary Oldman) to disprove Stalin's assertion that there can be no murder in paradise. Meanwhile, the unlikely culprit, a factory worker called Vladimir (Paddy Considine), hunts more unsuspecting victims with impunity.

Based on the real life case of Andrei Chikatilo, the so-called Butcher of Rostov, who was sentenced to death for 52 murders, Child 44 is a slow burn that gets bogged down in exposition. Some of the cast are more comfortable than others with the thick Russian accents, including a couple of noticeable wobbles.

Hardy is a typically brooding and emotionally conflicted central figure, who is forced to address his own transgressions when murderer Vladimir scolds: "Hero, monster - we are both killers, you and I."

The bitter rivalry with Kinnaman's backstabbing compatriot is sketched in broad strokes while Rapace's love interest feels slightly undernourished too, although she relishes one pivotal scene in which Raisa laments the lack of free will afforded her sex.

Espinosa sustains tension, despite occasional dramatic detours that prolong the running time to a testing 137 minutes.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

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Cinderella 4 stars

movie title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

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Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream Alliance 3 stars

movie title

A life-affirming documentary about a group of friends and neighbours from a Welsh mining village, who came together to buy a racehorse and subsequently defied the odds. Jan Vokes is a barmaid in a working men's club in Cefn Fforest, who overhears local tax adviser, Howard Davies, talking about his disastrous efforts to breed a prize-winning horse. Without any experience but bundles of enthusiasm, Jan persuades Howard and his long-suffering wife Daisy to help her break into the horse racing elite.

  • GenreDocumentary, Drama, Indie
  • DirectorLouise Osmond.
  • WriterLouise Osmond.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration86 mins
  • Official sitewww.darkhorsefilm.co.uk
  • Release17/04/2015 (selected cinemas)

Not to be confused with James Napier Robertson's New Zealand drama The Dark Horse, Louise Osmond's life-affirming documentary reveals the true story of a group of friends and neighbours from a Welsh mining village, who came together to buy a racehorse and subsequently defied the odds. Jan Vokes is a barmaid in a working men's club in Cefn Fforest, who overhears local tax adviser, Howard Davies, talking about his disastrous efforts to breed a prize-winning horse. Without any experience but bundles of enthusiasm, Jan persuades Howard and his long-suffering wife Daisy to help her break into the horse racing elite. She establishes a syndicate of 30 locals, who pay 10 each per month towards the animal's care. They choose a foal with dubious racing pedigree and pay 7,000 pounds for the animal, christening the horse Dream Alliance, which they stable down on the allotments. With guidance from a top-class trainer, Dream Alliance becomes a beacon of hope for Cefn Fforest and stuns pundits when it wins a series of high-profile races against seasoned opposition.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

Fast & Furious 7 3 stars

movie title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

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Get Hard 1 stars

movie title

Businessman James King is engaged to a beautiful woman, who happens to be the daughter of Mr Hart, president of the firm. James savours the trappings of his millionaire lifestyle until he is wrongfully convicted of tax evasion, which carries a 10-year prison sentence. He has 30 days to prepare for his stint behind bars. James turns for help to one of Mr Hart's employees, Darnell Lewis, who James mistakenly believes must have served time because he is African-American.

  • GenreComedy, Drama
  • CastWill Ferrell, Alison Brie, Kevin Hart, Craig T Nelson.
  • DirectorEtan Cohen.
  • WriterIan Roberts, Jay Martel, Etan Cohen.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration100 mins
  • Official sitewww.gethardmovie.com
  • Release27/03/2015

Etan Cohen's relentlessly homophobic and racist comedy of errors - the biggest being that the film was made - opens with a shot of actor Will Ferrell sobbing uncontrollably. We know exactly how he feels after 10 minutes of Get Hard, which presumably sets out to poke fun at rampant political correctness but completely misses a huge target.

I sincerely doubt that writer-director Cohen, who penned the script to the Ben Stiller-Robert Downey Jr comedy Tropic Thunder, which lampooned racial stereotypes with aplomb, set out to wilfully offend or denigrate.

However, it's difficult to find excuses for a crass and insensitive script that treats male rape as a running joke, reduces most women to sex objects and contrives a painfully laboured sequence at a gay-friendly cafe, where Ferrell's energetic co-star Kevin Hart counsels him to approach any man and ask for oral sex because "that's what they do".

A couple of decent gags, including a jibe at an Australian media mogul, momentarily sweetens an exceedingly bitter pill, but we're left with a very nasty taste in the mouth, even with a generous drizzle of syrupy sentimentality in the film's closing moments.

James King (Ferrell) is a trader at Walthrop Fund Management, who can speculate 28 million US dollars profit in a single day and believes that society reduces to "rich or poor, white or... miscellaneous". His pampered fiancee Alissa (Alison Brie) is the daughter of company chairman Martin Clark (Craig T Nelson), who is poised to make his future son-in-law a partner in the firm.

James savours the trappings of his millionaire lifestyle until he is wrongfully charged with 43 counts of fraud and 30 counts of embezzlement. The company lawyer (Greg Germann) advises James to plead guilty but he refuses and is subsequently handed a 10-year sentence at a maximum security prison.

With 30 days to prepare for a stint behind bars, James turns to Darnell Lewis (Hart), owner of a car wash business, who the shamed trader presumes must have served time because he is African-American. In truth, Darnell is a hard-working family man, who intends to build a better future for his wife (Edwina Findley Dickerson) and daughter (Ariana Neal).

James offers Darnell 30,000 US dollars to toughen him up. "Help me train to not be someone's bitch," grizzles the millionaire. So Darnell passes himself off as a tough-talking mentor using insider information gleaned from his jailbird cousin (Tip "T.I." Harris).

Get Hard limps from one moment of uncomfortable, deathly silence, where there should be laughter, to the next. Ferrell and Hart are a mismatched double-act, riffing obscenities at each other in the hope that something, anything, might warrant a pitying smile.

To quote Hart's despairing on-screen spouse: "This is nuts!" Incarceration would be preferable to having to sit through Cohen's film again.

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Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
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Home 3 stars

movie title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
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Wednesday 22nd April 2015
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Hot Tub Time Machine 2 1 stars

movie title

Lou Dorchen, his childhood pals Adam and Nick and Adam's techno-savvy nephew Jacob have exploited time travel for personal gain. In particular, Lou has become a self-centred boor. During a massive party at the Dorchen residence, the lights go out and someone shoots Lou. With time of the essence, Nick, Jacob and Lou add nitrotrinadium to the hot tub so they can travel back to before the ill-fated shindig and stop the gun man or woman from pulling the trigger.

  • GenreComedy, Romance
  • CastClark Duke, Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, Rob Corddry, Chevy Chase.
  • DirectorSteve Pink.
  • WriterJosh Heald.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration93 mins
  • Official sitewww.hottubtimemachine.co.uk
  • Release10/04/2015

Once time travel crosses the rubicon from science fiction to scientific fact, I'm charting a course for the day that director Steve Pink first contemplated a sequel to his 2010 comedy Hot Tub Time Machine, to forcefully nip the idea in the bud. The original film was a toe-curling mess, peppered with stomach-churning gross-out interludes.

This belated and unnecessary follow-up takes the questionable art of foul-mouthed male bonding to even grubbier depths. "Don't mess with a winning formula!" whoops one of the dim-witted protagonists shortly before a second dip in the mystical jacuzzi.

If anyone willingly hands over hard-earned money to watch this humourless, witless and occasionally offensive aberration, then they deserve 93 soul-destroying minutes in the company of irritating lead actors Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke.

John Cusack, one of the stars of the first film, sensibly bailed before cameras started rolling, so his character is repeatedly name-checked but never glimpsed in the flesh. If only Pink's film could vanish without trace.

Childhood pals Lou (Corddry), Adam (Cusack) and Nick (Robinson) have exploited the mystical whirlpool for personal gain. Lou has amassed a fortune of 2.3 billion US dollars as frontman of rock band Motley Lou and inventor of the search engine Lougle. Adam courted celebrity with his novel Jacuzzi Timelord then retreated from the limelight, while Nick has become a chart-topping singer-songwriter by plagiarising songs that haven't been composed yet.

The flimsy plot kicks into pedestrian first gear at Lou's annual party where the boorish host torments his son Jacob (Clark Duke) and assorted guests. A crash of thunder causes a brief power outage and someone uses the cover of darkness to shoot off Lou's manhood.

Nick and Jacob drag the wounded billionaire to the hot tub, add a vial of nitrotrinadium to power the device and prepare to travel back to before the ill-fated shindig. Their prime suspects for the shooting include Lou's enraged wife Kelly (Collette Wolfe), disgruntled childhood friend Gary Winkle (Jason Jones) and Lougle employee Brad (Kumail Nanjiani).

Unexpectedly, the trio slingshot forwards in time to March 26, 2025, where they join forces with Adam's goofy son (Adam Scott) to unravel the mystery.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a lumbering litany of toilet humour including a generous spray of bodily fluids in an ER cubicle and a splash of sodomy during a futuristic celebrity game show hosted by Christian Slater.

Original cast members Corddry, Robinson and Duke can't muster a single laugh between them, while new addition Scott suffers a "super high intensity psychotropic drug trip" that seems preferable to spending time with his co-stars.

Director Pink turns back the clock to orchestrate each misguided set-piece with the same heavy-handedness as the 2010 picture. On a positive note, his film is in focus.

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Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
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John Wick 3 stars

movie title

Hit man John Wick (Reeves) holsters his weapons for good to marry his wife Helen. Shortly after terminal illness upends the fairy tale, John receives a present from his wife: an adorable beagle puppy called Daisy. The assassin comes to terms with his loss through his bond with the animal. One night, Russian playboy Iosef Tarasov and his underlings break into John's home, beat him to a pulp and kill Daisy. This act of senseless brutality fuels John's lust for revenge, regardless of the consequences.

  • GenreAction, Romance, Thriller
  • CastKeanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki.
  • DirectorChad Stahelski.
  • WriterDerek Kolstad.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration101 mins
  • Official sitewww.johnwickthemovie.com
  • Release10/04/2015

The death of a cherished pet propels a retired hit man to the brink of murderous insanity in Chad Stahelski's blood-soaked action thriller. Laced with macabre humour and punctuated by balletic fight sequences, John Wick embraces comedy and tragedy as its eponymous hero exacts eye-watering revenge for the slaying of a beloved beagle.

Keanu Reeves delivers one of his most compelling performances since The Matrix Trilogy in the title role, not that Derek Kolstad's script asks a great deal of him. The actor's restricted repertoire of facial expressions fits perfectly with his assassin's grit and determination despite overwhelming odds, and Reeves is well-equipped for the physical demands of breathless hand-to-hand combat and running gun battles.

A shootout in a club is particularly thrilling and screenwriter Kolstad repeatedly stokes the myth of his protagonist, like when one crime syndicate boss whispers, "I once saw him kill three men in a bar with a pencil".

Hit man John Wick (Reeves) holsters his weapons for good to marry his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan). Shortly after terminal illness upends the fairy tale, John receives a present from his wife: an adorable beagle puppy called Daisy and a note which reads, "I have found my peace, now find yours".

The assassin comes to terms with his loss through his bond with the animal. One night, Russian playboy Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen) and his underlings (Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore) break into John's home, beat him to a pulp and kill Daisy.

This act of senseless brutality fuels John's lust for revenge and he hunts down Iosef, ignoring the fact that his target is the son of powerful mob boss Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist). John dismisses Viggo's pleas for leniency so the kingpin puts a 2 million US dollar bounty on the hit man's head, piquing the interest of rival killers Marcus (Willem Dafoe) and Ms Perkins (Adrianne Palicki).

Meanwhile, John takes up lodgings at a hotel called the Continental, which caters for assassins and won't allow murder on its premises. "You dip so much as a pinky back into this pond, you might find something reaches out and drags you back in," warns hotel owner Winston (Ian McShane).

John Wick recognises its strength and plays to them with wry humour, including an eye-catching turn from Lance Reddick as the Continental hotel's obliging concierge, who doesn't bat an eye at blood spatter on his clientele.

The beagle puppy couldn't be cuter and we're completely behind Reeves' grief-stricken owner as he razes entire establishments in honour of his fallen four-legged friend. Director Stahelski, who is a stunt co-ordinator by trade, is understandably more comfortable with flying fists than zinging dialogue. However, he sustains dramatic momentum well and builds all of the wanton slaughter to a suitable grand resolution.

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Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
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Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

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Paddington 4 stars

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A young Peruvian bear with a passion for the British heads to London in search of a new home. At Paddington train station, he meets a boy called Jonathan Brown and his parents, who offer the lovable creature, christened Paddington, a temporary haven. At large in a strange city, Paddington wreaks havoc in the Brown household. Then an evil museum taxidermist named Millicent glimpses the wondrous bear and realises that he would make the most perfect addition to her collection.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Family, Family
  • CastHugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw, Nicole Kidman, Imelda Staunton.
  • DirectorPaul King.
  • WriterPaul King.
  • CountryUK/Fr
  • Duration95 mins
  • Official sitewww.paddington.com
  • Release28/11/2014

More than 50 years after he first appeared in print, author Michael Bond's beloved bear Paddington has finally arrived on the big screen in his first star-packed family adventure. Upcoming director Paul King's film lovingly weaves the traditional tenets of the duffel-coat wearing bear's story into a modern narrative.

Like the books, the film starts in deepest, darkest Peru, where a well-mannered three-foot bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) lives with his elderly Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon). In their youth, Lucy and Pastuzo were visited by a kindly English explorer who left his red hat with his furry friends.

When their home is threatened, Aunt Lucy packs her nephew off to the safety of London to track down the explorer, who has promised that there will always be a home for them in the capital.

Of course, after sailing the oceans in a boat filled with supplies of his treasured marmalade, the bear finds London isn't actually that friendly. In fact it's pretty miserable what with the drizzly weather and glum commuters pushing and shoving their way out of Paddington station and ignoring his pleas for a home.

"Sorry, we haven't got time for this," cries worrywart Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville), while his moody daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris) exclaims she's "embarrassed" to be near the small grisly, who has a 'Please look after this bear' sign around his neck.

Luckily, warm-hearted Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) and son Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) vow to take the furry chap home for the night. Naming him Paddington after the station where they found him, the Browns introduce their guest to kindly housekeeper Mrs Bird (Julie Walters).

But disaster soon strikes when Paddington tries to freshen up in the bathroom, resulting in a flood, two earwax-stained toothbrushes and a sharp telling off. Determined to find the explorer, Mrs Brown takes Paddington to see her friend Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent), an antiques dealer who might have clues to his existence.

In doing so, they attract the attention of cranky curtain twitcher Mr Curry (Peter Capaldi) and a slimy associate of villainous taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) who is hell-bent on "stuffing that bear". With Millicent determined to get her mitts on Paddington to display him in the Natural History Museum, the Browns find themselves on a humdinger of a cat and mouse chase to try and keep their furry friend safe.

As comforting and sweet as Paddington's beloved marmalade, King's delightful adaptation has heaps of heart and enough humour and carefully plotted cameos to ensure everyone more than grins and bears his adaptation.

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Sunday 19th April 2015

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 3 stars

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Six years have passed since Paul Blart singlehandedly defeated a gang of armed robbers. He has earned a vacation and heads off to Las Vegas with his daughter Maya for one last hurrah before she leaves home for college. In the Nevada desert, danger is never far away and when gun-toting criminals threaten the safety of the public during a daring heist, Paul leaps into action to serve and protect the only way he knows how, aided by a number of dedicated hotel employees.

  • GenreAction, Comedy, Family, Romance
  • CastNeal McDonough, Eduardo Verastegui, Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, Daniella Alonso.
  • DirectorAndy Fickman.
  • WriterNick Bakay, Kevin James.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official sitewww.paulblart-movie.com
  • Release10/04/2015

Kevin James reprises his role as the tenacious yet misunderstood security officer in this comedy sequel, directed by Andy Fickman. Six years have passed since Paul Blart (James) singlehandedly defeated a gang of armed robbers who stormed a New Jersey shopping centre and took staff and customers hostages. He has earned a vacation and heads off to Las Vegas with his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) for one last hurrah before she leaves home for college. In the Nevada desert, danger is never far away and when gun-toting criminals threaten the safety of the public during a daring heist, Paul leaps into action to serve and protect the only way he knows how, aided by a number of dedicated hotel employees.

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Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
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Penguins Of Madagascar 3 stars

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Skipper leads a crack squad of penguins comprising Kowalski, Rico and Private. A grey wolf called Classified, who works for the elite inter-species task force North Wind, recruits the plucky birds to thwart nefarious octopus Dr Octavius Brine. The penguins collaborate with some of the best agents in North Wind including harp seal demolitions expert Short Fuse, snowy owl intelligence analyst Eva and plucky polar bear Corporal to defeat their tentacled adversary.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastChristopher Knights, Chris Miller, Tom McGrath, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Stormare, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Conrad Vernon.
  • DirectorEric Darnell, Simon J Smith.
  • WriterMichael Colton, John Aboud, Brandon Sawyer.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official sitewww.madagascar.dreamworks.com
  • Release05/12/2014

Birds of a feather somersault, karate kick and bicker together in Eric Darnell and Simon J Smith's misfiring computer-animated spin-off from the Madagascar films. Frenetic and fast-paced, Penguins Of Madagascar initially sketches the back story of the four plucky Antarctic critters with a beak for adventure through the lens of a documentary film crew, who are keen to observe the flightless birds in their treacherous natural habitat.

The script soon fast-forwards to the conclusion of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and literally blasts the penguins into an outlandish spy caper replete with a menagerie of animal co-stars that should be a merchandiser's dream this Christmas.

The colour-saturated animation is a feast for the eyes and there are a few neat visual gags such as the penguins' novel approach to navigating a zebra crossing undetected. However, the four lead characters, who are boundlessly charming in small doses as sidekicks, grate slightly as heroes of their own half-baked story.

Hopefully the adorable Minions from the Despicable Me series will dodge a similar fate when they graduate to the limelight in a self-titled feature next summer.

Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath) leads a crack squad comprising Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) on a daring mission to break into Fort Knox in search of treasure: a luminous orange snack called Cheezy Dibbles.

From the offset, goofball Private is identified as the black penguin of the operation. "He's sort of our secretary-slash-mascot," observes Skipper. The hunt for Cheezy Dibbles leads the penguins into the clutches of nefarious octopus Dr Octavius Brine (John Malkovich), who intends to take over the world using his mutation serum.

Thankfully, Skipper and co escape and a subsequent chase with hench-octopi along the canals of Venice leads the penguins into the company of a grey wolf called Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch), who works for an elite inter-species task force known as North Wind.

Fellow agents include harp seal demolitions expert Short Fuse (Ken Jeong), snowy owl intelligence analyst Eva (Annet Mahendru) and plucky polar bear Corporal (Peter Stormare). The unlikely heroes join forces to defeat their tentacled arch-nemesis, but this collaboration will amount to nothing unless Skipper allows Private to discover the hero within.

Penguins Of Madagascar exhibits a similar lack of invention as the films which gave birth to Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. Brine's master plan for global domination bears an uncanny resemblance to events in Despicable Me 2 and the underlying message of tolerance and acceptance has been preached countless times before.

"If we've learnt anything on this delightful adventure, it's that looks don't matter. It's what you do that counts," declares Skipper.

A running joke involving celebrity names in one character's dialogue is a cute flourish but certainly not enough for these penguins to defy evolution and effortlessly take flight.

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Sunday 19th April 2015

Rio 2 3 stars

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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.

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Sunday 19th April 2015

Testament Of Youth 3 stars

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Vera Brittain heads to Oxford University to study under waspish Miss Lorimer while her brother Edward and his good friends Roland and Victor enlist to serve their country. Against the advice of her parents, Vera decides to postpone her higher education to volunteer as a nurse and treat soldiers like her brother, who have been physically and emotionally scarred by their experiences on the front.

  • GenreAdaptation, Biography, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance, War
  • CastHayley Atwell, Kit Harington, Alicia Vikander, Emily Watson, Dominic West, Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan.
  • DirectorJames Kent.
  • WriterJuliette Towhidi.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration130 mins
  • Official site
  • Release16/01/2015

Published in 1933, Testament Of Youth was the first instalment of memoirs by feminist writer and pacifist Vera Mary Brittain covering the years 1900-1925. In those pages, Brittain relived her harrowing personal experiences of the First World War in the wider context of the shifting political landscape, and gave a voice to other women, who had watched loved ones head off to fight and never return.

In 1979, the BBC produced a six-part mini-series based on the book, casting a fresh-faced Cheryl Campbell as the fiercely independent heroine. It's fitting that BBC Films should be one of the creative forces behind this handsomely mounted big screen adaptation.

Testament Of Youth is almost the right film in the right place at the right time, coinciding with centenary commemorations of the First World War, which included last year's spectacular installation of 888,246 ceramic poppies at the Tower Of London.

James Kent's film is suitably respectful and sombre, and Swedish actress Alicia Vikander is a revelation in her first leading role in an English-language production, capturing the spirit, defiance and brittleness of a young woman who holds firm to her convictions at a time when women were preferably seen but not heard.

Spirited and resourceful Vera (Vikander) is poised to head to Oxford University to study under waspish Miss Lorimer (Miranda Richardson). Her brother Edward (Taron Egerton) and his pals Roland (Kit Harington) and Victor (Colin Morgan) intend to enlist but Vera's parents (Dominic West, Emily Watson) are resistant.

"I know a little more about war than you young lady and it's never short and it's never fast," Mr Brittain tells his daughter sternly when Vera argues her sibling's case. They eventually relent and Vera heads to the dreaming spires of Oxford.

Romance blossoms between Vera and Roland, and Aunt Belle (Joanna Scanlan) acts as a chaperon for the young couple on their dates to ensure their conduct doesn't overstep the bounds of public decency. Against the advice of her parents, Vera postpones her higher education to volunteer as a nurse and treat soldiers, who have been physically and emotionally scarred by their experiences.

Friendships and family ties are strained as Vera and her loved ones search for glimmers of hope amid the devastation.

Testament Of Youth is a visually arresting portrait of those tumultuous years of blood-stained European history and director Kent demonstrates moments of brio. However, for all its physical splendour and Max Richter's elegiac orchestral score, the film doesn't stir the heart, even with Vikander wringing herself emotionally dry as Vera's dearest friends become casualties of the conflict.

At 130 minutes, the ambitious running time sags noticeably in the middle act, but thankfully regains momentum and composure as Vera's cosy existence is steadily reduced to rubble.

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Monday 20th April 2015

The Divergent Series: Insurgent 3 stars

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Tris and Four are on the run with Marcus Eaton and other members of Abnegation. Jeanine Matthews and her cohorts from Erudite plus Dauntless traitor Eric are close behind, determined to crush the rebellion and wipe out the Divergents, who threaten the status quo. The fugitives align themselves with the factionless, who are being led by Four's mother Evelyn. Allegiances are tested as Tris learns shocking secrets about the past that threaten the people she loves and the future of her world.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Romance, Science Fiction
  • CastMiles Teller, Maggie Q, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Ray Stevenson, Jai Courtney, Naomi Watts.
  • DirectorRobert Schwentke.
  • WriterBrian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration119 mins
  • Official sitewww.thedivergentseries.com
  • Release19/03/2015

Adapted from Veronica Roth's bestselling trilogy for young adults, Insurgent is a slickly engineered sequel that moves the dystopian narrative along at pace to a startling final revelation. Robert Schwentke's action-packed film crams its visual pyrotechnics into the climactic 40 minutes when Shailene Woodley's heroine Tris must complete a series of tasks to prove that she possesses the qualities of all five factions.

She must test positive for the selflessness of Abnegation, the courage of Dauntless, the honesty of Candor, the intelligence of Erudite and the inner peace of Amity. These trials include a visually stunning race against time to rescue Tris' mother (Ashley Judd) from a burning building that rotates as it ascends to the heavens and fisticuffs between the heroine and her diabolical doppelganger.

Woodley accomplishes these gymnastic feats with aplomb, but it's during the film's quieter moments that she truly excels. In particular, a scene of unburdening facilitated by a truth serum is a tour-de-force of raw, tear-stained emotion that bodes well for the concluding chapter Allegiance.

The finale will be released in two parts a la The Hunger Games. When it comes to milking cash cows, Hollywood prefers them desiccated when the end credits roll.

The second film opens with Tris (Woodley), her lover Four (Theo James), brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Dauntless traitor Peter (Miles Teller) ensconced in the pacifist enclave of Amity under the jurisdiction of Johanna (Octavia Spencer). Tensions between Tris and Peter spill over just as the gun-toting forces of Erudite led by Eric (Jai Courtney) gate-crash the bucolic idyll.

Peter betrays the fugitives but Tris, Four and Caleb escape and head for the only sanctuary left to them: the realm of the factionless under the control of Four's conniving mother, Evelyn (Naomi Watts).

"If we were to combine forces, we'd be unstoppable," enthuses Evelyn, sensing an opportunity to overthrow Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and her cohorts from Erudite. Allegiances are tested as Tris and Four disagree about the way forward, flanked by their Dauntless brethren including Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and Tori (Maggie Q).

Meanwhile, Jeanine hunts down Divergents to unlock a box that purportedly contains the key to eradicating the misfits once and for all.

Although it lacks the sustained visceral thrills and sense of jeopardy that distinguished the first film, Insurgent confidently lays the groundwork for a fraught journey back to humanity. While Woodley excels in every frame, many of her talented co-stars are underused, particularly Whiplash drummer boy Teller and Elgort.

James continues to brood with his shirt on or off, kindling pleasing sparks of on-screen chemistry with his leading lady. Director Schwentke, who previously captained Jodie Foster in the airborne thriller Flightplan, safely pilots the sequel through a few moments of dramatic turbulence, knowing the best is yet to come.

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Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
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Wednesday 22nd April 2015

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The Divergent Series: Insurgent 3D 3 stars

Tris and Four are on the run with Marcus Eaton and other members of Abnegation. Jeanine Matthews and her cohorts from Erudite plus Dauntless traitor Eric are close behind, determined to crush the rebellion and wipe out the Divergents, who threaten the status quo. The fugitives align themselves with the factionless, who are being led by Four's mother Evelyn. Allegiances are tested as Tris learns shocking secrets about the past that threaten the people she loves and the future of her world.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Romance, Science Fiction
  • CastMiles Teller, Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Naomi Watts, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Ray Stevenson.
  • DirectorRobert Schwentke.
  • WriterBrian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration119 mins
  • Official sitewww.thedivergentseries.com
  • Release19/03/2015

Adapted from Veronica Roth's bestselling trilogy for young adults, Insurgent is a slickly engineered sequel that moves the dystopian narrative along at pace to a startling final revelation. Robert Schwentke's action-packed film crams its visual pyrotechnics into the climactic 40 minutes when Shailene Woodley's heroine Tris must complete a series of tasks to prove that she possesses the qualities of all five factions.

She must test positive for the selflessness of Abnegation, the courage of Dauntless, the honesty of Candor, the intelligence of Erudite and the inner peace of Amity. These trials include a visually stunning race against time to rescue Tris' mother (Ashley Judd) from a burning building that rotates as it ascends to the heavens and fisticuffs between the heroine and her diabolical doppelganger.

Woodley accomplishes these gymnastic feats with aplomb, but it's during the film's quieter moments that she truly excels. In particular, a scene of unburdening facilitated by a truth serum is a tour-de-force of raw, tear-stained emotion that bodes well for the concluding chapter Allegiance.

The finale will be released in two parts a la The Hunger Games. When it comes to milking cash cows, Hollywood prefers them desiccated when the end credits roll.

The second film opens with Tris (Woodley), her lover Four (Theo James), brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Dauntless traitor Peter (Miles Teller) ensconced in the pacifist enclave of Amity under the jurisdiction of Johanna (Octavia Spencer). Tensions between Tris and Peter spill over just as the gun-toting forces of Erudite led by Eric (Jai Courtney) gate-crash the bucolic idyll.

Peter betrays the fugitives but Tris, Four and Caleb escape and head for the only sanctuary left to them: the realm of the factionless under the control of Four's conniving mother, Evelyn (Naomi Watts).

"If we were to combine forces, we'd be unstoppable," enthuses Evelyn, sensing an opportunity to overthrow Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and her cohorts from Erudite. Allegiances are tested as Tris and Four disagree about the way forward, flanked by their Dauntless brethren including Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and Tori (Maggie Q).

Meanwhile, Jeanine hunts down Divergents to unlock a box that purportedly contains the key to eradicating the misfits once and for all.

Although it lacks the sustained visceral thrills and sense of jeopardy that distinguished the first film, Insurgent confidently lays the groundwork for a fraught journey back to humanity. While Woodley excels in every frame, many of her talented co-stars are underused, particularly Whiplash drummer boy Teller and Elgort.

James continues to brood with his shirt on or off, kindling pleasing sparks of on-screen chemistry with his leading lady. Director Schwentke, who previously captained Jodie Foster in the airborne thriller Flightplan, safely pilots the sequel through a few moments of dramatic turbulence, knowing the best is yet to come.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 22nd April 2015

The Duff 4 stars

movie title

Bianca is invited to all of the parties with her best friends Jess and Casey, oblivious to the fact that she is the D.U.F.F. - Designated Ugly Fat Friend - of her social circle. When her next-door neighbour, hunky athlete Wesley, opens Bianca's eyes to the upsetting truth, she resolves to transform herself from an ugly duckling into a swan so that she might land a date with her dream beau, Toby.

  • GenreComedy, Female, Romance, Teenage
  • CastRobbie Amell, Mae Whitman, Bella Thorne, Skyler Samuels, Allison Janney, Ken Jeong, Bianca A Santos.
  • DirectorAri Sandel.
  • WriterJosh A Cagan.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration101 mins
  • Official sitewww.theduffmovie.com
  • Release06/04/2015

It seems rather disingenuous for Hollywood - an industry that reveres glamour, designer couture and age-defying beauty - to peddle wish fulfillment fantasies to female audiences that extol beauty as a quality that radiates purely from within.

Cinema's so-called ugly ducklings are invariably gorgeous actresses, who have neglected to wash their hair and put on make-up for a few scenes, dressed in oversized high-street fashions. Their transformation into glittering swans is just a couple of hours away, courtesy of a top stylist.

Ultimately, we're suckers for these widescreen fairy tales and The Duff continues the trend with sassiness and style. Ari Sandel's film is an unabashedly feel-good comedy about one young woman's journey from insecurity to self-acceptance that patrols the same high school corridors as She's All That, Clueless, Mean Girls and 10 Things I Hate About You.

Josh A Cagan's script, adapted from the novel by Kody Keplinger, embraces every well-worn cliche and convention, empowering its heroines to take control of their lives and defy magazine articles which dictate how they should behave or dress.

Thus one tomboy isn't fussed about attending her school's rites-of-passage prom because she already has a date in front of the TV. "There's a Vincent Price marathon on so I gotta watch that," she deadpans.

The devoted horror fan is Bianca (Mae Whitman), who attends parties with her best friends Jess (Skyler Samuels) and Casey (Bianca A Santos), oblivious to the fact that she is the D.U.F.F. - Designated Ugly Fat Friend - of her close-knit social circle.

When her next-door neighbour, hunky athlete Wesley (Robbie Amell), who is dating the school's queen bee Madison (Bella Thorne), opens Bianca's eyes to the upsetting truth, she resolves to transform from an ugly duckling in order to land a date with her dream beau, Toby (Nick Eversman).

Bianca recruits Wesley to polish her rough edges and in return, she improves his academic grades so he can secure a sports scholarship. With encouragement from her sassy mother (Allison Janney), whose mantra is "believe, retrieve, achieve... just don't conceive," Bianca realises that even the most beautiful girls at school are someone's D.U.F.F. and she shouldn't be defined by a cruel label.

Meanwhile, Madison grows jealous of Bianca's friendship with Wesley and dispatches her acolyte Caitlyn (Rebecca Weil) to spy on the odd couple.

The Duff is a heartfelt and frequently hilarious traipse through teenage angst, anchored by a luminous central performance from Whitman. She endears us to her snarky and cynical 17-year-old and shares winning screen chemistry with dreamboat Amell and Janney as the divorced mom who believes you should "project confidence with a power pant-suit combo".

Colourful supporting turns from Ken Jeong and Romany Malco, as members of school staff, up the laughter quotient to the brink of hysteria.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

This film is also showing at:

The Emperor's New Clothes + Q&A With Russell Brand: Live Satellite Transmission 3 stars

Documentary.

  • GenreDocumentary, Special
  • CastRussell Brand.
  • DirectorMichael Winterbottom.
  • WriterRussell Brand.
  • CountryUS/UK
  • Duration107 mins
  • Official sitewww.theemperorsnewclothesfilm.co.uk
  • Release21/04/2015

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 21st April 2015

The Salvation 3 stars

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Danish former soldier Jon heads west to 1870s America in search of a new life. His wife Marie and young son Kresten follow some years later but the tearful family reunion culminates in the rape and slaughter of mother and child. Consumed by grief, Jon hunts down and slays those responsible but one of the assailants turns out to be the brother of sadistic local land baron, Delarue.

  • GenreDrama, Romance, Western
  • CastMads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eva Green, Mikael Persbrandt, Eric Cantona, Douglas Henshall.
  • DirectorKristian Levring.
  • WriterKristian Levring, Anders Thomas Jensen.
  • CountryDen/UK/S A
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official site
  • Release17/04/2015 (selected cinemas)

Filmed in Johannesburg with a Danish director and a largely European cast, The Salvation saddles up as a revisionist western to rival Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning masterpiece Unforgiven. For all the undeniable style that Kristian Levring's film boasts, including stunning cinematography courtesy of Jens Schlosser, this revenge thriller trots rather than canters to a disappointingly familiar beat.

There is much to admire in the assured manner Levring stages his sweat-soaked shoot-outs and the cast embody their hoary stereotypes, chewing scenery almost as furiously as their tobacco.

But the west wasn't won by simply venturing where greater directors have gone before, even when your film is distinguished by an eye-catching lead performance from Mads Mikkelsen as a wronged husband who exacts justice with his trusty Winchester rifle. As spaghetti westerns go, Levring serves his with lashings of thick blood red sauce.

Following a crushing military defeat at the hands of the Germans, Danish soldiers head west to 1870s America in search of a new life. Jon (Mikkelsen) settles on the outskirts of the godforsaken town of Black Creek, where he establishes a homestead. His wife Marie (Nanna Oland Fabricius) and young son Kresten (Toke Lars Bjarke) follow some years later but the tearful family reunion culminates in the rape and slaughter of mother and child.

Consumed by grief, Jon hunts down and slays those responsible but one of the assailants turns out to be the brother of sadistic local land baron, Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Black Creek's mayor (Jonathan Pryce) and weak-willed sheriff (Douglas Henshall) cower when Delarue swaggers into town with his right-hand man Corsican (Eric Cantona) to demand retribution for his brother's death.

"I will give you two hours to find the man that did this... or you bring me two of your people," growls the land baron. Delarue makes good on his promise in order to impress his brother's mute widow (Eva Green) and the townsfolk respond by betraying Jon. Thankfully, the Dane has a sharp-shooting brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), to stage a daring rescue from the jaws of death.

Embellished with a strident orchestral score composed by Kasper Winding, The Salvation dazzles many of our senses. The South African vistas are a breathtaking stand-in for the American frontier and Levring contrasts the earthy colour palette of the sun-scorched day with the moody dark tones of the forgiving night.

Mikkelsen wrings himself dry of tears as his family man dons the spurs of judge, jury and executioner in a land where only the fastest draw survives. Morgan is a lacklustre, two-dimensional villain while Green slinks like a cat on heat through each blood-spattered frame.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water 3 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

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The Town That Dreaded Sundown 3 stars

Jami and her boyfriend Corey attend a drive-in screening of the 1976 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown but raging hormones get the better of them. They drive to a secluded spot to enjoy some heavy petting only for a hooded maniac to slay Corey and whisper menacingly to Jami, "This is for Mary. Make them remember". When the same killer strikes on the other side of the border, Texas Ranger Lone Wolf Morales assumes control of the investigation.

  • GenreAdaptation, Horror, Romance, Thriller
  • CastGary Cole, Addison Timlin, Spencer Treat Clark, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson, Joshua Leonard.
  • DirectorAlfonso Gomez-Rejon.
  • WriterRoberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration84 mins
  • Official site
  • Release17/04/2015

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's blood-soaked horror remake knowingly references the original 1976 film, introducing a new generation to the true story of the Phantom Killer, who stalked his victims along the Texas and Arkansas border in 1946. In the remake, Jami (Addison Timlin) and her boyfriend Corey (Spencer Treat Clark) attend a drive-in screening of the 1976 picture on Halloween in Texarkana, but raging hormones get the better of them. They drive to a secluded spot to enjoy some heavy petting only for a masked maniac to slay Corey and whisper menacingly to Jami, "This is for Mary. Make them remember". When the same killer strikes on the other side of the border, Texas Ranger Lone Wolf Morales (Anthony Anderson) assumes control of the investigation, usurping local officers including Deputy Foster (Joshua Leonard), who has been assigned as Jami's police escort. The young woman is determined to unmask the killer and she joins forces with an old classmate called Nick Strain (Travis Tope) to learn about the making of the 1976 film and the impact on the town's residents.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

The Water Diviner 3 stars

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Rugged farmer Joshua Connor possesses a rare gift for divining water, which he uses to irrigate the sprawling property he shares with his wife Eliza and three sons Art, Edward and Henry. The boys head off to war and perish in the ill-fated clash with Turkish forces on the Gallipoli peninsula. Their final resting places are unknown, like so many who fought, and Eliza is devastated. Joshua honours a promise to his wife to bring the remains of their boys back home.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance, War
  • CastOlga Kurylenko, Jai Courtney, Russell Crowe, Ryan Corr, Yilmaz Erdogan.
  • DirectorRussell Crowe.
  • WriterAndrew Knight, Andrew Anastasios.
  • CountryAustralia/
  • Duration111 mins
  • Official sitewww.thewaterdivinermovie.com.au
  • Release03/04/2015

In front of the camera, New Zealand-born actor Russell Crowe has enjoyed critical and commercial success. He came to the fore in 1997 as a brutish detective prone to violence in L.A. Confidential. Successive Oscar nominations as Best Actor for The Insider, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind, including a win for Ridley Scott's swords and sandals epic, solidified his status as a performer with emotional depth to complement his physical presence.

More recently, he embraced political corruption as a shady mayor in Broken City, sang for his supper in Les Miserables and built an ark as a tormented Noah. For his directorial debut, Crowe casts himself as a crusading father, who will stop at nothing to locate his three fallen sons, in this fictional historical drama based on the book of the same name, which has been adapted for the big screen by Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight.

The Water Diviner is a solid first effort including well-choreographed scenes of conflict and self-sacrifice during the Gallipoli Campaign in late 1915. However, his film falls victim to heavy-handed sentiment when it comes to a central romance across the cultural divide that flourishes despite a total absence of on-screen chemistry with leading lady Olga Kurylenko.

Rugged farmer Joshua Connor (Crowe) possesses a rare gift for divining water, which he uses to irrigate the sprawling property he shares with his wife Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie) and three sons Art (Ryan Corr), Edward (James Fraser) and Henry (Ben O'Toole).

The boys head off to war and perish in the ill-fated clash with Turkish forces on the Gallipoli peninsula. Their final resting places are unknown, like so many who fought, and Eliza is devastated. Joshua honours a promise to his wife to bring the remains of their boys back home.

He seeks lodgings in Constantinople at a hotel run by Muslim widow Ayshe (Kurylenko) and her cherubic son Orhan (Dylan Georgiades). Unfortunately, the military refuses to allow Joshua safe passage to Gallipoli so he ignores protocol and makes his own way to the site, where he clashes with Australian Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Hughes (Jai Courtney).

Unexpectedly, a visiting Turkish officer, Major Hassan (Yilmaz Erdogan), takes pity and pledges his assistance to reunite Joshua with his boys because "he's the only father who came looking."

Blessed with lustrous cinematography, The Water Diviner is a heartfelt tale of broken men and redemption. Crowe doesn't have to stretch himself as a father in crisis, but his character's search for answers certainly tugs heartstrings including a devastating scene of his three boys scythed down by Turkish bullets.

The romantic subplot doesn't work and its resolution is unintentionally hilarious but the rest of Crowe's first foray in the director's chair shows promise.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015

Woman In Gold 3 stars

Shortly before the Second World War, Nazis confiscate numerous artworks including Gustav Klimt's iconic portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, known as Woman In Gold. Following his death, Adele's niece Maria Altmann launches a protracted and bitter legal battle against the Austrian government to reclaim the painting, flanked by idealistic young lawyer Randol Schoenberg. Together, they take the grievance to the Supreme Court of the United States.

  • GenreBiography, Drama, Film, Historical/Period
  • CastHelen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl, Dame Helen Mirren, Katie Holmes, Max Irons.
  • DirectorSimon Curtis.
  • WriterAlexi Kaye Campbell.
  • CountryUS/UK
  • Duration109 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/WomanInGoldMovie
  • Release10/04/2015

During the Second World War, the Third Reich plundered countless artworks and possessions, some of which were traced back to their rightful owners by the Monuments Men. Today, more than 100,000 precious items are still separated from families.

Some may never be seen again. Woman In Gold is the inspirational true story of one Los Angeles resident, who challenged the legal status quo to reclaim a painting from her native Austria in the face of staunch resistance from bureaucrats in Vienna.

Director Simon Curtis and screenwriter Alexi Kaye Campbell distill this protracted war of words into a solid drama that juxtaposes harrowing events in late 1930s Europe with legal wranglings six decades later on both sides of the Atlantic.

At the turn of the 20th century, industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer (Henry Goodman) commissions artist Gustav Klimt to paint his wife Adele (Antje Traue), who dies a few years later. The glittering canvas hangs in the family apartment in Vienna until Nazis invade and seize works of art as well as precious trinkets.

Ferdinand leaves the country before the border shutdown, but his brother Gustav (Allan Corduner), his wife Therese (Nina Kunzendorf), their daughter Maria (Tatiana Maslany) and her opera singer husband Fritz (Max Irons) are not so fortunate. Maria and Fritz orchestrate a daring escape, leaving behind loved ones to a grim fate, while the iconic painting hangs in the Belvedere Gallery in the Austrian capital.

In 1998, Maria (now played by Helen Mirren) attempts to reclaim the canvas, aided by idealistic lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds). "Can't you help me out on the side, like a little hobby?" she pleads. Inspired by Maria's resolve, Randol risks his job at a top California law firm to pursue the case, which everyone, including senior partner Sherman (Charles Dance), tells him is unwinnable.

Austrian investigative reporter Hubertus Czernin (Daniel Bruhl) pledges support but warns Maria and Randol to expect defeat. "She is the Mona Lisa of Austria," explains the reporter. "Do you think they will just let her go?

Woman In Gold deftly moves back and forth between the two timelines to establish Maria's tragic past and her claim on the painting. Mirren teases out the steeliness of her survivor, who gets caught up in the excitement of the case and jokes to Randol, "This is like James Bond film, and you are Sean Connery".

She pickpockets the lion's share of the one-liners while Reynolds has the more difficult task of adding emotional heft to his inexperienced underdog. Screenwriter Campbell simplifies legal arguments so they are easily digestible, while director Curtis maintains a steady pace apart from Maria and Randol's pulse-quickening escape bid that seems destined to end in tragedy. Not for the last time, Maria defies the odds.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 19th April 2015
Monday 20th April 2015
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Wednesday 22nd April 2015
Thursday 23rd April 2015

This film is also showing at:

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