Now showing at Everyman Winchester Southgate Street,Winchester,Hampshire SO23 9EG 0871 906 9060
- The Divergent Series: Insurgent
- The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
- Wild Tales
Cinderella 4 stars
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.
- Duration113 mins
- Official sitemovies.disney.com/cinderella/
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.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent 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, 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.
- Duration119 mins
- Official sitewww.thedivergentseries.com
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.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 4 stars
Sonny and his business partner Muriel consider expanding into a second hotel to cope with demand, aided by Douglas and Evelyn. The arrival of an American writer called Guy sends Madge into a swoon while Sonny has lots to keep him occupied with his impending nuptials to the beautiful Sunaina. Douglas and Evelyn's romance continues to develop but the course of true love, even in twilight years, never runs smooth.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
- CastRichard Gere, Bill Nighy, Dame Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, Tamsin Greig, Penelope Wilton, Dev Patel, Tena Desae, Dame Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Lillete Dubey.
- DirectorJohn Madden.
- WriterOl Parker.
- Duration122 mins
- Official sitewww.facebook.com/marigoldhotel
Towards the end of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a secret inspector is asked for an honest assessment of Jaipur's luxury development for residents in their golden years. The inspector concludes that behind the scenes, management of the hotel is shambolic but unerring affection for the staff makes it a four-star destination for "the elderly and beautiful".
The same honest appraisal applies to John Madden's entertaining sequel: Ol Parker's script is haphazard and several plot strands are flimsy but our emotional investment in the characters papers over the cracks.
Audiences who check in to this second chapter will be treated to the same pungent Jaipur backdrops and good-humoured service, with a fresh lick of dramatic paint courtesy of new arrivals, played with easy-going charm by Tamsin Greig and Richard Gere.
The dashing star of American Gigolo and Pretty Woman takes on sex symbol status here, causing groom-to-be Sonny (Dev Patel) to quip, "The man is so handsome, he has me urgently questioning my own sexuality." At 65 years old, Gere evidently still has it.
While the first film was lovingly adapted from Deborah Moggach's novel These Foolish Things, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel tumbles straight out of the scriptwriter Parker's imagination. He struggles to provide each resident with a compelling narrative arc: some are surplus to requirements while others relish the trials and tribulations that test fledgling romances and fractious friendships to breaking point.
Sonny and business partner Muriel (Maggie Smith) travel abroad to seek investment for a second hotel from business chief Ty Burley (David Strathairn) and return to India, mindful that funding is dependent on a review from a secret inspector.
"How was America?" asks Evelyn (Judi Dench), welcoming them home.
"It made death more tempting," retorts Muriel.
English traveller Lavinia (Greig) and American novelist Guy (Gere) arrive soon after and Sonny is convinced that Guy must be the inspector so he ignores Lavinia and lavishes attention on the writer. Guy's arrival sends Madge (Celia Imrie) into a swoon - "Lordy lord, have mercy on my ovaries!" she swoons - while Douglas (Bill Nighy) struggles to communicate his feelings to Evelyn.
Meanwhile, Sonny is pre-occupied with his impending nuptials to Sunaina (Tina Desai) and a simmering rivalry for his fiancee's affections from snake-hipped family friend Kush (Shazad Latif).
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel delivers the same winning formula of laughter and tears, eliciting strong performances from Dench, Nighy and Smith at her acid-tongued, indomitable best.
The course of true love, even in twilight years, never runs smooth and Parker composes variations on a theme of amour, while peppering his script with pithy one-liners. "There is no present like the time," professes one wise soul. Madden's film is certainly a gift: you get everything you expect but nothing more.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Thursday 2nd April 2015
Wild Tales 4 stars
A compendium of six short black comedies linked by themes of revenge and betrayal. The scenarios include an ill-fated domestic flight, a diner meal that one customer will never forget, an unfortunate case of road rage on a deserted highway, a battle of wits between a demolition expert and a car tow firm, a hit and run that becomes a diabolical blame game, and a joyous wedding reception that descends into chaos when the emotionally volatile bride discovers that her new husband has been cheating on her with one of the guests.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Romance, Thriller, World
- CastRicardo Darin, Rita Cortese, Nancy Duplaa, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Dario Grandinetti.
- DirectorDamian Szifron.
- WriterDamian Szifron.
- Duration122 mins
- Official site
- Release27/03/2015 (selected cinemas)
Damian Szifron directs this delicious Argentinian black comedy, which was nominated as Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Academy Awards. The characters in each of the six short stories are unrelated but they are all linked by themes of revenge and betrayal. These scenarios include an ill-fated domestic flight, a diner meal that one customer will never forget, an unfortunate case of road rage on a deserted highway, a battle of wits between a demolition expert and a car tow firm, a hit and run that becomes a diabolical blame game, and a joyous wedding reception that descends into chaos when the emotionally volatile bride discovers that her new husband has been cheating on her with one of the guests.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Thursday 2nd April 2015
X+Y 3 stars
Autistic savant teenager Nathan struggles to connect emotionally with the people around him including his caring mother, Julie. The lad's unconventional teacher Mr Humphreys recognises Nathan's gift for numbers and he suggests that the teenager might be good enough to earn a place on a British team who will compete at the forthcoming International Mathematics Olympiad. The camaraderie of the Olympiad could change Nathan's life forever, but first he must travel to Taiwan to train.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Family, Romance
- CastAsa Butterfield, Sally Hawkins, Rafe Spall, Jo Yang, Eddie Marsan.
- DirectorMorgan Matthews.
- WriterJames Graham.
- Duration112 mins
- Official sitewww.xplusymovie.com
Film producers, who gauge success in pounds and dollars, know only too well that there is no simple, rigorous formula for guaranteed box office returns. The 1995 action adventure Cutthroat Island and the 2003 romp Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl share similar creative DNA: swashbuckling pirates + water-logged action sequences + uproarious comedy.
However, the former sank in spectacular fashion and is widely considered one of the biggest flops in cinema history while the latter spawned a ship-shape franchise that has grossed more than 3.5 billion US dollars... and counting.
X+Y is a bittersweet drama, which has been engineered to a predictable formula: misunderstood genius + neurodevelopmental disorder + touching romance = triumph against adversity.
Morgan Matthews' uplifting feature rests heavily on 17-year-old lead actor Asa Butterfield. He plays Nathan, an autistic savant teenager, who struggles to connect emotionally with people around him including his caring mother, Julie (Sally Hawkins).
Haunted by memories of his father (Martin McCann), the one person who nurtured Nathan's "special powers", the teenager seeks comfort in complex mathematics. Unconventional teacher Mr Humphreys (Rafe Spall) suggests that Nathan should apply for the International Mathematics Olympiad hosted at Trinity College, Cambridge.
In order to make the cut, Nathan must travel with other candidates to Taiwan for a training camp, far from familiar surroundings and home comforts. In this alien environment, Nathan remains distant from fellow UK competitors including Luke (Jake Davies), Isaac (Alex Lawther), Rebecca (Alexa Davies) and Ben (Percelle Ascott), under the watchful eye of team leader Richard (Eddie Marsan).
"Here you are neither weird nor the best mathematician," Rebecca tenderly informs him. "You are painstakingly average." Unexpectedly, Nathan experiences powerful feelings for Chinese competitor, Zhang Mei (Jo Yang), niece of team leader Deng Laoshi (Orion Lee), that defy logical explanation. The lad must compute the joy of first love without his mother or Mr Humphreys to catch him when he inevitably falls.
Inspired by a documentary, X+Y ventures from suburban England to bustling Taipei in search of answers about the fragile human condition. Butterfield delivers a convincing and moving portrayal of a beautiful mind, who cannot process love or affection, and always speaks with unflinching honesty.
Thus, when Mr Humphreys, who dulls the pain of his multiple sclerosis with marijuana and alcohol, tells his protege not to worry about following in his footsteps at the Olympiad - "Whether you get in the team or not, you're going to do amazing things in the future" - the teenager's response is painful and swift: "You didn't".
Spall channels Michael Caine's boozy tutor from Educating Rita, replete with wry one-liners, while Hawkins provides excellent support, repeatedly reaching out to her boy only for him to recoil at her touch. Her frustration and heartache is palpable.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Thursday 2nd April 2015