Now showing at Everyman Winchester Southgate Street,Winchester,Hampshire SO23 9EG 0871 906 9060
- A Royal Night Out
- Big Hero 6
- Far From The Madding Crowd
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- Pitch Perfect 2
A Royal Night Out 3 stars
Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, and her sister Princess Margaret briefly escape Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day with the teeming crowds outside the royal residence. They mingle with their subjects, completely incognito, as the people of London marked the end of the Second World War with an exuberant evening of revelry.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance, Thriller
- CastJack Reynor, Sarah Gadon, Emily Watson, Bel Powley, Rupert Everett.
- DirectorJulian Jarrold.
- WriterTrevor De Silva, Kevin Hood.
- Duration97 mins
- Official site
In this celebrity-obsessed age of 24-hour social media and omnipresent paparazzi, it's inconceivable that younger members of the royal family could mingle with us, the unwashed hoi polloi, without attracting attention. Heirs to the throne would be engulfed by a sea of flashing smart phones, their every word regurgitated and scrutinised in 140 poorly punctuated characters.
Seventy years ago, Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, and her sister Princess Margaret briefly escaped from Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day with the teeming crowds outside the royal residence. They mingled with their subjects, completely incognito, as the people of London marked the end of the Second World War with an exuberant evening of revelry.
Screenwriters Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood use this true event as the starting point for a heart-warming comedy of manners, which propels the two princesses on journeys of self-discovery in a capital awash with carnal desire and potential danger.
A Royal Night Out is frothy fun, embellishing fact with outlandish fiction under the jaunty direction of Julian Jarrold, who previously unbuttoned the stifled emotions of the era in the 2008 remake of Brideshead Revisited.
The film opens with archive footage of Winston Churchill announcing the end of the conflict with Germany. Jubilant crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace where King George VI (Rupert Everett) is preparing a radio address with encouragement from Queen Elizabeth (Emily Watson).
Their daughters, Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Princess Margaret (Bel Powley), yearn to celebrate with the people but the Queen is resistant. "We'll be walled up in this mausoleum for the rest of our lives," despairs Margaret. "I'm completely cheesed!"
Princess Elizabeth persuades her father to let them venture out for one night and the girls excitedly don their frocks, only to discover that their mother has arranged for two soldiers, Captain Pryce (Jack Laskey) and Lieutenant Burridge (Jack Gordon), to chaperone them at all times.
By chance, the princesses elude their escorts and head out into London on their own where Elizabeth finds an unlikely protector: a deserter called Jack (Jack Reynor), who isn't a fan of people of privilege.
"Family well-off by chance?" he asks, oblivious to his companion's true identity.
"We manage," replies Elizabeth tersely.
A Royal Night Out is timed perfectly to coincide with the 70th anniversary of VE Day and an air of wistful nostalgia blows through every frame of Jarrold's perky picture. Gadon is luminous in a restrictive role, while Powley has considerably more fun as the rebel, who brandishes her superlative of choice - "wizard!" - with plummy gusto.
The script predominantly opts for laughter rather than lamentation, and is careful not to offend with a simmering romantic subplot between Elizabeth and Jack. There's nothing here that will have the filmmakers entering the Tower Of London through Traitor's Gate.
Big Hero 6 4 stars
Fourteen-year-old Hiro Hamada idolises his older brother Tadashi, who is one of the star pupils of Professor Robert Callaghan, head of the robotics program at San Fransokyo University. A fire at the university ends in tragedy and poor Hiro is consumed with grief until his brother's greatest creation, a self-inflating personal healthcare robot called Baymax, helps the teenager to come to terms with his loss.
- GenreAction, Adaptation, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Science Fiction
- CastRyan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, TJ Miller, Daniel Henney, James Cromwell, Genesis Rodriguez, Damon Wayans Jr.
- DirectorDon Hall, Chris Williams.
- WriterRobert L Baird, Daniel Gerson, Jordan Roberts.
- Duration114 mins
- Official sitemovies.disney.com/big-hero-6/
Never underestimate the soothing power of a hug. With one simple squish, you can provide comfort, encouragement or a simple how-do-you-do that transcends a thousand well-chosen words. Big Hero 6 is the cinematic equivalent of a warm hug, embracing the old-fashioned family values of the Walt Disney brand alongside cutting-edge computer technology that audiences now expect to dazzle their senses.
Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams marry dizzying action sequences that look even more spectacular in 3D to an emotionally rich story of a lonely boy's unshakable bond with his self-inflating robot protector, recalling the magical 1999 animated feature The Iron Giant.
The inquisitive automaton Baymax is the stuff that sweet celluloid dreams are made of: tender, loving and unwittingly hilarious. Every child will want their own marshmallow man to snuggle at night and keep them safe from the harsh realities of modern life that weigh heavily on the film's grief-stricken adolescent hero.
"I see no evidence of physical injury," informs the robot as he scans the boy's body.
"It's a different kind of hurt," laments the teenager.
Fourteen-year-old Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) idolises his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney), who is a star pupil of Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell), head of the robotics program at San Fransokyo University.
A fire on campus culminates in tragedy and shell-shocked Hiro is inconsolable until his brother's greatest creation, a personal healthcare robot called Baymax (Scott Adsit), helps the teenager to confront his loss. As the boy discovers Baymax's functionality, he also stumbles upon a secret: the fire might not have been an accident.
Indeed, a greedy entrepreneur called Alistair Krei (Alan Tudyk) might have started the blaze. Aided by Tadashi's loyal friends GoGo (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) and Fred (TJ Miller) plus an upgraded Baymax, Hiro resolves to discover the truth about the deadly inferno.
Based on an obscure title from the Marvel Comics universe, Big Hero 6 is a rip-roaring opening salvo in a potential new franchise. Directors Hall and Williams orchestrate the requisite thrilling set pieces with brio, including an unconventional dash through the undulating streets of San Fransokyo that knowingly flouts traffic laws.
"There are no red lights in a car chase!" squeals GoGo. The animators and script never lose sight of the central relationship of Hiro and Baymax, sketching that bond in exquisitely deft strokes. Grown men will be choking back tears.
Big Hero 6 is preceded by Patrick Osborne's Oscar nominated short Feast, which charts the relationship between a Boston terrier and his master from puppyhood to middle age in a series of vignettes. It's a pick of the animated litter that leaves an indelible mark on the heart, just like Hall's and Williams' turbo-charged main feature.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Saturday 23rd May 2015
Far From The Madding Crowd 3 stars
Bathsheba Everdene turns down a marriage proposal from sheep farmer Gabriel Oak because she does not believe that she needs a husband to possess or tame her. Soon after, Bathsheba inherits her uncle's estate and defies expectation to turn around the ailing farm. Gabriel, who has fallen on hard times, is hired by Bathsheba as the estate's shepherd and he continues to pine for her from afar as Bathsheba entertains amorous advances from wealthy farmer William Boldwood and dashing Sergeant Troy.
- GenreAdaptation, Classic, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
- CastCarey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Jessica Barden, Michael Sheen, Juno Temple.
- DirectorThomas Vinterberg.
- WriterDavid Nicholls.
- Duration119 mins
- Official site
The 2015 re-release of John Schlesinger's 1967 version of Far From The Madding Crowd provided a timely reminder of the raw emotional power of Thomas Hardy's late 19th-century novel and Julie Christie's luminous portrayal of spirited heroine, Bathsheba Everdene.
Danish director Thomas Vinterberg brings a delicate touch to this handsome new incarnation, which runs 50 minutes shorter than its predecessor and is undernourished as a consequence.
One tragic supporting character, who should shatter our hearts to smithereens, is reduced to a simplistic two-dimensional plot device, and the heroine's vacillations between three potential suitors seem more haphazard than usual in a noticeably rushed final act.
Moreover, one of these paramours has significantly more screen time, so her choice is inevitable. Feelings are tightly buttoned beneath Janet Patterson's splendid costumes and when one of the characters does eventually lose control and commits a fatal "crime of passion" at a Christmas party, we're just as surprised by the outburst as the film's clucky social set.
The film opens in 1870 with Bathsheba (Carey Mulligan) living with her aunt Mrs Hurst on the adjacent property to handsome sheep farmer, Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts).
She rebuffs his heartfelt advances, telling a crestfallen Gabriel, "I don't want a husband. I don't want to be some man's property". Soon after, Bathsheba inherits her uncle's vast estate and defies expectation to turn around the ailing farm, aided by her companion Liddy (Jessica Barden).
Gabriel, who has fallen on hard times, is hired by Bathsheba as the estate's shepherd and continues to pine for her from afar.
Meanwhile, emotionally repressed and wealthy farmer William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) makes his feelings for Bathsheba known, but her head is turned by dashing and reckless Sergeant Troy (Tom Sturridge), whose heart was broken at the altar by servant girl Fanny (Juno Temple).
These three suitors leave Bathsheba in an emotional whirl and when Boldwood offers her financial security as his bride, she turns to brooding Gabriel for advice.
"I need some who's objective, indifferent," Bathsheba tells the shepherd.
"Then I'm afraid you're asking the wrong man," pointedly responds Gabriel.
Anchored by Mulligan's nuanced performance, Far From The Madding Crowd is a visually arresting, but ultimately anaemic portrait of rural desires. Schoenaerts wrestles in vain with a West Country accent, while Sheen and Sturridge have limited screen time to match fond memories of Peter Finch and Terence Stamp in respective roles in the 1967 film.
While Vinterberg's vision, filmed on location in pastoral Dorset, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, lacks emotional heft, it packs a mighty visual punch thanks to cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen.
Rolling landscapes look invitingly wild and untamed, bathed largely in natural light, and the nascent beauty of leading lady Mulligan shines through the artfully composed muck and grime.
Home 3 stars
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.
- Duration94 mins
- Official sitewww.meettheboov.com
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.
Mad Max: Fury Road 4 stars
Immortan Joe rules the Citadel with an iron fist and he intends to mastermind the propagation of mankind in his own cruel image using five women called The Wives. Imperator Furiosa kidnaps these slaves and flees across the Wasteland. They join forces with Max Rockatansky, who has knowledge of the Wasteland and can help the fugitives find sanctuary in the deadly shifting sands. In the process, Max lights a fuse on a bitter and bloody road war between Furiosa and Immortan Joe.
- GenreAction, Adventure, Science Fiction, Thriller
- CastNicholas Hoult, Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
- DirectorGeorge Miller.
- WriterGeorge Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris.
- Duration120 mins
- Official sitewww.madmaxmovie.com
Fasten your seat belts and hold on white-knuckle tight as writer-director George Miller invites you to an orgy of high-octane auto mayhem that makes Fast & Furious 7 looks like a sedate Sunday afternoon drive. Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth instalment of the post-apocalyptic franchise, delivers a blitzkrieg of propulsive pursuits featuring almost 150 hand-built death machines of every conceivable shape and size.
These thrillingly choreographed sequences of carmageddon build to a jaw-dropping finale, replete with roof-mouthed metronome-like poles that allow road warriors to swoop down and snatch their prey from adjacent vehicles.
If the original Mad Max released in 1979 was soaked in testosterone, Fury Road adds a heady whiff of oestrogen by introducing a badass tribe of warrior women called the Vuvalini, who ride proudly into battle armed with explosive-tipped spears.
One prime specimen is Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), the enigmatic driver of a mighty 18-wheeler mobile war rig. She reports to Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), despotic leader of the Citadel, who is propagating the species in his cruel image using The Wives.
These five enslaved women (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Courtney Eaton, Abbey Lee) are impregnated by Immortan Joe to provide him with a viable male heir. Furiosa kidnaps The Wives and flees across the Wasteland with Immortan Joe and his army in hot pursuit.
Among the chasing horde is shaven-headed, tattooed acolyte Nux (Nicholas Hoult), who believes that death in battle will grant him entry to the warrior paradise of Valhalla. As Nux puts the pedal to the metal, his poisoned blood is replenished by a living donor, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), strapped to the front of the hot rod.
During the chase, Max breaks free from Nux and begrudgingly helps Furiosa and The Wives to evade Immortan Joe's clutches, bound for a lush oasis known as the Green Place.
Mad Max: Fury Road is a tour-de-force of adrenaline-pumping thrills. Computer trickery is kept to a bare minimum: stunt drivers actually performed these mind-boggling feats in real vehicles at dizzying speeds.
When director Miller briefly does take his foot off the accelerator, he hopes we'll be giddy enough on exhaust fumes to care deeply about plot and characterisation. Both sit quietly in the back seat, waiting for the next rev of a V-8 engine.
Hardy perfects an array of grunts and growls in place of dialogue. He's a dull boy though next to Theron's gutsy alpha female, who goes toe-to-toe and trades blow for bone-crunching blow with the grizzled anti-hero, channelling her character's sense of loss into vengeance.
Keays-Byrne takes a leaf out of Hardy's book from The Dark Knight Rises and dons a nightmarish face mask made of horse teeth. Miller's rambunctious ride is heightened by a deafening soundtrack courtesy of Grammy-nominated composer Junkie XL.
You'll feel the teeth rattle in your head as his sonic boom of drums, strings, thrashing electric guitars and a soaring 80-voice choir competes with the crash-bang-wallop of the on-screen carnage.
Pitch Perfect 2 4 stars
Fat Amy suffers an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in the presence of President Obama, which threatens to bring Barden University's all-female a cappella group into disrepute. In order to restore their pride, the Bellas enter a global singing competition that has never been won by an American group. Beca, Fat Amy, Chloe, Lilly, new recruit Emily and the other Bellas prepare to pitch-slap their talented rivals into submission.
- GenreComedy, Family, Musical, Romance
- CastAnna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Adam DeVine, Elizabeth Banks, Brittany Snow, John Michael Higgins.
- DirectorElizabeth Banks.
- WriterKay Cannon.
- Duration115 mins
- Official sitewww.pitchperfect2-uk.tumblr.com
Lightning almost strikes twice in the eagerly anticipated sequel to the feel-great comedy Pitch Perfect. Actress Elizabeth Banks nestles in the director's chair for this uproarious second outing and she confidently conducts a choir of familiar faces through soaring musical mash-ups and pitch-slapping putdowns.
Screenwriter Kay Cannon, who penned the original, enforces the message of femme power by contriving a spectacular fall from grace for the Barden Bellas in order that her plucky heroines rediscover their sisterly solidarity. Beyonce's anthemic "Run The World (Girls)" is a fitting opener for one medley of redemption, emphasising that while these girls wanna have fun, they won't do so at the expense of friendships or their careers.
Cannon pads out her admittedly flimsy premise with parallel romantic subplots and introduces a Latin American exchange student, whose life-or-death heritage becomes a running joke that limps before the two hours are up.
Thankfully, Rebel Wilson turbo-charges her scenes and is rewarded with the film's only solo - Pat Benatar's power ballad "We Belong" - that builds to a rousing call to arms for the broken-hearted.
Three years after all-female group the Barden Bellas triumphed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, the girls perform for President Obama and his wife. Fat Amy (Wilson) suffers a wardrobe malfunction during a Miley Cyrus-themed aerial routine and drags the good name of Barden University into the gutter.
In the wake of Muffgate, commentators John Smith (John Michael Higgins) and Gail Abernathy-McKadden (Elizabeth Banks) cast the Bellas into the wilderness and mock Beca (Anna Kendrick) when she claims they can become the first American group to win the World A Cappella Championships.
Beca, Fat Amy, Chloe (Brittany Snow), Stacie (Alexis Knapp), Jessica (Kelley Jakle), Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean), softly spoken beatboxer Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) and new recruits Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) and Flo (Chrissie Fit) prepare for musical battle.
However, the path to glory in Copenhagen is blocked by well-drilled reigning champions, Das Sound Machine, led by the statuesque Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) and her right-hand herr Pieter (Flula Borg).
The Bellas' make-or-break performance beckons and Beca frets about her song choices. "You're the most talented person I know," gushes Fat Amy soothingly, "and I've met three of The Wiggles... intimately."
Pitch Perfect 2 hits many of the high notes of the original film. Beca's romance with boyfriend Jesse (Skylar Astin) is inert in the sequel so the spotlight shifts to Fat Amy's on-off-on-off flirtation with Bumper (Adam DeVine).
Banks and Higgins lasso some of the heartiest guffaws, the latter spewing chauvinism with aplomb as he casually describes the Bellas as "an inspiration to girls all over the country who are too ugly to be cheerleaders".
Musical sequences are choreographed with verve, including a rousing finale that astutely goes back to acca-basics to tug the heartstrings.