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Now showing at Everyman Winchester Southgate Street,Winchester,Hampshire SO23 9EG 0871 906 9060

  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • Lucy
  • NT Live: Medea
  • Planes 2: Fire & Rescue
  • RSC Live: The Two Gentlemen Of Verona
  • The Inbetweeners 2
  • Two Days, One Night
  • What If

How To Train Your Dragon 2 4 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 30th August 2014
Sunday 31st August 2014

Lucy 3 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

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

NT Live: Medea 3 stars

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 4th September 2014

Planes 2: Fire & Rescue 3 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

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

RSC Live: The Two Gentlemen Of Verona 3 stars

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 3rd September 2014

The Inbetweeners 2 3 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

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

Two Days, One Night 3 stars

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Sandra suffers a nervous breakdown and is forced to take time off from her job. In her absence, her colleagues discover they can cover her shifts by working slightly longer hours and management proposes a 1,000 Euro bonus to all staff if they agree to make Sandra redundant. When she returns to work and discovers that her fate rests in the hands of her 16 co-workers, Sandra must visit each of them over the course of a weekend to persuade them to reject the monetary bonus and keep her on instead.

  • GenreDrama, World
  • CastPili Groyne, Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione.
  • DirectorLuc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne.
  • WriterLuc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne.
  • CountryBel/Ita/Fr
  • Duration95 mins
  • Official site
  • Release22/08/2014 (selected cinemas)

Belgian filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne received rave reviews at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for this emotionally wrought drama, which features a tour-de-force lead performance from Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. Sandra (Cotillard) is a wife and mother, who works in a solar panel factory. She suffers a nervous breakdown and is forced to take time off from her job. In her absence, her colleagues discover they can cover her shifts by working slightly longer hours and management proposes a 1,000 Euro bonus to all staff if they agree to make Sandra redundant. When she returns to work and discovers that her fate rests in the hands of her 16 co-workers, Sandra must visit each of them over the course of a weekend to try and persuade at least nine of them to reject the monetary bonus and keep her on instead. Many of these co-workers desperately need the proposed 1,000 Euro sweetener for their own families so Sandra faces an uphill battle to keep her job before the crucial vote on Monday morning.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

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

What If 3 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

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