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Now showing at ABC Bournemouth 27-28,Westover Road,Bournemouth,Dorset BH1 2BZ 0871 224 4007

  • As Above, So Below
  • Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
  • Deliver Us From Evil
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • Sex Tape
  • Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For
  • Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For 3D
  • The Nut Job
  • The Unbeatables
  • What If

As Above, So Below 3 stars

movie title

Scarlett is a gung-ho tomb raider and academic, who hopes to complete her late father's quest to uncover the resting place of the fabled Philosopher's Stone. This odyssey leads her to the spooky catacombs of the French capital, which houses the remains of six million dead, in the company of friend George, cameraman Benji and three locals. As the treasure hunters venture into the darkness, they come face to face with shocking visions from the past.

  • GenreHorror, Thriller
  • CastFrancois Civil, Ali Marhyar, Edwin Hodge, Marion Lambert, Ben Feldman, Perdita Weeks.
  • DirectorJohn Erick Dowdle.
  • WriterDrew Dowdle, John Erick Dowdle.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration93 mins
  • Official sitewww.asabovesobelowmovie.co.uk
  • Release29/08/2014

A globe-trotting, puzzle-laden treasure hunt a la The Da Vinci Code gets the found footage horror treatment in As Above, So Below. Taking its title from ancient words linked to magic and the occult in Hermetic texts, John Erick Dowdle's picture ventures into the catacombs beneath Paris, which house the remains of more than six million people - more the double the population of the French capital.

This claustrophobic labyrinth of skeletal remains is a spooky setting for Dowdle's descent into subterranean madness, co-written by his brother Drew, which follows a gung-ho academic as she searches for the alchemical substance known as the Philosopher's Stone.

The film cuts between helmet-mounted cameras and a surprisingly robust handheld device, which document this foolhardy journey through the city of the dead. Natural jerks and twitches of the footage disguise the filmmakers' limited budget for special effects, ensuring a couple of jump-out-of-your-seat jolts as something nasty emerges at speed from the dark.

If the bones of this archaeological quest are grounded in myth or documented fact, the flesh and gristle of the Dowdles' story are an overblown conflation of hocus pocus and forced psychological terror.

Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks) is a gung-ho tomb raider, who intends to complete her late father's quest to uncover the fabled Philosopher's Stone. Ignoring the dire warning of a friend, who describes her father's obsession as "a path to madness", Scarlett uncovers a vital clue in the Middle East that leads her to Paris with a trusty cameraman called Benji (Edwin Hodge) in tow.

In the French capital, Scarlett reunites with old pal George (Ben Feldman), who agrees to translate the symbology of the relic in Iran. Their back-and-forth reasoning of cryptic clues points to a secret chamber beneath the city. Thus Scarlett enlists the help of three Cataphiles - Papillon (Francois Civil), Souxie (Marion Lambert) and Zed (Ali Marhyar) - who know their way around the tunnels and can safely shepherd the expedition.

Passing beneath a doorway which bears the inscription, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here", the sextet crawls into the dark. Paranoia runs rampant and the interlopers confront shocking visions from their past, which systematically drive each member of the team to the brink of madness.

As Above, So Below is reminiscent of the 2005 British horror The Descent and the film's best sequences focus on characters as they panic or hyperventilate with fear in confined spaces. Weeks essays a no-nonsense heroine, whose penchant for peril is neatly explained by her determination to honour her father's memory.

The remainder of the good-looking cast are easy fodder for grisly demises. The script's tenuous grasp on reality slips completely in a frenetic and bewildering finale that will leave many in the audience scratching their heads.

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Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes 4 stars

movie title

Simian flu has ravaged the globe, killing almost the entire human race. In San Francisco, one-time military man Dreyfus, who lost his entire family to the virus, leads the human survivors. The truce between humans and apes is tested to breaking point when a diplomatic mission led by Malcolm, his wife Ellie and teenage son Alexander enters the forest to request access to the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with its electricity.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastKeri Russell, Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell.
  • DirectorMatt Reeves.
  • WriterMark Bomback, Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration130 mins
  • Official sitewww.dawnofapes.com
  • Release17/07/2014

Blending state-of-the-art special effects with an intelligent script, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes conjures two hours of animal magic that looks set to be crowned king of the blockbuster swingers. Tim Burton's abortive Planet Of The Apes is now a distant memory thanks to the 2011 revamp Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and this superior sequel, which pushes the art of motion-capture performance to new limits.

Andy Serkis' exemplary work as Caesar, the super-intelligent chimpanzee who leads the ape uprising, is the film's emotional heartbeat. His ability to convey the character's rage, despair and passion through movement and subtle gesture is breathtaking.

Toby Kebbell is also compelling as Caesar's war-mongering rival, who believes the key to his species' survival is the extermination of humans. Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver's script elegantly draws parallels between the feuding primates, juxtaposing tender scenes of parenting with bruising skirmishes that create divisions on both sides.

Ten winters have passed since simian flu ravaged the globe. In the absence of law and order, basic resources such as water, food and electricity are dangerously depleted. One-time military man Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), who lost his entire family to the virus, leads survivors of the ALZ-113 virus in San Francisco.

He dispatches a team led by family man Malcolm (Jason Clarke) to access the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with electricity. In the forest that envelops the dam, the scouting party encounters apes led by Caesar, including his ambitious second-in-command Koba (Kebbell), impetuous son Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) and Bornean orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval).

Malcolm's trigger-happy compatriot Carver (Kirk Acevedo) shoots one of the apes and the humans are banished to their stronghold. Once Dreyfus learns about the neighbouring ape community, he asks Malcolm and co to refrain from telling the other survivors.

"They're talking apes with big-ass spears!" shrieks Carver. Malcolm realises that he must earn Caesar's trust to gain access to the dam so he prepares to return to the forest with wife Ellie (Keri Russell) and teenage son Alexander (Kodi Smith-McPhee).

"If you're not back in three days, we're going to go out there and kill every last one of them," warns Dreyfus.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a slick thrill ride with brains as well as brawn. The grim mood, which permeates the first half, leads to all-guns-blazing war and director Reeves orchestrates these brutal sequences with elan.

Digital effects are jaw-dropping, giving birth to a realistic army of blood-thirsty apes who cram every chaotic, blood-spattered frame. The film's strong anti-gun message comes through loud and clear, but the appetite for destruction overpowers diplomacy.

"I always think ape better than humans," laments Caesar as his dream of lasting peace founders. "I see now how like them we are."

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Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014

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Deliver Us From Evil 3 stars

movie title

Detective Ralph Sarchie and thrill-seeking partner Butler answer two calls in one night: a domestic dispute involving Iraq war veteran Jimmy Tratner and infanticide at the city zoo. As the two cops investigate these connected incidents, they cross paths with Spanish priest Mendoza, who claims that a demonic presence is responsible for the bloodshed.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Horror, Romance, Thriller
  • CastEric Bana, Olivia Munn, Edgar Ramirez, Joel McHale, Sean Harris.
  • DirectorScott Derrickson.
  • WriterPaul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration118 mins
  • Official sitewww.deliverusfromevil-movie.net
  • Release22/08/2014

Based on the book Beware The Night by retired NYPD police officer Ralph Sarchie, Deliver Us From Evil is a supernatural horror about Sarchie's real-life encounters with the forces of darkness on the streets of New York. Great swathes of Scott Derrickson's film are hard to swallow, especially scenes inside the bedroom of Sarchie's cherubic daughter, who becomes a prime target for malevolent retribution.

"I think it's ridiculous to blame invisible powers for the things people do," remarks the sceptical lead character, echoing our concerns. However, the director and co-writer Paul Harris Boardman treat the source material with utmost seriousness and expect us to do the same.

Derrickson is well versed in the tropes of the genre, having previously made The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and Sinister starring Ethan Hawke. He engineers some mildly creepy shocks between set pieces, culminating in a camera-shaking showdown between good and evil that leaves many questions unanswered.

The film opens in night-time Iraq with two soldiers Tratner (Chris Coy) and Santino (Sean Harris) descending nervously into an underground lair, which could conceal the enemy. A live night-vision feed from a camera affixed to Tratner's helmet cuts out and we hear blood-curdling screams.

Moving forward three years, Detective Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) patrols his south Bronx beat with thrill-seeking partner Butler (Joel McHale). Dedicated to his soul-destroying job, Sarchie finds it hard to leave behind the stresses of the day when he returns home to his wife Jen (Olivia Munn) and daughter Christina (Lulu Wilson).

He is infamous in the department for his sixth sense - he instinctively knows which emergency calls to respond to and which to leave to the rest of the squad. In the space of a single night, Sarchie answer two calls: a domestic dispute involving Iraq war veteran Tratner and an infanticide at the city zoo committed by a disturbed mother (Olivia Horton).

CCTV footage reveals she was spurred on by a hooded figure, who turns out to be Santino. As the two cops investigate these connected incidents, they cross paths with Spanish priest Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), who claims that a demonic presence is responsible for the bloodshed.

Sceptical at first, Sarchie witnesses horrific visions, which suggest that Mendoza might be telling the truth. As the detective edges closer to the horrifying truth, he endangers not only himself and Butler but also his wife and child.

Deliver Us From Evil unfolds at a consistent, steady pace, opening Sarchie's bloodshot eyes to a world of unspoken horror. Bana is suitably gruff in a two-dimensional and largely unsympathetic role but he doesn't have sufficient screen time with Munn and Wilson to convince us to invest in the family's wellbeing.

Harris is genuinely unsettling as the possessed antagonist, whose presence lights the fuse on blood-spattered madness.

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Monday 1st September 2014

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How To Train Your Dragon 2 4 stars

movie title

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)

Monday 1st September 2014
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Sex Tape 3 stars

When they first meet, Jay and Annie cannot keep their hands off each other. Two children later, the opportunities for amorous one-on-one time are few and far between, so, on a rare night together, Annie suggests they make a sex tape. Jay and Annie energetically work their way through every position in The Joy Of Sex but the exhausted husband forgets to erase the video file and it uploads to the cloud and syncs to several other iPads, which the couple have given away as presents.

  • GenreComedy, Romance
  • CastCameron Diaz, Ellie Kemper, Rob Corddry, Jason Segel, Rob Lowe.
  • DirectorJake Kasdan.
  • WriterNicholas Stoller, Kate Angelo, Jason Segel.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official sitesextape-movie.tumblr.com
  • Release03/09/2014

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, who previously locked horns in the raunchy comedy Bad Teacher, reunite for this equally potty-mouthed tale of a married couple who decide to spice up their sex lives by committing their amorous antics to film. When they first meet, Jay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz) cannot keep their hands off each other and enjoy a frenetic sex life. Two children later, the opportunities for amorous one-on-one time are few and far between, so, on a rare night together, Annie suggests they make a sex tape. Jay and Annie energetically work their way through every position in The Joy Of Sex but the exhausted husband forgets to erase the video file and it uploads to the cloud and syncs to several other iPads, which the couple have given away as presents. Once Jay and Annie realise their energetic efforts are available to download to friends, family and even Annie's boss Hank (Rob Lowe), they race through the night to steal or destroy the iPads and spare their blushes.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 3rd September 2014
Thursday 4th September 2014

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Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For 3 stars

movie title

Exotic dancer Nancy Callahan vows revenge against scheming Senator Roark, the man responsible for the death of her beloved: police detective John Hartigan. Her quest intersects with the blood-spattered escapades of reckless gambler Johnny, whose winning streak comes to an end at Roark's poker table, and private detective Dwight McCarthy, who is powerless to resist his manipulative old flame Ava.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe.
  • DirectorFrank Miller, Robert Rodriguez.
  • WriterFrank Miller.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.sincity-2.com
  • Release22/08/2014 (London); 29/08/2014 (nationwide)

Crime pays handsomely in this visually arresting sequel to the 2005 neo-noir anthology based on Frank Miller's comic series. Blessed with the same black-and-white aesthetic, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For is as twisted and depraved as its predecessor, festooning every frame with corrupt cops, gun-toting hoodlums and scantily clad molls.

Lurid splashes of colour, like a murderous vamp's emerald eyes or a working girl's tumbling copper curls, temporarily draw the eye away from the misery, degradation and mutilation including an eyeball being wrenched from its socket. Directors Robert Rodriguez and Miller linger on the darker side of human nature, relishing the crisp snap of one character's fingers as they are broken with pliers, or the exaggerated splatter of an arrow scything through a henchman's noggin.

The film wears its 18 certificate as a badge of honour. Once again, three stories entwine on the godforsaken streets of Sin City.

The ghost of police detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) haunts exotic dancer Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba). She descends into booze-fuelled hell, desperate to put a bullet between the eyes of scheming Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Nancy manipulates her protector Marv (Mickey Rourke) into taking down the politician and his goons, regardless of the consequences.

Meanwhile, cocksure gambler Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his lucky charm Marcie (Julia Garner) prepare to take on Roark at the poker table. Johnny humiliates his powerful host and suffers horrific consequences. "I can't protect you," the chief of police informs Johnny. "Then why you a cop?" retorts the gambler.

Nearby, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) struggles to rein in his violent impulses following an encounter with old flame Ava Lord (Eva Green). She begs Dwight to help her escape the clutches of her sadistic husband Damien (Marton Csokas) and his hulking bodyguard Manute (Dennis Haysbert). Love really hurts.

The plan goes awry and Dwight turns to old flame Gail (Rosario Dawson) and avenging angel Miho (Jamie Chung) to help him evade the cops (Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven).

Arriving almost a decade after the first chapter, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For plunges us headfirst into a grimy universe where a bullet to the head settles most arguments. Style pummels emotion into submission and snappy dialogue from the comics - "I was born at night, but it wasn't last night" - enhance the feeling that characters talk at not to each other.

Rodriguez and Miller direct set pieces including a car chase and sword fight at a breathless lick, melding heavily stylised live action and animation for each orgy of violence. Green sheds her inhibitions to play an archetypal femme fatale with lip-smacking gusto, enforcing what we already knew from the first film: the female of the species is far deadlier than the male.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

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

This film is also showing at:

Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For 3D 3 stars

movie title

Exotic dancer Nancy Callahan vows revenge against scheming Senator Roark, the man responsible for the death of her beloved: police detective John Hartigan. Her quest intersects with the blood-spattered escapades of reckless gambler Johnny, whose winning streak comes to an end at Roark's poker table, and private detective Dwight McCarthy, who is powerless to resist his manipulative old flame Ava.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe.
  • DirectorRobert Rodriguez, Frank Miller.
  • WriterFrank Miller.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.sincity-2.com
  • Release22/08/2014 (London); 29/08/2014 (nationwide)

Crime pays handsomely in this visually arresting sequel to the 2005 neo-noir anthology based on Frank Miller's comic series. Blessed with the same black-and-white aesthetic, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For is as twisted and depraved as its predecessor, festooning every frame with corrupt cops, gun-toting hoodlums and scantily clad molls.

Lurid splashes of colour, like a murderous vamp's emerald eyes or a working girl's tumbling copper curls, temporarily draw the eye away from the misery, degradation and mutilation including an eyeball being wrenched from its socket. Directors Robert Rodriguez and Miller linger on the darker side of human nature, relishing the crisp snap of one character's fingers as they are broken with pliers, or the exaggerated splatter of an arrow scything through a henchman's noggin.

The film wears its 18 certificate as a badge of honour. Once again, three stories entwine on the godforsaken streets of Sin City.

The ghost of police detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) haunts exotic dancer Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba). She descends into booze-fuelled hell, desperate to put a bullet between the eyes of scheming Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Nancy manipulates her protector Marv (Mickey Rourke) into taking down the politician and his goons, regardless of the consequences.

Meanwhile, cocksure gambler Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his lucky charm Marcie (Julia Garner) prepare to take on Roark at the poker table. Johnny humiliates his powerful host and suffers horrific consequences. "I can't protect you," the chief of police informs Johnny. "Then why you a cop?" retorts the gambler.

Nearby, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) struggles to rein in his violent impulses following an encounter with old flame Ava Lord (Eva Green). She begs Dwight to help her escape the clutches of her sadistic husband Damien (Marton Csokas) and his hulking bodyguard Manute (Dennis Haysbert). Love really hurts.

The plan goes awry and Dwight turns to old flame Gail (Rosario Dawson) and avenging angel Miho (Jamie Chung) to help him evade the cops (Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven).

Arriving almost a decade after the first chapter, Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For plunges us headfirst into a grimy universe where a bullet to the head settles most arguments. Style pummels emotion into submission and snappy dialogue from the comics - "I was born at night, but it wasn't last night" - enhance the feeling that characters talk at not to each other.

Rodriguez and Miller direct set pieces including a car chase and sword fight at a breathless lick, melding heavily stylised live action and animation for each orgy of violence. Green sheds her inhibitions to play an archetypal femme fatale with lip-smacking gusto, enforcing what we already knew from the first film: the female of the species is far deadlier than the male.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

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

This film is also showing at:

The Nut Job 3 stars

movie title

Mischievous squirrel Surly lives in idyllic Liberty Park in the sprawling 1950s metropolis of Oakton City with his rat pal Buddy and fellow squirrels Andie and Grayson. Like all animals of his kind, Surly is mad about nuts and he orchestrates a daring heist of one of the city's shops for the tasty snack. Little does Surly know that the new owner of the store, King, is the leader of a gang of robbers who intend to tunnel from the store to the First Oakton Bank located across the street.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastLiam Neeson, Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser, Maya Rudolph, Stephen Lang.
  • DirectorPeter Lepeniotis.
  • WriterLorne Cameron.
  • CountryCan/S Kore
  • Duration86 mins
  • Official site
  • Release01/08/2014

All of the hastily sketched characters in Peter Lepeniotis' 1950s-set computer-animated adventure go nuts at some point during the poorly paced proceedings. A money-grabbing ex-con goes gaga at the sight of rats, a pet pug is driven barking mad by her owner's repeated use of a silver dog whistle, a girl scout whoops with maniacal glee as a runaway food cart careens into oncoming traffic, and an army of woodland critters loosen their tenuous grasp on civility when they stumble upon a horde of cashews, pistachios, macadamias and walnuts. Protagonists of the two-legged and four-legged persuasions in The Nut Job might be bright-eyed and - in the case of the squirrels - bushy-tailed but most of Lepeniotis and co-writer Lorne Cameron's script feels tired. The narrative lacks fluidity, most of the animals don't exist beyond a single personality trait and there's a palpable absence of jeopardy during a centrepiece bank heist. References to a certain foodstuff are sprinkled liberally throughout the dialogue - "We found it: the Lost City of Nutlantis!" - so any parents who wake suddenly from a sneaky power-nap in the dark are soon reminded where they are. Raccoon (voiced by Liam Neeson) and his red bird sidekick Cardinal preside over the animal denizens of Liberty Park in the sprawling metropolis of Oakton City. Winter is fast approaching, so every groundhog, squirrel, mouse and mole gathers supplies to add to the food store in the trunk of the great oak. Everyone except for mischievous squirrel Surly (Will Arnett), who has always ploughed a lone furrow. "I'm independent, which means 'looking out for number one'," Surly reminds fellow squirrels Andie (Katherine Heigl) and Grayson (Brendan Fraser). When a raid on a food cart goes disastrously wrong, Surly is banished to the city by the other animals. The ravenous rodent stumbles upon a store selling nuts and plots a daring heist with trusty rat pal, Buddy (Rob Tinkler). Little does Surly know that the new owner of the store, King (Stephen Lang), is the leader of a gang of robbers, who intend to tunnel from the shop's basement to First Oakton Bank and plunder the vault. The Nut Job orchestrates some pleasing slapstick and visuals are colourful, including a couple of sprightly chases, but Lepeniotis' film doesn't justify a release on the big screen rather than a debut on home formats. Vocal performances raise a smile, but little more, and the squirrelly love triangle involving Surly, Andie and Grayson is clumsily contrived. Neeson uses his trademark growl to lend an air of menace to the dictatorial raccoon, who believes, "animals are controlled by the amount of food they have". Pickings are certainly slim here.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

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

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The Unbeatables 3 stars

movie title

Table football champion Amadeo beats local bully Flash, who vows revenge. Many years later, Flash returns to the village as a footballing superstar with a contract, signed by the mayor, granting him permission to build a gargantuan stadium on top of the village. Faced with the prospect of bulldozers and devastation, Amadeo agrees to face Flash and his team mates on the pitch in a match that will decide if the village stands or falls.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Romance
  • CastAnthony Head, Rupert Grint, Peter Serafinowicz, Rob Brydon, Stanley Townsend, Darren Boyd.
  • DirectorJuan Jose Campanella.
  • WriterMichael Broadbridge, Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri, Gaston Gorali.
  • CountrySp/Arg/Ind
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official sitewww.foosball-themovie.com
  • Release08/08/2014 (Ireland & Scotland); 15/08/2014 (UK)

A young man realises heroes come in all shapes and sizes in this computer-animated fantasy from Juan Jose Campanella, Argentinian director of the Oscar-winning drama The Secret In Their Eyes. Amadeo (voiced by Rupert Grint) lives in a small village, where he works in a bar run by his father (Darren Boyd). Painfully shy and insecure, Amadeo's sole joy is playing the table football in the bar. Local bully Flash (Anthony Head) challenges Amadeo to a game and with the lovely Laura (Eve Ponsonby) cheering him on, Amadeo miraculously overcomes his nerves to emerge victorious. Flash is humiliated and vows revenge. Many years later, Flash returns to the village as a footballing superstar with a slimy agent (Stanley Townsend) in tow and a contract, signed by the mayor, granting him permission to build a gargantuan stadium on top of the village. Faced with the prospect of bulldozers and devastation, Amadeo agrees to face Flash and his team mates on the pitch in a match that will decide if the village stands or falls. In the run-up to this vital showdown, the table footballers magically come to life. Skip (Ralf Little), the captain of the green and yellow striped team, vows to help Amadeo emerge victorious and he rallies his troops including diminutive teammates Rico (Rob Brydon) and Loco (Peter Serafinowicz). Unfortunately, pickings are slim in the village and Amadeo will have to select his players from his eccentric friends and neighbours.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Monday 1st September 2014
Tuesday 2nd September 2014

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What If 3 stars

movie title

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)

Tuesday 2nd September 2014

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