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Now showing at Cineworld Solihull 47,Mill Lane Arcade (Upper), Touchwood,Solihull,West Midlands B91 3GS 0871 200 2000

  • A Hologram For The King
  • Bad Neighbours 2
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Discover Arts: Teatro Alla Scala (The Temple Of Wonder)
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Our Kind Of Traitor
  • The Angry Birds Movie
  • The Jungle Book
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • X-Men: Apocalypse 3D

A Hologram For The King 3 stars

World-weary salesman Alan Clay is dispatched to Saudi Arabia to woo King Abdullah with his company's state-of-the-art 3D conferencing technology. The problems begin in earnest. Alan oversleeps on the first morning and his on-site technical team comprising Brad, Cayley and Rachel are consigned to a large marquee outside the main complex without access to WiFi, food or water. Tempers fray and Alan finds an alluring ally in a Danish IT contractor called Hanne.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastAlexander Black, Tom Hanks, Sarita Choudhury, Sidse Babett Knudsen.
  • DirectorTom Tykwer.
  • WriterTom Tykwer.
  • CountryUK/Fr/Ger/
  • Duration98 mins
  • Official sitewww.ahologramforthekingfilm.com
  • Release20/05/2016

Adapted from Dave Eggers' novel by writer-director Tom Tykwer, A Hologram For The King is a misshapen, muddled yet curiously engaging love story that will draw comparisons to Salmon Fishing In The Yemen. Forbidden romance blossoms in the arid landscapes of the Middle East, irrigated here by sizzling screen chemistry between Tom Hanks and the luminous Sarita Choudhury. This is Satellite Dishing In The Next-To-Yemen in tone and intent, and Tykwer ensures that the central character's existential crisis doesn't weigh too heavily, courtesy of farcical narrative detours and side swipes at Saudi Arabian culture. These polished barbs are gifted largely to Alexander Black in the scene-stealing role of a taxi driver called Yousef, who ferries Hanks' beleaguered businessman to various meetings while commenting on the sorry state of his nation. "We don't have unions here. We have Filipinos," quips Yousef tartly during one expedition into the desert. He also pithily describes his sweetheart as "sweet but dumb as a goat". There are big laughs too when the men awkwardly bond through the medium of American rock music. A bulbous growth on the lead character's back provides the film with a puss-filled metaphor for the woes that weigh down Hanks' everyman. Under the influence of alcohol, he attempts to lance the cyst and not for the first time, we wince at Tykwer's film. An opening sequence set to the Talking Heads' anthem Once In A Lifetime introduces us to world-weary salesman Alan Clay (Hanks), who has been dispatched to Riyadh to woo King Abdullah (Mohamed Attifi) with his company's state-of-the-art 3D conferencing technology. The problems begin when Alan oversleeps on the first morning and misses a scheduled meeting with the King's assistant Karim Al-Ahmad (Khalid Laith). Moreover, Alan's on-site technical team comprising Brad (David Menkin), Cayley (Christy Meyer) and Rachel (Megan Maczko) have been consigned to a large marquee outside the main complex without access to WiFi, food or water. Tempers fray and Alan finds an alluring ally in a Danish IT contractor called Hanne (Sidse Babett Knudsen), who knows how to party hard with her Scandinavian countrymen. Meanwhile, the unsightly growth on Alan's back leads him to an emergency appointment with female doctor Zahra Hakem (Choudhury), whose tender bedside manner forces the businessman to question his priorities and future. A Hologram For The King relies heavily on Hanks' innate likability and comic timing, and he plies both with precision. The plot around him feels like it might blow away in the first sandstorm, but Hanks stands firm, kindling palpable sparks with Choudhury in her underwritten role. The pivotal sales pitch to the King almost becomes redundant, but does provide Tykwer with a bittersweet punchline to a gag he sets up much earlier in the film. Some things are worth waiting for.

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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Bad Neighbours 2 3 stars

Mac and Kelly Radner buy a new home to raise their two-year-old daughter Stella and must wait 30 days for the buyers of their current house to sign the contract. In the interim, a sorority led by wild child Shelby moves into the property next door and sends shockwaves along the street with raucous and boozy behaviour. Mac and Kelly are horrified - the buyers could pull out of the house sale - so the couple resolves to drive out the sorority.

  • GenreComedy, Romance
  • CastRose Byrne, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Lisa Kudrow, Zac Efron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Selena Gomez.
  • DirectorNicholas Stoller.
  • WriterBrendan O'Brien, Andrew J Cohen, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Nicholas Stoller.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official sitewww.badneighboursmovie.co.uk
  • Release06/05/2016

Terrible neighbours become good friends in Nicholas Stoller's likable sequel to his 2014 comedy, which pitted an exhausted couple with a newborn baby against scheming members of a party-loving fraternity. The gender tables are turned and then flooded with sticky sentiment in Bad Neighbours 2, which plays out a foul-mouthed battle of the sexes and pleads with us to care about archetypal characters on both sides of the bitter conflict. Gags from the original film are recycled and the five scriptwriters, including lead actor Seth Rogen, lovingly embrace every demographic, eschewing the usual homophobic humour by decking their narrative with rainbow flags. Indeed, Zac Efron verbally acknowledges his gay fanbase and panders to them shamelessly by spending extended sequences of the film dressed in nothing except a pair of tight-fitting shorts. Timely messages about the perils of modern parenting, gender equality and the political incorrectness of fraternities who put bros before hoes are merrily flung into the scatological mix. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) buy a new home where they can safely raise their cherubic two-year-old daughter, Stella (Elise Vargas). The couple agree a sale on their current house and are placed in escrow by the estate agent, allowing the new buyers a 30-day period to survey the property before signing a legally binding contract. In the interim, a newly formed sorority led by wild child Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) moves into the house next door and prepares to party with a vengeance. Mac and Kelly are horrified - the buyers could pull out of the house sale when they discover the new neighbours are unruly teenage girls. So the Radners resolve to drive out the sorority, aided by Mike's pal Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and his pregnant wife Paula (Carla Gallo). However, the girls of Kappa Nu have a secret weapon - Mac and Kelly's old adversary Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), who is struggling to come to terms with the impending gay wedding of his best friend Pete (Dave Franco). Bad Neighbours 2 is just as lewd and crude as its predecessor, replete with menstrual blood, a bright pink sex toy and one actor's pendulous undercarriage. Rogen and Efron gamely fling themselves into the physically demanding set pieces, while Byrne and Moretz prove they can be potty-mouthed minxes without completely relinquishing their femininity. A few gags hit their mark including a gasp-inducing one-liner about the Holocaust and a salty sideswipe at Bill Cosby. There are also plenty of polished barbs about female empowerment in an age when overt sexuality is wielded as a weapon of mass male distraction. Sweetness is the sequel's weakness and ultimately, the only casualty of this hard-fought war is realism.

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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Captain America: Civil War 4 stars

The US political establishment insists on the introduction of legislation to control the Avengers. Tony Stark aka Iron Man submits to these demands but Steve Rogers aka Captain America, who has always been a staunch patriot and followed orders, refuses to accede, especially when his good friend Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier is threatened. The gulf between Stark and Rogers forces the remaining Avengers to take sides. A battle royale unfolds just as a diabolical new enemy emerges and threatens mankind.

  • GenreAction, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastChris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle.
  • DirectorJoe Russo, Anthony Russo.
  • WriterStephen McFeely, Christopher Markus.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration147 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/captainamerica
  • Release29/04/2016

The fragile alliance between the Avengers is shattered in the third Captain America film, directed at a breathless pace by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo. Opening with a flashback to 1991 that sets one major character on their self-destructive path, Civil War underscores its bombastic title by pitting former allies against each other in a series of dizzying showdowns that cleave apart the Marvel Comics universe. Scriptwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely repeatedly inhabit the blurred lines between heroism and villainy, examining the moral conundrums faced by superpowered warriors who have pledged to protect the innocent from the righteous crossfire. Alas, no one emerges unscathed from the melee and the deep psychological wounds inflicted in these bombastic 147 minutes suggest that this muscular chapter signals a bittersweet end for some characters while blatantly teeing up standalone spin-offs for Spider-Man and Black Panther. "Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all," solemnly intones King T'Chaka (John Kani) from the battle-scarred nation of Wakanda. If that is true then Captain America: Civil War is a crushing defeat for everyone except thrill-seeking cinema audiences. A year has passed since the events of Avengers: Age Of Ultron and the US Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) insists on the introduction of legislation - The Sokovia Accords - to control the superheroes. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), reluctantly submits, telling his compatriots: "I'm doing what has to be done to stave off something worse." Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), who has always been a staunch patriot, refuses to sign, fearful of the consequences of the Avengers relinquishing their independence. The gulf between Stark and Rogers forces the remaining Avengers to take sides. Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), James Rhodes, aka War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), Prince T'Challa, aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland) all stand shoulder to shoulder with Stark. Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes, aka Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Sam Wilson, aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), pledge their allegiance to Rogers. A battle royale between the two factions unfolds just as a diabolical new enemy, Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), threatens mankind. Captain America: Civil War could easily trim 20 minutes from its bloated running time without diminishing the impact of the special effects sequences or the pivotal plot twists. The Russo brothers choreograph destruction on a grand scale, including an adrenaline-pumping motorcycle chase on the rubble-strewn streets of Berlin. Evans and Downey Jr puff out their chests for supremacy in every lavish frame, while Johansson somersaults sexily between the feuding factions. A protracted sequence involving Stark, a nerdy Peter Parker and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) sows seeds of hope that next year's reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, might revitalise the webslinging vigilante with whip-smart humour. Miracles might happen.

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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Discover Arts: Teatro Alla Scala (The Temple Of Wonder) 3 stars

In 1776, the Ducale Theatre burned down in Milan and La Scala was built in its place, becoming one of Europe's grandest music and performing arts venues. For almost 240 years, luminaries have graced its stage including composer Giuseppe Verdi, conductor Arturo Toscanini and tenor Placido Domingo. This documentary pays tribute to La Scala's rich history with expert commentary and analysis from aficionados, musicians and impassioned fans.

  • GenreDocumentary, Musical, Special
  • DirectorSilvia Corbetta.
  • WriterSilvia Corbetta.
  • CountryIta
  • Duration90 mins
  • Official sitewww.discoverarts.co.uk/teatroallascala/
  • Release26/05/2016 (selected cinemas)

In 1776, the Ducale Theatre burned down in Milan and La Scala was built in its place, becoming one of Europe's grandest music and performing arts venues. For almost 240 years, luminaries have graced its stage including composer Giuseppe Verdi, conductor Arturo Toscanini and tenor Placido Domingo, alongside productions directed by the likes of Franco Zeffirelli and Patrice Chereau. Documentary filmmakers Luca Lucini and Silvia Corbetta sift through centuries of archive material including paintings, photographs, musical scores and video to pay tribute to La Scala and its rich history with expert commentary and analysis from aficionados, musicians and impassioned fans.

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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Florence Foster Jenkins 4 stars

Amateur operatic soprano Florence Foster Jenkins is determined to further her musical ambitions with the help of her second husband and doting companion, St Clair. The couple auditions several accompanists and Cosme Moon lands the position of Florence's pianist. The grand dame pays Cosme well and he gradually falls under his wealthy employer's spell, acknowledging that she is just following her dream, like everyone else.

  • GenreBiography, Comedy, Drama, Historical/Period, Musical, Romance
  • CastMeryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson.
  • DirectorStephen Frears.
  • WriterNicholas Martin.
  • CountryUK/Fr
  • Duration110 mins
  • Official site
  • Release06/05/2016

Auditions for televised talent shows throw up a limitless supply of deluded wannabes, who refuse to let a lack of musicality or rhythm hamper their quest for pop superstardom. Occasionally, these lovable misfits strike a chord because of their unfettered enthusiasm - witness the inexorable rise of The Cheeky Girls and Jedward. Amateur operatic soprano Florence Foster Jenkins was one such endearing eccentric, who became a cause celebre in 1930s and 1940s New York precisely because she was unable to hold a note during her infamous recitals of Verdi, Brahms and Mozart. Recordings of her caterwauling became collector's items and her concerts were always sold out. Jenkins brought joy to millions and remained convinced of her soaring abilities until her glorious end, aged 76. This real-life story of triumph against sniggering cynicism provides rich inspiration for Stephen Frears' rollicking comedy drama. Anchored by tour-de-force performances from Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant that perfectly harmonise humour and pathos, Florence Foster Jenkins is an unabashedly joyful period piece that stands resolutely behind the eponymous socialite as she massacres the Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus or the Queen Of The Night aria from The Magic Flute. As the heroine remarks, "People may say I couldn't sing but no one can say I didn't sing." Florence (Streep) is determined to further her musical ambitions with the help of her second husband and doting companion, St Clair (Grant). "I shall need a pianist. Someone young, someone with passion!" declares Florence excitedly. The couple auditions several accompanists but they fail to meet Florence's exacting standards. "He's raping my ears. Make him stop!" she pleads after one hopeful tinkles the ivories. Cosme Moon (Simon Helberg) eventually lands the position of Florence's pianist and his first experience of Florence in full voice is played for tear-streaming belly laughs by Frears. The grand dame pays Cosme well and he gradually falls under his wealthy employer's spell, acknowledging that she is just following her dream, like everyone else. Vocal coach Carlo Edwards (David Haig) and venerated conductor Arturo Toscanini (John Kavanagh) prepare Florence for a big concert at the world-famous Carnegie Hall. However, St Clair worries that the stress of the forthcoming engagement is playing havoc with her faltering health. "What if it kills you?" he frets. "Then I shall die happy," smiles Florence serenely. Audiences will certainly die happy after watching Florence Foster Jenkins. Streep is mesmerising, bringing tenderness and vulnerability to a role that could so easily have been played as a pitiful figure of mockery. Grant is a wonderful comic foil and he demonstrates a light touch in moving scenes that remind us of his oft-ignored abilities as a dramatic actor. Period design is impeccable and Frears builds to a rousing emotional crescendo worthy of one of Jenkins' standing ovations. Bravo!

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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Our Kind Of Traitor 3 stars

University lecturer Perry Makepeace and barrister girlfriend Gail are on holiday in Marrakesh, hoping to salvage their relationship after his indiscretion. At a bar, they encounter rowdy Russian businessman Dima Krasnov, who unexpectedly takes Perry into his confidence and secretly gives the academic a flash drive to deliver to British intelligence with the instruction that it is "a present from the number one money launderer in Moscow".

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastDamian Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeremy Northam.
  • DirectorSusanna White.
  • WriterHossein Amini.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration108 mins
  • Official site
  • Release13/05/2016

The BBC adaptation of The Night Manager was a delicious reminder of writer John Le Carre's ability to wring nerve-shredding tension from spy games orchestrated by self-serving members of the British Secret Service. Screenwriter Hossein Amini's adaptation of another Le Carre page turner, Our Kind Of Traitor, is perfectly timed to capitalise on the resurgent interest in the Dorset-born author and his expert dissection of MI6 practices. Hinging on a chance encounter between a naive British everyman and a flashy East European powerbroker, Susanna White's film flits across international borders as it asks us to believe that a plummy academic would risk his humdrum life for a total stranger by virtue of his unshakable goodness. "Why are you still here?" the Russian criminal asks his stuffy saviour as they prepare to face a team of sharp-shooting assassins. "I don't know," dryly responds the lecturer. Nor do we and that frustrating lack of clarity about the lead character's motivation proves the film's undoing as the cogs of a serpentine plot click neatly into place, setting up the inevitable final showdown that decides if virtue or vice emerges unscathed from the melee. University lecturer Perry Makepeace (Ewan McGregor) and barrister girlfriend Gail (Naomie Harris) are on holiday in Marrakesh, hoping to salvage their relationship after his indiscretion. At a bar, they encounter rowdy Russian businessman Dima Krasnov (Stellan Skarsgard), who unexpectedly takes Perry into his confidence and secretly gives the academic a flash drive to deliver to British intelligence with the instruction that it is "a present from the number one money launderer in Moscow". British agent Hector Meredith (Damian Lewis) and colleague Luke Weaver (Khalid Abdalla) take delivery of the flash drive at Heathrow, which contains evidence implicating MP Aubrey Longrigg (Jeremy Northam) in a money-laundering scam masterminded by sadistic Russian mobster The Prince (Grigoriy Dobrygin). Hector's direct superior Billy Matlock (Mark Gatiss) refuses to sanction an official operation, but Hector ploughs on regardless, since he harbours a private grudge against the politician. Unfortunately, there is a caveat to smuggling Dima to the UK as an informant. "He will only deal with us if you and Gail are there," Hector explains to Perry. Thus the lecturer and his sweetheart become globe-trotting pawns in a deadly game of espionage alongside Dima's proud wife Tamara (Saskia Reeves) and their children. Anchored by Skarsgard's eye-catching portrayal of a family man with a twisted moral code, Our Kind Of Traitor simmers pleasantly, but never turns up the heat sufficiently on McGregor and Harris' do gooders. White choreographs some memorable interludes, including a hallucinogenic party where one naked lovely trots around an opulent house on horseback, but protracted chase sequences aren't particularly suspenseful. Amini's script telegraphs its intentions, sustaining dramatic momentum, if not the vice-like tension we crave.

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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The Angry Birds Movie 3 stars

Red is an outcast on Bird Island, where the rest of his flightless flock tweet peace and harmony. An unfortunate incident with an unhatched egg lands Red in court where Judge Peckinpah sentences him to a course in anger management led by perky clucker Matilda. When a ship full of pigs led by smooth talker Leonard arrives on Bird Island, supposedly in peace, Red is the only inhabitant to sense impending disaster.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastPeter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Sean Penn, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride.
  • DirectorClay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly.
  • WriterJon Vitti.
  • CountryFin/US
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official sitewww.angrybirds-movie.com/en/
  • Release13/05/2016

Strip back the pristine visuals, which were once meticulously hand-drawn, and most animated films are hard-wired with an important life lesson to cherish once the end credits roll. The Lion King: you can't run away from your responsibilities; Beauty And The Beast: don't judge someone by their appearance; Frozen: don't let naysayers hold you back from chasing your dreams; Inside Out: feeling sad is a natural part of growing up; Monsters, Inc.: mummy fibbed when she said the scary creature under your bed isn't real. The Angry Birds Movie, a feature-length animated spin-off from the fiendishly addictive smartphone games, tears out a new page from the self-help manual: it's OK to get mad as long as you can channel that aggression in a positive direction. The central character of Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly's film certainly spits feathers in the pursuit of a greater good. Screenwriter Jon Vitti peppers this haphazard, but energetic flight of self-discovery with a barrage of dreadful puns and dad jokes that will inspire as many groans as giggles. Thus, one anger-management therapist bird proudly advertises herself as a free-rage chicken, pigs aspire to wear Calvin Swine underwear, and a poster advertises Kevin Bacon's return to the stage in... Hamlet. Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) is an outcast on Bird Island, where the rest of his flightless flock tweet peace and harmony. An unfortunate incident with an unhatched egg lands Red in court where Judge Peckinpah (Keegan-Michael Key) sentences him to a course in anger management led by perky clucker Matilda (Maya Rudolph). Fellow attendees include wide-cracking live wire Chuck (Josh Gad), who can move at superbird speed, the aptly named Bomb (Danny McBride), who self-combusts when surprised or stressed, and hulking Terence (Sean Penn), who communicates in booming growls. Red resists Matilda's techniques because, as he reminds his brethren, "We're descended from dinosaurs. We're not supposed to be nice." When a ship full of pigs led by smooth talker Leonard (Bill Hader) arrives on Bird Island, supposedly in peace, Red is the only inhabitant to sense impending disaster. Other birds fail to heed his warnings and when his doom-laden prophecy comes to pass, Red joins forces with Chuck and Bomb to locate the island's mysterious protector, Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage). The Angry Birds Movie is a glossy promo for the games and associated merchandise, showcasing the different birds and their associated powers, but it's also a lot of fun so long as you ignore the flimsy and predictable plot. Animation quality doesn't soar to the dizzy heights of Pixar, but co-directors Kaytis and Reilly maintain a brisk pace and the screen shimmers with bright colours. Vocal performances are solid and Demi Lovato's cover version of the Gloria Gaynor discoball classic I Will Survive flaps up the feel-good factor.

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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The Jungle Book 3 stars

A young boy called Mowgli is raised by wolves Akela and Raksha. The boy's presence in the jungle is an affront to Shere Khan, the Bengal tiger, who resolves to kill Mowgli. Thus the man cub must leave his wolf parents and embark on a perilous journey of self-discovery in the company of Bagheera the black panther and Baloo the bear. En route, Mowgli has a crushing encounter with Kaa the python and is sweet-talked by the deceptively dangerous King Louie.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Drama, Family, Family
  • CastIdris Elba, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, Lupita Nyong'o, Giancarlo Esposito, Sir Ben Kingsley, Neel Sethi.
  • DirectorJon Favreau.
  • WriterJustin Marks.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration106 mins
  • Official sitewww.disney.co.uk
  • Release15/04/2016

The bare necessities of a contented life will come to you by going on safari with Jon Favreau's technically dazzling romp through the stories of Rudyard Kipling. Not since James Cameron's Avatar has a 3D digital world been conjured with such depth and precision. Shot in downtown Los Angeles and beautifully rendered as untamed wilderness on computer hard drives, this immersive Jungle Book retains the wide-eyed charm of the 1967 Disney animation including three songs and comic relief from a rascally bear named Baloo, voiced to droll perfection by Bill Murray. "You have never been a more endangered species than you are now," the hirsute honey thief informs an Indian porcupine (Garry Shandling) during one amusing altercation. Vibrant colour radiates off the screen and gooey sentimentality oozes like sap during the rousing final act, but scriptwriter Justin Marks isn't afraid to hack into darker territory. Shere Khan the Bengal tiger evokes a heartbreaking scene from The Lion King in his relentless, blood-crazed pursuit of Mowgli, and the animated version's jazziest interlude - I Wan'na Be Like You with jungle VIP King Louie and his swingin' band of monkeysicians - is repurposed as a terrifying chase. Man cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is raised by wolves Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) and Raksha (Lupita Nyong'o) as a brother to other pups. A terrible drought necessitates an uneasy truce between predators and prey around the watering hole, and other denizens of the jungle finally get to see Mowgli close-up. The boy is an affront to Shere Khan (Idris Elba), who lost an eye to a fiery torch wielded by Mowgli's father. "A man cub becomes man, and man is forbidden!" snarls the big cat, who demands the child be handed over to him for slaughter. Akela and Raksha refuse but Mowgli acknowledges his presence jeopardises the lupine clan. So he embarks on a perilous journey back to civilisation in the company of his protector, Bagheera the black panther (Sir Ben Kingsley). En route, Mowgli gathers honey for greedy Baloo (Murray) and is pressurised into sharing the secret of "the red flower" - fire - with menacing Gigantopithecus, King Louie (Christopher Walken). The Jungle Book flexes its digital muscles in every impeccably crafted frame, festooning the screen with a menagerie of anthropomorphised critters that are just as realistic as the shipwrecked tiger in Life Of Pi. Sethi is a tad wooden in comparison but it must be difficult for a 12-year-old newcomer to find an emotional core when the rest of the cast and lush backgrounds only spring to life in post-production. Vocal performances are strong, replete with disorienting use of Scarlett Johansson's seductive whisper in surround sound during Mowgli's crushing encounter with python Kaa. Trust in me: Favreau's film is a majestic walk on the wild side.

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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X-Men: Apocalypse 3 stars

The very first mutant, En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse, reawakens after thousands of years. He is disgusted by the pitiful state of mankind and resolves to clean the evolutionary slate by creating a new world order with the help of his four horsemen of the apocalypse: Angel, Psylocke, Storm and Magneto. Professor X and Raven are determined to protect mankind at all costs and they assemble a team of young X-Men to avert armageddon.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastOlivia Munn, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Evan Peters, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac.
  • DirectorBryan Singer.
  • WriterSimon Kinberg.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration144 mins
  • Official sitewww.xmenmovies.com
  • Release18/05/2016

Too many kooks spoil the broth of director Bryan Singer's fourth tour of duty with the Marvel Comics mutants, which began in 2000 with X-Men. Simon Kinberg's messy script bursts at the seams with tortured characters and subplots vying for our attention, bloating the running time to close to two and a half hours. It's a physical ordeal for us, but too little time for X-Men: Apocalypse to do justice to a menagerie of gifted misfits on both sides of a conflict that reduces several capital cities to rubble. There is dramatic fat that could be trimmed: a blood-spattered interlude involving a face from the past - codenamed Weapon X - is superfluous and the final showdown is played out simultaneously in the real world and inside the connected minds of telepaths. The arch-villain is omnipotent - he slaughters an entire factory of workmen with a casual swipe of his hand - and could conceivably destroy mankind without breaking computer-generated sweat. Instead, this otherworldly tyrant chooses to waste precious time recruiting less powerful mutants to do his bidding and consequently undermines his nefarious plan to wipe clean the evolutionary slate. Ten years have passed since the cataclysmic events of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which saw Logan (Hugh Jackman) travel back in time to 1973 to make contact with the young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and neutralise the Sentinel program of killer robots. It's now the early 1980s and the very first mutant, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), reawakens after thousands of years of inactivity. He is disgusted by the pitiful state of mankind and resolves to create a new world order with the help of his four devoted horsemen of the apocalypse: Angel (Ben Hardy), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Magneto. Professor X and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) vow to protect mankind and they assemble a team of young X-Men to avert armageddon including Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Havok (Lucas Till) and his younger brother Cyclops (Tye Sheridan). X-Men: Apocalypse doesn't settle long enough on one narrative thread to generate dramatic momentum or suspense. Turner and Sheridan make the biggest impact, capturing the inner turmoil of teenagers unable to control their unique and potentially devastating powers. Apart from one rallying cry, Lawrence is surplus to requirements, while McAvoy stares teary-eyed into the camera as his romantic subplot with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) is resuscitated. Special effects have improved in superhuman leaps since Singer's first foray into this universe. He blitzkriegs the screen with eye-popping digital trickery, guaranteeing a relentless assault on the eyes - especially in 3D - which is just as likely to induce a headache as awe and wonder.

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Thursday 26th May 2016

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X-Men: Apocalypse 3D 3 stars

The very first mutant, En Sabah Nur, aka Apocalypse, reawakens after thousands of years. He is disgusted by the pitiful state of mankind and resolves to clean the evolutionary slate by creating a new world order with the help of his four horsemen of the apocalypse: Angel, Psylocke, Storm and Magneto. Professor X and Raven are determined to protect mankind at all costs and they assemble a team of young X-Men to avert armageddon.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastJennifer Lawrence, Olivia Munn, Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, Oscar Isaac, Evan Peters.
  • DirectorBryan Singer.
  • WriterSimon Kinberg.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration144 mins
  • Official sitewww.xmenmovies.com
  • Release18/05/2016

Too many kooks spoil the broth of director Bryan Singer's fourth tour of duty with the Marvel Comics mutants, which began in 2000 with X-Men. Simon Kinberg's messy script bursts at the seams with tortured characters and subplots vying for our attention, bloating the running time to close to two and a half hours. It's a physical ordeal for us, but too little time for X-Men: Apocalypse to do justice to a menagerie of gifted misfits on both sides of a conflict that reduces several capital cities to rubble. There is dramatic fat that could be trimmed: a blood-spattered interlude involving a face from the past - codenamed Weapon X - is superfluous and the final showdown is played out simultaneously in the real world and inside the connected minds of telepaths. The arch-villain is omnipotent - he slaughters an entire factory of workmen with a casual swipe of his hand - and could conceivably destroy mankind without breaking computer-generated sweat. Instead, this otherworldly tyrant chooses to waste precious time recruiting less powerful mutants to do his bidding and consequently undermines his nefarious plan to wipe clean the evolutionary slate. Ten years have passed since the cataclysmic events of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which saw Logan (Hugh Jackman) travel back in time to 1973 to make contact with the young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and neutralise the Sentinel program of killer robots. It's now the early 1980s and the very first mutant, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), reawakens after thousands of years of inactivity. He is disgusted by the pitiful state of mankind and resolves to create a new world order with the help of his four devoted horsemen of the apocalypse: Angel (Ben Hardy), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Magneto. Professor X and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) vow to protect mankind and they assemble a team of young X-Men to avert armageddon including Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Havok (Lucas Till) and his younger brother Cyclops (Tye Sheridan). X-Men: Apocalypse doesn't settle long enough on one narrative thread to generate dramatic momentum or suspense. Turner and Sheridan make the biggest impact, capturing the inner turmoil of teenagers unable to control their unique and potentially devastating powers. Apart from one rallying cry, Lawrence is surplus to requirements, while McAvoy stares teary-eyed into the camera as his romantic subplot with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) is resuscitated. Special effects have improved in superhuman leaps since Singer's first foray into this universe. He blitzkriegs the screen with eye-popping digital trickery, guaranteeing a relentless assault on the eyes - especially in 3D - which is just as likely to induce a headache as awe and wonder.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 26th May 2016

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