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Now showing at Cineworld Staples Corner Staples Corner Retail Park, Geron Way,Cricklewood,London,London NW2 6LW 0871 200 2000

  • A Most Wanted Man
  • A Walk Among The Tombstones
  • Begin Again
  • Daawat-e-Ishq
  • Finding Fanny
  • Free Birds
  • Khoobsurat
  • Lucy
  • Muppets Most Wanted
  • Planes 2: Fire & Rescue
  • Pride
  • The Boxtrolls
  • The Boxtrolls 3D
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey

A Most Wanted Man 4 stars

movie title

German intelligence operative Gunther Bachmann hopes to identify and break up terrorist cells by extracting information from the local Muslim community. He believes but cannot prove that philanthropist Dr Abdullah is channelling funds to one such cell. The surveillance operation on Abdullah becomes complicated when Chechen refugee Issa Karpov enters Hamburg illegally and is identified as a terrorist by Russian intelligence.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Thriller
  • CastRachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Bruhl, Nina Hoss, Homayoun Ershadi, Grigory Dobrygin.
  • DirectorAnton Corbijn.
  • WriterAndrew Bovell.
  • CountryUK/US/Ger
  • Duration121 mins
  • Official sitewww.amostwantedmanmovie.com
  • Release12/09/2014

Great actors don't just play a role, they become the role, vanishing beneath the skin of a character so every word and gesture appears organic. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one such rare talent. On stage and screen, his emotional range and versatility were breath-taking including a bravura embodiment of Truman Capote that won him the triple whammy of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Award.

He was heart-breaking as a boom-mike operator in Boogie Nights, whose crush on a porn star ends in humiliating rejection, hilarious as a maverick CIA agent in Charlie Wilson's War and monstrous as a charismatic cult leader in The Master. Each physically and emotionally demanding role fitted him like a glove.

A Most Wanted Man is distinguished by Hoffman's final performance in a leading role and it's a typically understated yet riveting portrayal of a German intelligence agent, who lives on his nerves and occasional swigs of whisky or puffs of a cigarette.

Based on the 2008 novel of the same name by John Le Carre, Anton Corbijn's slow-burning espionage thriller steadily cranks up the tension, building to a nerve-jangling finale that has us holding our breaths.

Chechen refugee Issa Karpov (Grigory Dobrygin) enters Hamburg illegally and seeks refuge with a kind Turkish woman (Derya Alabora) and her son (Tamer Yigit). They put Issa in touch with immigration lawyer Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) and Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe), who is head of the private bank used by Issa's sadistic father to store his ill-gotten coffers.

German intelligence operative Gunther Bachmann (Hoffman) and his team comprising right-hand woman Irna Frey (Nina Hoss) and juniors Maximillian (Daniel Bruhl) and Niki (Vicky Kreps) identify Issa as an escaped militant jihadist.

They choose not to arrest him but use Issa as bait to snag Muslim academic and philanthropist Dr Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), who is suspected of channelling funds to terrorist Islamic organisations. Gunther and his team exert pressure on Richter and Brue to coerce Issa into donating his father's money to Abdullah.

However, the plan doesn't unfold smoothly and Gunther's operation faces intense scrutiny from high-ranking CIA operative Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright), whose view of humanity is summed up when she observes, "Every good man has a little bit of bad, doesn't he?"

Like the 2011 film adaptation of Le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, A Most Wanted Man delights in the minutiae of the spy game. Expertly choreographed scenes of surveillance are punctuated by verbal fireworks and threats of violence.

Corbijn refuses to be rushed - even when he is orchestrating a chase by train and car, which is as close as the film comes to a conventional action sequence. Hoffman's nuanced, world-weary performance is complemented by a uniformly excellent international cast. It's a splendid swansong.

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Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014

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A Walk Among The Tombstones 3 stars

When a shootout with robbers ends in tragedy, booze-sodden NYPD cop Matt Scudder hangs up his badge and gets sober with the help of AA then re-invents himself as a private investigator. He is hired by Kenny Kristo to track down the sadistic kidnappers, who demanded a hefty ransom for his wife Carrie, took the money and still killed their terrified captive. In the course of his enquiries, Matt befriends homeless teenager TJ, who wants to learn how to be a detective.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Thriller
  • CastLiam Neeson, David Harbour, Dan Stevens, Adam David Thompson, Boyd Holbrook, Brian 'Astro' Bradley.
  • DirectorScott Frank.
  • WriterScott Frank.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewww.awalkamongthetombstones.net
  • Release19/09/2014

A grizzled private detective meets his match in a pair of sadistic kidnappers in Scott Frank's gritty thriller. Adapted from Lawrence Block's novel of the same name, A Walk Among The Tombstones establishes its grim tone with soft-focus opening credits depicting a blonde woman (Laura Birn) rousing from slumber under the gentle caress of her lover.

As the camera pulls back, we notice a tear trickle down the woman's porcelain cheek and a strip of metallic tape across her mouth, transforming a beatific dream into a nightmare of intolerable cruelty.

Unspeakably bad things continue to happen to good people throughout Frank's film without any guarantee that justice will prevail. Liam Neeson wades through this moral quagmire in typically robust fashion as the private eye, who risks his life for clients in order to atone for one particular sin committed during his inglorious past as an NYPD cop.

The role is more cerebral than the gung-ho avenging angels in the Taken series and Non-Stop, but director Frank duly caters to fans of Neeson's renaissance as a tough-talking action hero with one bruising fight sequence. When a shoot-out on the streets of 1991 New York City ends in senseless tragedy, booze-sodden officer Matt Scudder (Neeson) hangs up his badge and embraces sobriety with the support of Alcoholics Anonymous.

He re-surfaces as an unlicensed private detective, working out of his apartment in Hell's Kitchen. Fellow AA member Peter Kristo (Boyd Holbrook) approaches Matt with an urgent request to help his brother Kenny (Dan Stevens), who has just paid a 400,000 dollar ransom for his wife (Razane Jammal).

The kidnappers took the money then dismembered their hostage. Matt visits Kenny in his plush apartment and the former cop deduces the grief-stricken husband is a drug dealer. Interestingly, the perpetrators knew this from their ransom demand: "You'd pay a million for her if she was product."

Despite initial misgivings, Matt agrees to help Kenny unmask the merciless perpetrators, Ray (David Harbour) and Albert (Adam David Thompson), who are already scoping their next target. In the course of his enquiries, Matt encounters homeless teenager TJ (Brian 'Astro' Bradley), who needs a father figure to keep him safe on the mean streets of the Big Apple.

A Walk Among The Tombstones is a solid and involving genre piece that lays the groundwork for further adaptations of Block's series of books dedicated to Scudder. Matt's sweetheart Elaine, who is prominent on the page, is missing in action from Frank's film, allowing us to concentrate on the case and the relationship between Matt and TJ that feels like a convenient plot device rather than a fully realised surrogate father-son bond.

Neeson doesn't have to stretch himself in the undemanding and hard-hitting lead role, while Downton Abbey heartthrob Stevens makes little impact amidst the explosions of brutality.

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Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Monday 22nd September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014
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Begin Again 4 stars

movie title

Greta comes to Manhattan with her boyfriend Dave Kohl, who has landed a major recording contract. Dave succumbs to his new found celebrity by cheating on Greta and she flees their swanky apartment. Soon after, Greta crosses paths with down-on-his-luck record executive Dan. He boldly tells her, "I want to make records with you," and together they record an album in different locations around the city over the course of the summer.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Musical, Romance
  • CastKeira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, James Corden, Mos Def.
  • DirectorJohn Carney.
  • WriterJohn Carney.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration104 mins
  • Official sitewww.beginagainfilm.com
  • Release11/07/2014

Some film-makers spend entire careers striving in vain for one moment of cinematic perfection. Others, like Irish director John Carney, strike gold early and face the daunting prospect of living up to giddy expectation. In 2007, Carney sent audiences and critics into a collective swoon with his micro-budget fourth feature, Once.

Shot for a paltry 160,000 Euros, the modern-day romance between a Dublin busker and a Czech flower girl sparked a real-life relationship between actors Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The subsequent stage adaptation won eight coveted Tony Awards including Best Musical and continues to play to packed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Begin Again - which was originally titled Can A Song Save Your Life? but should perhaps have been re-christened Once Again - sees Carney orchestrate another musical collaboration between emotionally damaged misfits.

Shot against the backdrop of New York's iconic landmarks, this hugely entertaining romantic comedy is blessed with strong performances and an infectious soundtrack. Greta (Keira Knightley) comes to Manhattan with her boyfriend Dave Kohl (Adam Levine), who has just landed a major recording contract.

"We don't want anything to stand in your way," a record exec tells Dave, casting a wary glance at Greta.
"I'm just tagging along," she smiles soothingly.
Touring and promotion put a strain on the relationship and Dave succumbs to his new found celebrity by cheating on Greta.

She flees their swanky apartment in tears and crashes at the apartment of old friend Steve (James Corden), who busks for his supper. Soon after, Greta crosses paths with down-on-his-luck record executive Dan (Mark Ruffalo), who has just been fired by his business partner (Mos Def).

Dan is transfixed by Greta and boldly tells her, "I want to make records with you". He comes up with a simple concept - recording an album in different locations around the city - and ropes in various musicians to enrich Greta's sound including good friend Trouble Gum (CeeLo Green).

As the project gathers momentum, Greta reassesses her failed relationship and Dan rebuilds bridges with his teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and estranged wife (Catherine Keener).

Begin Again dances to the same beat as Once, albeit with a starrier cast including Maroon 5 frontman Levine, who makes a solid acting debut. Knightley and Ruffalo are an attractive pairing, the latter giving parenting a bad name when he takes his daughter to a bar and asks her to pick up his beer tab with her pocket money. "I spent that on condoms," she tells him, enjoying her father's embarrassment.

Corden provides additional comic relief. Musical sequences are full of energy including a blistering guitar solo from Steinfeld on a rooftop rendition of the film's best song, Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home. We don't.

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Thursday 25th September 2014

Daawat-e-Ishq 3 stars

Tariq "Taru" Haidar is a gifted cook from Lucknow, who is revered for his tasty and aromatic biryani and kebabs, which burst with intense flavours. By chance, Taru meets Gulrez "Gullu" Qadir, who works as a shoe sales girl in Hyderabad and has sworn off love because all the men she meets are only interested in a dowry. Opposites attract and Tar and Gullu begin to cook up a red-hot romance with ingredients from their contrasting cultures.

  • GenreBollywood, Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastAnupam Kher, Parineeti Chopra, Aditya Roy Kapur.
  • DirectorHabib Faisal.
  • WriterHabib Faisal, Jyoti Kapoor.
  • CountryIndia
  • Official site
  • Release05/09/2014 (selected cinemas)

Love blossoms unexpectedly in writer-director Habib Faisal's comedy drama, which pairs Aditya Roy Kapur with Parineeti Chopra. Tariq "Taru" Haidar (Kapur) is a gifted cook from Lucknow, who is revered for his tasty and aromatic biryani and kebabs, which burst with intense flavours. By chance, Taru meets Gulrez "Gullu" Qadir (Chopra), who works as a shoe sales girl in Hyderabad and has sworn off love because all the men she meets are only interested in a dowry. Opposites attract and Tar and Gullu begin to cook up a red-hot romance with ingredients from their contrasting cultures. Their unlikely union challenges outmoded world views and gives the young lovers the confidence to search for a perfect recipe for enduring love.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Monday 22nd September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014
Thursday 25th September 2014

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Finding Fanny 3 stars

movie title

Ferdie is the ageing postman in the sleepy village of Pocolim in Goa. His heart was broken 46 years ago when the love of his life, Stefanie Fernandes, rejected his written marriage proposal. Out of the blue, the very same letter that Ferdie wrote to Fanny is slipped under his door and the postman realises to his intense shock and surprise that his heartfelt missive never reached Fanny.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Romance, World
  • CastArjun Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Deepika Padukone.
  • DirectorHomi Adajania.
  • WriterHomi Adajania, Kersi Khambatta.
  • CountryIndia
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/findingfanny
  • Release12/09/2014 (selected cinemas)

Ferdie (Naseeruddin Shah) is the ageing postman in the sleepy village of Pocolim in Goa. His heart was broken 46 years ago when the love of his life, Stefanie Fernandes (Anjali Patil), rejected his written marriage proposal. Ever since, he has been steeped in melancholy, wondering what might have been with his beloved Fanny. Out of the blue, the very same letter that Ferdie wrote to Fanny is slipped under his door and the postman realises to his intense shock and surprise that his heartfelt missive never reached Fanny. Desperate to deliver the letter and learn if Fanny would have accepted his proposal, Ferdie resolves to track down his sweetheart accompanied by four villagers: young widow Angie (Deepika Padukone), artist Don Pedro (Pankaj Kapur), snooty lady Rosie (Dimple Kapadia) and mechanic Savio (Arjun Kapoor). Will true love prevail in this comedy drama directed by Homi Adajania and co-written by Kersi Khambatta?

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Monday 22nd September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014
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Free Birds 3 stars

movie title

A turkey called Reggie is pardoned from the carving table by the President of the United States. Soon after, Jake, founder member of the Turkey Freedom Front, kidnaps Reggie and press-gangs him into a top secret mission of the utmost importance: to travel back in time and get turkeys off the Thanksgiving menu. They use a time-travelling device called S.T.E.V.E. to head back to 1621 to spearhead a turkey uprising.

  • GenreAction, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Historical/Period, Science Fiction
  • CastWoody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler, Dan Fogler, Colm Meaney, Keith David, George Takei.
  • DirectorJimmy Hayward.
  • WriterJimmy Hayward, Scott Mosier.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration91 mins
  • Official site
  • Release29/11/2013

Dating back to 1621 Massachusetts, Thanksgiving is one of the biggest national holidays in America, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Shops close for the day, curtains fall across Broadway and families come together around the dinner table to give thanks for the previous 12 months. The centrepiece of this gathering of the generations is a succulent roast turkey.

In Jimmy Hayward's computer-animated comedy, the feathered fowls strike back, attempting to change the main course of history so that they can be granted a stay of execution every winter.

Free Birds offers a surprising alternative to turkey for the Thanksgiving feast, which should appeal to both vegetarians and carnivores, but manages to vastly increase the calorie count and fat and carbohydrate contents. Considering America's battle with obesity, it seems unlikely that families will be trading in the giblets in order to pile on another couple of pounds.

The film's unlikely hero is a turkey called Reggie (Owen Wilson), who realises that the abundance of food offered up by the farmer is merely a plot to fatten the flock. Having caused a fuss, Reggie is kicked out of the coop and, by chance, he is chosen by the President's cherubic daughter (Kaitlyn Maher) as the one bird to be pardoned from the carving table.

Transported to Camp David where he enjoys a daily routine of pizza and trashy TV, Reggie thinks his troubles have evaporated until Jake (Woody Harrelson), founder and sole member of the Turkey Freedom Front, kidnaps Reggie and press-gangs him into a top secret mission of the utmost importance.

"We're going back to the first Thanksgiving to get turkeys off the menu," booms Jake. Together, they break into a military facility and use a time-travelling device called S.T.E.V.E. (George Takei) - which stands for Space Time Exploration Vehicle Envoy - to head back to 1621 to spearhead a turkey uprising.

The birds immediately cross paths with colonial hunter Myles Standish (Colm Meaney) and his men, who are scavenging for food. Cluckily, Reggie and Jake are rescued by Chief Broadbeak (Keith David) and his turkey tribe including the chief's courageous daughter Jenny (Amy Poehler), who helps the heroes from the future appreciate that, "When you're in a flock, you know you belong to something bigger."

Free Birds is light-hearted gobbledygook that lacks visual sophistication or belly laughs. Wilson, Harrelson and Poehler deliver solid vocal performances while Meaney is a lacklustre villain.

The script, co-written by Scott Mosier, is sporadically amusing, like a disclaimer caption at the beginning of the film what affirms this is a work of fiction - "Except for the talking turkeys. That's totally real." But there's no originality or verve on screen and the plot twists and turns in obvious directions. Parents will probably be stifling yawns.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 21st September 2014

Khoobsurat stars

Dr Milli Chakravarty is a hopelessly romantic physiotherapist, who has been encouraged to be spontaneous and open-minded by her mother. In the course of her work, Milli meets handsome Rajput prince Vikram Rathore, who is engaged to be married and has been raised to uphold discipline and self-restraint at all costs by his mother. Opposites attract and Milli has a profound effect on Vikram, which jeopardises everything that Nirmala has instilled in her son.

  • GenreBollywood, Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romance
  • CastKirron Kher, Sonam Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Ratna Pathak.
  • DirectorShashanka Ghosh.
  • WriterIndira Bisht.
  • CountryIndia
  • Duration127 mins
  • Official site
  • Release19/09/2014 (selected cinemas)

Shashanka Ghosh directs this Hindi language romantic comedy about a female doctor to a royal family, who falls in love with a man far above her station. Dr Milli Chakravarty (Sonam Kapoor) is a quirky and hopelessly romantic physiotherapist, who has been encouraged to be spontaneous and open-minded by her mother Manju (Kirron Kher). In the course of her work, Milli meets handsome Rajput prince Vikram Rathore (Fawad Khan), who is engaged to be married and has been raised to uphold discipline and self-restraint at all costs by his mother Nirmala (Ratna Pathak). Opposites attract and Milli has a profound effect on Vikram, which jeopardises everything that Nirmala has instilled in her son.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Monday 22nd September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014
Thursday 25th September 2014

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Lucy 3 stars

movie title

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 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Monday 22nd September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014
Thursday 25th September 2014

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Muppets Most Wanted 4 stars

movie title

The world's most deadly criminal, Constantine, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Kermit except for a facial mole and strong eastern European accent, escapes from a Siberian gulag overseen by Nadya and her men. They give chase and mistakenly apprehend Kermit, believing him to be the devious mastermind. While Kermit languishes behind bars, Constantine poses as The Muppets' leader to orchestrate a series of daring robberies with the help of his second in command, Dominic Badguy.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Family, Musical, Romance
  • CastSalma Hayek, Tina Fey, Tom Hiddleston, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Dave Goelz, David Rudman, Eric Jacobson, Steve Whitmire, Bill Barretta.
  • DirectorJames Bobin.
  • WriterNicholas Stoller, James Bobin.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration113 mins
  • Official sitemuppets.disney.com/muppets-most-wanted
  • Release28/03/2014

Created almost 60 years ago by Jim Henson, Kermit The Frog and his hand-operated chums gained a new lease of life in 2011 with the release of the seventh feature film, snappily entitled The Muppets. Combining an irreverent script, tongue-in-cheek cameos and uproarious song and dance numbers, James Bobin's film was a treat for fans of all ages.

Muppets Most Wanted is the inevitable sequel and harnesses some of the same charm and zany energy including original compositions by Bret McKenzie from Flight Of The Conchords, who garnered an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the first film.

The New Zealand-born comedian and musician delights with his pithy worksmithery including a rousing opening number featuring Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga that declares, "We're doing a sequel, the studio wants more/While they wait for Tom Hanks to do Toy Story 4!"

The ramshackle plot bounces along at breakneck speed, providing a hook for hare-brained set pieces replete with Celine Dion as Miss Piggy's Fairy Godmother.

The world's most deadly criminal, Constantine (voiced by Matt Vogel), who bears an uncanny resemblance to Kermit (Steve Whitmire) except for a facial mole and strong eastern European accent, escapes from Gulag 38B in Siberia.

Commander Nadya (Tina Fey) and her men give chase and mistakenly apprehend Kermit, believing him to be the amphibian mastermind. While Kermit languishes behind bars, Constantine poses as The Muppets' leader to orchestrate a series of daring robberies with the help of his second in command, Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais).

French Interpol inspector Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) is hot on their heels and hooves. Miss Piggy (Eric Jacobson), Gonzo (Dave Goelz), Fozzie Bear (Jacobson again) and the gang don't notice that their beloved green ringmaster has been replaced by an impostor.

They embark on a world tour that takes them from Berlin to Madrid, Dublin and London - "home of the Crown Jewels... and good manners". Thankfully, Kermit has a daring plan to escape and expose the diabolical doppelganger.

Muppets Most Wanted doesn't quite scale the dizzy comedic heights of the first film but the sequel is peppered with belly laughs and droll in-jokes. Thus when the newest member of the Muppet fold, Walter (Peter Linz), abandons the world tour, Rowlf is incredulous. "We just spent a whole movie watching him join The Muppets!" he laments.

Bobin doesn't tarry on holes in the narrative or flimsy sub-plots like Miss Piggy's desire to make an honest frog out of Kermit, and hopes we'll do the same with grins on our faces.

The sequel is preceded by a delightful computer-animated short, Party Central, which revisits Monsters University favourites Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) and the misfits from Oozma Kappa fraternity as they attempt to outwit the bully boys from Roar Omega Roar once more.

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Sunday 21st September 2014

Planes 2: Fire & Rescue 3 stars

movie title

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)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014

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Pride 5 stars

movie title

Mark Ashton is the charismatic and outspoken leader of impassioned campaigners, who operate out of the Gay's The Word bookshop in London. Reading news stories about the miner's strike, Mark recognises a cause to champion. "Mining communities are being bullied just like we are," he tells his coterie and they form LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - with the intention of raising funds for a randomly selected Welsh community.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period
  • CastBill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Ben Schnetzer, George MacKay, Jessica Gunning, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton, Joseph Gilgun.
  • DirectorMatthew Warchus.
  • WriterStephen Beresford.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration120 mins
  • Official sitewww.pridemovie.co.uk
  • Release12/09/2014

Theatre director Matthew Warchus, who succeeds Kevin Spacey as artistic director of the Old Vic in London next year, will need to de-clutter his awards-laden mantelpiece. His second feature film is a barnstorming culture-clash comedy drama based on the inspirational true story of a group of gays and lesbians, who supported the miners during the 1984 strike and raised thousands of pounds for beleaguered communities, which dared to stand up to the Thatcher government.

This uplifting story of solidarity in the face of adversity and police intimidation is an absolute joy; an unabashed, irresistible crowd-pleaser in the magnificent mould of The Full Monty and Billy Elliot that rouses the audience to bellowing laughter while choking back a deluge of hot, salty tears.

Pride embraces and subverts stereotypes, deftly weaving together stories of personal triumph and anguish as the spectre of Aids casts a long shadow over the gay community.

Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) is the charismatic and outspoken leader of young, impassioned campaigners, who operate out of the Gay's The Word bookshop in London run by Gethin (Andrew Scott). Reading news stories about the miner's strike, Mark recognises a cause to champion.

"Mining communities are being bullied just like we are," he tells his coterie comprising Mike (Joseph Gilgun), Jonathan (Dominic West), Jeff (Freddie Fox), Steph (Faye Marsay) and closeted new boy, Joe (George MacKay). They form LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - and rattle tins for a randomly selected Welsh community.

Mining representative Dai (Paddy Considine) invites Mark and co to the Dulais Valley where committee members Hefina (Imelda Staunton), Cliff (Bill Nighy) and Sian (Jessica Gunning) embrace the fund-raisers with open arms. However, some of the locals are repulsed.

"We're being backed up by perverts," sneers homophobic mother Maureen (Lisa Palfrey), kindling conflict between some of the neighbours and the LGSM.

Pride is a life-affirming ode to tolerance, acceptance and self-belief that defiantly lives up to its title, waving a flag for stellar home-grown filmmaking.

Performances are exemplary, ignoring a few wobbles with the Welsh accents, including a fiery turn from Schnetzer as a fresh-faced trailblazer and sobs aplenty from Mackay as the catering student, who cannot conceal his sexuality forever.

Scriptwriter Stephen Beresford strikes a perfect balance between hilarity and heartbreak, sharing polished one-liners among the ensemble cast including Menna Trussler as a clucky old dear, who labours under the illusion that all lesbians are vegetarians.

Warchus' film builds to a rousing crescendo that delivers a knock-out emotional wallop and opens the floodgates. As Frankie Goes To Hollywood professed during that turbulent summer of 1984: "When two tribes go to war/A point is all you can score." The characters in Pride score their points with unbridled passion and wit.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Monday 22nd September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014
Thursday 25th September 2014

This film is also showing at:

The Boxtrolls 4 stars

movie title

An orphaned boy named Eggs is raised by gentle subterranean creatures that have been unfairly demonised by the terrified, fromage-fixated residents of Cheesebridge. When pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher and his henchmen begin to exterminate the Boxtrolls, Eggs joins forces with the surviving creatures and a girl called Winnie to protect the beasties from harm.

  • GenreAdaptation, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Fantasy
  • CastToni Collette, Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Sir Ben Kingsley.
  • DirectorGraham Annable, Anthony Stacchi.
  • WriterIrena Brignull, Adam Pava.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official sitewww.theboxtrolls.co.uk
  • Release12/09/2014

Based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls is a rollicking stop-motion animated romp from the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman that proves weird can be truly wonderful. With faint echoes of Raymond Briggs' Fungus The Bogeyman, Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi's quirky fantasy imagines a race of subterranean creatures, who root through bins in search of spare parts for their mechanical creations.

Despite a hearty appetite for slimy bugs, these pungent, green-skinned denizens of the underworld are cute rather than scary, possessing relatable human traits such as a passion for music or a quivering fear of the unknown. They spare troll blushes by wearing empty cardboard boxes and the former contents of these mouldering cartons provide each expressive character with a name such as Fish, Knickers, Sweets, Clocks and Fragile (ho ho!).

The meticulous detail of the movable figures and miniature sets is impressive, and co-directors Annable and Stacchi corral a vast team of animators, who produce thrilling chases and quieter moments of ribald humour.

The well-to-do, Victorian-era city of Cheesebridge is visited under the cloak of darkness by the eponymous beasties. One dark night, a Boxtroll called Fish (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) kidnaps the infant son of a local inventor (Simon Pegg) and spirits away the child to the underground lair.

This shocking act plays into the grubby hands of pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Sir Ben Kingsley). "Prepare to say bye-bye to your brie, cheerio to your cheddar!" cackles Snatcher, striking fear into the heart of Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) and the other fromage-fixated noblemen.

They grant Snatcher a place at the cheese-tasting top table if the exterminator and his henchmen - Mr Trout (Nick Frost), Mr Pickles (Richard Ayoade) and Mr Gristle (Tracy Morgan) - kill every last Boxtroll. Unaware that he is human, abducted boy Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) ventures above ground with the Boxtrolls and encounters Lord Portley-Rind's snooty daughter, Winnie (Elle Fanning).

She initially believes the horror stories about Boxtrolls devouring children - "Eat me. I'm sure I'm delicious!" - but once Winnie learns the truth about Eggs' past, she agrees to help vanquish Snatcher and his snivelling cohorts.

The Boxtrolls is a delight for the young and young at heart, hinging on the notion that families come in all shapes and sizes. Irena Brignull and Adam Pava's script is laden with verbal and visual gags, striking a gently mischievous tone throughout like when Winnie spots Eggs tugging at the crotch of his uncomfortable suit and whispers, "Don't snatch them in public. That's why they are called privates!"

Frost, Ayoade and Morgan provide the majority of the comic relief between action-packed set-pieces. Remain seated during the end credits for a hilarious scene of existential angst, which succinctly reminds us how pain-staking and time-consuming the stop-motion animation process is.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Monday 22nd September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014
Thursday 25th September 2014

This film is also showing at:

The Boxtrolls 3D 4 stars

movie title

An orphaned boy named Eggs is raised by gentle subterranean creatures that have been unfairly demonised by the terrified, fromage-fixated residents of Cheesebridge. When pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher and his henchmen begin to exterminate the Boxtrolls, Eggs joins forces with the surviving creatures and a girl called Winnie to protect the beasties from harm.

  • GenreAdaptation, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Fantasy
  • CastElle Fanning, Toni Collette, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Sir Ben Kingsley.
  • DirectorGraham Annable, Anthony Stacchi.
  • WriterIrena Brignull, Adam Pava.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official sitewww.theboxtrolls.co.uk
  • Release12/09/2014

Based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls is a rollicking stop-motion animated romp from the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman that proves weird can be truly wonderful. With faint echoes of Raymond Briggs' Fungus The Bogeyman, Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi's quirky fantasy imagines a race of subterranean creatures, who root through bins in search of spare parts for their mechanical creations.

Despite a hearty appetite for slimy bugs, these pungent, green-skinned denizens of the underworld are cute rather than scary, possessing relatable human traits such as a passion for music or a quivering fear of the unknown. They spare troll blushes by wearing empty cardboard boxes and the former contents of these mouldering cartons provide each expressive character with a name such as Fish, Knickers, Sweets, Clocks and Fragile (ho ho!).

The meticulous detail of the movable figures and miniature sets is impressive, and co-directors Annable and Stacchi corral a vast team of animators, who produce thrilling chases and quieter moments of ribald humour.

The well-to-do, Victorian-era city of Cheesebridge is visited under the cloak of darkness by the eponymous beasties. One dark night, a Boxtroll called Fish (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) kidnaps the infant son of a local inventor (Simon Pegg) and spirits away the child to the underground lair.

This shocking act plays into the grubby hands of pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Sir Ben Kingsley). "Prepare to say bye-bye to your brie, cheerio to your cheddar!" cackles Snatcher, striking fear into the heart of Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) and the other fromage-fixated noblemen.

They grant Snatcher a place at the cheese-tasting top table if the exterminator and his henchmen - Mr Trout (Nick Frost), Mr Pickles (Richard Ayoade) and Mr Gristle (Tracy Morgan) - kill every last Boxtroll. Unaware that he is human, abducted boy Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) ventures above ground with the Boxtrolls and encounters Lord Portley-Rind's snooty daughter, Winnie (Elle Fanning).

She initially believes the horror stories about Boxtrolls devouring children - "Eat me. I'm sure I'm delicious!" - but once Winnie learns the truth about Eggs' past, she agrees to help vanquish Snatcher and his snivelling cohorts.

The Boxtrolls is a delight for the young and young at heart, hinging on the notion that families come in all shapes and sizes. Irena Brignull and Adam Pava's script is laden with verbal and visual gags, striking a gently mischievous tone throughout like when Winnie spots Eggs tugging at the crotch of his uncomfortable suit and whispers, "Don't snatch them in public. That's why they are called privates!"

Frost, Ayoade and Morgan provide the majority of the comic relief between action-packed set-pieces. Remain seated during the end credits for a hilarious scene of existential angst, which succinctly reminds us how pain-staking and time-consuming the stop-motion animation process is.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014

This film is also showing at:

The Hundred-Foot Journey 3 stars

movie title

Papa Kadam and his family flee Mumbai after an arson attack on their restaurant, which results in the death of Papa's wife. They seek refuge in a French village, which boasts a Michelin star establishment run by widow Madame Mallory. The building across the road happens to be vacant and Papa purchases the property with the intention of opening his own eaterie serving traditional Indian fare. This rivalry sparks hostility between the Kadams and Mallory, which spirals out of control.

Made to a tried and tested recipe laid out in Richard C Morais's novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey is an uplifting comedy drama charting the battle of wits between two restaurateurs in a close-knit French village. It's a familiar story of feuds and reconciliation, love and loss, laced with the heady spices of one family's proud Indian heritage. Screenwriter Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things) offsets the sweetness of the central narrative with tart one-liners, and garnishes with crowd-pleasing performances from Helen Mirren and Om Puri as fierce rivals, who learn to see eye to eye over the simmering saucepans. Lasse Hallstrom's handsome confection is comfort food for the soul. Myriad scenes of chefs searing fresh meats and fishes, or lovingly stirring the ingredients of thick sauces, tantalise the senses and make your mouth water. Papa Kadam (Om Puri) and his five children - Mansur (Amit Shah), Hassan (Manish Dayal), Mahira (Farzana Dua Elahe), Mukhtar (Dillon Mitra) and Aisha (Aria Pandya) - flee Mumbai after an arson attack on their restaurant, which results in the death of Papa's beloved wife (Juhi Chawla). Initially, the Kadams settle in London but they leave because talented chef Hassan discovers that "the vegetables have no soul, no life." So the clan seeks new horizons in Europe. Shortly after crossing the Swiss border into France, the brakes on the Kadams' van fail and they crash close to the village of Saint-Antonin, which boasts a Michelin star establishment Le Saule Pleureur run by widow Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). The building across the road from Mallory's restaurant is vacant and Papa dreams of serving traditional Indian fare to the good people of France. Eldest son Mansur tries to dissuade his father from competing with Le Saule Pleureur: "It is the best restaurant for 50 miles and the President of France eats there!" Unperturbed, Papa opens Maison Mumbai with Hassan as head chef. This sparks a bitter rivalry with Madame Mallory's own chef Jean-Pierre (Clement Sibony) that spirals out of control. Thankfully, Madame's pretty sous chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) is more welcoming and she inspires Hassan to learn classic French cuisine including boeuf bourguignon and pigeon aux truffes. The Hundred-Foot Journey trades heavily on the spiky banter between Mirren and Puri, the former adopting a cod-French accent as she tells the Kadams, "If your food is anything like your music, I suggest you tone it down." Their interplay is a solid and appealing foundation for a sweet romantic subplot between Dayal and Le Bon. When Knight's script veers into slightly darker territory, and adds the poisonous tang of fame to the feel good mix, the film stumbles. Thankfully, director Hallstrom restores balance with a last-minute dollop of shameless sentimentality to ensure audiences leave with their bellies full of unbridled joy.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014
Monday 22nd September 2014
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
Wednesday 24th September 2014

This film is also showing at:

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