Star Trek Into Darkness (12A)
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Bigger, bolder and better , the crew of the USS Enterprise return as director J.J. Abrams pulls out all the stops to make this the most spectacular, action-filled blockbuster of the year as Starfleet London is devastated and, with a personal score to settle, impulsive Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) - assisted by Mr Spock (Zachary Pinto), Sulu (John Cho), Dr McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Scotty (Simon Pegg) - set off to capture the man behind the destruction, one of Starfleet’s own former agents, the seemingly superhuman John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). Risking war with the Klingons and discovering that things are not always what they appear, betrayal and manipulation prompts an epic battle as the nature of human aggression threatens friendships and demands great sacrifices. This is blockbuster adventure at warp factor 10.
One for families with kids over the age of 10, this is a terrific sci-fi movie starring Tom Cruise as Jack Harper , an engineer who, with his communications officer companion Victoria (Andrea Risborough), is in charge of maintaining the drones that protect the huge constructs siphoning off energy from the Earth’s oceans.
The film is set 60 years after an alien invasion in which mankind emerged the victors but which destroyed the planet. Now, the survivors have been evacuated to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, and the pair of them have just two weeks of the mission left before they too join them and Earth is abandoned forever.
In order to keep any information from the remaining ‘Scavengers’ down on the surface who are stealing the nuclear cells from the drones, Jack and Victoria were given memory wipes before the mission. So why does Jack keep having these dreams about old New York and a women he met at the Empire State Building. It’s a question that becomes even more important to him when, while out on maintenance duty, a space craft crashes and inside he finds several humans in sleep capsules. Before he can wake them, however, drones arrive and open fire, killing all but one. A woman (Olga Kurylenko) – who looks exactly like the one in his dreams!
To say more would spoil the twists and surprises, but if you’ve seen the trailer you’ll know that, despite what Mission Control - Sally (Melissa Leo) - may say, there are still humans on Earth who, led by Malcolm (Morgan Freeman), are waging some form of guerrilla war. But against whom? Or what? Jack needs to discover the truth about the lies he has been told in order to save the plant to which he still feels he belongs.
Featuring some very effecting images of a post-apocalypse Earth destroyed by nuclear bombs and natural disasters, from the opening voice over narration that film keeps you constantly involved, even when you slowly start to put the pieces together. The pace never slackens, the spectacle and attention to detail are impressive and the performances, an understated Cruise especially, are very effective while a fight between drones and Jack’s spacecraft will certainly spark Star Wars memories. If you were underwhelmed by Prometheus, this will restore your faith in sci fi cinema.
Oz - The Great and Powerful 3D (PG)
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Ever wondered how the Wizard came to Oz in the first place? Cramming the screen with special effects and cute CGI characters, Disney offer a prequel to the classic tale as Kansas carnival illusionist Oscar Diggs (James Franco) takes balloon flight and ends up in a world of colour where magic is real. Here he’s enlisted by witch sisters Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz) who tell him the land is in great danger, but it’s not until he meets Glinda (Michelle Williams) that he learns the truth and, sorting out good from evil, has to find his inner hero, become the man he’s never been and, with the help of a living porcelain doll and a talking winged monkey, save the Munchkins and the other inhabitants of Oz from oppression and the Wicked Witch of the West. Heavier on visual spectacle than character and story, and Franco’s one note performance doesn’t impress, but the trip down this yellow brick road is still one well worth taking.
All Stars (U)
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Kids stage a dance show to save their youth centre. How many times have you seen that plot or a very similar variation? The difference this time is that the kids are London tweenagers. It stars Horrid Henry’s Theo Stephenson and Akei from StreetDance 2 as the two youngsters who strike up and unlikely friendship and recruit a motley crew of misfits to save the day, learning life lessons and proving themselves along the way. With a cast that also includes Ashley Jensen, Kimberley Walsh, Ashley Walters and, in a cameo dance sequence, John Barrowman, it’s utterly predictable but, as a sort of meeting between CBBC and Britain’s Got Talent, also rather sweet.
From May 22
Epic 3D (U)
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With a touch of Arthur and the Invisibles and The Spiderwick Chronicles, while out searching for her distracted anthropologist father in the forest, teenager Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) stumbles across a miniscule female figure, dying from an arrow wound, who gives her a glowing pod. Immediately, MK finds herself shrunken to the same size and surrounded by a group of miniature warriors. These are the Leafmen, protectors of nature, and they are involved in a struggle to prevent the evil forces known as Boggans and their leader Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) from turning the greenery to rot. Now she finds herself a central figure in ensuring the forest survives.
Based on children’s writer William Joyce's book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, this is a beautifully animated, action-packed new animation from Chris Wedge, director of Ice Age and Robots, and also features the voices of Beyonce, Josh Hutcherson, and Colin Farrell.
Iron Man 3 (12A)
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After falling through the worm-hole in The Avengers, Tony Stark is having problems sleeping and suffering from panic attacks. But that’s the least of his worries when he finds himself up against an incredibly powerful new enemy, the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who brings his world quite literally crashing down around him. With nowhere to turn and left to his own devices, Stark is tested to the limit as he has to answer the question - does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
Robert Downey Jr returns as Stark, alongside Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, now with his own suit of high-tech armour as Iron Patriot, while joining the cast as the behind the scenes bad guy is Guy Pearce who plays Aldritch Killian, the creator of Extremis, a serum that can repair and superhumanly enhance the human body. With spectacular, explosive action matched solid character development, not to mention any number of different suits, this is not only the best Iron Man yet, it’s even better than Avengers Assemble.
The Croods 3D (U)
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Another animated prehistoric adventure, but this time, courtesy of DreamWorks, it’s about humans not mammoths and sabre tooths. The Croods – overprotective dad Grug (Nicolas Cage), sensible mom Ugga (Catherine Keener), wild-spirited teenage daughter Eep (Emma Stone), dim-witted son Thunk (Clark Duke), Sandy the feral baby and cranky Gran (Cloris Leachman) - are your typical Neanderthal family living your typical Stone Age life. Their neighbours may come to sticky ends but, with his motto ‘Never not be afraid’, Grug has managed to keep his brood safe within their deep, dark cave.
But things are about to change. One night, the rebellious Eep meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a hunky caveboy who’s a few rungs up the intellectual evolutionary chain and has these cool inventions, like fire. And a pet sloth sidekick that serves double function as his belt. He also has warning that the world is about to end. Which certainly seems to be the case when an earthquake destroys the family cave and the land starts crumbling apart. Now, the Croods find themselves embarking on a journey into a whole new unknown world, relying on Grug’s brawn and Guy’s brain to protect them from all manner of predators like land whales, owl-headed bears and punch-packing monkeys. Prepare for some prehysterical fun.
The Croods © 2012 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved