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cinema review for family films

Family film reviews


Kong: Skull Island (12A)
The Lego Batman Movie 3D (U)
Hidden Figures (PG)
Sing (U)

From Friday March 17
Beauty and the Beast (PG)


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Top Family Films to see

Fancy a trip to the cinema, but don't know what would be fun with the kids? Here's our movie guide, written by Mike Davies especially with families and kids in mind. Everything from small scale films to great blockbusters for all the family!

Read the film digests for a quickie guide to the latest kids and family films and check out the full film reviews for all the details and 'Let's Go with the Children' recommendations about the film's suitability for your children

Please note that not all 12A films are appropriate for younger children. Let’s Go With The Children offers a guide to what’s suitable for family viewing.

 Check out the full film reviews for all the details.



Kong Skull Island 12A

Kong: Skull Island (12A)


Read the following Reviews:




Out Now

Kong: Skull Island (12A)

 The Lego Batman Movie 3D (U)

Hidden Figures (PG)

 Sing (U)


From Friday March 17

Beauty and the Beast (PG)





Kong: Skull Island (12A)


Clocking in at a tightly packed two hours, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts takes another swing at reviving cinema’s most famous ape that balances explosive action, breathtaking effects, throwaway humour and some respectful nods to the original to wildly entertaining effect. However, the most striking and original thing about it is that, set in 1973, it’s essentially a Vietnam war movie, complete with a huge number of references to Apocalypse Now. Including recreating that iconic image of the red streaked sun and without helicopters which, come armed with tape decks and speakers blaring out rock music.
Opening with a brief WWII prologue as two young pilots, one American, one Japanese, are fighting to the death after crashing on some island when two giant hairy hands appear on the cliff top, it fast forwards to Bill Randa (John Goodman), who heads up Monarch, a secret agency seeking “massive unidentified terrestrial organisms”, as he convinces a senator (Richard Jenkins) to back an expedition to a hitherto uncharted island “where myth and science meet.”
Requisitioning a military escort headed up by Lt Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson), the army officer who doesn’t want the war to end, especially not in ‘abandonment’, as he terms it, and his  men (among them Shea Whigham, John Ortiz, Jason Mitchell and Toby Kebbell) most of whom along with the assorted scientists, serve as the film’s cannon fodder. Randa and his team (Corey Hawkins, Tian Jing) also recruit ex SAS officer Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) as their tracker while, sensing a story, war photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) also inveigles herself a place on the mission.

However, no sooner have they battled their way through the electrical storm shrouding the island and started dropping seismic bombs, than they’re being swatted out of the sky by an angry Kong.

Initially separated, the film follows their attempt to survive as they head for the pick-up point, Conrad, Weaver and the rest of his group encountering Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), the American pilot from the opening, who has been living with the silent natives ever since and warns of even more dangerous beasts, against which Kong, the last of his kind, has become the island’s protector. Which means they now have to stop Packard from blasting the monkey to pieces. Keeping the romantic interest to a minimum (but effectively recreating that classic Fay Wray/Kong moment) in favour of moving things along, the film gets on with mounting its spectacular action, introducing docile giant water buffalos, towering killer spiders and a humongous octopus before finally bringing on the lizard-like monsters, Marlow calls the Skullcrawlers to raise the bloody body count tally further.

Spelling out familiar don’t mess with nature messages and observations on how war can make a man see enemies everywhere, it’s essentially a prequel to Godzilla. Those who hang around for the post credits scene will be pleased to note that such other celebrated Japanese movie monsters as Mothra and Rodan, are waiting in the wings to provide more monkey business in the future. 118 mins. Also in IMAX 3D (complete with special Kong IMAX opening).


Kong Skull Island 12A


The Lego Batman Movie 3D (U)


The follow-up to 2014’s BAFTA Best Animated Film winner, The Lego Movie, is a parody of Batman and the world of DC superheroes in general, but balances the comedy with a strong ‘no man is an island’ message about not shutting yourself off from friends and family. Or, indeed your enemies. The secretly sensitive Joker (Zach Galifianakis), hurt that the narcissistic Batman (Will Arnett) won’t recognise they have a mutual hate relationship and refuses to accept he’s his greatest foe, hatches a plot to get sent to the Phantom Zone so he can free all the bad guys to help him destroy Gotham. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Batman has to content with new sidekick Robin (Michael Cera), the orphan he accidentally adopted while dazzled by new Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson). She wants Batman and the law to work together, and Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) wants him to face up to his greatest fear – family. Featuring appearance by pretty much every DC superhero and villain you can think off, as well as the likes of Godzilla, gremlins, Voldemort and the Daleks, it’s a dizzyingly relentless, knowingly self-referencing explosion of gleeful fun. 106 mins. Also in 2D and IMAX 3D.


Read full review here


Lego Batman Movie 3D (U)



Hidden Figures (PG)


You might know that, in 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. But you’ve probably never heard of Katherine Johnson. Yet, without her input, the Mercury program might have taken a lot longer to achieve its goal or, had the launch gone ahead on schedule, Glenn could have died on re-entry. It was Johnson who did the calculations necessary to ensure safe re-entry, but only now is her contribution, and that of many other African-American women who worked for the NASA space program, being recognised.

This aptly titled true story puts the spotlight on Johnson (Taraji P Henson) and her co-workers, Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and their vital roles in the program. A child maths prodigy, in 1952 Johnson got a job at Langley, working as one of the ‘computers’(not machines, but an all black female unit of mathematicians)  in the segregated "West Area Computing" division  overseen  by Vaughan and was eventually assigned to work on the equations necessary to compute the rocket flights. The same unit also included Jackson, who, in 1958, became NASA’s first black female engineer.

With Kirsten Dunst as a racist white department head, Kevin Costner as the program manager and Jim Parsons as the chauvinistic chief  engineer, it charts the women’s fight to be taken seriously and achieve recognition and equality alongside their male and white counterparts, while detailing the racism in the workplace without shouting from a soapbox.

The performances from the three female leads are top notch, while the film balances scenes like Johnson scrawling out calculations on the blackboard with archive footage and recreations of meetings with the NASA team and its astronauts, delivering a film that is as entertaining as it’s inspiring, uplifting and illuminating. 127 mins.



Hidden Figures (PG)



Sing (U)


An animated musical comedy that’s essentially an animals X-Factor, this recycles the well worn plot (last seen in The Muppets) of someone staging a special show to save their theatre. Here, it’s Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), Koala impresario who, in order to preserve his run down theatre, decides to put on the world’s greatest singing talent contest.  All are welcome to audition, but, at the end of the day, the contenders for the top prize come down to gangster’s son Johnny the gorilla (Taron Egerton), a sax-playing swing singing mouse (Seth McFarlane), a punk-rock porcupine (Scarlett Johannson), a timid elephant (Tori Kelly) and Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), an overworked mom of  25 piglets.  Packed with hit songs, colourful, energetic and very funny, even Simon Cowell might be impressed. 108 mins.

 Read the full film review here

Sing U


From Friday March 17

Beauty and the Beast (PG)


Following Cinderella and The Jungle Book, here’s the latest classic Disney animation to get a live action remake from director Bill Condon. Emma Watson takes the role of the plucky Belle who, when her inventor father (Kevin Kline) is taken prisoner in a castle after plucking a white rose from the garden of the mysterious figure who rescued him, agrees to trade places and live with his captor. This captor being the handsome prince (Dan Stevens), who has been cursed to become a beast for having no love in him until someone falls in love with him. Meanwhile, her obnoxious arrogant, braggart suitor, Gaston (Luke Evans) stirs up the villagers to storm the castle and kill the monster within.

Although there’s some shifts in the characters, the Beast being a morose, moody figure, the film is pretty faithful to the cartoon. Along with the songs, including, of course, Be Our Guest, and the CGI-animated household objects, including Ian McKellen as the voice of Cogsworth the clock, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere the candleabra, and Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, the teapot who gets to sing the title song. 129 mins.


Beauty and The Beast (PG)



Not all 12A films are appropriate for younger children. Let’s Go With The Children offers a guide to what’s suitable for family viewing.


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