Now showing at Curzon Knutsford Civic Centre, Toft Road,Knutsford,Cheshire WA16 0PE 01565 633005
- Jurassic World
- Mr Holmes
Jurassic World 4 stars
The Jurassic World theme park is open on Isla Nublar under the control of Operations Manager Claire Dearing. The park's scientists play God by performing genetic modification experiments to breed a new dinosaur: the Indominus Rex. When this hulking beast escapes confinement and goes on the rampage in a park crowded with terrified tourists, animal wrangler Owen Grady races to the rescue.
- GenreAction, Adventure, Family, Science Fiction, Thriller
- CastJudy Greer, Chris Pratt, Ty Simpkins, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Nick Robinson.
- DirectorColin Trevorrow.
- WriterRick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly.
- Duration124 mins
- Official sitewww.jurassicworld.com
In the original Jurassic Park, scientists reanimate dinosaurs on a tropical island and quickly discover their arrogant folly. "Life breaks free. It expands to new territories and crashes through barriers," wisely observes Jeff Goldblum's doom-mongering chaos mathematician. His words reverberate throughout this fourth instalment of the blockbusting dino-franchise.
Director Colin Trevorrow and three co-writers step back in time, using the structure and heightened human drama of the first film as a solid template for this return to Isla Nublar. Jurassic World begs, borrows and affectionately steals from the 1993 box office behemoth, including a cameo for the Mr DNA animation and a set piece in the iconic visitor centre (now overgrown).
Two stricken children are a focal point when the park goes into meltdown, and mission control boasts a nerdy computer wizard (Jake Johnson) for mild comic relief. If the nuts and bolts of the screenplay are unabashedly retro, the special effects are undeniably state-of-the-art, realising creatures great and small, which chomp through countless extras and the main cast.
This is by far the bloodiest chapter of the Jurassic saga, if not quite the best. Jurassic World opened to the public in 2005 and now welcomes more than 20,000 visitors a day. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) oversees park operations, while Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong) plays God in the laboratories, splicing DNA strands to create terrifying new breeds.
"Consumers want them bigger, louder, more teeth," Claire tells a group of investors. Thus the ferocious and highly intelligent Indominus Rex is born. "This will give the parents nightmares," shudders park CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), who took up the mantle from John Hammond to open an isle of prehistoric wonders.
When the Indominus Rex escapes her paddock, Claire begs naval officer-turned-animal behaviour specialist Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) for help. He has been working on the island with Vic Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio), head of InGen Security, on a top-secret project involving four captive velociraptors.
Claire is distraught because her nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins), are trapped in the middle of the bloodbath. She implores Owen to rescue the boys, tracking them by footprints and scent. "I was in the Navy, not the Navajo," he reminds her.
Jurassic World is a muscular, rollicking romp that captures some of the adrenaline-pumping thrills and jaw-dropping awe we felt more than 20 years ago when Steven Spielberg first unleashed dinosaurs back into multiplexes.
Pratt is an instantly likable hero and he catalyses a simmering screen chemistry with Howard as the workaholic who faces the dino-pocalypse in highly inappropriate footwear. D'Onofrio glowers as one of the film's boo-hiss villains, who views the creatures as expendable assets. "We own them. Extinct animals have no rights," he snarls.
Action sequences are orchestrated at a lick, seamlessly integrating digital trickery with live action including chaotic scenes of a flock of pteranodons plucking visitors from the ground. "Remember: something chases you, run!" advises Zach and Gray's mom at the beginning of the film. Wise words.
Minions 3 stars
Since the dawn of time, the Minions have gravitated towards the most despicable master they can find. One Minion named Kevin embarks on an epic quest to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. Flanked by teenage rebel Stuart and diminutive scaredy-cat Bob, Kevin leaves the Minions' current home in Antarctica bound for 1968 New York City, where he stumbles upon the world's first female super-villain: Scarlet Overkill.
- GenreAnimation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
- CastChris Renaud, Sandra Bullock, Pierre Coffin, Steve Coogan, Allison Janney, Michael Keaton, Katy Mixon, Jon Hamm.
- DirectorPierre Coffin, Kyle Balda.
- WriterBrian Lynch.
- Duration91 mins
- Official sitewww.minionnation.co.uk
You can have too much of a good thing. In small doses, Despicable Me's goggle-eyed hench-creatures are a deranged delight. As unwittingly heroes of their own big screen adventure, these pint-sized "knights in shining denim" lose some of their loopy lustre, hindered by Brian Lynch's flimsy script, which is disappointingly light on storyline and belly laughs.
A dazzling vocal cast of gifted comic actors is repeatedly short-changed. Very young children, who gurgle with glee at the Minions' bonkers vernacular combining Esperanto and gobbledygook, will adore the slapstick, pratfalls and the tiniest member of the Minions clan, Bob, who clutches a well-loved teddy bear called Tim.
Adults will be considerably harder to win over. The lack of a coherent storyline grates as much as the lazy cultural stereotyping of the British as tea-sipping, corgi-riding folk, who frequent pubs called The Pig's Spleen.
Since the dawn of time, Minions have gravitated towards despicable masters including Tyrannosaurus Rex, Count Dracula and Napoleon. Unfortunately, these masters die prematurely - at the hands of the clumsy, yellow hench-creatures - leaving the Minions in a state of deep depression.
One brave soul named Kevin steps forth to find an evil boss for his bald, jaundiced brethren. Flanked by Stuart and scaredy-cat Bob, Kevin leaves the Minions' ice cave retreat bound for 1968 New York City. Cue a President Richard Nixon billboard proclaiming "Finally: a name you can trust". Could the Minions have stumbled upon their arch-villain?
No. The plucky trio learns about a gathering of criminals in Orlando and hitches a ride to the convention with a bank-robbing family led by Walter Nelson (voiced by Michael Keaton) and wife Madge (Allison Janney).
Their daughter Tina (Katy Mixon) points the Minions in the direction of bouffant super-villain Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). "If I was a minion, that's who I'd want to work for," she swoons. Thus the trio pledges allegiance to Scarlet and her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), who are plotting to steal the Crown Jewels from Queen Elizabeth II (Jennifer Saunders).
While the soundtrack swings its flares to The Kinks and The Who, Kevin, Stuart and Bob careen around London armed with Herb's nifty gadgets: a robo-suit, lava lamp gun and hypno-hat.
Minions has a sprinkling of giggles and doesn't outstay its welcome but there's an unshakable feeling that Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda's film falls short. The groovy time period should be a velvet goldmine of visual gags but the best the film can muster is a nod to The Beatles and a faked moon landing.
The 3D version doesn't exploit the eye-popping format so parents with tykes in tow should save their money for the inevitable raid on the concessions stand. Animation is colourful and pristine, opting for shiny surfaces and sharp angles that reduce the need for meticulous detail and realism. Despicable? Meh.
Mr Holmes 3 stars
The year is 1947 and Sherlock Holmes, now 93, is a shadow of the brilliant logician, who once held court at 221b Baker Street flanked by Dr Watson and Mrs Hudson. The ageing sleuth has retired to Cuckmere Haven, where he fusses over his beehives and infuriates his widowed housekeeper, Mrs Munro. Her spirited son Roger inspires Sherlock to delve into the fog of the past to recall his only unsolved case - a missing person enquiry in 1919.
- GenreAdaptation, Drama, Thriller
- CastSir Ian McKellen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Laura Linney, Milo Parker.
- DirectorBill Condon.
- WriterJeffrey Hatcher.
- Duration104 mins
- Official site
No one is immune to the allure of that cruel and merciless mistress: time. She saps strength and suppleness from athletic bodies, defies every cream to wither beauty and dulls the sharpest intellects. Mr Holmes imagines the twilight years of one of literature's icons, who is facing the grim reality of dementia with what remains of his once-glorious wit, aided by doses of a rare restorative plant from Japan called Prickly Ash.
This Sherlock, portrayed with dignity and steely resolve by Sir Ian McKellen, is no longer the aloof master of deduction who traversed the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's imagination. Instead, he tends bees on the Sussex coast, haunted by the one case he failed to solve - if only he could recall the facts.
Bill Condon's slow-burning drama tests our little grey cells with a perplexing subplot: The Curious Case Of The Thrice Oscar-Nominated Actress And The Wayward Accent. Laura Linney is one of the finest performers of her generation, but here she is undone by a vocal delivery that roams wildly between the West Country, Ireland and America. Her valiant struggles are an unnecessary distraction.
The year is 1947 and Sherlock Holmes (McKellen), now 93, is a shadow of the brilliant logician, who once held court at 221b Baker Street flanked by Dr Watson (Colin Starkey) and Mrs Hudson (Sarah Crowden).
The ageing sleuth has retired to Cuckmere Haven, where he fusses over his hives, struggles to piece together fractured memories and infuriates his widowed housekeeper, Mrs Munro (Linney). Her spirited son Roger (Milo Parker) is fascinated by Sherlock and the boy shows a natural aptitude with the bees.
"Exceptional children are often the product of unremarkable parents," Holmes coldly observes, wounding Mrs Munro. The lad inspires Sherlock to delve into the fog of the past to recall his only unsolved case - a missing person enquiry in 1919 involving a distraught husband, Thomas Kelmot (Patrick Kennedy), and his beautiful wife Ann (Hattie Morahan).
As Sherlock's addled mind drifts between that ill-fated pre-war investigation and the present, the old man edges ever closer to an inglorious end.
Mr Holmes is distinguished by McKellen's measured central performance and the strong support from rising star Parker. The script slowly unravels the myth of the literary sleuth, including one bittersweet scene of the ageing Sherlock watching a film in which Basil Rathbone portrays him with unnatural gusto.
Plotting is pedestrian - there are no twists or big reveals - allowing us plenty of time to marvel at the picturesque locations, including one breath-taking shot of the White Cliffs of Dover. We'll meet Holmes again, in many different guises, but few will be as heartbreakingly frail or haunting as this.