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Now showing at Cineworld Chelsea 279,Kings Road,Chelsea,London,London SW3 5EW 0871 200 2000

  • Chef
  • Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
  • Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes 3D
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy 3D
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy: An IMAX 3D Experience
  • Hercules
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • Maleficent
  • Pudsey The Dog: The Movie

Chef 4 stars

movie title

When prestigious food critic and blogger Ramsey Michel makes a reservation at his restaurant, cook Carl Casper plans a daring new menu but the owner Riva forces him to cook his tried and tested signature dishes. The subsequent poor review sparks a bitter war of words between Carl engages Ramsey in on Twitter, which spirals out of control and results in Carl publicly quitting his job. Carl's ex-wife Inez suggests he rediscovers his culinary passion by starting a food truck.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastRobert Downey Jr, Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, Emjay Anthony.
  • DirectorJon Favreau.
  • WriterJon Favreau.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewww.chefthefilm.com
  • Release27/06/2014

If food be the music of love then Chef composes a mouth-watering symphony of Cuban flavours to delight the palate of audiences, who crave a heart-warming drama garnished with gentle humour. Written and directed by Jon Favreau, this uplifting confection works to a tried and tested recipe of triumph against adversity, and taps into the rising popularity of food trucks as a lunchtime hang-out for famished American office workers.

Snappily edited scenes of high quality produce being transformed into plates of calorie-loaded deliciousness make any hot dogs, nachos and popcorn from the concessions stand look bland by comparison.

Be grateful that the Smell-O-Vision and AromaRama systems, which heightened the immersive experience of films by releasing scents into the theatre, never gained traction otherwise Chef's 114-minute running time would be exquisite, stomach-rumbling agony.

By the end credits, your appetite was well and truly whetted for one of the film's Cubano pressed sandwiches filled with juicy roast pork, boiled ham and molten Swiss cheese. The culinary wizard responsible for this raging hunger is Carl Casper (Favreau), who is the star attraction at a Los Angeles restaurant owned by Riva (Dustin Hoffman).

Prestigious food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), who reportedly sold his online blog for 10 million dollars, makes a reservation at the restaurant and Carl excitedly plans a new tasting menu with sous chef Tony (Bobby Cannavale), line cook Martin (John Leguizamo) and sassy hostess Molly (Scarlett Johansson).

"You know what I would do? Play your hits," argues Riva and he forces Carl to revert to his signature dishes. Ramsey's poor review, which berates Carl for resting on his laurels, ignites a bitter war of words on Twitter.

"You wouldn't know a good meal if it sat on your face!" the chef informs Ramsey. Their argument spirals out of control and Carl publicly quits his job. Ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) invites Carl to accompany her and their young son Percy (Emjay Anthony) to Miami to reconnect with his roots.

In familiar surroundings, Carl entertains Inez's canny suggestion of a food truck and the chef transforms a worn-out vehicle into a mobile eaterie par excellence with help from Percy and Martin.

Chef wears its heart on its olive oil-spattered sleeve, establishing an emotional divide between Carl and his son, which might be bridged as they spend valuable time together on the road.

Social media assumes a pivotal role in the script and Favreau employs sparing visual effects to illustrate how Percy builds word of mouth for the food truck by harnessing the power of the internet. Favreau and Anthony are an adorable pairing, and Robert Downey Jr injects ribald humour to his fleeting scenes as Inez's germ-phobic first ex-husband.

Heartfelt scenes of confession and reconciliation ensure tears flow as freely as the overpriced vino from Riva's well stocked cellar.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 26th July 2014
Sunday 27th July 2014
Monday 28th July 2014
Tuesday 29th July 2014
Wednesday 30th July 2014
Thursday 31st July 2014

This film is also showing at:

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes 4 stars

movie title

Simian flu has ravaged the globe, killing almost the entire human race. In San Francisco, one-time military man Dreyfus, who lost his entire family to the virus, leads the human survivors. The truce between humans and apes is tested to breaking point when a diplomatic mission led by Malcolm, his wife Ellie and teenage son Alexander enters the forest to request access to the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with its electricity.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastKeri Russell, Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell.
  • DirectorMatt Reeves.
  • WriterMark Bomback, Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration130 mins
  • Official sitewww.dawnofapes.com
  • Release17/07/2014

Blending state-of-the-art special effects with an intelligent script, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes conjures two hours of animal magic that looks set to be crowned king of the blockbuster swingers. Tim Burton's abortive Planet Of The Apes is now a distant memory thanks to the 2011 revamp Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and this superior sequel, which pushes the art of motion-capture performance to new limits.

Andy Serkis' exemplary work as Caesar, the super-intelligent chimpanzee who leads the ape uprising, is the film's emotional heartbeat. His ability to convey the character's rage, despair and passion through movement and subtle gesture is breathtaking.

Toby Kebbell is also compelling as Caesar's war-mongering rival, who believes the key to his species' survival is the extermination of humans. Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver's script elegantly draws parallels between the feuding primates, juxtaposing tender scenes of parenting with bruising skirmishes that create divisions on both sides.

Ten winters have passed since simian flu ravaged the globe. In the absence of law and order, basic resources such as water, food and electricity are dangerously depleted. One-time military man Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), who lost his entire family to the virus, leads survivors of the ALZ-113 virus in San Francisco.

He dispatches a team led by family man Malcolm (Jason Clarke) to access the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with electricity. In the forest that envelops the dam, the scouting party encounters apes led by Caesar, including his ambitious second-in-command Koba (Kebbell), impetuous son Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) and Bornean orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval).

Malcolm's trigger-happy compatriot Carver (Kirk Acevedo) shoots one of the apes and the humans are banished to their stronghold. Once Dreyfus learns about the neighbouring ape community, he asks Malcolm and co to refrain from telling the other survivors.

"They're talking apes with big-ass spears!" shrieks Carver. Malcolm realises that he must earn Caesar's trust to gain access to the dam so he prepares to return to the forest with wife Ellie (Keri Russell) and teenage son Alexander (Kodi Smith-McPhee).

"If you're not back in three days, we're going to go out there and kill every last one of them," warns Dreyfus.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a slick thrill ride with brains as well as brawn. The grim mood, which permeates the first half, leads to all-guns-blazing war and director Reeves orchestrates these brutal sequences with elan.

Digital effects are jaw-dropping, giving birth to a realistic army of blood-thirsty apes who cram every chaotic, blood-spattered frame. The film's strong anti-gun message comes through loud and clear, but the appetite for destruction overpowers diplomacy.

"I always think ape better than humans," laments Caesar as his dream of lasting peace founders. "I see now how like them we are."

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes 3D 4 stars

movie title

Simian flu has ravaged the globe, killing almost the entire human race. In San Francisco, one-time military man Dreyfus, who lost his entire family to the virus, leads the human survivors. The truce between humans and apes is tested to breaking point when a diplomatic mission led by Malcolm, his wife Ellie and teenage son Alexander enters the forest to request access to the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with its electricity.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastAndy Serkis, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell.
  • DirectorMatt Reeves.
  • WriterRick Jaffa, Mark Bomback, Amanda Silver.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration130 mins
  • Official sitewww.dawnofapes.com
  • Release17/07/2014

Blending state-of-the-art special effects with an intelligent script, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes conjures two hours of animal magic that looks set to be crowned king of the blockbuster swingers. Tim Burton's abortive Planet Of The Apes is now a distant memory thanks to the 2011 revamp Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and this superior sequel, which pushes the art of motion-capture performance to new limits.

Andy Serkis' exemplary work as Caesar, the super-intelligent chimpanzee who leads the ape uprising, is the film's emotional heartbeat. His ability to convey the character's rage, despair and passion through movement and subtle gesture is breathtaking.

Toby Kebbell is also compelling as Caesar's war-mongering rival, who believes the key to his species' survival is the extermination of humans. Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver's script elegantly draws parallels between the feuding primates, juxtaposing tender scenes of parenting with bruising skirmishes that create divisions on both sides.

Ten winters have passed since simian flu ravaged the globe. In the absence of law and order, basic resources such as water, food and electricity are dangerously depleted. One-time military man Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), who lost his entire family to the virus, leads survivors of the ALZ-113 virus in San Francisco.

He dispatches a team led by family man Malcolm (Jason Clarke) to access the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with electricity. In the forest that envelops the dam, the scouting party encounters apes led by Caesar, including his ambitious second-in-command Koba (Kebbell), impetuous son Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) and Bornean orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval).

Malcolm's trigger-happy compatriot Carver (Kirk Acevedo) shoots one of the apes and the humans are banished to their stronghold. Once Dreyfus learns about the neighbouring ape community, he asks Malcolm and co to refrain from telling the other survivors.

"They're talking apes with big-ass spears!" shrieks Carver. Malcolm realises that he must earn Caesar's trust to gain access to the dam so he prepares to return to the forest with wife Ellie (Keri Russell) and teenage son Alexander (Kodi Smith-McPhee).

"If you're not back in three days, we're going to go out there and kill every last one of them," warns Dreyfus.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a slick thrill ride with brains as well as brawn. The grim mood, which permeates the first half, leads to all-guns-blazing war and director Reeves orchestrates these brutal sequences with elan.

Digital effects are jaw-dropping, giving birth to a realistic army of blood-thirsty apes who cram every chaotic, blood-spattered frame. The film's strong anti-gun message comes through loud and clear, but the appetite for destruction overpowers diplomacy.

"I always think ape better than humans," laments Caesar as his dream of lasting peace founders. "I see now how like them we are."

Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 stars

Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora, genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, his tree-like sidekick Groot and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer, whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction
  • CastBradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin.
  • DirectorJames Gunn.
  • WriterJames Gunn, Nicole Perlman.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration128 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/guardians
  • Release31/07/2014

The Marvel Comics big screen universe continues to expand at a frightening pace in this big budget fantasy directed by James Gunn. Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space, entertaining as many otherworldly lovelies as his stamina will allow. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan (Lee Pace) and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), his tree-like sidekick Groot (Vin Diesel) and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan. When Peter subsequently learns that the orb is an ancient artefact, which arch-villain Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) needs to wreak havoc upon the universe, he must rally the troops to repel assaults from Ronan and his underlings including fearsome intergalactic hunter Korath (Djimon Hounsou), and prevent the orb from falling into the wrong hands.

Guardians Of The Galaxy 3D 3 stars

Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora, genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, his tree-like sidekick Groot and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer, whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction
  • CastZoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin.
  • DirectorJames Gunn.
  • WriterNicole Perlman, James Gunn.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration128 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/guardians
  • Release31/07/2014

The Marvel Comics big screen universe continues to expand at a frightening pace in this big budget fantasy directed by James Gunn. Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space, entertaining as many otherworldly lovelies as his stamina will allow. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan (Lee Pace) and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), his tree-like sidekick Groot (Vin Diesel) and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan. When Peter subsequently learns that the orb is an ancient artefact, which arch-villain Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) needs to wreak havoc upon the universe, he must rally the troops to repel assaults from Ronan and his underlings including fearsome intergalactic hunter Korath (Djimon Hounsou), and prevent the orb from falling into the wrong hands.

Guardians Of The Galaxy: An IMAX 3D Experience 3 stars

Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora, genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, his tree-like sidekick Groot and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer, whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction
  • CastVin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin.
  • DirectorJames Gunn.
  • WriterNicole Perlman, James Gunn.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration128 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/guardians
  • Release31/07/2014

The Marvel Comics big screen universe continues to expand at a frightening pace in this big budget fantasy directed by James Gunn. Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space, entertaining as many otherworldly lovelies as his stamina will allow. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan (Lee Pace) and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), his tree-like sidekick Groot (Vin Diesel) and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan. When Peter subsequently learns that the orb is an ancient artefact, which arch-villain Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin) needs to wreak havoc upon the universe, he must rally the troops to repel assaults from Ronan and his underlings including fearsome intergalactic hunter Korath (Djimon Hounsou), and prevent the orb from falling into the wrong hands.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 31st July 2014

This film is also showing at:

Hercules 3 stars

movie title

Greek demigod Hercules completes his 12 mythical labours, which include slaying a hydra, capturing the Cretan Bull and defeating hellhound Cerberus, which guards the entrance to the underworld. The deposed King of Thrace hires Hercules and his band of mercenaries to train his army and bring to an end a bitter civil war. Unimaginable villains test Hercules's mythical power and he rages against his fate to be blessed with the strength of a God but endure the suffering of a mortal.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Romance
  • CastDwayne Johnson, Joseph Fiennes, Aksel Hennie, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, John Hurt, Peter Mullan.
  • DirectorBrett Ratner.
  • WriterEvan Spiliotopoulos, Ryan Condal.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration98 mins
  • Official sitewww.herculesmovie.co.uk
  • Release25/07/2014

Classical Greek mythology gets a campy, testosterone-pumped rewrite in Brett Ratner's swaggering swords 'n' sandals romp. Based on the comic book series Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Steve Moore, this laboured re-imaging of the demi-God son of Zeus boasts slow-motion action sequences reminiscent of 300, albeit with reduced on-screen bloodshed to secure a 12A certificate.

Parents should exercise caution. These ancient civilisations are predisposed to outbursts of bad language that escape the wrath of Olympus, and when the film's lone female warrior is verbally dissed by a compatriot, she lowers the tone by sniping, "If only your manhood was as long as your tongue."

The minds of screenwriters Ryan J Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos remain in the gutter when it comes to the two-dimensional women that festoon the screen. These wenches swoon helplessly in Hercules' presence or encourage his valour with the promise of personal services.

Cristiano Ronaldo's girlfriend, Russian model Irina Shayk, makes fleeting appearances in flashbacks as Hercules' wife, who casually drops her robes for a gratuitous flash of her pert derriere. "You think you know the truth about [Hercules]? You know nothing..." growls the narrator as he transports us back to a time when power was seized with swords rather than diplomacy.

Hercules (Johnson) has completed his 12 labours, which included slaying a hydra and defeating the mighty Nemean Lion, and now this muscle-bound man of myth roams the land as a mercenary for hire.

His band of travelling companions includes soothsayer Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), warrior Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), mute orphan Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), Amazonian archer Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and silver-tongued storyteller Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), who is also Hercules' cousin.

Lord Cotys (John Hurt), the ailing King of Thrace, promises Hercules and his company their weight in gold if they can train his farm hands to become an army and bring to an end a bitter civil war with rebel leader Rhesus (Tobias Santelmann).

The king's daughter Eugenia (Rebecca Ferguson) is wary of Hercules, so too is Cotys' loyal general Sitacles (Peter Mullan), but he cannot fail to be impressed as the king's weakling subjects are transformed into a well-drilled fighting machine.

Directed with destruction-oriented bombast by Ratner (Rush Hour), Hercules is undecided whether to take itself seriously or descend into tongue-wedged pantomime. Certainly, Sewell and McShane seem to be having a ball and Johnson trots out a couple of droll one-liners.

The set pieces are orchestrated at full pelt with a generous three-figure body count but once the screaming ends, deficiencies in the script are exposed. When the truth about Hercules' tragic past is revealed, Johnson's wail of anguish in close-up epitomises the film's heavy-handed approach to matters of the heart: more volume, less palpable emotion.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 26th July 2014
Sunday 27th July 2014
Monday 28th July 2014
Tuesday 29th July 2014
Wednesday 30th July 2014
Thursday 31st July 2014

This film is also showing at:

How To Train Your Dragon 2 4 stars

movie title

During one of his regular sorties with Toothless, Hiccup stumbles upon a lost world full of rescued dragons and a valiant dragon rider named Valka, who turns out to be Hiccup's long lost mother. A tearful family reunion with Hiccup's father Stoick is cut short when diabolical dragon hunter Drago Bludvist storms the lost world and takes control of all of the majestic creatures using a gargantuan Alpha dragon called a Bewilderbeast.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Family, Family
  • CastKristen Wiig, America Ferrera, Jay Baruchel, Djimon Hounsou, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler.
  • DirectorDean DeBlois.
  • WriterDean DeBlois.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.howtotrainyourdragon.co.uk
  • Release27/06/2014 (Scotland); 11/07/2014 (nationwide)

Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, the 2010 computer-animated adventure How To Train Your Dragon soared tantalisingly close to perfection. Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois' brilliantly executed story of one boy's remarkable friendship with a supposedly fearsome dragon was deeply touching, distinguished by richly detailed visuals and an intelligent script.

The sequel, directed solely by DeBlois, expands the narrative arcs of the characters, testing their mettle in the aftermath of tragedy and conflict. Boys cross the rubicon to manhood, parents make selfless sacrifices to protect their brood and evil poisons an innocent heart.

As a wise woman in the film proclaims, "Good dragons under the control of bad people do bad things". Five years have passed since Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) befriended Toothless and the inhabitants of the village of Berk now live in harmony with the dragons.

Hiccup's father Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) continues to preside over the people. He hopes Hiccup will accept his destiny as the next tribal chief but the boy prefers to soar through the clouds astride his trusty Night Fury.

During a regular sortie with Toothless, Hiccup stumbles upon a lost world of rescued dragons and a valiant rider named Valka (Cate Blanchett), who turns out to be a long-lost face from the past. "It's not everyday you find out your mother is some kind of crazy, feral, vigilante dragon lady!" whoops Hiccup.

A tearful family reunion with Stoick is cut short by diabolical dragon hunter Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou), who storms this lost world and takes control of the majestic fire-breathing creatures using a gargantuan Alpha dragon. World domination beckons and all that stands in Drago's way are Hiccup, Toothless and the boy's plucky friends Astrid (America Ferrara), Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Snotlout (Jonah Hill) and the twins Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) and Tuffnut (TJ Miller).

In almost every aspect, How To Train Your Dragon 2 matches its polished predecessor... except one. The addition of Oscar winner Blanchett to the vocal fold is a calamitous misjudgement. From the outset, the Australian actress is engaged in a futile tug-of-war with her Scottish accent that initially roams the British Isles and eventually strays across the entire Commonwealth.

Her verbal strangulations are horribly distracting and undermine some of the film's most emotionally charged moments of reconciliation and remembrance.

For his part, writer-director DeBlois charts a breathless course between drama, action and comedy, the latter delivered with scenery-chewing gusto by Craig Ferguson as Stoick's best friend Gobber the Belch. "[Valka's] meatballs could kill more beasts than a battle axe. I still got a few knocking around in here!" he grimaces, pointing to his belly.

Flying sequences deliver a vertiginous thrill, especially in 3D, including a couple of death-defying battles that slalom and swoop at dizzying speed. Blanchett aside, lightning nearly strikes twice.

Maleficent 4 stars

movie title

Stefan tricks his friend, the powerful fairy Maleficent, and steals her wings in order to secure the throne. Maleficent waits patiently with shape-shifter sidekick Diaval to wreak revenge. That time comes when the queen gives birth to a beautiful daughter, Aurora, and Maleficent journeys to the castle to place a curse on the infant: on her 16th birthday, Aurora will prick her finger on the needle of a spinning wheel and fall into an eternal slumber. Only true love's kiss will break the spell.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Family, Fantasy, Romance
  • CastAngelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Brenton Thwaites, Sam Riley, Lesley Manville, Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, Kenneth Cranham.
  • DirectorRobert Stromberg.
  • WriterJohn Lee Hancock, Linda Woolverton.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official sitemovies.disney.com/maleficent
  • Release28/05/2014

Disney's empowerment of female protagonists, which snowballed in the delightful Frozen, continues apace in Robert Stromberg's fantastical live-action fairytale. Inspired by the studio's 1959 animation Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a visually stunning fantasy, which re-imagines the Brothers Grimm through the mascara-ed eyes of the eponymous villainess, who curses a fair princess to 100 years of slumber.

Screenwriter Linda Woolverton casts a heady spell by embellishing the familiar yarn with neat flourishes. "Let us tell an old story anew and see how well you know it..." teasingly purrs the narrator in the film's opening frames.

Lines between good and evil become blurred in Angelina Jolie's delicious portrayal of the vengeful fairy queen, whose belief in the power of "true love's kiss" is corrupted by the betrayal of the man she loves.

Sporting a hefty pair of horns, Jolie slinks through every frame, rolling menacing lines of dialogue around her mouth like candy and accentuating thinly veiled threats with an arched eyebrow. Naughty has seldom looked and sounded so nice.

Her nemesis is King Henry (Kenneth Cranham), a greedy monarch, who yearns to expand his kingdom by conquering the forest realm where Maleficent holds sway. In the ensuing battle, the king is badly wounded and pledges his crown to any man who can defeat the "winged elf".

Lowly underling Stefan (Sharlto Copley), who befriended Maleficent in childhood, tricks the fairy and steals her wings, thereby securing the throne. Following his coronation, King Stefan is poisoned by power and greed. In the forest, Maleficent bides her time with her shape-shifter henchman Diaval (Sam Riley).

When the queen gives birth to a daughter, Maleficent journeys to the castle to curse the infant Aurora: on her 16th birthday, the princess will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into eternal slumber. Only true love's kiss can break the enchantment.

King Stefan entrusts the babe to bickering fairies Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Flittle (Lesley Manville) and Thistletwit (Juno Temple), who raise Aurora in a secluded woodland cottage. The princess blossoms into a caring young woman (now played by Elle Fanning) and Maleficent wonders if this innocent could unite the feuding kingdoms and earn her happy ever after in the arms of dashing prince Phillip (Brenton Thwaites).

Maleficent is anchored by Jolie's tour-de-force theatrics. She casts a stylish shadow over every frame and her twisted maternal bond with infant Aurora ("It's so ugly, you could almost feel sorry for it!") mellows into something genuinely moving and heartfelt.

Fanning is sweetness and youthful exuberance personified while Staunton, Manville and Temple provide the broad comic relief. Digital effects are impressively harnessed by director Stromberg to realise the forest and its magical denizens and allow the title character to take flight over her domain. Like the film, she soars.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 26th July 2014
Sunday 27th July 2014
Monday 28th July 2014
Tuesday 29th July 2014
Wednesday 30th July 2014

This film is also showing at:

Pudsey The Dog: The Movie 1 stars

movie title

Stray dog Pudsey crosses paths with siblings Molly, George and Tommy, who are poised to move from London "to some stupid cottage without WiFi" with their mother Gail. The eponymous mutt stows away in the family's removal trailer and is discovered when they arrive at their new home in the sleepy village of Chuffington. While Gail placates scheming landlord Mr Thorne, who hates dogs, Pudsey befriends horses Nelly and Edward and a pig called Ken, who thinks he's a chicken.

  • GenreAdventure, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastJohn Sessions, Olivia Colman, David Walliams, Jessica Hynes, Izzy Meikle-Small.
  • DirectorNick Moore.
  • WriterPaul Rose.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration87 mins
  • Official sitewww.vertigofilms.com/film/pudsey.php
  • Release14/07/2014 (Scotland); 18/07/2014 (UK)

The sound of a pig repeatedly evacuating its bowels reverberates throughout Nick Moore's ham-fisted attempt to transform Britain's Got Talent's performing pooch into a modern-day Lassie. The porker's muck is an apt critique for Paul Rose's shambolic script that trades in toilet humour and misjudged innuendo. Some of the performances also beggar belief including John Sessions as the pantomime villain in tweeds.

He suffers the humiliation of a toe-curling flashback in which he plays a mother, father and infant in the same scene. Hopefully, Sessions was paid well for this half-hearted attempt at career suicide.

Elsewhere, David Walliams delivers a lifeless vocal performance as the four-legged hero, who hopes to travel the world and visit the Empire Sausage Building and Sausage Henge. The film handily omits to mention that if Pudsey realises his dream of scampering along The Great Sausage Wall, he could potentially end up on a local menu.

Closer to home, stray dog Pudsey (voiced by Walliams) crosses paths with siblings Molly (Izzy Meikle-Small), George (Spike White) and Tommy (Malachy Knights), who are poised to move from London "to some stupid cottage without WiFi" with their mother Gail (Jessica Hynes).

The eponymous mutt stows away in the family's removal trailer and is discovered when they arrive at their new home in the sleepy village of Chuffington. While Gail placates scheming landlord Mr Thorne (Sessions), who hates dogs, Pudsey befriends horses Nelly (Olivia Colman) and Edward (Peter Serafinowicz) and a pig called Ken (Dan Farrell), who thinks he's a chicken.

Pudsey The Dog: The Movie is a poor showcase of the eponymous cross breed. Viewers of Simon Cowell's talent search will be well versed in Pudsey's ability to perform acrobatic feats with guidance from trainer Ashleigh Butler.

On the big screen, he dances and twirls on hind legs, casts the occasional mournful glance at the camera and appears to converse with farmyard co-stars courtesy of digital trickery a la Babe.

Hynes and the younger cast are poorly served and parallel romantic subplots for Gail and Molly involving a handsome farmer (Luke Neal) and a teenage farmhand (Luke Tittensor) are sickly and unconvincing.

"Things are getting better," promises the chorus of one of the bubblegum pop songs that punctuate the soundtrack. Only when the end credits roll and we can leave. The ramshackle plot is interrupted by pointless diversions including the central character's incarceration in a secret dog prison that inspires a ludicrous Great Escape.

Amidst the pratfalls and a lame running gag about a giant pie, there are faint glimmers of heart-warming emotion including a timely mention of the Women's Land Army. However, good intentions are undermined by slapdash character development. If Pudsey The Dog: The Movie were an animal, we'd put it down humanely after 10 minutes.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 26th July 2014
Sunday 27th July 2014
Monday 28th July 2014
Tuesday 29th July 2014
Wednesday 30th July 2014
Thursday 31st July 2014

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