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

  • Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip
  • Dad's Army
  • Dirty Grandpa
  • Joy
  • Point Break
  • Point Break 3D
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 3D
  • Trumbo

Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip 3 stars

Dave has been dating Samantha for several months. Alvin, Simon and Theodore would be delighted except Samantha's teenage son Miles bullies them mercilessly. The chipmunks discover an engagement ring in Dave's bag and realise that their pal is poised to go down on bended knee. This would be a disaster because the trio would have to suffer Miles for the rest of their lives, so they hatch a cunning plan to sabotage the relationship before Dave can produce the ring.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastJosh Green, Jason Lee, Matthew Gray Gubler, Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, Kimberly Williams-Paisley.
  • DirectorWalt Becker.
  • WriterAdam Sztykiel, Randi Mayem Singer.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official site
  • Release12/02/2016

Love is in the air in the fourth instalment of the Alvin And The Chipmunks film series... but not for long if the energetic furballs have their way. Dave (Jason Lee) has been dating Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) for several months. Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) would be delighted except Samantha's teenage son Miles (Josh Green) bullies them mercilessly. The chipmunks discover an engagement ring in Dave's bag and realise that their pal is poised to go down on bended knee. This would be a disaster because the trio would have to suffer Miles for the rest of their lives, so they hatch a cunning plan to sabotage the relationship before Dave can produce the ring. They join forces with Miles, who doesn't want to be lumbered with the chipmunks, to carry out their plan and consequently embark on a series of disaster-prone misadventures including a tangle with air marshal (Tony Hale) and an altercation with a taxi driver (Mark Jeffrey Miller).

Dad's Army 2 stars

England, 1944. The Second World War is on a knife edge and in the cosy community of Walmington-on-Sea, blustering bank manager George Mainwaring proudly leads the local Home Guard. Colonel Theakes reveals that he intends to sort the military wheat from the chaff and "Walmington feels chaffy." Soon after, Mainwaring learns that a German spy has infiltrated the town and is transmitting secrets back to Berlin.

  • GenreComedy, Historical/Period, War
  • CastCatherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Daniel Mays, Bill Paterson, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, Blake Harrison.
  • DirectorOliver Parker.
  • WriterHamish McColl.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration100 mins
  • Official site
  • Release05/02/2016

How do you improve on the perfection of Jimmy Perry and David Croft's sitcom Dad's Army, which began active service in 1968 and remains a jewel in the crown of the BBC comedy archives? You don't.

If you're director Oliver Parker and screenwriter Hamish McColl, you pepper a flimsy plot that would barely stretch to one TV episode let alone 100 minutes with the show's catchphrases and pray our abiding affection for the characters will compensate for long passages without a discernible punchline.

Original cast members Ian Lavender and Frank Williams are conscripted to cameo roles to heighten the whiff of nostalgia. Limp innuendo-laden banter about sausages barely merits a smirk, pratfalls are predictable and a terrific ensemble cast of gifted comic actors go on patrol without an arsenal of decent one-liners.

From uninspired beginning to muddled end, it's a cultural smash'n'grab that goes through the motions and will ultimately be remembered as a badly missed opportunity.

England, 1944. The Second World War is on a knife edge and in the cosy community of Walmington-on-Sea, blustering bank manager George Mainwaring (Toby Jones) proudly leads the local Home Guard. His hapless rank and file includes Sergeant Wilson (Bill Nighy), Lance Corporal Jones (Tom Courtenay) and Privates Frazer (Bill Paterson), Pike (Blake Harrison), Walker (Daniel Mays) and Godfrey (Michael Gambon), a mild-mannered soul who frequently drifts off into his own world.

The fate of the Home Guard hangs in the balance when Colonel Theakes (Mark Gatiss) reveals that he intends to sort the military wheat from the chaff and "Walmington feels chaffy." Soon after, Mainwaring learns that a German spy has infiltrated the town and is transmitting secrets back to Berlin.

This search for a traitor coincides with the arrival of glamorous magazine writer Rose Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who intends to pen a flattering article about the heroics of the Home Guard. George is smitten and finds Rose most charming and agreeable.

"They said that about the Ripper," coldly retorts Mrs Mainwaring (Felicity Montagu), hard-nosed leader of Walmington-on-Sea's women's auxiliary army, which includes Pike's mother (Sarah Lancashire) and Walker's sweetheart Daphne (Emily Atack).

Dad's Army opens with a limp set piece involving a stand-off between the Home Guard and runaway livestock. "We're supposed to be locking horns with the Hun not Bertie the bull!" despairs one of the men, echoing our mounting frustration.

Jones lightens the darkening mood with a few moments of physical humour, including choking on a slice of cake, while Nighy relies on his usual snorts and tics for merriment. Montagu, Lancashire and co bring a diluted degree of girl power to proceedings that might be dismissed as tokenism without their characters' pivotal involvement in the hare-brained and lacklustre denouement.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 6th February 2016
Sunday 7th February 2016
Monday 8th February 2016
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Dirty Grandpa 2 stars

Seventy-something man of mystery Dick Kelly buries his wife and emotionally blackmails his grandson Jason into driving him to their summer home in Florida. "It's what she would have wanted," Dick assures Jason, who is a corporate lawyer in the same firm as his father. The two men hit the road and are soon diverted to Daytona Beach, where Jason has a chance to reignite romance with old flame Shadia while perpetually libidinous Dick pursues Shadia's obliging friend, Lenore.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastZoey Deutch, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Aubrey Plaza.
  • DirectorDan Mazer.
  • WriterJohn Phillips.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.dirtygrandpa.movie
  • Release29/01/2016

In the prank TV show Jackass and a subsequent feature film, Johnny Knoxville donned latex to give octogenarians a bad name as politically incorrect grandpa Irving Zisman. Director Dan Mazer and screenwriter John Phillips channel a similar vibe of old men behaving crudely in this raunchy cross-generational road trip that pairs raging bull Robert De Niro and wholesome High School Musical alumnus Zac Efron.

It's a tantalising juxtaposition - wizened, worldly experience and youthful exuberance - and Phillips' expletive-laden script should mine a rich vein of humour by upending expectations about how these characters behave in polite society.

Alas, the drunken fraternity humour that runs rampant is wearisome and occasionally distasteful, including double standards in its treatment of homophobia. De Niro visibly savours his feisty old coot's potty-mouthed outbursts.

For his part, Efron gamely loses his shirt and his trousers, flashing his washboard stomach in a series of humiliations that include a mistaken case of exposure to a minor on a beach.

Seventy-something man of mystery Dick Kelly (De Niro) buries his wife and emotionally blackmails his grandson Jason (Efron) into driving him to their summer home in Florida. "It's what she would have wanted," Dick assures Jason, who is a corporate lawyer in the same firm as his father (Dermot Mulroney) and is poised to walk down the aisle with his controlling fiancee (Julianne Hough).

Jason arrives at his grandfather's home and walks in on the old timer in a state of gleeful undress, enjoying a pornographic film. "You caught me taking a number three," cackles Dick, without a flush of shame.

The two men hit the road and are soon diverted to Daytona Beach, where Jason has a chance to reignite romance with old flame Shadia (Zoey Deutch) while perpetually libidinous Dick pursues Shadia's obliging friend, Lenore (Aubrey Plaza).

"The greatest gift a grandson can give his grandfather is a hot college girl who wants to have unprotected sex with him before he dies," declares Dick but standing in his way are loutish college dudes Cody (Jake Pickering) and Brah (Michael Hudson).

Dirty Grandpa drinks from the same filthy glassware as The Hangover and its bromantic brethren. The two leads throw themselves into the fray with abandon, weathering numerous indignities including a topless dance off in search of cheap laughs.

Amidst the filth, scriptwriter Phillips dispenses pat life lessons about taking charge of your destiny and respecting elders. A running gag involving a drug dealer (Jason Mantzoukas) and two inept police officers (Mo Collins, Henry Zebrowski) runs out of puff while the sight of De Niro repeatedly shoving his thumb up his co-star's bottom as a laddish prank gets a thumbs down on its first airing let alone the fourth or fifth.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 6th February 2016
Sunday 7th February 2016
Monday 8th February 2016
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Joy 3 stars

Following a day out with her father Rudy and his wealthy girlfriend Trudy, divorced mother Joy Mangano mulls over the idea of a self-wringing mop that would allow her to clean the floor without having to touch the mop head. She creates a prototype for the Miracle Mop and takes her idea to Neil Walker, an executive at a home shopping TV channel, who helps Joy to peddle her invention to cash-strapped housewives across America and lay the foundations of a business empire.

  • GenreBiography, Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastBradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Isabella Rossellini, Edgar Ramirez, Virginia Madsen.
  • DirectorDavid O Russell.
  • WriterDavid O Russell.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration124 mins
  • Official sitewww.fox.co.uk/joy
  • Release01/01/2016

One simple idea can change the world. In 1990, former airline reservations manager Joy Mangano developed a prototype for a self-wringing mop that would allow her to clean the floor without having to touch the mop head. She invested heavily in her Miracle Mop, risking her home and some of her family's savings in the belief that other housewives would want her labour-saving device.

Following an appearance on a home shopping TV network, Mangano sold thousands of her invention, laying the foundation stone of a business empire that boasts more than 150 million US dollars in sales every year.

Writer-director David O Russell celebrates this dish rags-to-riches story in Joy, a screwball comedy every bit as deranged as the firebrand heroine and the dysfunctional clan around her. The filmmaker reunites with actress Jennifer Lawrence, who won an Oscar for his Silver Linings Playbook and came close to a second golden statuette for American Hustle.

She adds sparkle to a film that lurches uncontrollably in pace and tone, and could wring out some of its own wacky excesses. Narrated by Joy's benevolent grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd), O Russell's fragmented celebration of womanhood meets the title character following her divorce from her singer husband, Tony (Edgar Ramirez).

"I'm going to be the next Tom Jones," he claims. They remain good friends and Tony takes up residence in the basement of Joy's house, which she shares with her children, Mimi and her demanding mother Terry (Virginia Madsen), who spends countless hours spellbound by her favourite TV soap opera.

Out of the blue, Joy's father Rudy (Robert De Niro) moves in after his girlfriend deposits him unceremoniously on Joy's doorstep. It's a recipe for disaster. "You're like a gas leak," snipes Rudy to his ex-wife. "We don't see you, we don't smell you, but you're slowly killing us all!"

One afternoon, Joy cleans up shattered glasses filled with red wine using a traditional mop, cutting her hands in the process. The idea for the Miracle Mop is born. Weathering scorn from her embittered sister Peggy (Elisabeth Rohm), Joy takes her prototype to Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper), an executive at the QVC home shopping channel, who provides her with a platform to realise her dreams.

Joy fitfully lives up to its exultant title, especially early scenes at QVC when the inventor finds her voice and ignores advice from a well-known presenter. "Joan Rivers wants me in a skirt, but I'm going to do [trousers]," Mangano tells herself.

Lawrence illuminates every frame and is the emotional ballast that prevents O Russell from upending his oddball creation with various flashbacks and narrative detours. De Niro and Madsen savour quirky supporting roles, which add more spice to a confusing yet strangely watchable stew of ambition and eccentricity.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 6th February 2016
Sunday 7th February 2016
Monday 8th February 2016
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Point Break 2 stars

Seven years after an unexpected tragedy, extreme sports thrill-seeker Johnny Utah reemerges as a rookie FBI agent, desperate to prove his worth. Instructor Hall dispatches Johnny to France in the company of British agent Pappas to identify robbery suspects among the big wave surfers. By chance, Johnny rides a monstrous tube of water with gang leader Bodhi and is welcomed into the fold by accomplices Roach, Chowder and Grommet.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRay Winstone, Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Delroy Lindo, Teresa Palmer.
  • DirectorEricson Core.
  • WriterKurt Wimmer.
  • CountryUS/Ger/Chi
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewww.pointbreakmovie.co.uk
  • Release05/02/2016

Released in 1991, the original Point Break starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves was a testosterone-fuelled, homoerotic classic of the era about an emotionally scarred FBI agent, who goes undercover to bring down a gang of bank-robbing surfer dudes. Buff male characters shot lingering glances at each other dressed in tight-fitting wet suits, performed daredevil feats of one-upmanship and famously described Reeves' pretty boy thrill-seeker as young, dumb and full of one particular bodily fluid.

Director Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Academy Award for The Hurt Locker almost 20 years later, embraced the preposterousness of the set-up and charted an undeniably entertaining path through the water-drenched madness.

Ericson Core's muscle-flexing remake seeks the same extreme sports nirvana, but falls desperately short. The philosophical mumbo jumbo of the original film has been elevated to ludicrous new heights by screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, while action sequences rely too heavily on digital trickery to dazzle.

Crucially, the central relationship between the reckless cop and the sensei-like leader of the robbers lacks tantalising moral ambiguities or shifts in the balance of power. Sad to say, the 2016 incarnation should be retitled Pointless Break.

The film opens with Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) and best friend Jeff (Max Thieriot) filming a motorcycle ride along a hilltop for their online fan base. A leap across a chasm onto a needle of rock culminates in tragedy and Johnny retires from the scene.

Seven years later, he reemerges as a rookie FBI agent, desperate to prove his worth to Instructor Hall (Delroy Lindo). Johnny gets his chance when he realises that a four-strong team of extreme sports fanatics are committing crimes in order to complete the fabled eight ordeals of Ono Ozaki, an environmentalist and athlete, who believed in harnessing the planet's natural forces to find the path to enlightenment.

Hall dispatches Johnny to France in the company of British agent Pappas (Ray Winstone) to identify suspects among the big wave surfers. By chance, Johnny rides a monstrous tube of water with gang leader Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) and is welcomed into the fold by accomplices Roach (Clemens Schick), Chowder (Tobias Santelmann) and Grommet (Matias Varela).

They invite Johnny to shrug off past mistakes and seek pure adrenaline rushes around the world. "We can only have responsibility for our own path," counsels Bodhi. "Let others have theirs."

Point Break is a shadow of its former self, lacking all of the swaggering charm that allowed us to overlook the gaping plot holes and leaps in logic. Ramirez smoulders alone, Bracey is a bland hero and his romantic subplot an Australian daredevil (Teresa Palmer) is a fruitless diversion.

Director Core enlists some of the best athletes and stuntmen to enliven his action set pieces. Alas, even their impressive feats of strength and nerve-racking endurance can't save the film from a spectacular wipeout.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 6th February 2016
Sunday 7th February 2016
Monday 8th February 2016
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Point Break 3D 2 stars

Seven years after an unexpected tragedy, extreme sports thrill-seeker Johnny Utah reemerges as a rookie FBI agent, desperate to prove his worth. Instructor Hall dispatches Johnny to France in the company of British agent Pappas to identify robbery suspects among the big wave surfers. By chance, Johnny rides a monstrous tube of water with gang leader Bodhi and is welcomed into the fold by accomplices Roach, Chowder and Grommet.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRay Winstone, Delroy Lindo, Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Teresa Palmer.
  • DirectorEricson Core.
  • WriterKurt Wimmer.
  • CountryUS/Ger/Chi
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewww.pointbreakmovie.co.uk
  • Release05/02/2016

Released in 1991, the original Point Break starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves was a testosterone-fuelled, homoerotic classic of the era about an emotionally scarred FBI agent, who goes undercover to bring down a gang of bank-robbing surfer dudes. Buff male characters shot lingering glances at each other dressed in tight-fitting wet suits, performed daredevil feats of one-upmanship and famously described Reeves' pretty boy thrill-seeker as young, dumb and full of one particular bodily fluid.

Director Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Academy Award for The Hurt Locker almost 20 years later, embraced the preposterousness of the set-up and charted an undeniably entertaining path through the water-drenched madness.

Ericson Core's muscle-flexing remake seeks the same extreme sports nirvana, but falls desperately short. The philosophical mumbo jumbo of the original film has been elevated to ludicrous new heights by screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, while action sequences rely too heavily on digital trickery to dazzle.

Crucially, the central relationship between the reckless cop and the sensei-like leader of the robbers lacks tantalising moral ambiguities or shifts in the balance of power. Sad to say, the 2016 incarnation should be retitled Pointless Break.

The film opens with Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) and best friend Jeff (Max Thieriot) filming a motorcycle ride along a hilltop for their online fan base. A leap across a chasm onto a needle of rock culminates in tragedy and Johnny retires from the scene.

Seven years later, he reemerges as a rookie FBI agent, desperate to prove his worth to Instructor Hall (Delroy Lindo). Johnny gets his chance when he realises that a four-strong team of extreme sports fanatics are committing crimes in order to complete the fabled eight ordeals of Ono Ozaki, an environmentalist and athlete, who believed in harnessing the planet's natural forces to find the path to enlightenment.

Hall dispatches Johnny to France in the company of British agent Pappas (Ray Winstone) to identify suspects among the big wave surfers. By chance, Johnny rides a monstrous tube of water with gang leader Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez) and is welcomed into the fold by accomplices Roach (Clemens Schick), Chowder (Tobias Santelmann) and Grommet (Matias Varela).

They invite Johnny to shrug off past mistakes and seek pure adrenaline rushes around the world. "We can only have responsibility for our own path," counsels Bodhi. "Let others have theirs."

Point Break is a shadow of its former self, lacking all of the swaggering charm that allowed us to overlook the gaping plot holes and leaps in logic. Ramirez smoulders alone, Bracey is a bland hero and his romantic subplot an Australian daredevil (Teresa Palmer) is a fruitless diversion.

Director Core enlists some of the best athletes and stuntmen to enliven his action set pieces. Alas, even their impressive feats of strength and nerve-racking endurance can't save the film from a spectacular wipeout.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 6th February 2016
Sunday 7th February 2016
Monday 8th February 2016
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 3D 4 stars

Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and his sister Leia bear the deep emotional scars of their encounters with the Dark Side of the Force, led by Supreme Leader Snoke and his protege Kylo Ren. A valiant scavenger called Rey, First Order stormtrooper Finn and Resistance X-wing pilot Poe Dameron become embroiled in the battle between good and evil.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastJohn Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Lupita Nyong'o, Max von Sydow, Oscar Isaac, Peter Mayhew, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill.
  • DirectorJJ Abrams.
  • WriterJJ Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration135 mins
  • Official sitewww.starwars.com/films/star-wars-episode-vii-the-force-awakens
  • Release17/12/2015

Give the people what they want, but little else. Director JJ Abrams, who defied the Do Not Resuscitate order on Star Trek and reanimated that wheezing intergalactic saga, atones for George Lucas' cardinal sin of Episode I: The Phantom Menace with a rollicking and unabashedly old-fashioned battle beyond the stars that should shatter box office records rather than fans' sky high dreams.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the sincerest form of flattery of Lucas and his galaxy far, far away that has inspired religious fervour since the heady summer of 1977. Episode VII busily reconstitutes elements from the original trilogy as a giddy 135-minute showdown between the light and dark sides of the Force approximately 30 years after tumultuous events of Return Of The Jedi.

Verbal references and visual nods to earlier chapters abound: the thrum of duelling lightsabres, the beeps of deadpanning droids, the slow and steady countdown to interplanetary doom by hulking superweapon. It's the greatest hits of Star Wars, lovingly and slickly repackaged with an impressive cast of fresh-faced newcomers and wizened old hands, swish digital effects and John Williams' grandiose orchestral score.

The gossamer thin storyline is hand-me-down and some of the plot holes large enough for a four-legged AT-AT combat walker but rejoice, padawan hopefuls, rejoice: the Force is palpable in Episode VII and can only get stronger in subsequent films.

The Rebel Alliance's hard fought victory at the Battle of Endor is a fading memory. The First Order has risen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire, under the yoke of snarling Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his unpredictable protege, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) spearheads the rebellion, which includes fearless X-wing starfighter pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Outrageous misfortune brings together self-doubting heroes and villains including self-sufficient scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) from the desert planet Jakku, First Order stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) and a cute rolling BB-8 droid hardwired with killer comic timing.

Their fates conveniently entwine with wisecracking smuggler and scoundrel Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Wookiee sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), prophetic canteen owner Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o), ruthless First Order base leader General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and the mechanised Morecambe and Wiser: C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). "The galaxy is counting on us," growls Han.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens panders shamelessly to the intergalactic faithful, striking a delightfully pleasing balance between adrenaline-pumping thrills, laconic humour and soap opera histrionics. Ridley and Boyega make a sizable impact amidst the cacophonous sound and merchandising fury, capturing the vulnerability and anguish of conflicted characters haunted by murky pasts.

Ford has lost none of his bounder's roughly hewn, twinkly eyed charm, delivering droll one-liners with consummate ease. Director Abrams shepherds his handsomely crafted behemoth through every comfortingly predictable turn with aplomb. "Chewie... we're home," grins Han as he is reunited with the ramshackle Millennium Falcon early in the film. And so are we.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Monday 8th February 2016
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at:

Trumbo 4 stars

Dalton Trumbo enjoys a charmed life with his wife Cleo and three children Niki, Chris and Mitzi until waspish columnist Hedda Hopper casts aspersions on his political leanings. Actor John Wayne, elected president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, weighs in on the argument and Trumbo is blacklisted by the studios as a Communist sympathiser.

  • GenreAdaptation, Biography, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
  • CastDiane Lane, Elle Fanning, Bryan Cranston, Dame Helen Mirren, Louis CK, John Goodman.
  • DirectorJay Roach.
  • WriterJohn McNamara.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration124 mins
  • Official sitewww.bleeckerstreetmedia.com/trumbo
  • Release05/02/2016

In 2016, Hollywood is in the throes of a highly publicised civil war about ethnic diversity. Filmmakers have vowed to boycott the Academy Awards in protest at the lack of black actors among nominees, prompting sweeping reforms to the voting membership.

In 1947, it wasn't race relations that pitted the great and the good of California against one another: it was the perceived threat of Communists, who could use the big screen to spread their pernicious propaganda.

Membership of the Communist party was not illegal, but various figures behind and in front of the camera were called before the House Un-American Activities Committee to testify about their political affiliations and to name and shame Communist sympathisers within the ranks.

A group of screenwriters, producers and directors were so incensed by this challenge to their First Amendment right to freedom of thought and speech, that they refused to give direct answers to the committee. These so-called rebels became The Hollywood Ten and were blacklisted by the studios for more than a decade.

Among them was Dalton Trumbo, who secretly penned Oscar-winning scripts to Roman Holiday and The Brave One during his time in exile. Jay Roach's handsome period drama, based on the biography by Bruce Cook, relives this inglorious period of paranoia and suspicion, when a few brave men stood up for their rights and suffered horribly.

Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) enjoys a charmed life with his wife Cleo (Diane Lane) and three children Niki (Elle Fanning), Chris (Mattie Liptak) and Mitzi (Becca Nicole Preston) until waspish columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) casts aspersions on his political leanings.

Actor John Wayne (David James Elliott), elected president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, weighs in on the argument and Trumbo is held in contempt by Congress.

While some people sever ties with Trumbo to protect their careers, low-budget filmmakers Frank (John Goodman) and Hymie King (Stephen Root) happily employ the venerated writer to polish their B-movies. "They need scripts like an army needs toilet paper," quips Trumbo.

Leading man Kirk Douglas (Dean O'Gorman) also uses his influence to secure the writer a seat at the Spartacus table, despite protestations from advisers.

Distinguished by a tour-de-force Oscar-nominated performance from Cranston, Trumbo is a fascinating portrait of a time when suspicion could end a promising career. Mirren savours every bile-drenched line of her finely dressed antagonist in sharp contrast to Lane's warm portrayal of a supportive, self-sacrificing wife.

John McNamara's elegant script glisters with snappy one-liners - "He's trying to sell his soul, but can't find it" - that recall a golden era when substance complemented style. Roach's film serves up a silky smooth, intoxicating cocktail of both.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 6th February 2016
Sunday 7th February 2016
Monday 8th February 2016
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Wednesday 10th February 2016
Thursday 11th February 2016

This film is also showing at: