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

  • Big Eyes
  • Dumb And Dumber To
  • Exodus: Gods And Kings
  • Exodus: Gods And Kings 3D
  • Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb
  • Paddington
  • Penguins Of Madagascar
  • The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

Big Eyes 3 stars

movie title

Director Tim Burton charts the incredible true story of artist Margaret Hawkins, who leaves her husband with her young daughter in tow and settles in San Francisco. There, she falls under the spell of fellow painter Walter Keane, who marries Margaret to ensure she won't lose custody of her child. Margaret's haunting depictions of waifs with over-sized eyes capture the public imagination and Walter persuades his wife to allow him to take the credit for the works.

  • GenreBiography, Drama, Romance
  • CastKrysten Ritter, Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams, Danny Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Terence Stamp.
  • DirectorTim Burton.
  • WriterLarry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration106 mins
  • Official sitewww.bigeyesfilm.com
  • Release26/12/2014

Tim Burton began his illustrious Hollywood career as an animator for Disney, working on wholesome family fare including The Fox And The Hound. However, from the moment he nestled into the director's chair for 1985 comedy Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Burton forged a distinctive path that resolutely defied convention and fashionability.

His visually arresting interpretations of Batman, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Alice In Wonderland revelled in the darkness coursing beneath the glossy surface of each well-known story. Occasionally, his offbeat sensibilities have upended a blockbuster script like his abortive 2001 remake of Planet Of The Apes but even when he falters, Burton has remained true to himself.

Given his penchant for the macabre and melancholic, the Californian filmmaker is a snug fit for this biopic of artist Margaret Keane, who famously took her husband to court in 1986 to prove he was a fraud. She alleged that her spouse's phenomenally popular paintings of waifs with unnaturally large eyes were actually created by her and she had foolishly allowed him to steal her thunder.

The film begins in 1958 California with Margaret Hawkins (Amy Adam) leaving her husband "before it became the fashionable thing to do" with young daughter Jane (Delaney Raye) in tow. They settle in San Francisco where Margaret's spooky pictures of street children catch the eye of fellow painter Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz).

She falls under his spell and they marry to ensure Margaret won't lose custody of Jane. Local gallery owner Ruben (Jason Schwartzman) doesn't rate Margaret's work - "Clear out the clutter before the Taste Police arrive!" he snipes - but her haunting depictions of children with over-sized eyes become an unexpected sensation.

Fame-hungry Walter persuades Margaret to let him claim ownership since he has the showmanship to promote the Keane brand. While Margaret toils night and day in her studio, Walter enjoys the trappings of celebrity.

However, not everyone is seduced by Walter, including revered critic John Canaday (Terence Stamp), who despairs at the column inches devoted to this talentless self-publicist. "He is like the Hula Hoop - he won't go away!" laments Canaday.

Truth is more bizarre than fiction in Big Eyes but Burton's handsome dramatisation of the Keanes' romance and subsequent legal wranglings is infuriatingly light on fine detail. It's difficult to understand why Margaret agrees to the deception when she is strong enough to leave her first husband or tell Walter plainly, "The more you lie, the smaller you seem."

Adams delivers another solid performance while Waltz tempers his usual scenery-chewing apart from the climactic trial when his accused man mounts a legal defence based on everything he has seen on Columbo.

Period detail is splendid but quirky style overrides emotion. We're cast adrift from the misfit characters and for once, Burton seems incapable of throwing us a lifeline.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 27th December 2014
Sunday 28th December 2014
Monday 29th December 2014
Tuesday 30th December 2014
Wednesday 31st December 2014
Thursday 1st January 2015

This film is also showing at:

Dumb And Dumber To 1 stars

movie title

Harry urgently needs a kidney transplant but since he is adopted, there is no familial donor. Out of the blue, he learns that he fathered a child in 1991 with old flame Fraida Felcher. This daughter, Penny, could be a perfect match. So Harry and his simple-minded pal Lloyd hit the road - and occasionally each other - in order to reunite Harry with his long-lost offspring and persuade her to give up her organ.

  • GenreAction, Comedy, Romance
  • CastRob Riggle, Jeff Daniels, Jim Carrey, Kathleen Turner, Laurie Holden.
  • DirectorBobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly.
  • WriterSean Anders, Mike Cerrone, John Morris, Bennett Yellin, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration109 mins
  • Official sitewww.dumbanddumberto.co.uk
  • Release19/12/2014

There's no shortage of dim-witted, foolhardy and empty-headed characters on the big screen. Watch any horror film and at least one victim will venture into the dark to investigate a strange noise when common sense dictates you run in the opposite direction.

Inspector Clouseau blundered through various investigations yet somehow always solved the case, A Clockwork Orange featured a droog called Dim and Kevin Kline won an Oscar as numbskull assassin Otto West in A Fish Called Wanda.

Forrest Gump, one of cinema's great innocents, famously remarked that "stupid is as stupid does" and using that barometer, Dumb And Dumber To takes the art of moronic tomfoolery to new depths. From the eye-watering opening gag of a DIY catheter removal, Bobby and Peter Farrelly's mindless sequel to their hit 1994 comedy embraces every crude, lewd and inappropriate set-up imaginable in its relentless pursuit of cheap, grubby titters.

If this is the future of comedy on film then the art form has flat-lined and I would strongly recommend for a Do Not Resuscitate order. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their roles as best pals Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, who mix up their words ("That's all water under the fridge") and are blinkered to the perils of modern life. They merrily take a shower under the waste water pipe from a nuclear power plant.

For two decades, Lloyd (Carrey) has been consigned to Baldy View Psychiatric Hospital, where Harry (Daniels) visits and helps nurses to wash, dress and feed the comatose patient. Thankfully, Lloyd regains the few senses he possesses and supports Harry through his own medical emergency: an urgent kidney transplant.

Since Harry is adopted, there is no familial donor and the future seems bleak. Out of the blue, Harry learns that he fathered a child in 1991 with old flame Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner). "Do you know what this means? You have a grown kid... with grown kidneys!" shrieks Lloyd.

The dim-witted duo tracks down the fruit of Harry's loins, Penny (Rachel Melvin), to her adopted parents: reclusive scientist Dr Pinchelow (Steve Tom) and his trophy wife (Laurie Holden). Alas, Penny has already departed for a convention in El Paso to honour her father's ground-breaking work.

So the simple-minded pals hit the road - and occasionally each other - in order to reunite Harry with his long-lost offspring and persuade her to give up her organ.

Dumb And Dumber To is a greater ordeal for us than it is for Harry and Lloyd, who are battered and bruised by misfortune. The plot is nonsensical and includes pointless diversions including a brief reappearance of the Mutt Cutts dog van from the original picture.

Carrey and Daniels fling themselves into the fray with gusto, at the mercy of a script that lacks subtlety, sophistication or any discernible laughs.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 27th December 2014
Sunday 28th December 2014
Monday 29th December 2014
Tuesday 30th December 2014
Wednesday 31st December 2014
Thursday 1st January 2015

This film is also showing at:

Exodus: Gods And Kings 3 stars

movie title

When King Seti I passes away, his son Prince Ramses ascends the throne and rules 1300 BC Egypt with an iron fist. Soon after, Ramses learns that Moses is the child of Hebrew parents and consequently he banishes his adopted brother to the wilderness, never to return. Far from the splendour of the palace, Moses encounters a burning bush and discovers that God has tasked him with leading 400,000 Hebrew slaves to freedom.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Drama, Film, Romance
  • CastChristian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Sir Ben Kingsley.
  • DirectorRidley Scott.
  • WriterAdam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine, Steven Zaillian.
  • CountryUK/US/Sp
  • Duration150 mins
  • Official sitewww.exodusgodsandkings.com
  • Release26/12/2014

The history of cinema is bookmarked by defining moments when pioneers dreamt, at considerable expense, outside the traditional 16:9 ratio of the big screen. The 1933 version of King Kong, The Wizard Of Oz, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and James Cameron's Titanic pushed the technology of the era to the limit in pursuit of jaw-dropping spectacle.

Cecil B DeMille's final picture, The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, sits proudly in that illustrious company. Shot in blistering heat, the 1956 biblical epic was the most expensive film of its time and DeMille famously clambered up the 7000-feet Mount Sinai to immortalise the moment Moses receives the Word of God.

Almost 60 years later, Gladiator director Ridley Scott attempts with limited success to update the biblical story for a modern generation raised on eye-popping digital trickery. Exodus: Gods And Kings doesn't skimp on the technological wonder including a relentless barrage of plagues.

However, the passion and fury, which coursed through the veins of DeMille's swansong, are missing. Admittedly, the 1956 picture runs an hour longer but it's this modern retelling which sags noticeably in the middle.

Before an assault on the Hittite army, an Egyptian High Priestess (Indira Varma) predicts, "A leader will be saved and his saviour will one day lead." In the heat of battle, Moses (Christian Bale) saves the Pharaoh's son Ramses (Joel Edgerton). Soon after, King Seti I (John Turturro) dies and Ramses ascends the throne.

Seeds of suspicion, sown by the priestess's prophesy, flourish and when Ramses learns that Moses is the child of Hebrews, the new pharaoh banishes his adopted brother to the wilderness. Nine years later, Moses is settled in Midian with a wife Zipporah (Maria Valverde) and son Gershom (Hal Hewetson).

Following a storm, he encounters a burning bush and a messenger of God in the form of a boy (Isaac Andrews). The child reveals that God has tasked Moses with leading 400,000 Hebrew slaves to freedom. "What kind of Lord tells a man to leave his family?" questions Zipporah. Moses' momentous course is set and the plagues rain down on cruel Ramses.

Exodus: Gods And Kings falls short of DeMille's epic rendering. The bombast and swagger are there, heightened by composer Alberto Iglesias's score, but it's on a more basic emotional level that the script short-changes us and the characters.

Bale and Edgerton, sporting scowls and mascara, barely scratch the surface of their feuding kin but Ben Mendelsohn has fun with his boo-hiss Egyptian viceroy, destined for a grisly demise. The geography of the climactic chase through the receding waters of the Red Sea is confusing.

"A leader can falter, stone will endure," observes one character about the Ten Commandments. Films can falter and it's unlikely that Scott's flawed vision will endure.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 28th December 2014
Monday 29th December 2014
Tuesday 30th December 2014
Wednesday 31st December 2014
Thursday 1st January 2015

This film is also showing at:

Exodus: Gods And Kings 3D 3 stars

movie title

When King Seti I passes away, his son Prince Ramses ascends the throne and rules 1300 BC Egypt with an iron fist. Soon after, Ramses learns that Moses is the child of Hebrew parents and consequently he banishes his adopted brother to the wilderness, never to return. Far from the splendour of the palace, Moses encounters a burning bush and discovers that God has tasked him with leading 400,000 Hebrew slaves to freedom.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Drama, Romance
  • CastChristian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver, Sir Ben Kingsley.
  • DirectorRidley Scott.
  • WriterAdam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jeffrey Caine, Steven Zaillian.
  • CountryUK/US/Sp
  • Duration150 mins
  • Official sitewww.exodusgodsandkings.com
  • Release26/12/2014

The history of cinema is bookmarked by defining moments when pioneers dreamt, at considerable expense, outside the traditional 16:9 ratio of the big screen. The 1933 version of King Kong, The Wizard Of Oz, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and James Cameron's Titanic pushed the technology of the era to the limit in pursuit of jaw-dropping spectacle.

Cecil B DeMille's final picture, The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, sits proudly in that illustrious company. Shot in blistering heat, the 1956 biblical epic was the most expensive film of its time and DeMille famously clambered up the 7000-feet Mount Sinai to immortalise the moment Moses receives the Word of God.

Almost 60 years later, Gladiator director Ridley Scott attempts with limited success to update the biblical story for a modern generation raised on eye-popping digital trickery. Exodus: Gods And Kings doesn't skimp on the technological wonder including a relentless barrage of plagues.

However, the passion and fury, which coursed through the veins of DeMille's swansong, are missing. Admittedly, the 1956 picture runs an hour longer but it's this modern retelling which sags noticeably in the middle.

Before an assault on the Hittite army, an Egyptian High Priestess (Indira Varma) predicts, "A leader will be saved and his saviour will one day lead." In the heat of battle, Moses (Christian Bale) saves the Pharaoh's son Ramses (Joel Edgerton). Soon after, King Seti I (John Turturro) dies and Ramses ascends the throne.

Seeds of suspicion, sown by the priestess's prophesy, flourish and when Ramses learns that Moses is the child of Hebrews, the new pharaoh banishes his adopted brother to the wilderness. Nine years later, Moses is settled in Midian with a wife Zipporah (Maria Valverde) and son Gershom (Hal Hewetson).

Following a storm, he encounters a burning bush and a messenger of God in the form of a boy (Isaac Andrews). The child reveals that God has tasked Moses with leading 400,000 Hebrew slaves to freedom. "What kind of Lord tells a man to leave his family?" questions Zipporah. Moses' momentous course is set and the plagues rain down on cruel Ramses.

Exodus: Gods And Kings falls short of DeMille's epic rendering. The bombast and swagger are there, heightened by composer Alberto Iglesias's score, but it's on a more basic emotional level that the script short-changes us and the characters.

Bale and Edgerton, sporting scowls and mascara, barely scratch the surface of their feuding kin but Ben Mendelsohn has fun with his boo-hiss Egyptian viceroy, destined for a grisly demise. The geography of the climactic chase through the receding waters of the Red Sea is confusing.

"A leader can falter, stone will endure," observes one character about the Ten Commandments. Films can falter and it's unlikely that Scott's flawed vision will endure.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 27th December 2014
Sunday 28th December 2014
Monday 29th December 2014
Tuesday 30th December 2014
Wednesday 31st December 2014
Thursday 1st January 2015

This film is also showing at:

Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb 3 stars

movie title

Plucky security guard Larry Daley discovers the magical Tablet Of Ahkmenrah is gradually losing its powers. Recognising the repercussions for his display case friends, he scours the globe for a solution. His epic quest leads to the British Museum in London where Larry and his chums - Wild West cowboy Jedadiah, Roman general Octavius, Theodore Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, interpreter Sacagawea, Neanderthal man Laa and Dexter the mischievous capuchin monkey - seek out Ahkmenrah's father Merenkahre, who fashioned the original tablet.

  • GenreAction, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastSteve Coogan, Owen Wilson, Dick Van Dyke, Rami Malek, Dan Stevens, Sir Ben Kingsley, Rebel Wilson, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais.
  • DirectorShawn Levy.
  • WriterDavid Guion, Michael Handelman.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration98 mins
  • Official sitewww.nightatthemuseummovie.com
  • Release19/12/2014

It's time to say goodbye. The third chapter of the blockbusting Night At The Museum franchise has lost two of its greatest special effects - Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams - in the past 12 months. So it's fitting that Secret Of The Tomb should be an action-packed adventure punctuated with dewy-eyed farewells and warm-hearted reminiscence.

Shawn Levy's picture is a fitting swansong, reuniting most of the protagonists from the original for a final transatlantic hurrah. The script adds father-son bonding to the mix and a new Neanderthal called Laa (Ben Stiller), who is partial to munching on polystyrene foam.

For the most part though, familiarity with the series' larger-than-life characters breeds contentment. The third chapter opens in 1938 Egypt, where adventurer Robert Fredericks (Brennan Elliott) and his 12-year-old son CJ (Percy Hynes-White) stumble upon a burial chamber.

"If anyone disturbs this tomb, the end will come!" proclaims one superstitious local. Undaunted, Fredericks empties the site of its priceless artefacts, dividing the treasures between New York and London.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, the magical Tablet Of Ahkmenrah, which brings to life the exhibits of the American Museum Of Natural History, is losing its power. Security guard Larry Daley (Stiller) recognises the repercussions for his display case chums and enlists the help of museum director Dr McPhee (Ricky Gervais) to ship the tablet to the British Museum in London, home of pharaoh Merenkahre (Sir Ben Kingsley), who fashioned the tablet in honour of his son Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek).

Larry heads for the British capital with his son Nick (Skyler Gisondo) and several stowaways: Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Roman general Octavius (Steve Coogan), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), interpreter Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Laa and Dexter the capuchin monkey.

Aided by dashing Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) and hindered by local security guard Mindy (Rebel Wilson), Larry races against time to restore the tablet's lustre before the magic dissipates forever.

Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb milks our affection for the characters without exhausting our good will. There's nothing innovative in the third film but good humour and sweetness prevail, and the script continues to have fun juxtaposing the modern and ancient worlds like when Sir Lancelot asks Nick, "Have you ever held a blade?" and the teenage responds, "Only in World Of Warcraft."

London looks splendid through Levy's lens, accompanied by a predictable yet rousing chorus of The Clash, and an extended cameo by a Hollywood superstar during the frenetic denouement is a treat. Stiller seems to have tears in his eyes for most of the second half, relying predominantly on co-stars to lasso the laughs.

When Williams' waxwork President acknowledges the end is nigh and softly remarks, "You have to let us go," it's hard not to get a little lump in your throat.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 28th December 2014
Monday 29th December 2014
Tuesday 30th December 2014
Wednesday 31st December 2014
Thursday 1st January 2015

This film is also showing at:

Paddington 4 stars

movie title

A young Peruvian bear with a passion for the British heads to London in search of a new home. At Paddington train station, he meets a boy called Jonathan Brown and his parents, who offer the lovable creature, christened Paddington, a temporary haven. At large in a strange city, Paddington wreaks havoc in the Brown household. Then an evil museum taxidermist named Millicent glimpses the wondrous bear and realises that he would make the most perfect addition to her collection.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Family, Family
  • CastHugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw, Nicole Kidman, Imelda Staunton.
  • DirectorPaul King.
  • WriterPaul King.
  • CountryUK/Fr
  • Duration95 mins
  • Official sitewww.paddington.com
  • Release28/11/2014

More than 50 years after he first appeared in print, author Michael Bond's beloved bear Paddington has finally arrived on the big screen in his first star-packed family adventure. Upcoming director Paul King's film lovingly weaves the traditional tenets of the duffel-coat wearing bear's story into a modern narrative.

Like the books, the film starts in deepest, darkest Peru, where a well-mannered three-foot bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) lives with his elderly Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon). In their youth, Lucy and Pastuzo were visited by a kindly English explorer who left his red hat with his furry friends.

When their home is threatened, Aunt Lucy packs her nephew off to the safety of London to track down the explorer, who has promised that there will always be a home for them in the capital.

Of course, after sailing the oceans in a boat filled with supplies of his treasured marmalade, the bear finds London isn't actually that friendly. In fact it's pretty miserable what with the drizzly weather and glum commuters pushing and shoving their way out of Paddington station and ignoring his pleas for a home.

"Sorry, we haven't got time for this," cries worrywart Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville), while his moody daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris) exclaims she's "embarrassed" to be near the small grisly, who has a 'Please look after this bear' sign around his neck.

Luckily, warm-hearted Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins) and son Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) vow to take the furry chap home for the night. Naming him Paddington after the station where they found him, the Browns introduce their guest to kindly housekeeper Mrs Bird (Julie Walters).

But disaster soon strikes when Paddington tries to freshen up in the bathroom, resulting in a flood, two earwax-stained toothbrushes and a sharp telling off. Determined to find the explorer, Mrs Brown takes Paddington to see her friend Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent), an antiques dealer who might have clues to his existence.

In doing so, they attract the attention of cranky curtain twitcher Mr Curry (Peter Capaldi) and a slimy associate of villainous taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) who is hell-bent on "stuffing that bear". With Millicent determined to get her mitts on Paddington to display him in the Natural History Museum, the Browns find themselves on a humdinger of a cat and mouse chase to try and keep their furry friend safe.

As comforting and sweet as Paddington's beloved marmalade, King's delightful adaptation has heaps of heart and enough humour and carefully plotted cameos to ensure everyone more than grins and bears his adaptation.

Penguins Of Madagascar 3 stars

movie title

Skipper leads a crack squad of penguins comprising Kowalski, Rico and Private. A grey wolf called Classified, who works for the elite inter-species task force North Wind, recruits the plucky birds to thwart nefarious octopus Dr Octavius Brine. The penguins collaborate with some of the best agents in North Wind including harp seal demolitions expert Short Fuse, snowy owl intelligence analyst Eva and plucky polar bear Corporal to defeat their tentacled adversary.

  • GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastChristopher Knights, Chris Miller, Tom McGrath, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Stormare, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Conrad Vernon.
  • DirectorEric Darnell, Simon J Smith.
  • WriterMichael Colton, John Aboud, Brandon Sawyer.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official sitewww.madagascar.dreamworks.com
  • Release05/12/2014

Birds of a feather somersault, karate kick and bicker together in Eric Darnell and Simon J Smith's misfiring computer-animated spin-off from the Madagascar films. Frenetic and fast-paced, Penguins Of Madagascar initially sketches the back story of the four plucky Antarctic critters with a beak for adventure through the lens of a documentary film crew, who are keen to observe the flightless birds in their treacherous natural habitat.

The script soon fast-forwards to the conclusion of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and literally blasts the penguins into an outlandish spy caper replete with a menagerie of animal co-stars that should be a merchandiser's dream this Christmas.

The colour-saturated animation is a feast for the eyes and there are a few neat visual gags such as the penguins' novel approach to navigating a zebra crossing undetected. However, the four lead characters, who are boundlessly charming in small doses as sidekicks, grate slightly as heroes of their own half-baked story.

Hopefully the adorable Minions from the Despicable Me series will dodge a similar fate when they graduate to the limelight in a self-titled feature next summer.

Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath) leads a crack squad comprising Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) on a daring mission to break into Fort Knox in search of treasure: a luminous orange snack called Cheezy Dibbles.

From the offset, goofball Private is identified as the black penguin of the operation. "He's sort of our secretary-slash-mascot," observes Skipper. The hunt for Cheezy Dibbles leads the penguins into the clutches of nefarious octopus Dr Octavius Brine (John Malkovich), who intends to take over the world using his mutation serum.

Thankfully, Skipper and co escape and a subsequent chase with hench-octopi along the canals of Venice leads the penguins into the company of a grey wolf called Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch), who works for an elite inter-species task force known as North Wind.

Fellow agents include harp seal demolitions expert Short Fuse (Ken Jeong), snowy owl intelligence analyst Eva (Annet Mahendru) and plucky polar bear Corporal (Peter Stormare). The unlikely heroes join forces to defeat their tentacled arch-nemesis, but this collaboration will amount to nothing unless Skipper allows Private to discover the hero within.

Penguins Of Madagascar exhibits a similar lack of invention as the films which gave birth to Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. Brine's master plan for global domination bears an uncanny resemblance to events in Despicable Me 2 and the underlying message of tolerance and acceptance has been preached countless times before.

"If we've learnt anything on this delightful adventure, it's that looks don't matter. It's what you do that counts," declares Skipper.

A running joke involving celebrity names in one character's dialogue is a cute flourish but certainly not enough for these penguins to defy evolution and effortlessly take flight.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 28th December 2014
Monday 29th December 2014
Tuesday 30th December 2014
Wednesday 31st December 2014
Thursday 1st January 2015

This film is also showing at:

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies 3 stars

movie title

The company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield fails to slay the dragon Smaug in his Lonely Mountain lair. The majestic creature takes to the skies and Bilbo Baggins watches in horror as Smaug prepares to incinerate Lake-town and its residents. Bard the Bowman possesses the last remaining black arrow and is the only thing standing between the dragon and total annihilation. Elsewhere, Gandalf is imprisoned at Dol Guldor by the Necromancer, who unleashes legions of orcs upon the Lonely Mountain.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Fantasy
  • CastSir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Hugo Weaving, Benedict Cumberbatch.
  • DirectorPeter Jackson.
  • WriterFran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson.
  • CountryNZ/US
  • Duration144 mins
  • Official sitewww.thehobbitblog.com
  • Release12/12/2014

Almost 13 years to the day since director Peter Jackson first transported us to Middle Earth, the Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker completes his tour of duty of JRR Tolkien's novels. It has been a long and sometimes gruelling slog since The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. Giddy expectation has crashed and burned, with only a few smouldering embers for ardent fans to stoke in the hope that Jackson might redeem himself with this concluding chapter of The Hobbit trilogy.

Alas, The Battle Of Five Armies bids farewell to the hobbits, dwarfs and elves with a whimper rather than a bang. The script occasionally deviates from Tolkien's source text, contriving one superfluous and protracted interlude with elvish allies Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) to provide a flimsy bridge between the two series.

Jackson's mastery of action sequences is beyond doubt - the two set pieces, which bookend this film, are executed with flair, precision and a miasma of impressive digital effects.

However, all that technical sound and fury without comparable emotional heft makes for increasingly wearisome viewing. We should be thankful this concluding jaunt is the shortest of the six: a mere 144 minutes.

The company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) including Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) watches in horror as the mighty dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) incinerates Laketown. As the flames rise, Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) prepares to launch the last remaining black arrow at the beast.

His children seek cover with elf warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and badly injured dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner). Nearby, the Master of Laketown (Stephen Fry) and snivelling henchman Alfrid (Ryan Gage) make their escape in a barge laden with gold.

At Dol Guldur, Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) escapes from the clutches of the Necromancer (Cumberbatch again) and beats a hasty path to the mountains, where various tribes will converge. "You must summon our friends, bird and beast - the battle for the mountain is about to begin!" bellows the wise wizard.

As the fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance, Thorin sacrifices everything in his selfish pursuit of the mythical Arkenstone.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies follows a similar template to earlier pictures, resolving plot strands including the forbidden romance of Tauriel and Kili as the blood flows in brutal fight sequences. Comical interludes with Alfrid seem to jar with the darker tone that pervades this chapter, including the inevitable loss of at least one hero in the melee.

Freeman's performance provides a flimsy emotional fulcrum while co-stars battle with their characters' demons or hordes of bloodthirsty orcs. As the end credits roll, accompanied by an original song from Billy Boyd who played Pippin in The Lord Of The Rings saga, we feel a sense of relief rather than sadness.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 27th December 2014
Sunday 28th December 2014
Monday 29th December 2014
Tuesday 30th December 2014
Wednesday 31st December 2014
Thursday 1st January 2015

This film is also showing at:

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