On target to be best family film of the year; Graham Young and Roz Laws review the latest films.
Byline: Graham Young ; Roz Laws
Brave Cert PG, 100 mins This hasn't been a great year for family films. Children have been ill-served by cinemas, with only a very few movies, like Ice Age 4, worth tempting youngsters out. Even The Muppets was probably enjoyed more by parents than their kids.
So what will bored children do when the wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympics is over? Thankfully, riding to the rescue comes a Pixar animated classic with a plucky pluck·y
adj. pluck·i·er, pluck·i·est
Having or showing courage and spirit in trying circumstances. See Synonyms at brave.
pluck , red-headed heroine to entertain cinema-goers of all ages.
She's actually a dab hand with a bow and arrow bow and arrow, weapon consisting of two parts; the bow is made of a strip of flexible material, such as wood, with a cord linking the two ends of the strip to form a tension from which is propelled the arrow; the arrow is a straight shaft with a sharp point on one and could probably take an archery gold in today's Olympics.
But Merida (Kelly McDonald) lived in Scotland around 1,000 years ago, where women, and especially princesses, could not get involved in such pursuits.
That's a shame because Merida is as fiery as her hair and likes riding and shooting, much to her mother's dismay. Elinor (Emma Thompson) keeps telling her daughter that she's a lady and must behave with more decorum DECORUM. Proper behaviour; good order.
2. Decorum is requisite in public places, in order to permit all persons to enjoy their rights; for example, decorum is indispensable in church, to enable those assembled, to worship. . Merida takes more after her dad Fergus (Billy Connolly), a large gruff chap who lost his leg in a fight with a bear.
She's not at all happy when her parents break the news that she is to be married off, and will get little choice in her future husband. Each clan - whose members are voiced by the likes of Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson - presents a suitor to compete for her hand, and the options aren't dazzling.
StepUp 4:Miami 'predictable' "This is so unfair!" she whinges in typical teenage fashion.
After a row with mum, she runs away on her trusty horse and stumbles across a witch (Julie Walters) in a cottage. She asks her to cast a spell which would change her fate, but ends up getting in a right pickle.
From snow-covered peaks to lochs and glens, Scotland has never looked more stunning, especially in 3D. The animation is superb, with Merida's hair providing a lovely splash of colour on screen.
It's nice to see a Scottish film with a genuinely Scottish cast, rather than Mel Gibson's attempt at the accent.
With its amusing, endearing characters - particularly Merida's cute little brothers - Brave is clever, exciting and moving at times.
It's not quite up there with Pixar classics like Finding Nemo and Toy Story, as it's not quite consistently funny enough - but it is certainly worth a look, especially when there hasn't been much quality fare for youngsters lately.
Opening on Monday, Brave is probably the family film of the year and the perfect antidote to post-Olympic blues.
RL Step Up 4: Miami Heat Cert PG, 99mins The fourth in the series of frenetic dance films is as formulaic as ever. You don't need to have seen any of the other movies to know how it's all going to turn out.
A hunk and a pretty girl will dance together and fall in love. Some kind of competition will take place. There will be lots of dancing in scenic locations.
The story, such as it is, involves an entirely new cast and takes place in Miami. The central couple are Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Emily (Kathryn McCormick). The one departure is that there aren't any dance battles between rival crews. Instead it's all about flash mobs, with dancers staging impromptu (though very well rehearsed) performances in interesting places, like an art gallery.
There is a contest, though, because The Mob want to win an online competition by attracting 10 million views to their videos. And in a subplot sub·plot
1. A plot subordinate to the main plot of a literary work or film. Also called counterplot, underplot.
2. A subdivision of a plot of land, especially a plot used for experimental purposes. , Emily's greedy developer dad (Peter Gallagher) is planning to bulldoze bull·doze
v. bull·dozed, bull·doz·ing, bull·dozes
1. To clear, dig up, or move with a bulldozer.
2. To treat in an abusive manner; bully.
3. Sean's neighbourhood.
Heat is If you're a fan of the Step Up films, this one is worth watching for the impressive and varied dancing which at times is visually stunning, even if the elaborate dance sequences would be impossible to stage in real life.
But the rest of us should probably avoid the clichd dialogue and predictable plot.
RL Diary of a Wimpy Wimpy
sloppily dressed comic strip character; always “forgets” to pay for hamburgers. [Comics: “Popeye” in Horn, 657–658]
See : Irresponsibility Kid - Dog Days Cert PG, 94mins After thankfully blowing the awful Horrid Henry film away at the box office, 'Wimpy Kid' Greg Heffley is back for a second sequel of his own adventures.
Based on the books by Maryland-born author/illustrator Jeff Kinney, this one draws from The Last Straw and Dog Days.
Greg (Zachary Gordon) is rather bashful bash·ful
1. Shy, self-conscious, and awkward in the presence of others. See Synonyms at shy1.
2. Characterized by, showing, or resulting from shyness, self-consciousness, or awkwardness. about a girl he likes, Holly Hills (Peyton List).
With his dad (Steve Zahn) wanting Greg to do more than just sit around playing video games, the boy pretends he has a job at a country club.
This gives brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick) a chance to blackmail him and there's trouble ahead at a pool and on a camping trip.
Kinney, who is also behind the children's website Poptropica, clearly has a Midas touch.
But British director David Bowers, who has Flushed Away and Astro Boy to his name, doesn't manage to lift this film to the heights he achieved with Rodrick Rules last time out.
The feel is more like an episodic TV sitcom than a full blown feature.
Perhaps it's because Rules was only released in May last year and this has been rushed through before Zachary Gordon grows too much.
He's reaching that curious teenage age where he is too old to be described as 'cute', yet too young to be called 'sexy'.
With Peyton List looking like she's someone older playing younger - make-up does strange things to young girls - it's left to Robert Capron as Rowley to steal the show.
He's still on the chubby side. Still with sufficiently dodgy dodgy - Synonym with flaky. Preferred outside the US hair to be a London Mayor one day. And still funny.
Youngsters will enjoy the physical stunts, Rodrick's comeuppance come·up·pance
A punishment or retribution that one deserves; one's just deserts: "It's a chance to strike back at the critical brotherhood and give each his comeuppance for evaluative sins of the past" with a bearded man and the knowing references which show how parents become increasingly weak at controlling their children's growing rebellious streak.
Mums and dads will know how Zahn feels when he threatens to rip all of the leads out of the back of the TV set.
GY The Players (Les infidles) Cert 18, 107mins A wife is tired of her husband coming home at 5am - and not allowing her to read his text messages.
For his part, he and a friend worry about the new freedoms that women have in the age of sex equality: 'This equality business is ridiculous'.
Judging by the outrageous behaviour of middle-aged Fred (Jean Dujardin) and Greg (Gilles Lellouche), you'd think they were trying to make up for lost time before being splattered splat·ter
v. splat·tered, splat·ter·ing, splat·ters
To spatter (something), especially to soil with splashes of liquid.
v.intr. by an asteroid.
But this is no Armageddon. Instead it's Legoverandoverandover.
The Players is a series of short films shot by different directors, with Dujardin and Lellouche exploring infidelity as different characters. Or, to put it another way, the impossibility of fidelity for some.
Rude and raunchy raun·chy
adj. raun·chi·er, raun·chi·est Slang
a. Obscene, lewd, or vulgar: "[He] , it's like a Gallic flavoured version of The Hangover starring men old enough to know better.
It's certainly not what you'd expect as a follow-up to Dujardin's Oscar-winning performance in The Artist which was rated a PG.
After yet another one night stand, the two men wonder if they 'Should go to Las Vegas... so that we get sick of (sex) like taramasalata'. Our Olympian bedhoppers end up so confused it's as if their thirst for women could actually mean they are gay.
The seriously-long hotel corridors in Vegas ring true, but any Stevie Wonder fans should be warned the script includes a very badtaste gag at his expense.
Although how much you believe in the men's shenanigans shenanigans
1. mischief or nonsense
2. trickery or deception [origin unknown] could depend on your degree of wish fulfilment after a lifetime of missed 'opportunities', the shallowness of people who live this way is as dispiriting as the action is meant to be titillating.
Showing at the Warwick Arts Centre Warwick Arts Centre is a multi-venue arts complex at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England.
Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry is the largest arts centre in the Midlands, attracting around 280,000 visitors a year to over 2,000 individual events embracing music, drama, from Friday until Tuesday.
GY Searching for Sugarman Cert 12a, 86mins IF you like the idea of popular music being a potent soundtrack to our lives, and in particular fancy a rarefied rar·e·fied also rar·i·fied
1. Belonging to or reserved for a small select group; esoteric.
2. Elevated in character or style; lofty.
1. mixture of Motown, blues and folk, then this could just be your film of the year during its week-long run at the Electric Cinema from tomorrow.
It's the story of sixth child (Sixto) Rodriguez, a Mexican-American songwriter whose albums Cold Fact (1970) and Coming From Reality (1971) disappeared without trace.
One man who remembers seeing him play live thought he was homeless.
Years later, even though those who knew of him thought he was dead.
Now 70, Rodriguez is a restoration / demolition man, still living in the same modest house in Detroit from where he didn't realise that, in the post-Apartheid South Africa, bootleg copies of his works had made him 'bigger than Elvis'.
Record retailer Stephen 'Sugar' Segermen helped to rediscover Rodriguez to the point that he has played a limited number of rapturously-received concerts in South Africa. But he prefers the quiet life.
Laced with music that's as fresh as today's bread, Searching For Sugar Man is an inspirational, spiritual experience which illustrates how the purity of soul required to produce the finest works is not dependent on material gain. Simon Cowell, take note.
StepUp 4:Miami Heat is 'predictable' Princess Merida is the feisty hero of Brave, the latest release from Pixar