Family

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Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?!

10 Nov 20142 stars

Suitably silly but gratingly repetitive third instalment of the Nativity series

Though the title (a play of course on Dude, Where’s My Car?) may suggest the darker theme of drug-taking amongst tiny tykes over the difficult Christmas period, it is in fact – somewhat thankfully – the name of a terrible song which features in the…

A guide to the bonfire night fireworks display events in and around Leeds and Bradford 2014

29 Oct 2014

Including fireworks displays in the city centres, Wetherby, Bingley, Haworth, Keighley and Skipton

Celebrate Bonfire Night with a bang at one of the many fireworks evenings planned in and around Leeds and Bradford. In Leeds city there’s the free Bramley Park Fireworks Display (Sat 1 Nov) starting at 7.45pm or a display in East End Park (Wed 5 Nov…

Ghostbusters

27 Oct 20145 stars

This 30th anniversary reissue of Ivan Reitman's 1984 classic is most welcome

For many of us, the fact that Ghostbusters is in a position to have a 30th anniversary re-release is one of those chilling little reminders of how shockingly old we seem to have inadvertently become. For others, it may be a chance to experience in…

Top picks from Africa in Motion festival 2014

24 Oct 2014

Including screenings of films Difret and Electro Chaabi, plus live performances from The Soil

The ninth Africa in Motion festival kicks off in Edinburgh today, with the UK premiere of Soleils. This year’s festival, a medley of film, music and exhibitions taking place across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, marks the 20th anniversary of the end…

Highlights of the BFI's Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder film and TV festival

24 Oct 2014

Inculding events at Bletchely Park, the Eden Project, Caerphilly Castle and Dungannon Film Club

The BFI’s new film and television festival Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder is taking place across the length and breadth of the UK at 124 locations, from the Isle of Skye to Falmouth. Until December, 576 screenings and events are set to take place…

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The Book of Life

22 Oct 20144 stars

Exuberant animation featuring the voices of Channing Tatum and Zoe Saldana

Inspired by Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead, director Jorge R Gutierrez and producer Guillermo del Toro's charming animated adventure begins with a museum guide (Christina Applegate) introducing a bunch of detention kids to Mexican folklore, telling…

Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Screenings

21 Oct 2014

Celebrate Hallowe'en with this classic 80s comedy starring Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver

In 1984, the story of four disgraced parapsychologists who set themselves up as freelance ghostbusters burst its way onto the big screen and found itself embedded in popular culture forever. In celebration of its 30th birthday, the movie is returning to…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

13 Oct 20143 stars

Fun, cheesy reboot of the action franchise starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett

The director's credit may read Jonathan Liebesman, but there's no mistaking the influence of producer Michael Bay on this reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise, which began life in 1984 as a humble self-published comic book by Peter Laird…

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

6 Oct 20144 stars

Fun family comedy adapted from the kids' book featuring Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell

Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? 11-year-old Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) seems to have more than his fair share. And when his latest day from hell is largely ignored by his family, Alexander makes a midnight birthday wish for the…

Dolphin Tale 2

29 Sep 20142 stars

Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman feature in a bland, aquarium-set sequel

The seam of true-life marine stories mined in 2011's anodyne Dolphin Tale is further depleted by this return visit to the underwater denizens of Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. The bright-looking yet colourless live-action narrative and…

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The Giver

15 Sep 20142 stars

Disappointing adaptation of Lois Lowry's YA novel with Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges

The pile of unwanted, underwhelming young-adult adaptations is rising. From The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones to The Host via Ender’s Game, the search for another Twilight or The Hunger Games has ransacked the bookshelves of many literate teens.

The Boxtrolls

8 Sep 20144 stars

Ben Kingsley and Elle Fanning add their voices to a smart, surprisingly dark animation

Billed as ‘from the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman’, The Boxtrolls is a weird, wonderful stop-motion and CG hybrid animation based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow. Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi’s film isn’t innocuous knockabout fun…

The Unbeatables

11 Aug 20144 stars

An enjoyably quirky football-themed animation featuring the voices of Rupert Grint and Rob Brydon

The Unbeatables (original title Metegol) is probably the last film you would expect from Argentinean director Juan José Campanella. His first feature since the moody, labyrinthine and ultimately Oscar-winning thriller The Secret In Their Eyes is a…

Planes: Fire & Rescue

5 Aug 20142 stars

Animated sequel starring Ed Harris and Teri Hatcher improves on the original but still fails to soar

A sequel to Planes, itself a spin-off from the Cars franchise, Planes: Fire & Rescue is a Disney animation aimed at very small children who might appreciate its world of cheerful, chattering vehicles. Adults, however, would do well to stay away, there’s…

Earth to Echo

30 Jul 20142 stars

Dave Green's directorial debut is an artless retread of the Spielberg-inspired Super 8

Debut director Dave Green’s family film rehashes JJ Abrams’ pleasingly retro Super 8 using herky-jerky footage, supposedly captured by the children involved. It’s a gimmick that results in a spew of ugly, hard-to-watch images; audiences who like to…

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How to Train Your Dragon 2

10 Jul 20144 stars

The animated vikings 'n' dragons sequel arrives full of its predecessor’s invention, wit and flair

Cast your mind back to 2010, and Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders’ animated adventure How To Train Your Dragon. Inspired by the series of YA books by Cressida Cowell, this tale of a young Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his impossibly…

The Nut Job

8 Jul 20142 stars

Bluntly animated and over-complicated Ice Age spin-off offering low entertainment

Like last year’s Free Birds, in which enterprising turkeys build a time machine and attempt to stop the first Thanksgiving, The Nut Job feels like an archly contrived excuse to justify the groaning pun of the title. The story of an eccentric squirrel…

The House of Magic

27 Jun 20143 stars

Exceptional 3D effects fail to disguise a humourless script in this family adventure

Co-directed by Ben Stassen and Jeremy Degruson, The House of Magic is the latest animated adventure from nWave Pictures, the Belgian animation studio behind the likes of Fly Me To The Moon and A Turtle's Tale (both directed by Stassen). Like these…

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

16 Jun 20143 stars

A beautiful but over-simplified family-friendly nature doc narrated by Morgan Freeman

At 40 minutes, David Douglas’ slender, family-friendly IMAX lemur doc is a hark back to the format’s days as a short-form edutainment outlet. Friendly, photogentic primates leap across the massive screen while Morgan Freeman’s subterranean tones…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Take a trip to the Island of Lemurs

10 Jun 2014

Writer-producer Drew Fellman discusses the IMAX doc, which is narrated by Morgan Freeman

It’s a cute, furry, animals-acting-like-humans narrative that could have been lifted straight from a Disney storyboard: a group of primates, fearing extinction on the mainland, board a naturally made raft and set sail for distant shores. ‘It’s the sort…

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Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

20 May 20142 stars

The latest family fantasy incarnation is a cynical, charmless cash-grab

The Kingdom of Oz is a complicated one from a copyright point of view; while the rights to many of L Frank Baum's books and characters have expired, many of the details of the 1939 MGM film remain tightly controlled by studio lawyers. So without any…

Postman Pat: The Movie

13 May 20142 stars

A serviceable kids film undermined by grating tribute to Simon Cowell & idyllic Royal Mail nostalgia

Turning classic children's TV shows into full-length features appears to be all the rage at the moment, what with a big screen outing for Paddington due in November and this adaptation of Postman Pat out in May. Created by children's author John…

The Goonies: who would be available for a sequel?

7 Apr 2014

Director Richard Donner says he wants the original cast back for a remake - but are they available?

Director Richard Donner surprised a showbiz photographer recently when he casually mentioned he's working on a sequel to 1980s family adventure The Goonies – and that he hopes the original cast will be back on board. The seminal 1985 kids' film starred…

WATCH: The hilarious teaser trailer for Aardman's Shaun the Sheep movie

3 Apr 2014

The scene-stealing sheep from Wallace and Gromit is set for his own big-screen adventure

A teaser trailer for Aardman Animation's Shaun the Sheep movie has landed, and it's reassuringly hilarious. While the new footage doesn't offer any plot details – the movie itself won't be released until 2015 – Aardman's signature talent for humanising…

Rio 2

1 Apr 20143 stars

The sequel to 2010's animated parrot adventure is amiable but forgettable family entertainment

The brief appearance of the acorn-loving Scrat character over the Blue Sky logo at the start of Rio 2 is a reminder that this animation studio has now authored four films in the Ice Age franchise to date. These films had a strong, evolving plotline, but…