Family

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Annie

22 Dec 20143 stars

Middling revival of the musical comedy featuring Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx

When the complaining tune 'It’s the Hard Knock Life' is applied to minor housecleaning, you know somebody’s been messing with the musical Annie. Director Will Gluck is at the helm of this realignment of John Huston’s 1982 film, itself based on the 1977…

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

15 Dec 20142 stars

Ben Stiller and co return for the third film in Shawn Levy's family friendly franchise

Even in a dual role, Ben Stiller can’t keep the bored look off his face as he fronts the third instalment of the Night at the Museum franchise. What started eight years ago as a charming kids’ romp has evolved into a series of overlong ‘comic’ sequences…

2015 Highlights: Film

5 Dec 2014

From arthouse to multiplex, The List previews the must-see cinema of 2015

Romance gets salacious, Julianne Moore vies for an Oscar, Marvel enters the age of Ultron and, well, Star Wars does its thing – 2015 promises to be a bumper year for movie-goers. Emma Simmonds previews the cream of the cinematic crop...

Penguins of Madagascar

1 Dec 20143 stars

Knockabout spin-off featuring the voices of John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch

Over their three Madagascar features to date, DreamWorks Animation have successfully established a menagerie of comic characters. The franchise's penguins have already struck out with their own short film and TV show, and they now get their own movie...

Paddington

24 Nov 20144 stars

The beloved bear is brought to the big screen by Paul King's charming adaptation

Ever since his creation in 1958 by author Michael Bond generations of children have grown up with Paddington Bear, so writer-director Paul King (The Mighty Boosh, Bunny and the Bull) faced no small task in bringing the hirsute hero to the big screen. By…

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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…