Directors: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn.
Voices: Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, Justin Timberlake. USA 2016. 92 mins.
The creators of such family friendly fare as Shrek and Alvin And The Chipmunks have delivered an irreverent animated comedy voiced by top names such as Gwen Stefani, James Corden and Anna Kendrick. The magical world of the eponymous, ever cheerful and indeed constantly singing Trolls is threatened by the gloomy Bergens, who frankly just want to eat them up.
Co-directed by Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell, the Trolls’ hair-raising but comic adventures as they outwit their adversaries are set to a catchy original score by Justin Timberlake, who also voices one of our heroes. Being a DreamWorks production, the visuals are cutting-edge awesome.
Director: Ron Howard.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster. USA/Japan/Turkey/Hungary 2016. 121 mins.
Following The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, this third adaptation of a mega-selling Dan Brown mystery thriller has Tom Hanks reprising his role as famous symbologist Dr Robert Langdon.
This time Langdon wakes up in a Florentine hospital suffering from amnesia – and with Ron Howard back in the director’s chair, the plot quickly gathers its usual blistering pace. Along with Dr Sienna Brooks (Jones, The Theory Of Everything), Langdon must decipher hidden meanings in a reproduction of Dante’s Inferno in time to prevent a madman (Foster) from eliminating half the world’s population. Adding spice to a story that never lets up are Hanks’s A Hologram For The King co-star Sidse Babett Knudsen and Jurassic World’s Omar Sy.
Contains disturbing images, moderate violence and infrequent strong language.
This shocking and irresistibly mysterious thriller is based on British author Paula Hawkins’s bestselling novel, relocating the action from London to New York.
Emily Blunt (Sicario) stars as Rachel, who daydreams about an imaginary ‘perfect couple’ living in one of the beautiful homes that she sees every day from the train. But one day, as she looks through the window, she sees something shocking in the house – and later she wakes up covered in blood and with no memory of why. When the news reports that a local woman has gone missing, Rachel becomes obsessed with finding out what has happened to her and, even more troublingly, where she herself was that night.
With a gripping central riddle, The Girl On The Train promises to be one of the year’s most talked-about movies.
Director: Taika Waititi.
Starring: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata. New Zealand 2016. 101 mins.
Teenager Rick (Dennison), an overweight hip-hop fan, finds himself living in the latest of several foster homes, where the kindly Bella (Wiata) and gruff backwoodsman Hector (Neill) do their best to accommodate (i.e. put up with) him. Then Bella abruptly disappears, and social services threaten to move Rick on. Having none of it, Rick runs away into the bush, followed by the somewhat reluctant Hector. Their ensuing adventures as they outwit an increasingly intense search for them prove both ingenious and hilarious.
Kiwi writer-director Taika Waititi has strong form in offbeat comedy following 2014’s vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, and Dennison and Neill are excellent conduits for his quietly absurdist humour. The result is one of the unlikeliest buddy movies since Planes, Trains And Automobiles.
Contains moderate bad language, innuendo and infrequent bloody moments.
Director: Guillaume Nicloux.
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu. France/Belgium 2015. 92 mins. French with English subtitles.
A long-divorced couple of successful French actors, Isabelle (Huppert) and Gérard (Depardieu) find themselves reunited by a letter received six months after his suicide from their son, Michael. The letter invites them to a rendezvous in California’s Death Valley on a specific date – with a promise that Michael himself will somehow appear. His presence transpires to be more metaphysical than supernatural, and what ensues is a sly opportunity for writer-director Guillaume Nicloux to reflect on the celebrity culture that he explored with 2014’s faux documentary The Kidnapping Of Michel Houellebecq. Depardieu and Huppert, who last worked together 36 years ago on Maurice Pialat’s Loulou, give marvellously subtle performances as the estranged, agreeably spiky pair.
Reminiscent of 1982’s Koyaanisqatsi, In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise on our lives. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s groundbreaking composition 4'33", In Pursuit Of Silence takes us on an immersive cinematic journey around the globe – from a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, to the streets of Mumbai, loudest city on the planet.
Director: David Yates.
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell. UK / USA 2016. TBC mins.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is an all-new adventure returning us to the wizarding world created by J. K. Rowling.
Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything) stars in the central role of wizarding world magizoologist Newt Scamander, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter blockbusters.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.