Director: David Soren.
Voices: Ed Helms, Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch. USA 2017. 89 mins.
Noted Dreamworks animator David Soren (Shrek, Turbo) directs the first film of a potential franchise based on author Dav Pilkey’s weirdly wonderful children’s adventures featuring elementary-school troublemakers George (Hart) and Harold (Middleditch). Rather than studying in the classroom, George and Harold prefer sitting in their tree house chronicling the exploits of their unlikely superhero, Captain Underpants, in their homemade comic books. However, when their stern headmaster Mr Krupp (Helms) finally catches them out, they accidentally hypnotise him into thinking that he is the caped tighty-whitey crusader. The faux Captain is then tormented by a new history teacher, Prof. Poopypants (Nick Kroll), prompting a slew of fast-paced misadventures that Soren and his team energise with an array of animation formats.
Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon.
Voices: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker. USA 2017. 90 mins.
At the end of Despicable Me 2, one-time dastardly supervillain Felonious Gru (Carell) seemed to have hung up his ‘evil’ cape for good. Having settled in the ‘burbs with his feisty super agent wife (Wiig) and three adorable, unicorn-loving, adopted daughters, he’s now out to actively fight crime, not cause it. Until, that is, a long lost, enviably hirsute twin brother (also Carell) pops out of the woodwork to tempt Gru back to the dark side… Eagerly anticipated by everyone from toddlers to adults, this animated threequel also voice casts Trey Parker (co-creator of South Park and The Book Of Mormon) as an ’80s-obsessed baddie with truly villainous shoulder pads. As if that wasn’t enough, one final word will sell it to you: Minions!
Director: Mira Nair.
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Madina Nalwanga. South Africa/USA 2016. 124 mins.
Newcomer Madina Nalwanga stars in this fascinating and surprisingly tense account of ten-year-old Phiona Matesi’s journey from the Ugandan slums to international chess championships.
While selling corn in her home village, Phiona (Nalwanga) meets footballer-turned-missionary Robert Katende (Oyelowo, Selma, A Most Violent Year), who teaches chess to local children. Recognising her spirit and innate talent, Katende begins to mentor Phiona, teaming up with her impoverished mother (Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave) to help her fulfil her potential.
Celebrated Indian director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) was drawn to Phiona’s story after making a 2015 documentary about Katende. Aided by The Reluctant Fundamentalist scriptwriter William Wheeler, she has made a film that is as uplifting as it is revealing about life in one of Africa’s poorest countries.
Monsters Incorporated is the largest scare factory in the monster world, and James P. Sullivan is one of its top scarers. Sullivan is a huge, blue, furry monster and his scare assistant, best friend and roommate, Mike Wazowski, is a green, opinionated, feisty little one-eyed monster. Visiting from the human world is Boo, a tiny girl who goes where no human has ever gone before.
Director: Brian Fee.
Voices: Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Nathan Fillion, Cristela Alonzo. USA 2017. 109 mins.
Blindsided by the brash, hi-tech racer Jackson Storm (Hammer) and a new generation of sleek challengers, Lightning McQueen (Wilson), the plucky hero of the Cars franchise, struggles to keep up in the sport he loves. Hoping to get back in the game, he heads home to Radiator Springs, where he finds a willing accomplice in the spirited technician Cruz Ramirez (Alonzo). Tuned up, and inspired by words from his original mentor Doc Hudson (the late Paul Newman), ‘the little red race-car that tried harder’ sets out to prove that he’s still the best in the world. Directed by Brian Fee, the storyboard artist from Pixar’s brilliant Ratatouille as well as the two previous films in the franchise, Cars 3 has a lush, luminous texture and thrilling pace to it that will delight all comers.
Tired constant attacks on their colony, ants shrink a destructive boy, named Lucas, to their size and sentence him to live among them until he learns the errors of his ways. Guided by his insect guardians, Lucas discovers a world he never knew existed and soon joins forces with his new friends to combat an exterminator who threatens their colony.
Harry learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards, and possesses unique magical powers of his own. He is summoned from his life as an unwanted child to become a student at Hogwarts, a boarding school for wizards. There, Harry makes close friends that become his new family.
Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker.
Voices: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Oprah Winfrey, John Goodman, Terence Howard.
USA 2009. 97 mins.
Loosely based on E. D. Baker’s story The Frog Princess, Disney’s 49th animated feature harked back to the studio’s traditional hand-drawn animation and the golden age of its fairy tales, but starred an African-American princess for the first time. This joyous Broadway-style musical, set in the French Quarter of 1920s New Orleans and the bayous of Louisiana, rekindled cinemagoers’ love affair with classic Disney animation. But heroine Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) is a princess with a difference: a spirited and independent girl not looking to be rescued by any princes, who she sets about working hard to make her dream of opening her own restaurant a reality.
Director: Andrew Adamsons, Vicky Jenson.
Voices: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz.
USA 2001. 90 mins.
Sixteen years after SHREK quite literally ripped up the fairy book, this sharply scripted, irreverent comedy remains as boisterously hilarious as ever. Finding his swamp overrun by hordes of annoyingly jovial fairytale characters, grumpy green ogre Shrek (Myers) strikes a deal with the wicked Lord Farquaad. If he will undertake a perilous mission to rescue the princess of Farquaad’s dreams from the clutches of a fire-breathing dragon, he can have his swamp back. Accompanied by a donkey who never stops talking (Murphy) he sets out on his quest…
Director: Kevin Lima.
Starring: Amy Adams, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Dempsey.
USA 2007. 107 mins.
Classic Disney animation meets contemporary urban chaos when a princess is banished from her magical animated homeland to modern-day New York. Princess Giselle (Adams) lives in the blissful cartoon world of Andalasia, where magical beings frolic freely and musical interludes punctuate every interaction. She is engaged to the handsome Prince Edward (Marsden) but her fate takes a turn for the worse when the villainous Queen Narissa (Sarandon) banishes her to the unforgiving metropolis of New York. As the cruelty of the big city begins to wear down the frightened and once carefree princess, she soon finds herself falling for a friendly but flawed divorce lawyer (Dempsey) whose kind compassion has helped her to survive in this strange and dangerous new world.
10.30Christmas at Picturehouse: From It's A Wonderful Life to festive Screen Arts, discover our Yuletide programme.
Kids' Club: Exclusively for children and their parents or carers. Unaccompanied adults are not admitted.