Director: Carlos Saldanha.
Voices: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Gina Rodriguez, David Tennant. USA 2017. 106 mins.
Ferdinand is a big bull with an even bigger heart. He enjoys the finer things in life – flowers, smaller fellow animals and the like. But after he’s accidently stung by a bee and charges rampantly across the fields, he’s captured by greedy brigands who see a big future for him fighting in Madrid’s bullring. Determined to return to his beloved family in rural Spain, Ferdinand rallies a team of misfits to try and escape. Working from Munro Leaf’s bestselling 1930s children’s book, writer-director Carlos Saldanha (Rio, Ice Age) has applied his considerable creative talents to deliver another animated crowd-pleaser. Its stars include Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters), David Tennant and Bobby Cannavale, with wrestler-turned-actor John Cena voicing the misunderstood steer.
Director: Jake Kasdan.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillian, Jack Black. USA 2017. 119 mins.
Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) reimagines the classical ‘Jumanji’ board game (Jumanji, 1995) when four badly behaved high school kids find a retro video game amongst some old junk they are clearing out for a detention. As they play, the teenagers are transformed into avatars they themselves created and whisked into the dense jungle on screen, with completion of the game the only escape. Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) leads the star-studded cast as gaming nerd Spencer in the character of Dr. Smolder Bravestone, who accepts the challenge of decoding the game. Karen Gillian (Guardians Of The Galaxy), Kevin Hart and Jack Black become the imaginary figures who must unite in their differences to take on the perilous trials of ‘Jumanji’.
Director: Trish Sie.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hailee Steinfeld. USA 2017. 93 mins.
Following their graduation, the Barden Bellas are back! And with some of them already struggling with post-college life, it’s a no-brainer when a former member of the all-girl vocal group, Aubrey (Camp), proposes they sign up for an overseas competition. But there’s a catch – the contest puts them up against bands that play actual instruments as well as sing. Regular scriptwriter Kay Cannon and co-producer Elizabeth Banks – who also plays Gail – help ensure that the action, the music and the laughs are delivered thick and fast, with returning stars Anna Kendrick, Ruby Rose, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow and the irrepressible Rebel Wilson on top form. There’s also added romance thanks to some hunky American soldiers, plus European sightseeing!
How do you follow The Force Awakens – a film that raked in two billion dollars at the box office and made the world fall in love with Star Wars all over again? That’s the mammoth task in the charge of The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson (Looper), who has lined up an epic adventure that challenges heroes old and new and delves deep into the mythology of the Force.
Plot details are scarce, but the late Carrie Fisher plays a major role, and Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro join the cast. The film’s beating heart, however, is the relationship between Rey and Luke. Rey finally comes face to face with the Jedi master on the island of Ahch-To, but he’s not the man she was expecting to find.
How do you follow The Force Awakens – a film that raked in two billion dollars at the box office and made the world fall in love with Star Wars all over again? That’s the mammoth task in the charge of The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson (Looper), who has lined up an epic adventure that challenges heroes old and new and delves deep into the mythology of the Force. Plot details are scarce, but the late Carrie Fisher plays a major role, and Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro join the cast. The film’s beating heart, however, is the relationship between Rey and Luke. Rey finally comes face to face with the Jedi master on the island of Ahch-To, but he’s not the man she was expecting to find.
Director: Sonia Kronlund.
Featuring: Salim Shaheen. France/Germany 2017. 86 mins. English, and Dari and French with English subtitles.
Salim Shaheen is the most popular and prolific actor-director-producer in Afghanistan. In a country at war, he’s made an astonishing 110 films over thirty years. A real movie buff and a showman, he makes films for the love of the craft, smuggling his work into town halls for community screenings and delighting audiences wherever he goes. Shining a spotlight on the man and his art, Sonia Kronlund follows the self-proclaimed ‘Prince of Nothingwood’ as he works on his latest project. The result is a rousing story of an endearing character who spends his life making his childhood dreams come true, and a celebration of the indomitability of cinema.
The wholehearted, accident-prone bear from deepest, darkest Peru returns with a second helping of his endearing brand of good-natured mischief. Happily settled in Windsor Gardens, Paddington takes on a variety of odd jobs to raise enough money to buy a very special book for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. But when the precious book is stolen, Paddington and the Browns have to track down the culprit.
Ben Wishaw again voices the lovable if hapless furry character, while Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins reprise their roles as his surrogate parents, Mr and Mrs Brown. Director/co-writer Paul King returns to ensure consistent appeal, and even adds some new characters to the fun, including Hugh Grant as a vain, fading actor and Brendan Gleeson’s fearsome safecracker.
The best known and most loved of Agatha Christie’s books returns to the big screen with a lavish setting, an all-star complement of passengers/suspects and a few new twists and turns to keep the audience guessing. Sir Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as the magnificently moustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, whose luxurious train ride turns into a chilling murder-mystery. Thirteen strangers become suspects when the locomotive is snowbound and a passenger is murdered. It’s up to Poirot to solve the unsolvable before the killer strikes again. One of the big questions for this whodunnit is who’sinnit, and the answer is practically everyone: the irresistible passenger list includes Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Dame Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi and Michelle Pfeiffer.