Cert U Stars 3

Discover the secret life of the yeti in this warm-natured animated family adventure based on a book by the creator of the Despicable Me franchise.

Channing Tatum voices Migo, a member of a Bigfoot tribe who live in peaceful isolation in a mountain above the cloud line.

After falling out with the village elder, Migo is banished and meets a supposedly mythical Smallfoot, that is a human.

Percy is a video blogging naturalist voiced by James Corden, and in portraying a character conflicted between his integrity and achieving huge internet ratings, the Carpool Karaoke crooner proves he is indeed a great actor.

Pop star Zendaya plays Migo’s love interest, and contributes a couple of tunes which could have come from her previous film, The Greatest Showman.

Their hair-raising escapades are fast-paced and carry a message of openness and honesty, and though there’s not enough of the Wile E. Coyote-style slapstick, it’s a lot of amiable fun for the kids.


Cert 15 Stars 3

This soggy British seaside comedy drama is too content to coast on the considerable charm of its stars instead of pushing out the boat of its ambition.

It’s based on Nick Hornby’s 2009 novel, and film adaptations of his work are a mixed bag. 2000’s High Fidelity is brilliant, 2014’s A Long Way Down is execrable, and this one somewhere in the middle.

Rose Byrne’s art curator lives unhappily with Chris O’Dowd’s pathetic film studies lecturer, who is obsessed with Ethan Hawke’s reclusive rockstar.

Hero worship and human failings collide when the musician turns up in the fictional town of Sandcliffe, in reality picturesque Broadstairs, in Kent.

With some nice observations and a lot of wistful regret, it covers familiar Hornby ground such as men burying themselves in pop culture minutiae as a substitute for emotional engagement.

The scene with the most bite takes place in a hospital cardiac ward, but sadly no-one will die laughing at this.



Cert 12A Stars 3

Director Mike Leigh takes a blunderbuss to a historical slaughter and kills the drama stone dead in this sincere and serious epic which is devoid of subtlety.

A period companion piece to his superior 2014 Oscar-nominated biopic of the 19th century artist, JMW Turner, this centres on the Peterloo massacre of Monday August 16, 1819, when 60,000 people gathered peacefully in Manchester to demand Parliamentary reform and voting rights.

And in one of the most infamous acts of violence committed by the country against its own people, families were charged down by British cavalry, leading to hundreds of injured and fifteen deaths.

It’s a long wait for the grandly staged and suitably shocking sequence, and too much of what precedes too often feels like a heavy-handed history lecture with too little thought given to entertainment.

There are multitude of people milling about and seemingly all of them get to proclaim their political position, and at bum-numbing length. 

The closest we have to a lead character is Joseph, a PTSD-suffering infantryman who we follow from the battlefield of Waterloo in 1815, to his home town where he witnesses more carnage.

Joseph is a great example of how Leigh values dramatic irony over melodrama, spectacle and appealing characters.

And with barely a dark satanic mills in sight we’re told why the masses are crying ‘liberty or death’, but we never see or feel it.

However Leigh is good at showing how historical events are extraordinary messy affairs, full of competing egos, factions and agendas.

It’s suggested we don’t have to look far to find contemporary parallels of violent state oppression or blustering self-important politicians, but Leigh caricatures the upper-classes so broadly it undermines any intention to condemn them. 

Peterloo is a moment of British historical significance which will benefit from being far more widely known, but also one which deserves a far more compelling account.




Cert PG Stars 4

This live-action coming-of-age fantasy adventure is exciting, lavish, sentimental and sweet in Disney’s best tradition and should beguile its target audience of young girls.

It’s inspired by the book on which Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet score, and though there’s judicious use of his glorious music, this owes far more to The Wizard of Oz, The Chronicles of Narnia, and David Bowie’s Labyrinth.

Best known from the Twilight franchise, young Mackenzie Foy is an endearing science-loving heroine called Clara. On Christmas Eve at a grand ball she receives an intricate mechanical egg, bequeathed from her late mother.

Searching for a key to unlock her gift, Clara enters a magical world and discovers she’s a princess who must save three realms from the fourth dark one, the Land of Amusements. 

Accompanied by Jayden Fowora-Knight’s dashing Nutcracker, Clara encounters an army of life-size tin soldiers, a fearsome Mouse King, and Helen Mirren in whip-cracking form as a wicked witch called Mother Ginger. Smug posh comic, Jack Whitehall, has a thankfully very minor role as a fawning sentry.

Keira Knightley is a delicious delight who rules the film as the breathy-voiced Sugar Plum Fairy, having the time of her life in a performance and supercharges proceedings whenever she appears. 

Along with everyone else she wears fabulous costumes by Brit Oscar winning designer, Jenny Beavan, which are perfectly suited to the eye-popping and brightly coloured chocolate box set-design.

Two directors are credited and occasionally there are small indicators dance scenes have been retooled to suit a more conventional storytelling style and a crowd-pleasing framework.

Disney have been surprisingly low key about this film which is a shame as it deserves a big sell, but presumably they’ve occupied by the upcoming box office juggernaut, Mary Poppins Returns, as it rumbles up the track for Christmas.

In the meantime this is a lovely early treat which will enchant your little princess.