COME AS YOU ARE

Cert 15 Stars 3

Based on the story of Asta Philpot, who was featured in a 2007 BBC documentary, this frank and funny real life road trip comedy-drama sees sex and disability go hand in hand as a squabbling trio of young men with disabilities attempt to lose their virginity by travelling to a Canadian brothel called the Chateau Paradise, whose motto gives the film its name.

An act of rebellion against their restrictive home life, their quest for sexual gratification becomes a bid for personal freedom, and although it takes an increasingly sentimental turn, stars Hayden Szeto, Ravi Patel and Grant Rosenmeyer are always entertaining.

THE SNOW QUEEN: MIRRORLANDS

Cert U Stars 3

Magic, mechanical mayhem, warring kingdoms and a battle between wizardry and science all feature in this upbeat and swashbuckling animated fairytale, an exciting and fun fable based on traditional European fairy tales and updated with the gloss of steampunk design and some superhero-style fisticuffs.

Gerda is the kind hearted, impetuous and brave young daughter of wizards who lives in a warm and sunny medieval kingdom, but she’s frustrated by a lack of power of her own.

Her land is ruled by a cruel king who favours science over magic and by exploiting their greed and gullibility of his subjects, begins to banish all magicians – including Gerda’s parents – to the Mirrorlands, the dreaded realm of the feared Snow Queen.

And so Gerda with her brother Kay, and friend Alfida, Gerda goes in pursuit of a magic key to free her loved ones and along the way discovers her own hidden powers.

The Snow Queen herself is a nicely acerbic monarch who although limited by a magic spell to her icy realm, is able to appear to Gerda as a ghostly spirit.

Yes it all feels a lot like a riff on Disney’s Frozen but on a creative level more akin to the animated capers of The Nut Job, or Tad The Explorer films.

There’s some jarringly out of place references to Alcatraz and suchlike and occasional use of modern slang but your little kids won’t care, they’ll be carried along by the epic sweep of the adventure on a journey of honey hued vistas. featuring lava lakes, giant rock monsters, and sky pirates.

However there’s a surprisingly intricate styling to the charming cityscapes, which feature robot-like street sweepers and trolley trams, and it’s full of slapstick silliness with mischievous and cute critters.

So it will entertain its target audience of your little ones, and without any songs to pad out the running time, it makes it’s a brisk enjoyable affair for the grown-ups.

AN AMERICAN PICKLE

Cert 12A Stars 4

Seth Rogen doubles up in this smart and satirical generational culture clash comedy drama, and the star of comedies such as Long Shot and Bad Neighbours puts his wide range to great use playing opposite himself as a violent yet dignified ditch-digger Herschel, and his great-grandson, an ineffectual and conniving computer programmer called Ben.

In 1920’s New York immigrant Herschel falls into a vat of pickle and is perfectly preserved for 100 years, not ageing a day.

Emerging in present-day Brooklyn, the success of the entrepreneurial Herschel’s market stall is threatened when his old fashioned values are aired on social media.

Simon Rich’s script satirises hipsters and their quest for authentic experiences, mocks the exploitative and contradictory notion of ethical online apps, and has pops at corporate food waste, the US treatment of immigrants and the lack of faith and family in modern life.

It’s the sort of quirky, inventive and heartfelt movie the Coen Brothers used to make before they won the Best film and directing Oscars for No Country For Old Men, and promptly forgot for a decade how to be funny.

PERFECT 10

Cert 15 Stars 4

Two young Brits make impressive screen debuts in this engrossing contemporary coming-of-age teen drama, a portrait of ordinary modern Britain powered by the youthful energy of its engaging central characters whose sweary aggressive attitude can switch in an instant to exuberant child-like joyfulness and optimism.

Frankie Box is a real life British gymnastics medalist turned actress who seems as comfortable treading the boards as she is balancing on the beam, and her perfect casting sees her showcase her gym skills while delivering a wonderfully unaffected performance.

As Leigh she’s an aspiring gymnast living with her dad on a housing estate who’s drawn into crime by the unexpected arrival of her older step-brother Joe, played with a pleasing swagger by Alfie Deegan. They’re a likeable, believable pair full of unrealised potential and horribly out of their depth among Joe’s criminal companions.

It’s a hugely accomplished and confident directorial debut by writer Eva Riley which bears comparison to Andrea Arnold’s 2009 gritty Essex drama Fish Tank, and though Perfect 10 doesn’t quite score full marks, it’s not far off.

THE FAIRY PRINCESS AND THE UNICORN

Cert U Stars 2

Magic and music take flight in this fantasy animated adventure based on the Bayala kids toy range and offers gentle entertainment aimed squarely at your little ones.

In a world divided into tribes of sun elves and shadow elves, the brave Princess Surah is a product of both regimes and must learn to control her growing magic powers while on a quest to recover a stolen dragon egg and prevent war.

Various story elements are reminiscent of fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty, but with all the darkness stripped out and replaced with pretty rainbow coloured design. Even the peril comes wrapped in giant swirls of purple neon ribbons.

An environmentally friendly message of kindness, co-operation, tolerance and acceptance can’t be sniffed at, there are fun comic sidekicks in the shape of pet wolves and parrots and skunks, all the principal characters are female, most of the men are foolish and the young girls are the heroes.

It’s not up to Disney’s standard, but if your kids are familiar with the characters they’ll probably enjoy it more than I did.

100% WOLF

Cert 3 Stars 3

Werewolves and dogs are at each other’s throats as a pair of pooches go on the run in this boisterous family animated fable from Australia, a coming-of-age spin on The Lion King, bundled up with pop songs, slapstick, supernatural spells and spy gadgets.

On his 14th birthday Freddy expects to follow in his late father’s paw prints and become a fully fanged werewolf, but as his nefarious uncle is plotting to make himself the leader of the pack Freddy finds himself transformed into a poodle instead, and he has until the next moonrise to recover the lost magical Moonstone.

It’s in the possession of a deluded ice cream man in his Bond villain-style high-tech lair, and to retrieve it Freddy teams up with a stray dog named Batty who offers some streetwise advice and the hint of romance.

Alexs Stadermann previously directed 2014’s kiddie caper Maya the Bee Movie and knows his target audience, so he keeps it fast-paced, funny, with decent production values and most important of all maintains a steady stream of pee jokes to amuse kids of all ages.

SUMMERLAND

Cert 12A Stars 4

Gemma Arterton continues to forge her a unique place in British cinema as she illuminates this expertly chosen, thought provoking and wonderfully crafted Second World War drama, which uses the relationship between her coastal recluse and a young London evacuee to become an uplifting meditation on love, longing and loss.

On her big screen directorial debut playwright Jessica Swale handles the changes of tone with absolute assurance, mixing aching melancholy with the giddy first flush of romance and heart-racing melodrama to powerful effect.

And Swale’s theatre experience inspires marvellous performances from a first rate cast, not just a wonderfully spiky Arterton who shows terrific range, but Lucas Bond as her unlooked for lodger, Dixie Egerickx as his precocious classmate, the dignified Tom Courtenay as their kindly schoolmaster, and a conflicted Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Aterton’s romantic partner.

With this mixed-race same-sex romance swirling around doomed pilots and visions of the afterlife, Summerland is a very 21st century response to 1946 classic A Matter of Life and Death, though it’s not so modern it can’t celebrate the simple joys of eating chips on the beach.

INFAMOUS

Cert 15 Stars 3

Online popularity and armed robbery race hand in hand  in this flashy and shallow crime thriller which sees a pair of small town teenagers go on an impromptu crime spree and catapult themselves to social media stardom.

Writer and director Joshua Caldwell precision-targets his older teenage audience with a fluorescent online video energy by anti-authority posturing, splashing huge text across the screen and drowning every shot in saturated colour and soundtracking it with pop, creating a contradictory examination of chasing acclaim through extreme behaviour.

It’s this year’s second 21st century update of Bonnie and Clyde, but thriller Queen & Slim possessed sharp commentary on racial prejudice, and this lacks the lyrical poetry of 1973’s Badlands, and lacks the phosphorescent star power and period glamour of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in the classic 1967 version.

The anti-heroes here are determinedly down market, Jake Manley improves as he relaxes into his role as the junior partner in crime, the barely articulate grease monkey Dean.

While as Arielle, former teenage star of the Disney channel Bella Thorne is a swaggers through an arresting and unrestrained confrontational performance as a cannon who’s not so much loose as scattershot and manic.

FLASH GORDON

Cert 12A Stars 5

Gordon’s alive, remastered and re-released for the 40th anniversary of his 1980 out-of-this-world swashbuckling comic book sci-fi action adventure classic.

Sam J. Jones is charmingly wooden as the unwitting hero Flash, who with Melody Anderson’s Dale Arden has only 14 hours to save the Earth from Max von Sydow’s tyrannical intergalactic warlord Ming the Merciless.

With future 007 Timothy Dalton as the dashing Prince Barin, Brian Blessed as the larger-than-life Prince Vultan, and accompanied by an iconic soundtrack by rock legends Queen, it’s a cosmic trip which must be seen on the big screen.

PROXIMA

Cert 3 Stars 12A

Bond girl turned Golden Globe nominated star of TV’s Penny Dreadful and recently seen as a scheming madame in mini-series The Luminaries, Eva Green takes her career to another level in this thoughtful and tender drama about an astronaut preparing to blast off on a year long mission.

As Sarah the arduous training puts Green through her physical paces, but that’s far easier than the emotional turmoil the script puts Sarah through, as the single mother has to make an impossible choice between her life long dream and her responsibility to her eight-year-old daughter, played with charm by young Zélie Boulant.

Whereas Ryan Gosling’s First Man and Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra see emotionally closed men go to space to bond with family, Sarah is desperate not to lose her emotional connection on Earth.

Written and directed by Alice Winocour, whose previous film was 2015’s powerful drama, Mustang, this is another well observed essay on female experience which similarly rejects loud macho showboating for quiet understatement, deep currents and subtle complexity.