Spark

A royal monkey prince saves the world from a Gaddafi style dictatorship; yes this is apparently the world we now live in.

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After years of believing he’s an orphan, Spark discovers a secret like no other as he sets off on a mission to save his planet from it’s currently fascist reign.

Though not distributed by a particularly well-known film studio, this animated adventure showcases brilliance on a seemingly low budget. From the animation itself, to the character compositions, the film surprises with its originality and plot commitment.

Whilst the film only has the voice-acting name of Jessica Biel to slap on its promotional posters, the lack of critically acclaimed actors and production team adds to it’s surprisingly successful execution.

The film is not in anyway perfect, but it does provide a stable footing on which to sell itself to audiences young and old, even if it doesn’t have the financial backing needed to make it into the box office charts.

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

With the general reading age of the book being for ages 8-14, the page to screen adaptation was never destining for cinematic greatness.

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Essentially, a boy named Greg, accompanied by his family, go on a summer road trip together and disaster ensues. 

Yes, you would be right to think this is basically a PG version of We Are The Millers.

As you might expect with a film predominantly aimed at children, the acting is painstakingly awful and at times you could probably have a goat stand-in and it’d have more talent. 

The story is somewhat interesting at best, and the main comedy aspect is best seen from a parental perspective, which showcases how truly terrible and irritating children can be. 

Unlocked

CIA films never get old, but they do, apparently, get longer.

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London is in a terror crisis, and it’s up to CIA agent, Alice Racine, to save the day. But as is the case with so many crime thrillers, such matters are never made easy.

In a plot twist that’s sure to make even Donald Trump double take, conspiracy theories get a whole new meaning as central intelligence gets a little less, well, intelligent.

With a cast that boasts the likes of Michael Douglas and Orlando Bloom, you can only hope for good things, but, alas, that’s about as good as this film gets; safe to say these two will be having harsh words with their management teams.

Despite the best efforts of the script-writers, this film just cannot get it’s feet off the ground, with each anti-climatic scene following the next, it’s a wonder there were so many cinema goers left in their seat by the time the end-credits rolled.

 

Their Finest

Authenticity, optimism and a dog; what else could you possibly need for a wartime film?

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A married woman and screenwriter find themselves thrown together in a 1940 war-tired Britain as they are commissioned with the dubious task of creating a film worthy of American style propaganda.

Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin take on the lead roles in this period drama, both of whom manage to fill their roles with heroic integrity and lighthearted humour. Whilst Bill Nighy claims a supporting role; a position which he fills with effortless talent and his ever-so-unique orchestra of hand movements.

The styling and costumes of both set and stars is conveyed with staggering ease, propelling the audience into 1940’s London with an instant glance.

The Direction too is nothing short of magnificent, but nothing else would be expected from Lone Scherfig, the director of similarly natured films such as An Education (2009) and The Riot Club (2014).

Though the story does have relentlessly unpleasant twists, the plot remains humble to its era and clearly everyone involved in the production has ensured the sincerity of the war remained an integral element.

Free Fire

Comedy, guns and violence; what more could you want?

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In an abandoned factory where an arms deal goes down, two gangs meet to discuss the technicalities, but when shots are fired, all hell breaks loose as each member fights for their survival.

What is so remarkable about this film is it’s simplicity; the whole film remains in one setting, a setting which barely alters and yet remains the base throughout. Similarly, the characters commit to each of their roles without hesitation and with tremendous authority.

Though the film is nothing but a shoot-out, it still manages to entice interest despite its basic concept, perhaps due to the depth of characters and the comedy that provides room for the mostly fast-paced environment.

It is a film that goes nowhere, but has everyone hooked from the offset.

 

The Boss Baby

Alec Baldwin is a baby with big dreams and a full nappy.

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A sibling rivalry like no other occurs when Tim, the first born, is forced to welcome his new baby brother with open arms. But this isn’t just any baby, it’s a boss baby, who arrives in a mysterious taxi, wearing a suit and carrying a brief case.

Though the animation is full of life and a colour pallet that is sure to capture any young audience member, it is hard not to question the likeness of character animations between this film and that of Sony Entertainments ‘Storks’; a film that graced our screens in late 2016. The similarity between the characteristics is simply uncanny and in some sense questions the originality of the Dreamworks animators.

The humour throughout the film does however bring comic relief to both adults and children alike, with some jokes only recognisable to an older audience, with a big focus upon where babies come from, a tender subject for even the most adept of parents.

Despite the copious amounts of advertising that has encapsulated this films release, the film itself, unfortunately, does not stand up to its expectations.

 

Smurfs: The Lost Village

The little blue guys are back. No, the cast of avatar haven’t borrowed Alice’s shrinking potion, it’s just the smurfs.

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Established in the 1980s, the Smurf’s are still going strong, though admittedly they’ve had a bit of animator makeover in recent years.

This new tale finds Smurf village in a little bit of a rut, as their only girl smurf is coming to terms with her lack of female company.

In Smurfette’s attempt to find purpose in an all boy village, she happens upon the location of a new smurf village, where all the smurf inhabitants are girls. However, the euphoria of this find is soon disturbed by the Smurfs greatest enemy; the wizard, Gargamel.

As with many family animations, this film fills the screen with eye popping colours and fantastical characters, with a fire-breathing dragon fly being one of the most notable inclusions.

Despite, fundamentally, being a  family-orientated adventure, the film manages to incorporate a more mature element of humour, to keep the adults from thinking they’re in an LSD induced coma. It is, therefore, a film to be enjoyed by the whole family.