MOVIE ROUND-UP:This Week’s New Film Releases, Fri Sept 27-Thu Oct 3

NEW RELEASES

Ready Or Not (18)

When orphaned Grace (Samara Weaving) married Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), scion of the blueblood Le Domas games dynasty, she never thought till death us do part would apply so literally or so soon.  As part of the initiation into the family, at midnight new members are required to play one of the many games the family has devised or marketed over the years. And everyone has to abide by the rules, established by the great grandfather Victor in a deal with mysterious benefactor Le Bail, so as to avoid unspecified consequences. The card the new arrival most certainly does not want to draw is hide and seek. Which unfortunately, is precisely what Grace does, for the first time since the events of the 30-years earlier prologue.  She just has to stay hidden until dawn. The problem is that, while her husband, only just returned to the family fold, demurs and tries to help,  everyone else in the family, armed to the teeth with old-time crossbows, axes and guns,   is required to hunt her down so she can become  ritual sacrifice in the ‘games room’. So now, Grace, still in her full and increasingly torn and bloodied wedding get-up has to try and avoid demented patriarch Tony (Henry Czerny), Alex’s indifferent mother  (Andie MacDowell), ambivalent black-sheep brother Daniel (Adam Brody), his sisters, cokehead  Emilie (Melanie Scrofano) and the ill-named Charity  (Elyse Levesque),  her  numbskull husband  Fitch (Kristiann Bruun) and,  looking like a refugee from the Addams Family, the coldblooded Aunt Helene (a gloweringly wonderful Nicky Guadagni),  not to mention Emilie’s two kids and the butler (John Ralston), and stay alive. Something the   three maids, through a series of mishaps, find rather harder to accomplish. If she succeeds, legend has it that the family, in some sort of diabolic deal, will pay the price instead.

Essentially, this is another in spooky house cat and mouse genre, but, as written by Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy and directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, it marries the often bloody horror with the sort of sardonic  Gothic pastiche that distinguished the likes of  What We Do in the Shadows and  Tucker and Dale Meet Evil, the gallows humour (notably a scene involving Grace trying to steal a car that’s overriden by the service agent) increasing along with the blood and a rather gruesome encounter with the Goat Pit as it gathers to its confessedly Heathers-inspired climax.

You can read it as social/class satire, but it’s best enjoyed by just sitting back and watch the excellent, playing it knowingly straight Weaving transform from wide-eyed blonde to fuck you female rage and delivering the final line with crowd applauding aplomb.  (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC, Solihull; Empire Great Park; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe, West Brom; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

Don’t Let Go (15)

A police procedural with a paranormal slant, writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes looks to make a comeback after falling off the radar since his critically lauded Mean Creek debut 15 years, but ambition rather unfortunately outstrips achievement, as audiences become entangled in its parallel timelines plot.

David Oyelowo is Jack, an LAPD detective who, his brother (Brian Tyree Henry) being an unreliable ex-con drug dealer, has taken his teenage niece Ashley (Storm Reid) under his wing. So, he’s understandably distraught to turn up at the house and find the entire family, dog included, butchered. So, you can understand his confusion when, a few days later, he gets a call from the phone he gave Ashley and hears her voice on the other end.  Not a recording but in real time. Well, real time in that this is from four days earlier, before she was killed.

So, in a nutshell, his future and past selves are now in a race against the clock to find out who the killer is and prevent the murder from happening, he in the present talking to Ashley in the past (she thinking that his future is her now), as he gets her to track down who was in the car seen outside her house, getting himself shot in the process.  Not surprisingly, his boss (Alfred Molina) and best buddy fellow cop Bobby (Mykelti Williamson) are a little concerned about his mental state.

Although the identity of the killer becomes glaringly obvious to any casual student of the genre early on, it’s a potentially interesting narrative set up, and both Olewyo and Reid deliver serviceable performances. But the internal logic is shot through with holes. Why doesn’t Jack just get her to leave the city until the fateful day is over, why doesn’t she photograph the car number plate with her phone rather than struggle to scribble it on a  piece of paper and why can’t either of them text? Still, if you can overlook such niggles, the premise is enough to sustain engagement until the nerve-wracking final seconds as past and present collide. (Cineworld 5 Ways; Empire Great Park; Odeon Broadway Plaza Luxe; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

The Goldfinch (15)

Predicted to be one of the biggest flops in cinema history, while it has its flaws it’s hard to fathom why American audiences didn’t flock watch the birdy. However, likely more discerning literary-minded viewers here will better embrace this adaptation of Donna Tartt’s award-winning serendipitous novel. Opening with his adult self (Ansel Elgort) washing blood from his shirt and lining up a fatal overdose in his hotel room, the film flashes back to 13-year-old Theo (Oakes Fegley) admiring both the titular 17th century painting of a chained bird by Fabritius and the girl standing next to him at  the  New York Metropolitan Museum of Art when a terrorist bombing kills his mother, leading to him being taken in by the wealthy family of   nerdy schoolfriend Andy (Ryan Foust) where he grows close to art-loving matriarch Samantha Barbour (Nicole Kidman in familiar chilly mode). He also strikes up a friendship with Hobie (Jeffrey Wright), an antique furniture restorer whose business partner was killed in in the same explosion and who is now guardian to his granddaughter, Pippa (Aimée Lawrence), the girl from the museum who also suffered trauma.

However, just at the point it seems likely the Barbours will adopt him, his errant father Larry (Luke Wilson) re-emerges along with his trashy girlfriend Xandra (Sarah Paulson) and carts him off to an otherwise unoccupied road at the edge of the desert where he strikes up a friendship with fellow outsider Boris (Finn Wolfhard), a Ukrainian whose abusive father’s work has seen him move from country to country, who introduces him to both drink and drugs, the latter for which he develops  a particular fondness.  But then yet another family upheaval sees him flee back to New York where he reunites with Hobie and, as the film switches focus to the adult Theo, become his new salesman partner cum surrogate son and, eventually become engaged to the Barbour’s daughter, Kitsy (Willa Fitzgerald). Through all of this, Theo carries with him a yellow bag containing a package wrapped in newspaper, which he clutches close when in need of comfort. Inside is the Fabritius painting, a link to his mother but also a mark of the guilt he feels about her death. How he came to take it and obtain the ring he first presents to Hobie are explained towards the end, by which time Theo is being threatened by a client (Denis O’Hare) to whom he sold a doctored ‘antique’ and who has worked out that he has the painting, which has apparently been used as collateral by a Miami drug gang.

It’s a tangled storyline into which also arrives the now grown Boris (Aneurin Barnard) whose dodgy dealings have made him quite a success as well as the return of Pippa (Ashleigh Cummings) to a life reforged but build on deceptions, just as his impending marriage is looking more about the head than the heart.  However, despite the fractured narrative and, even if things slip into the melodramatic in the last act, director John Crowley and screenwriter Peter Straughan keep you involved and wanting to know where Theo’s journey is taking him and what has led him there, the strong core performances carrying it over some of the more uneven patches and the admittedly emotional coldness for much of its running time. At the end of the day, it warrants ignoring the sour word of mouth and giving it your trust. (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC, Solihull; Electric; Empire Great Park, Sutton Coldfield; Everyman; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe; Reel; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

 

The Last Tree (15)

Adopting the same child to man tripartite structure as Moonlighting and also concerning with questions of identity and culture, writer-director Shola Amoo weaves an at times dreamlike spell across his semi-autobiographical account of a young Nigerian-British boy’s coming of age and journey of self-discovery.

Femi (an endearing Tai Golding) is first introduced living an idyllic life with his white foster ‘nan’ Mary (Denise Black) in rural Lincolnshire, playing happily with his white schoolmates. But then his  mother, Yinka (Gbemisola Ikumelo) resurfaces and takes him away to live with her in a cramped tower block in inner city London where she imposes strict parenting, feeding him Nigerian food and beating him for any transgression while the other boys in his class mock his full name (Olufemi), getting him into trouble on his first day. Transition via a flickering screen to his teenage years (now played by Sam Adewunmi) and, feeling doubly betrayed by his foster and his birth mother,  he’s hanging with a  bad crowd, has developed an attitude and is failing in school. He’s a prime recruit as apprentice in waiting for slightly older smalltime drug dealer Mace (Demmy Ladipo) in what increasingly seems to be the only option open to him.

It will take an attraction to fellow outsider, blue braided Tope (Ruthxjiah Bellenea), who has her own issues with race and bullying, some tough love by his mother, an understanding dedicated teacher (Nicholas Pinnock), a return visit to Mary and a somewhat contrived trip to Lagos to finally meet his arrogant Christian pastor father before he can comes to terms with his heritage, his family, himself and who he wants to and could be

Amoo offers subtle indications of the confusion Femi feels, such as posters of Tupac on his bedroom wall and The Cure on his Walkman, and Adewunmi captures all this with a seething internalised performance that only really erupts in a moment of uncontained anger and another molten catharsis.  Ikumelo is excellent too in brining empathy to a figure who initially comes across as unsympathetic in her harsh treatment of her son, Amoo gradually revealing the paths she’s had to also journey. On the downside, the Tobe relationship doesn’t really go anywhere and the attempts to humanise Mace by suggesting he has turned to what he does as the only option to look after his family never really gel with the subsequent brutality he has dished out. At times bearing an early Ken Loach influence, at others, especially in the final stretch, that of Truffaut, juggling the poetic with harsh realism, this is an insightful; and important film, even if the title remains a mystery.  (Cineworld 5 Ways; Electric)

NOW SHOWING

Ad Astra (12A)

Essentially Apocalypse Now in space stirred with Solaris’s meditation on humanity and human emotion and a side helping of father-son issues,  director and co-writer James Grayhas crafted a slow, psychologically taut existential sci-fi anchored by a pared back, internalised performance from Brad Pitt that should earn him a place among the Oscar nominations.

The son of fabled veteran  astronaut Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), Roy (Pitt) is established in  his opening voice over narration as a focused, emotionally compartmentalised stoic loner whose pulse rate never rises under pressure, which, as we soon learn, has caused his childless marriage (to Liv Tyler) to collapse. The film opens in a vertigo-inducing sequence with him carrying out repairs on the  International Space Antenna, towering up from the earth, when an electrical surge hits, sending fellow workers plunging to earth, Roy turning off the power before he follows, eventually opening his parachute.

At the debriefing, he’s made privy to classified information regarding the mission to Neptune  in search of intelligent life on which his father disappeared 30 years earlier, the top brass informing him that they think his dad’s till alive and, likely having had a Col. Kurtz-like meltdown, is responsible for sending these power surges that may have the potential to wipe out all life in the universe. Now they want Roy, as the film’s Willard,  to undertake a top secret mission to Mars, via the regular lunar shuttle with its overpriced inflatable pillows,  to ostensibly send  a personal message out to his father, track down his Lima Project craft and bring him home.

In the process, as things go wrong and with an array of psychological evaluations, Roy finds himself increasingly contemplating  his own failings (“I’ve let so many people down”), the ambiguous relationship with his equally emotionally distant father,  the admiration that led him to pursue the same career and the fear of becoming the same emotionally closed, single-minded person. In the final act, in what has now become a rogue one-man search and destroy mission to Neptune (“In the end the son suffers the sins of the father” muses Roy as he prepares to face his demons), the two are reunited and abandonment issues are faced.

As such, despite moments such as a moon buggy mining war battle on the lunar surface (the Moon a tourist’s microcosm of Earth complete with Virgin Atlantic), a spacecraft confrontation with two crazed baboons,  and Roy’s need to escape from Mars,  it’s a fairly narratively simple affair, but one handled with a sense of measured, at times clinical, control and attention to detail that calls Kubrick to mind. It isn’t all smooth running, Donald Sutherland is briefly introduced as an old friend of  Roy’s father who’s intended to accompany him and summarily removed from the plot once he’s delivered the necessary information, but, driven by the interior monologues, its visual and psychological ambition is huge, proferring the notion that  setting out in search of new frontiers is not to explore but to escape. If you’re expecting some galactic action movie then steer clear, but if you want to take a journey into the mind’s inner space, then these stars will guide your path.  (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC, Solihull; Empire Great Park, Sutton Coldfield; Everyman; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe; Reel; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

Angel Has Fallen (15)

The first film, Olympus Has Fallen, a knock off White House Down, the second essentially the same but in London, Gerard Butler returns for a third time as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, personal bodyguard to Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) who has moved up the political ladder to become President. Although still a one-man army, this time round, directed as by directed by ex-stuntman Ric Roman Waugh, Banning is feeling the effects of his close combat career, afflicted by an array of aches and pains (which he’s kept under wraps), and wondering whether he should take a desk job as the Secret Service Director, not that this seems to stop him racking up a small war bodycount as the film progresses.

While out on a fishing trip, along with numerous agents, the President is attacked by dozens of armed drones that leave everyone dead save for Banning (although targeted, the strike is cancelled); however, with Trumbull in a coma, having been saved by Banning, there’s no way to refute FBI  agent Thomson’s (Jada Pinkett Smith) assertion that he was responsible for the assassination attempt, especially given his DNA’s all over the van used for the launch and that he’s got millions in a secret offshore account, apparently funded by the Russians.

Escaping when his detail is ambushed en route to prison, the rest of the film sees him setting out to clear his name, take down those who’ve set him up, prevent a second attempt on Trumbull’s life and, in the process, reuniting with his estranged, conspiracy theory off the grid dad (a heavily bewhiskered scene-stealing Nick Nolte) from whom Banning clearly inherited an affinity or firearms and explosives.

Opening with a mock exercise testing out a training ground for best friend turned private contractor Wade Jennings (Danny Huston), you don’t need a degree in film analysis to know he’s going to be the bad guy (indeed, the film reveals as much early in), just as Tim Blake Nelson as the hawk-like acting President who, opposed Trumbull’s refusal to involve for-profit private contractors to supplement the military and wants to go to war with Russia is patently not to be trusted.

Although Banning’s wife is now played by Piper Perado rather than Rhada Mitchell (and rather shortchanged in the screenplay), pretty much everything else follows the template laid down in the previous films and as such delivers exactly what you expect, climaxing with an extended explosive hospital shoot out and  the bad guy’s wince-inducing last line. Generic nonsense, but Angel has sufficiently strong wings to keep it aloft.  (Cineworld NEC, Solihull; Odeon Broadway Plaza Luxe; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

Dora And The Lost City Of Gold (PG)

Debuting in 2000, while probably unlikely to have been named for the Stackridge song, the first animation to star a female Latina protagonist, part adventure, part educational, Dora the Explorer, a sort of junior wide-eyed innocent Lara Croft,  ran on Nickelodeon for six years and is still screened as reruns. Now, directed by James Bobin, she makes her live action debut starring an indefatigably charismatic Isabela Moner, recently seen in Instant Family. Initially a seven year old, as in the TV series, after a brief set-up, this cuts to her as a young teen, living in the South American jungle with her archaeology professor explorer parents (Eva Longoria and Michael Peña), who are about to embark on a quest to find the fabled lost Inca city of Parapata. She’s hoping to join them, so is disappointed to find she’s being sent on a different adventure, exploring the world of American high school in Los Angeles where’s she’s reunited her cousin and childhood best friend Diego (Jeff Wahlberg).

Suffice to say, after a brief dalliance with familiar high school misfit sequences, during a trip to the local museum she’s abducted by a trio of mercenaries looking to track down her parents and seize the fabled treasure. She’s not alone, also taken captive are Diego and two classmates, nerdy outsider Randy (Nicholas Coombe) and bitchy, insecure queen bee Sammy (Madeleine Madden) who feels threatened by Dora’s intelligence. Arriving back in South America, they’re swiftly rescued by Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez), an old friend of Dora’s parents and, joined by Dora’s pet monkey, Boots (voiced by Danny Trejo),  they set off to find Cole and Elena before the treasure hunters do.

Needless to say, the journey will involve an assortment of be yourself life lessons, a betrayal and,  inevitably, Dora’s penchant for bursting into spontaneous made up songs (including one about doing a poo in the jungle) before climaxing in the lost city as they’re confronted by its guardians, led by an ancient Inca princess (Q’orianka Kilcher).

Resolutely pitched at a young audience, there’s virtually no concessions for the grown ups, who may well find Dora’s resolutely irrepressible upbeat  nature and energy a tad irritating. Kids, on the other hand, should be swept up by what is, in essence, a return to the old days of Saturday matinees that also inspired the like of Indian Jones.  In addition the puzzles to be solved, there’s nods to the original series when the characters inhale an hallucinatory pollen and find themselves transformed into cartoons, Boots retains his far from realistic-looking appearance and,  along with early scenes of Dora talking to the camera, dispensing with any notions of reality, the bad guys are abetted by Swiper (voiced be Benicio Del Toro), the masked, talking fox from the cartoons. The film even sneaks in Dora’s talking backpack. Great fun. (Empire Great Park; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe, West Brom; Reel; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

Downton Abbey (PG)

Three years on from closing the front doors on the long-running TV series, the ensemble cast is back pretty much en masse (though Matthew Goode doesn’t turn up until the last act) for the much anticipated big screen feature.  At which point I should admit that, while I’ve caught parts, and am certainly enough to be familiar with the characters and the storyline, I’ve never seen an episode.  But, even if you’re not totally au fait, while knowing the backstory to the Crawley family and their staff helps, this works perfectly well as a standalone. The central plot is that, at the start of the film,  the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) receives a letter from Buckingham Palace announcing that King George (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) will be descending on Downton for one night as part of their tour of Yorkshire before proceeding to a Grand Ball. Which naturally throws everyone into a  flap and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) deciding that butler Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) isn’t up to snuff asks Carson (Jim Carter), the former master of the house whose palsy seems to have conveniently cleared up, to come back and oversee things.

Around this creator and screenwriter Simon Fellowes juggles numerous subplots, primarily the downstairs staff’s rebellion, led by ladies maid Anna (Joanna Froggatt) and valet Bates (Brendan Coyle), against the imperious takeover by the King’s retinue, most specifically his butler (David Haig), French chef (Phillipe Spall) and mistress of the house (Richenda Carey), the latter two respectively putting Mrs Patmore (Lelsey Nicol) and Mrs Carson’s (Phyllis Logan) noses out of joint; the reluctance by scullery maid Daisy (Sophie McSheera), who turns out to not be a big monarchist, to discuss her wedding to footman Andrew (Michael C.Fox); the unhappy marriage of the Princess Royal (Kate Phillips); the insouciant Mary’s thoughts about calling running Downton a  day; and the feud between the Dowager (Maggie Smith with her usual waspish lines) and her estranged cousin, Lady Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton), the Queen’s widowed Lady-in-Waiting to name her maid, Lucy (Tuppence Middleton) as heir rather than Robert, the Earl.

Amid all this, there’s also still room for some half-hearted add ons such as the unmasking of a light-fingered royal servant, Irish widower son-in-law Tom Branson (Allen Leech) to foil an assassination attempt and even a sequence involving a secret gay club in York.

With the returning cast also including Elizabeth McGovern (Countess Grantham), Penelope Wilton (Isobel Grey),  Laura Carmichael (Edith Crawley), Kevin Doyle (Joseph Molesley, overcome at the prospect of serving royalty) alongside pivotal sub-plot appearances by Stephen Campbell-Moore and Max Brown, it’s both as lavishly appointed and as frothily superficial as you’d expect with no real drama of any sort that can’t be overcome with the stroke of  a computer key, everything ending happily, even given the swan song announcement by one of the major characters should Fellowes contrive a sequel. In a Britain where order seems to have taken leave, it offers a perhaps cosy reassurance of a time when everyone knew their place and duty, and as such its devoted audience will embrace its nostalgia with a big hug.  (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC, Solihull; Empire Great Park, Sutton Coldfield; Electric; Everyman; Mockingbird; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe, West Brom; Reel; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

The Farewell (PG)

“Based on an actual lie” reads the opening statement, writer-director Lulu Wang’s second feature, the dialogue mostly in Mandarin with some English,  an expansion of a true story about Wang’s own grandmother already told as an episode of the This American Life TV series. The lie in question is the decision by her extended, scattered family not to tell  family matriarch Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou) that, as her younger sister, Little Nai Nai (Lu Hong), informs them, has stage 4 lung cancer terminal cancer and only   months to live.

Instead, they use the excuse of a  grandson’s’ wedding to his Japanese girlfriend of three months (Aoi Mizuhara) to variously return home from America and Japan to Changchun for the marriage and the banquet Nai Nai is organising, to say their goodbyes, everyone under strict instructions not to let the cat out of the bag. That, most especially, includes her granddaughter Billi (Awkwafina) who moved to New York with her family when she was a child, but has kept up a close relationship. She’s horrified that Chinese practise means the diagnosis is being kept secret and, while her parents,  boozy, hangdog-looking father (Tzi Ma) and acerbic, emotionally distant  (“Chinese people have a saying: When you get cancer, you die”) mother (Diana Lin) insist she stay behind because she can’t hide her emotions, although financially strapped (and having just heard she’s not getting a  Guggenheim Foundation grant), she flies out anyway.

As such, what ensues is a finely judged farce of  deceptions that takes in a whole range of prickly family dynamics involving long simmering resentments, jealousies, snobbery and snide put downs, all of which Billi looks upon with increasing frustration and annoyance while also having to deal with her feelings of guilt,  detachment from her native country and what family and home really mean.

Hitherto best known for her broad comic turns in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s Eight, Awkwafina proves she can also be a finely nuanced serious actress, conveying her emotional struggles with a look or a hesitation in the way she speaks. But she’s also supported by a  superb ensemble cast, most notably the wonderful Zhou as the granny who long since stopped filtering her feelings (and, given she did the same with her late husband, likely knows what’s going on but plays long), Lin with her barely contained hostility towards her China-based sister-in-law’s hypocritical social pretensions,  and, in a largely physical performance involving a drunken wedding karaoke session, Chen Han as  Hao,  the dim bulb son of   Hiyai’s elder brother, whose wedding  has been swiftly arranged (in an amusing scene Nai Nai insists they say they’ve been dating for a year so people don’t think the bride’s pregnant).

Bittersweet with a gentle disarming humour, it’s an affectionate portrait of family  and cultural identity that deftly steers clear of sentimentality to end on a swelling slo mo euphoria and feelgood dramatic irony note in the final credits, a film that leaves you with a warm, fuzzy glow and perhaps the feeling to reconnect with those distant elderly relatives you’ve not seen in years. (Cineworld 5 Ways; Electric; Odeon Broadway Plaza)

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (12A)

The first of the Fast & Furious spin-offs, this reunites alpha male rivals Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who are forced to reluctantly team up when the latters’s MI6 agent sister,  Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), prevents Snowflake,  a deadly bio-engineered virus, from falling into the hands of dastardly multinational Eteon who want to unleash it on the world by injecting it into her own body. On the run after being framed for killing her own team, L.A.-based Diplomatic Security Service freelancer Hobbs  and London-based Cockney mercenary Shaw  are respectively recruited by agents Locke (Ryan Reynolds, reunited with Deadpool 2 director David Leitch), Hobbs’ former partner and self-appointed best-friend, and Loeb (Rob Delaney) to track her down. Though initially refusing to work together, they have no choice when Hattie’s abducted by Eteon’s bionically-enhanced supersoldier, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a veritable ‘black Superman’ with super strength, and bulletproofing,who has history with former partner  Shaw (as in being shot between the eyes when he tried to kill him), which, the pair now framed as international terrorists, means getting the Russian scientist who created Snowflake (Eddie Marsan) to remove it from Hattie’s body before the clock counts down and it goes live.

All of which essentially serves as an excuse from a series of insult trading, dick-measuring banter between the two muscle men, various high speed car/bike/truck chases, over the top fights and globe trotting locations (Chernobyl included) before climaxing back at Hobbs’ home in Samoa, which he’s not seen since leaving (for reasons later explained) 25 years earlier and the family his young daughter Sam (Eliana Sua) doesn’t even know exists. Indeed, family provides the running theme here, Hobbs and Shaw both reconnecting with their respective estranged brother, engineer-whizz Jonah (Cliff Curtis), and sister, while Helen Mirren pops up in a  cameo as the Shaw siblings’ now incarcerated mom (Queenie).

Forever winking at the camera, Johnson and Shaw make for hugely entertaining mismatched buddies, each with their own personal fighting styles (basically bludgeon/martial arts), the latter returning to his roots for the final showdown Samoan style, while Elba strides through with charismatic bad guy cool and Kirby suggests she could handle a franchise of her own., With a Reynolds end credits sequence setting up the sequel, Mirren, Eiza Gonzalez as Russian merc Madame M and a cameoing Chris Tucker as an air marshall keen to get back into the thick of things, all clearly lined up to join the team,  the only question is will there be a popcorn bucket big enough. (Empire Great Park; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe; Vue Star City)

Hustlers (15)

Needing to make money to care for her elderly grandmother (Wai Ching Ho scoring an amusing moment telling how she danced with Frankie Valli), Destiny (Constance Wu) takes a job as pole/lap dancer at Moves, a New York strip club where, her tips from the leering creeps are largely taken as ‘commission’ by management and bouncers,  she’s taken under the wing of  single mother star turn Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) who teachers her how to get Wall Street types in the profitable private session champagne room peeling off those $100 bills and to “Drain the clock, not the cock”. Things are good until the crash of 2008 pretty much wipes out their clientele. For a while the women go their separate ways, Destiny gets pregnant and finds it hard to get employment., But then the two are fortuitously reunited  with Ramona introducing her to the art of fishing, luring in their marks, getting them drunk and then maxing out their credit cards.  Joined by fellow dancers Annabelle (Lili Reinhart), who can vomit on cue (and also on other less fortunate occasions) and Mercedes (Keke Palmer), they turn from drink to drugs, spiking their marks’ booze and taking them for all they can. Cue shopping, champagne swigging and singing and dancing sequences. Inevitably, at some point, one of the targets decides to bite the bullet of his shame and go to the cops.

Based around the true story of the New York gang of women who, led Samantha Barbash, hustled, drugged and fleeced a string of Wall Street (here soundtracked to Scott Walker’s Next) and adapted from an article by journalist Jessica Pressler (Julia Stiles to whom Lopez and Wu tell their stories), writer-director Lorene Scafaria  has crafted a Scorsese-like (though he actually passed on the script)_ female Goodfellas about female empowerment  and friendship with bonds that can even survive self-protecting betrayal set in a milieu where, as well as making loads of money, weaponising their sexuality, the women excuse the morality of what they’re doing as a form of modern day Robin Hood (as the press termed it) revenge on the bankers and the like who screwed the public, caused economic disaster and walked away from it unpunished.  It’s hard not to feel these guys with their sense of entitlement get all they deserve. Especially when they go back for more. As Ramona puts it, “This whole country’s a strip club. You’ve got people tossing the money and people doing the dance.”

Electrifyingly directed, photographed and acted with razor-sharp dialogue, it’s bolstered by small but hugely effective turns from the likes of  Cardi B, Lizzo and Madeleine Brewer as fellow dancer-hustlers, Mercedes Rhuel as the dancers’ protective and complicit mother figure at the club and even a cameo by Usher as himself. However, it’s Wu (who, as the initially innocent Destiny affords the moral centre when she has qualms about one of their marks) and, more particularly, Lopez who are the film’s fierce heart, the latter delivering a commanding performance (and a dazzling display on the pole to Fiona Apple’s Criminal) that obliterates in a  moment all the crap she’s appeared in recent years and which is already generating Oscar buzz. A film for the MeToo times and one that, given the end credit notes,  makes you want to find out more about the real Samantha and Roselyn Keo and where they are today. (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC, Solihull; Empire Great Park, Sutton Coldfield; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe, West Brom; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

It: Chapter Two (15)

Doggedly nudging well past the two and half hour mark, returning director Andy Muschietti’s sequel to the film that prompted the Stephen King screen revival picks things up 27 years on from the original, a somewhat random period time that will mark the return of Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård, not given as much to do this time round), the fearmongering supernatural killer clown. So when, following the clown’s return in the wake of a gay bashing murder (that’s never mentioned again),  kids start vanishing again from the Maine town of Derry, the now grown Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) gets back in touch with his fellow former members of the Losers Club, all of whom left Derry and forged new lives. So, that’s former fat kid Ben (Jay Ryan) who’s become a hunky, wealthy property developer, the ever nervous hypochondriac Eddie (James Ransone), now a risk assessor,   Bill (James McAvoy), who’s parlayed  a career as a bestselling novelist into a Hollywood screenwriter (who, in an in-joke about criticism of King, can’t write a satisfactory ending),  bespectacled Richie (Bill Hader) is a bitter stand-up comic, while erstwhile  tomboy Beverly (Jessica Chastain) is stuck in a marriage to a rich but abusive husband.

Getting the call to return to Derry, all duly gather in the local Chinese, the only one of the original crew missing being Stan (Andy Bean), for reasons presaged early one, revealed later and given resonance in the final scenes, but it seems none them can actually clearly remember what happened back when they were kids. Now, this might be because It’s not dead, it might be they repressed the trauma or perhaps because the screenwriters want to pad out the narrative with subplots in which each of them have to face the ghosts of their past (such as Ben still blaming himself for his brother’s death and seeking redemption by trying to save the kid who now lives in his old house) in order to gather the personal ‘artefacts’ needed to complete the ancient Native American ritual Michael says will kill It forever.

Suffice to say that after the five diversions, they all gather at It’s hidey hole (the creature having been revealed as arriving from outer space millennia ago) to carry out the ritual. Naturally, it doesn’t go smoothly.

Interspersed with flashbacks to their younger days (reuniting the original young cast of  Jaeden Martell, Wyatt Oleff. Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard. Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs and Jeremy Ray Taylor), it explores the personal traumas and demons that haunt them still while also, in a somewhat unnecessary tangent, also reintroducing  the murderous Henry Bowers (Teach Grant) who’s been locked up in a  mental institution since the first film.

There’s some effective CGO in the film’s many hallucinatory moments such as the creepy creatures emerging from fortune cookies, the old dear in Bev’s childhood apartment who transforms into a naked  monster hag, a decapitated head on spider legs  and, of course, the various forms Pennywise takes on. Along the way, there’s numerous references to other horror series, such as Nightmare On Elm Street and even a reprise of that famous line from The Shining as Bev finds herself in a toilet filling with blood, the film, variously scary and comic, finally resolving itself as a story of  friendship,  self-acceptance (with a half-hearted romantic triangle tossed in) and finding closure, for not just the Losers but the saga itself. And, while the ride’s compelling, not before time.  (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC, Solihull; Empire Great Park, Sutton Coldfield; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe, West Brom; Reel; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

The Kitchen (15)

Based on a somewhat obscure DC comic, Straight Outta Compton co-writer turned first time director Andrea Berloff, serves up a warmed over variation on Widows  considerably drained of flavour. Set in Hell’s Kitchen in the late 70s, when their respective husbands, low rent Irish-American mobsters Jimmy (Brian d’Arcy James), Rob (Jeremy Robb) and the gang boss’s brother Kevin (James Badge Dale) get sent down for three years in an attempted robbery, their wives, mother-of-two Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), abused Claire (Elizabeth Moss) and Ruby (Tiffany Haddish), who, being both black and uptown has never been accepted as part of the family, find themselves financially stretched. The ‘family’ support money promised by Kevin’s brother, bully boy Little Jackie (Myk Watford), not enough to cover the rent, Kathy persuades the others to join her in taking over collecting the neighbourhood protection money, promising the assorted businesses that they’ll be more effective than the men.  This, of course, doesn’t sit too well with Little Jackie or his mother, Helen (Margo Martindale) who’s still very much involved behind the scenes. And the three are warned that they should get out or face the consquences.  When the consequences come calling on Claire in an attempted rape by Little Jackie, she’s saved by the sudden reappearance of Gabriel (Domhnall Gleeson), a sociopathic former mob hitman and old flame timely back from Vietnam  to put a bullet in Little Jackie’s head and introduce the women to the fine art of dismembering and disposing of a body, a task Claire takes to with relish.

With their boss gone, the men soon fall into line and the trio  are ruling the roost, cleaning up the streets and pulling in a fortune. However, when Kathy decides she wants to help the Irish construction workers, of which her father is one, and pressures (a bullet in the head) the local Hasidic businessmen into employing them, she attracts the attention of Italian mob moss Coretti (Bill Camp) in Brooklyn who supply their own men for the jobs. However, a mutually beneficial deal is brokered but then the bombshell drops that the husbands are getting out early and that they’re going to want to reassume their old positions and ways and won’t take kindly to having their women doing men’s work. Clearly they or  the husbands have to go.

With an underwritten screenplay (which also entails  a scrappy subplot involving Common as an FBI agent) that pulls double crosses and confrontations out of thin air, the film loads up casual violence, sometimes to awkwardly comic effect, but never really conjures any sense of tension.  While Berloff never brings any real sense of character to Hell’s Kitchen itself, the leads do their best with the clunky dialogue and unfocused direction, Moss arguably the strongest of the three. However, while audiences are clearly intended to root for them over the way they’ve been treated in a  male dominated society,  their journey to self-empowerment (cued by such songs as Barracuda and Gold Dust Woman ) leaves an unpleasant taste given that, at least in terms of Ruby and Claire, they’re no less brutal or ruthless than their male counterparts, as the film hobbles towards its implausible and underwhelming conclusion. There’s no heat in this kitchen.  (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC, Solihull; Empire Great Park; Odeon Broadway Plaza Luxe)

The Lion King (PG)

Given, there being no human characters unlike director Jon Favreau’s previous revamp of The Jungle Book, the fact that this is all CGI  makes it a little disingenuous to call it a live action remake. However, such is the degree of photorealism as regards both the landscapes and animals, that it would be easy to believe this is actual flesh and fur, earth and water. It’s hard to imagine anyone who isn’t familiar with the 1994 animated original, itself a riff on Hamlet,  so, again opening with the Circle of Life gathering at Pride Rock,  this virtual shot by shot, line by line update  won’t hold any narrative surprises surprises, indeed the main difference lies in ditching the annoying Morning Report song, rendered here as dialogue from Zazu, the red-billed hornbill factotum. The thrill comes, instead, from seeing the characters in such three-dimensional  form, the hyenas even more scary-looking while the CGI incarnations of warthog Puumba Seith Rogan) and meerkat Timon (Billy Eichner) are a delight, especially in the way the former, all bristles and tusk, trots along like  dainty ballerina. They still sing Hakuna Matata and even get to make a filmic in joke about how, having fled the Pridelands believing himself responsible for the death of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones reprising his role), in stampede, the young Simba (JD McCrary) grows into the adult lion (Donald Glover) in the course of the song while they still look the same. They also sing a snatch of Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast.

There’s no new additions (though a couple of hyenas are renamed), but all the familiar characters are present and correct with an impressive array of appropriately African-American vocal talent that includes Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, Simba’s mother, John Kani as mandrill shaman Rafiki, Beyoncé, in a slightly expanded role, as Nala, Simba’s childhood best friend and future love interest who not only gets to duet on Can You Feel The Love Tonight but has her own all new song, Spirit, while Shahadi Wright Joseph from the original Broadway cast is the young cub and Chiwetol Ejiofor is superbly sly as Simba’s treacherous uncle, Scar. Whether the revamp has any point beyond the technical accomplishments is open to debate, but it certainly deserves to be a  roaring success. (Cineworld NEC, Solihull; Empire Great Park; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe, West Brom; Reel; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (18)          

Reuniting with both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, and teaming them together (in masterclass performances steeped in gleeful self-irony) on screen for the first time, Quentin Tarantino’s  ninth film is again awash with 60s pop culture references, from the music of the era to spaghetti Westerns and vintage American TV shows.   Some are obvious, others, such as a brief glimpse of a Kid Colt comic are throwaways while others let savvy audiences draw the dots, such as a Playboy Mansion party that (aside from a cameo by Damien Lewis as Steve McQueen) captions Michelle Phillips from the Mamas and Papas knowing that viewers will automatically know her more amply proportioned friend is Mama Cass.

A revisionist take on Hollywood lore and history, the loose plot pivots around Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), the this functioning alcoholic faded star of a TV Western called Bounty Law  whose action movie career never took off and is now reduced to playing the bad guy opposite the new rising names, and his long-time stunt-double, driver, general gofer and best buddy Cliff Booth (Pitt) an easy going,  self-assured war hero (and, echoes of Natalie Wood, wife killing) who lives in a crappy trailer next to a drive-in with his Rottweiler, Brandy.

Currently being directed by Sam Wanamaker (Nicholas Hammond) as the guest villain to Timothy Olyphant’s hero in a Western series called Lancer (which also features Scoot McNairy and the late Luke Perry), although initially reluctant, an opportunity for Rick to reinvent himself comes via fan and agent Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino) who hooks him up with the second best director of Spaghetti Westerns to make things like Kill Me Quick, Ringo, Said the Gringo and Bond knockoff Operazione Dyn-o-mite, and from which he returns a married man.

Running parallel to this is a storyline involving Rick’s new neighbours on Cielo Drive, hot new director Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) and his actress wife Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) the latter of whom was murdered (while heavily pregnant) along with four friends (including ex-fiance, Jay Sebring, here played by Emile Hirsch) by four of Charlie Manson’s followers on, as the Neil Diamond song presages, a hot August night which was regarded as the end of an era. The narratives are further interlinked when (as allegedly did Dennis Wilson from The Beach Boys) Cliff gives Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) a toke-dealing hippie a lift to her commune on the disused Spahn Movie Ranch where he has a run-in with her fellow cult members, notably the intimidating Squeaky (Dakota Fanning), and a brief cameo with Bruce Dern.

Littered with vintage clips, pastiches, billboards, posters, cinema marquees (at one point Tate goes to watch herself in a Dean Martin Matt Helm movie) and punctuated with a wealth of songs from the era, as the film builds nail-bitingly to its climax, Tarantino, brilliantly abetted by  cinematographer Robbie Richardson, production designer Barbara Ling and costumer Arianne Phillips, delivers one knockout sequence after another. Notable standouts among these include a fight between Cliff and a smug Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) on the set of The Green Hornet (which also features a Kurt Russell cameo) and a backlot moment involving Rick and  a precocious eight-year-old method actor (Julia Butters) on the set of Lancer, which, after he flubs his lines due to too much booze, results in a gripping take which she tells him was the best acting she’s ever seen. You’re inclined to agree.

In a breathtakingly audacious move only Tarantino would have the nerve and the ability to bring off, the accumulating tension ends with the bloodbath of August 8, 1969 as, armed with knives and a pistol,  Family member Tex and three girls make their way up Cielo Drive. Real movie stars, a real director, a helluva movie. (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC; Empire Great Park; Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe; Reel; Vue Star City)

Rambo: Last Blood  (18)

Eleven years on from the underwhelming eponymous fourth and supposedly final entry into the franchise, Sly Stallone resurrects his troubled army vet  for yet another final outing. Now retired and living in his ranch which he shares with family friend, Maria (Adriana Barraza), and her granddaughter Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), who, after being abandoned by her dad, he treats like his own niece, when she says she’s tracked her father down and wants to visit him in Mexico to get closure he forcefully advises against it. Naturally, she goes anyway and, betrayed  by a  supposed friend, winds up being abducted by a sex trafficking cartel. Inevitably Rambo goes after her and, after exerting some bone cracking pressure on the middleman supplier,  tracks down the gang headed up by the ruthless Martinez brothers, Hugo (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and Victor (Óscar Jaenada),only to end up getting a  bludgeoning, leaving him with a vicious scar on his face (same cheek as in First Blood Part II), a punishment also afflicted, along with a forced drug addition, by Gabrielle, and left alive by  Hugo to endure the pain of knowing her fate.

However, patched up (though warning of concussion effects are summarily forgotten) with the help of an investigative journalist (a cursorily functional Paz Vega) who has her own grudge with the cartel, he returns, smashes a few skulls, decapitates Victor and takes off with the girl, who dies in in the seat next to him. Knowing Hugo will come after him, he plans out his revenge booby-trapping the farm, the house and the tunnels under the land (it’s never explained why he actually has tunnels or why the place is like a small armoury) and then, like the audience, sits back to await the Mexicans as they rush to their bloody deaths in a  sort of grislier version of Home Alone.

There’s  a cursory moment where he confesses that his savage side’s never gone away, just kept pushed down (cue swallowing handfuls  of pills), and is duly let  loose for yet another killing spree.  With the Mexicans all utterly despicable sadistic bad guys who patently deserve that they get, while Stallone taking the occasional moments to soulfully emote his emotional pain, once it gets to the third the film moves efficiently (and with a concise 89 minutes running time) from bloody and gruesome death to the next, head being blown off, bodies skewered, riddled with bullets, set aflame dismembered while saving Hugo to the last to he can feel his heart being ripped out like Rambo did.

The fact that he keeps his shirt on throughout signifies this as Stallone in serious dramatic rather than muscleman mode and there’s some affecting moments between him and his niece, but otherwise this is standard  revenge-thriller stuff, albeit with the carnage and gore amped up to the max, ending  a bizarre credits montage of clips from the earlier films he rides off  the classic Western hero into the sunset and, presumably, given the likely box office, yet another final final arterial spray. (Cineworld 5 Ways, NEC, Solihull; Empire Great Park;   Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe, West Brom; Reel; Showcase Walsall; Vue Star City)

The Souvenir (15)

Critically touted but as yet to make her breakthrough, British writer-director Joanna Hogg may have finally had her eureka moment  with this quasi-autobiographical 80s set (seemingly mostly over Christmas though the chronology of background events is inconsistent) tale of an aspirant film student from a  well-to-do background  about which she feels uncomfortable embarking on her first feature. Living in a  flat in Knightsbridge, owned by her wealthy grandparents, a stone’s throw from Harrods (the 1983 bombing of which is heard at one point), she’s Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) and she wants to make a documentary about working-class communities in Sunderland in the wake of the shipyards collapse, though she’s not having much luck pitching it to prospective backers. At a party with her Bohemian flatmates, she gets into conversation with the coolly supercilious, sceptical but highly cultured Anthony (Tom Burke), who, apparently holding down a job at the Foreign Office about which he can’t talk, declares a passion for Powell and Pressburger, dismisses the film school of social realism (“We don’t want to see life played out as it is, we want to see it as it is experienced in this soft machine”) and  takes her to the Wallace Collection to see Fragonard’s painting The Souvenir and tells her “You’re lost and you’ll always be lost”  as part of his seduction routine.

Next thing, he’s moved in and is buying her sexy lingerie and taking her off to Venice, putting her filmmaking on hold. However, as it turns out, he always seem to be short of money, quite possibly because, as she’s warned a little too late,  he’s a parasitical heroin addict.

Slow, chilled, austere and measured, it offers a non-judgemental look at the class system and a distancing between art and real-life that calls to mind the work of Visconti and Jarman , enfolding into a tale of doomed romance. Swinton Byrne possesses the same inscrutable fragility and reserves her mother Tilda, who plays her mother here, but, in a hint of Princess Diana, with more a suggestion of vulnerability and insecurity behind her eyes while Burke’s underplayed performance delivers a creepy calculated arrogance to perfection. There’s also an amusing cameo from Richard Ayoade as a fellow filmmaker declaring his dismay that, as home of the Stones, the Kinks and the Small Faces, Britain till hasn’t come up with a decent screen musical.In the search for clarity, “Sincerity isn’t enough,” Anthony  tells Julie at one point, but, as Hogg’s film reveals, honesty can be. (MAC)

Toy Story 4 (U)

The fourth and final entry sees the Toy Story out on an emotional high as it pulls together the themes that have run throughout the saga for a finale that will have audiences welling up. It opens several years earlier when Woody (Tom Hanks) and the other toys, among them Jessie (Joan Cusack), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Rex (Wallace Shawn) and Hamm (John Ratzenberger), were still owned by Andy as Woody (motto ‘leave no toy behind’) daringly rescues a toy car that has got lost and is about to be washed away in the gutter. However, before Woody can climb back through the window, it’s slammed shut as he watches Bo Peep (Annie Potts) and her three-headed sheep, Billy, Goat and Gruff, the porcelain lamp belonging to Andy’s sister Molly, being boxed up to go to a new home.  He attempts to rescue her, but she insists it’s time to move on to a new child and invites him to join her. Loyal to his kid, Woody refuses.

Fast forward to the present and his new kid, Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) is off to kindergarten orientation and, ignoring the advice from the other toys, Woody, who she hasn’t played with in weeks (indeed, she even gives his badge to Jessie) and has lost his lost his role as keeper of the room to Dolly (Bonnie Hunt), sneaks into her backpack to ensure she’s ok. At school, he helps by providing her materials from which she makes herself a new plaything, Forky (Tony Hale), a plastic spork with pipe-cleaner arms, popsicle-stick feet and googly eyes. He’s her new favourite toy, but it takes a real effort for Woody to convince him that he’s a toy not trash (he keeps trying to get into the rubbish bins in a montage set to Randy Newman’s I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away) and that he’s important to Bonnie. The ironic symmetry is obvious, one is a toy who fears becoming trash, one is trash who doesn’t want to be a toy.

At which point, the family take a road trip to Grand Basin National Park and an amusement park where, separated from the others while he explains things to Forky, Woody comes across Second Chance Antiques and spots Bo Peep’s lamp in the window. For the past seven years, in turns out she has embraced the life of a lost toy, enjoying the freedom of the park and become something of feisty kick ass (another of Disney’s female empowerment touches), riding around the park in a motorised skunk.  “Who needs a kid’s room,” she asks, showing Woody the panoramic view of the park, “When you can have all of this?”

The reunion is, however, overshadowed by the fact that the store also contains Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), a creepy vintage 1950s pull-string doll who, assisted by four Chucky-like ventriloquist dummy henchdolls, takes Forky hostage because she wants to replace her broken pull string voice box with Woody’s in the hope of getting a kid of her own.

What ensues are two extended rescue missions variously involving Bo, Buzz and Jessie (Joan Cusack) alongside new characters joined at the paw plushies Bunny (Jordan Peele) and Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key), mini-toy rescue cop Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki) and Canadian stunt biker Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) whose plagued by a sense of failure after being discarded when his abilities didn’t measure up to his marketing.

Exploring themes such as finding your purpose, self-worth, abandonment, loyalty, responsibility, selflessness, and that letting go and moving on doesn’t mean you stop loving or being loved, it will touch chords in both children and adults alike while also providing thrilling action sequences, dark and scary moments, affecting poignancy, laughs (not least in Buzz thinking his pre-programmed recordings are his ‘inner voice’) and moments of breathtaking beauty. From a joyful reunion to a moving parting of the ways farewell, this will take your heart to infinity and beyond.  (Odeon Birmingham, Broadway Plaza Luxe, West Brom; Reel; Vue Star City)

 

Screenings courtesy of  Odeon and Cineworld

CINEMAS

Cineworld 5 Ways – 181 Broad St, 0871 200 2000

Cineworld NEC – NEC  0871 200 2000

Cineworld  – Mill Ln, Solihull 071 200 2000

The Electric Cinema  – 47–49 Station Street,  0121 643 7879

Empire – Great Park, Rubery, 0871 471 4714

Empire  Coldfield – Maney Corner, Sutton Coldfield

0871 471 4714

The Everyman – The Mailbox 0871 906 9060

MAC – Cannon Hill Park 0121 446 3232

Mockingbird, Custard Factory  0121 224 7456.

Odeon Birmingham -Birmingham, 0871 224 4007

Odeon Broadway Plaza Luxe – Ladywood Middleway, 0333 006 7777

Odeon West Bromwich – Cronehills Linkway, West Bromwich  0333 006 7777

Reel – Hagley Rd, Quinton, Halesowen 0121 421 5316

Showcase Walsall – Bentley Mill Way, Walsall 0871 220 1000

Vue Star City – Watson Road, 08712 240 240

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