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This Week's New Film Releases: Friday 24 May 2013
Family / Action / Fantasy
Director: Chris Wedge
Running time: 102 mins
Animated adventure about magical forest creatures. A young girl named Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) lives in a cabin in the woods with her father Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis). He often tells her stories about the hidden realm around them, but M.K doesn't believe his fanciful tales. One day he disappears while conducting research and M.K ventures into the forest to find him. When she touches some glowing leaves, she is shrunk down to the size of a beetle and meets the Leaf-men, tiny warriors who protect the forest from evil. She is drawn into fighting their war against the villainous Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) and must help heroic Leaf-Man Ronin (Colin Farrell), two zany slugs (Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd) and her new friend Nod (Josh Hutcherson) to restore balance to the world.
Director: Todd Phillips
Running time: 100 mins
The handsome ladies' man, the uptight nerd, the bearded weirdo and the one with no outanding character traits who usually sits most of the action out are back for another ill-judged adventure. It's been two years since the events of the last film and the Wolfpack are leading ordinary lives. But Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who caused the mayhem of the first two movies, goes into a tailspin after his father dies. As a result, his friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) convince him to go to a mental health facility. But then the boys are ambushed by a scary, volatile man (John Goodman) who demands that they locate their old frenemy Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) for him. He kidnaps Doug to ensure their co-operation and the gang have to return to Vegas.
Drama / Thriller / Horror
Director: Mary Harron
Running time: 82 mins
Rebecca (Sarah Bolger), a student at a posh girls' boarding school, is dealing with her father's suicide with the help of her best friend Lucy (Sarah Gadon). But then Lucy becomes friends with the disturbing new girl Ernessa (Lily Cole) and starts to distance herself from Rebecca. A new English teacher (Scott Speedman) shows an interest in Rebecca's wellbeing and they share their ideas on Romantic literature, but Rebecca's studies make her even more wary of Ernessa's behaviour. Could she be a vampire? When one of their classmates dies in an apparent accident and a teacher is murdered in the woods, Rebecca tries to convince the other girls that they are in danger, but it seems that Lucy might be lost to her forever.
Documentary / Drama / Musical / War
Director: Tony Britten
Running time: 109 mins
A partly dramatised documentary about one of the 20th century's best-loved composers, narrated by John Hurt. In later life Benjamin Britten was a key force in the development of the Aldeburgh Festival and his work ranged from film scores for the Post Office (Night Mail) to operas (Gloriana, Peter Grimes) and orchestral work. He was the first composer to be rewarded with a life peerage in 1976, but in the 1920s he was just another boarder at Gresham's School and this film explores his evolution from timid boy to politically-minded young man. As the effects of the First World War still resonate, Britten begins to question a society in thrall to authority and war and we see his interest in communism grow. This film also features stirring performances of work from the breadth of his career.
Classic / Foreign Language / Drama / War / Animation
Director: Isao Takahata
Running time: 93 mins
A powerful film about the cost of warfare told from the perspective of two young siblings that is a far cry from Studio Ghibli's more cheerful work. In the final months of World War II, Seita and his younger sister Setsuko become separated from their mother during an American bombing raid on Kobe. They are reunited later but their mother has been severely burned and dies soon after. The children go to stay with their aunt. Despite giving all of their food to her and selling their mothers' possessions, their aunt feels resentful that Seita and Setsuko cannot be of more use, and they leave to make it on their own. While they feel a sense of freedom in living in the open air, their hardships continue.