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- Capture The Flag
- Dad's Army
- Dirty Grandpa
Capture The Flag 3 stars
Twelve-year-old Mike Goldwing is a gifted kite surfer, whose NASA astronaut father has been training for months to travel to the moon until injury shatters that dream. When multi-billionaire Richard Carson announces his intention to fly to the moon to prove that the Apollo 11 mission was a hoax, Mike unexpectedly finds himself aboard a rocket heading for the moon in the company of his grandfather Frank, best friend Amy and long-suffering lizard sidekick Igor.
- GenreAdventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction
- CastLorraine Pilkington, Sam Fink, Philippa Alexander.
- DirectorEnrique Gato.
- WriterJordi Gasull, Patxi Amezcua.
- Duration94 mins
- Official site
Ever since the landing module of Apollo 11 touched down on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969 and Neil Armstrong took one giant leap for mankind, conspiracy theorists have pointed to an elaborate cover-up. They maintain that the iconic footage was faked at a film studio closer to terra firma, and back up these bold claims with supposed proof of scientific inaccuracies in the grainy recording.
Capture The Flag is a family-friendly computer animation which teases the possibility of the hoax and ultimately debunks it by travelling back to the moon in the company of a NASA veteran and two children. Enrique Gato's Spanish adventure, which has been dubbed into English for UK audiences, has its sentimental heart in the right place and there are numerous heavy-handed verbal references to the importance of family over work or personal gain.
It's all terribly well-intentioned and predictable, shot largely from the perspective of a gung-ho boy, who just wants to make his parents proud. A night time journey over water festooned with ravenous alligators is played for laughs rather than Jaws-style scares, while a half-hearted romantic subplot between two children is addressed with the lightest touch. Kissing? Eurgh! Gross!
Twelve-year-old Mike Goldwing is a gifted kite surfer, who takes to the waves with best friends Amy Gonzalez and Marty Farr to compete in games of capture the flag. Mike and co always fall short but the youngster doesn't let failure get him down.
His father Scott is a NASA astronaut, who has been training for months to travel to the moon until injury shatters that dream. It's a repeat of the Goldwing curse: Scott's father Frank was also an astronaut, who failed to follow in the footsteps of Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
When multi-billionaire Richard Carson announces his intention to fly to the moon to prove that the Apollo 11 mission was a hoax, the President of the United States hurriedly authorises a joint mission between existing and old NASA staff to beat Carson to the Stars And Stripes planted in 1969.
A twist of fate results in Frank heading to the moon with grandson Mike, gal pal Amy and long-suffering lizard sidekick Igor. Meanwhile, back at Mission Control, Mike's mother Samantha frets about her boy's safety and pint-sized gadget wizard Marty overcomes glitches that jeopardise the success of the mission.
Capture The Flag boasts colourful visuals, slapstick humour and chases to entertain young audiences, who dream of their own adventures in the starry firmament. Vocal performances are solid but don't invest the characters with any quirks or additional colour. Carson is a particularly unthreatening chief villain.
Adults, who demand narrative sophistication from their animated fare, may want to abort lift-off before the end credits but Gato's film is a sprightly 94 minutes and doesn't outstay its welcome.
Dad's Army 2 stars
England, 1944. The Second World War is on a knife edge and in the cosy community of Walmington-on-Sea, blustering bank manager George Mainwaring proudly leads the local Home Guard. Colonel Theakes reveals that he intends to sort the military wheat from the chaff and "Walmington feels chaffy." Soon after, Mainwaring learns that a German spy has infiltrated the town and is transmitting secrets back to Berlin.
- GenreComedy, Historical/Period, War
- CastCatherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Daniel Mays, Bill Paterson, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, Blake Harrison.
- DirectorOliver Parker.
- WriterHamish McColl.
- Duration100 mins
- Official site
How do you improve on the perfection of Jimmy Perry and David Croft's sitcom Dad's Army, which began active service in 1968 and remains a jewel in the crown of the BBC comedy archives? You don't.
If you're director Oliver Parker and screenwriter Hamish McColl, you pepper a flimsy plot that would barely stretch to one TV episode let alone 100 minutes with the show's catchphrases and pray our abiding affection for the characters will compensate for long passages without a discernible punchline.
Original cast members Ian Lavender and Frank Williams are conscripted to cameo roles to heighten the whiff of nostalgia. Limp innuendo-laden banter about sausages barely merits a smirk, pratfalls are predictable and a terrific ensemble cast of gifted comic actors go on patrol without an arsenal of decent one-liners.
From uninspired beginning to muddled end, it's a cultural smash'n'grab that goes through the motions and will ultimately be remembered as a badly missed opportunity.
England, 1944. The Second World War is on a knife edge and in the cosy community of Walmington-on-Sea, blustering bank manager George Mainwaring (Toby Jones) proudly leads the local Home Guard. His hapless rank and file includes Sergeant Wilson (Bill Nighy), Lance Corporal Jones (Tom Courtenay) and Privates Frazer (Bill Paterson), Pike (Blake Harrison), Walker (Daniel Mays) and Godfrey (Michael Gambon), a mild-mannered soul who frequently drifts off into his own world.
The fate of the Home Guard hangs in the balance when Colonel Theakes (Mark Gatiss) reveals that he intends to sort the military wheat from the chaff and "Walmington feels chaffy." Soon after, Mainwaring learns that a German spy has infiltrated the town and is transmitting secrets back to Berlin.
This search for a traitor coincides with the arrival of glamorous magazine writer Rose Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who intends to pen a flattering article about the heroics of the Home Guard. George is smitten and finds Rose most charming and agreeable.
"They said that about the Ripper," coldly retorts Mrs Mainwaring (Felicity Montagu), hard-nosed leader of Walmington-on-Sea's women's auxiliary army, which includes Pike's mother (Sarah Lancashire) and Walker's sweetheart Daphne (Emily Atack).
Dad's Army opens with a limp set piece involving a stand-off between the Home Guard and runaway livestock. "We're supposed to be locking horns with the Hun not Bertie the bull!" despairs one of the men, echoing our mounting frustration.
Jones lightens the darkening mood with a few moments of physical humour, including choking on a slice of cake, while Nighy relies on his usual snorts and tics for merriment. Montagu, Lancashire and co bring a diluted degree of girl power to proceedings that might be dismissed as tokenism without their characters' pivotal involvement in the hare-brained and lacklustre denouement.
Deadpool 4 stars
Former Special Forces operative Wade Wilson discovers he has cancer. He is offered a second chance by The Recruiter, who works for an experimental program known as Weapon X, which promises to induce a regenerative mutation to the cancerous cells. Wade undergoes treatment and is transformed into a mentally unstable hero called Deadpool, who is blessed and cursed with accelerated healing powers, disfigured skin and a politically incorrect sense of humour.
- GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction
- CastMorena Baccarin, Gina Carano, Ryan Reynolds, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein.
- DirectorTim Miller.
- WriterRhett Reese, Paul Wernick.
- Duration108 mins
- Official sitewww.fox.co.uk/deadpool
Just when it seemed that the Marvel Comics takeover of multiplexes was becoming a homogenous exercise in rapacious cross-branding, along comes Deadpool to deliver a swift kick to the franchise's dangling nether regions. Tim Miller's hyperkinetic origin story is like a newborn puppy that has yet to be house-trained: boundlessly energetic, blissfully oblivious to the rules, and prone to leave a steaming hot mess in a favourite pair of slippers when your guard is down. "I may be super, but I'm no hero," grins Ryan Reynolds' titular man in figure-hugging red spandex, breaking down the fourth wall to address us directly. He's not joking, for once. In an opening salvo of high-speed automotive carnage that combines gratuitous dismemberment with gleeful irreverence, his masked avenger ricochets bullets through the heads of bad guys and pushes a car cigarette lighter into the mouth of one unfortunate henchman. "Don't swallow," he quips. The relentless barrage of pop culture references and post-modern in-jokes hinges on Reynolds' ability to charm us and he barrels through every frame with a cocksure swagger that is impossible to resist. Former Special Forces operative Wade Wilson (Reynolds) is a low-rent assassin for hire, who works out of a bar called Sister Margaret's Home For Wayward Girls run by his wise-cracking buddy Weasel (TJ Miller). A loner by heart, Wade falls in love with sassy sex club worker Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who shares his passion for creative love-making. "Happy International Women's Day," she purrs, giving him one eye-watering new experience. The furious bed-hopping ends when Wade discovers he has inoperable cancer. A recruiter (Jed Rees) from an experimental program known as WeaponX invites Wade to undergo a radical procedure, which aggressively attacks the cancerous cells. Sadistic program director Ajax (Ed Skrein) and henchwoman Angel Dust (Gina Carano) torture and abuse Wade, transforming him into a hideously deformed mutant with the power of self-healing. Reborn as Deadpool, Wade moves in with a no-nonsense landlady named Al (Leslie Uggams). "She's the Robin to my Batman... except she's old, black and blind," he quips. Aided by two bona fide X-Men - Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) - Wade vows revenge on Ajax and his underlings. Relentlessly lurid and unapologetically foul-mouthed, Deadpool is a sinful treat. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick's script is crammed to bursting with zinging one-liners and a miasma of filth and toilet humour. Some gags narrowly miss their target, but the duds are invariably followed up in quick succession by sly digs at comic book conventions or self-referential barbs at the expense of Reynolds' good looks. Director Miller relies too heavily on slow-motion in his action sequences, but when it comes to the machine-gun dialogue, his film doesn't pause for breath.
Dirty Grandpa 2 stars
Seventy-something man of mystery Dick Kelly buries his wife and emotionally blackmails his grandson Jason into driving him to their summer home in Florida. "It's what she would have wanted," Dick assures Jason, who is a corporate lawyer in the same firm as his father. The two men hit the road and are soon diverted to Daytona Beach, where Jason has a chance to reignite romance with old flame Shadia while perpetually libidinous Dick pursues Shadia's obliging friend, Lenore.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
- CastZoey Deutch, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Aubrey Plaza.
- DirectorDan Mazer.
- WriterJohn Phillips.
- Duration102 mins
- Official sitewww.dirtygrandpa.movie
In the prank TV show Jackass and a subsequent feature film, Johnny Knoxville donned latex to give octogenarians a bad name as politically incorrect grandpa Irving Zisman. Director Dan Mazer and screenwriter John Phillips channel a similar vibe of old men behaving crudely in this raunchy cross-generational road trip that pairs raging bull Robert De Niro and wholesome High School Musical alumnus Zac Efron.
It's a tantalising juxtaposition - wizened, worldly experience and youthful exuberance - and Phillips' expletive-laden script should mine a rich vein of humour by upending expectations about how these characters behave in polite society.
Alas, the drunken fraternity humour that runs rampant is wearisome and occasionally distasteful, including double standards in its treatment of homophobia. De Niro visibly savours his feisty old coot's potty-mouthed outbursts.
For his part, Efron gamely loses his shirt and his trousers, flashing his washboard stomach in a series of humiliations that include a mistaken case of exposure to a minor on a beach.
Seventy-something man of mystery Dick Kelly (De Niro) buries his wife and emotionally blackmails his grandson Jason (Efron) into driving him to their summer home in Florida. "It's what she would have wanted," Dick assures Jason, who is a corporate lawyer in the same firm as his father (Dermot Mulroney) and is poised to walk down the aisle with his controlling fiancee (Julianne Hough).
Jason arrives at his grandfather's home and walks in on the old timer in a state of gleeful undress, enjoying a pornographic film. "You caught me taking a number three," cackles Dick, without a flush of shame.
The two men hit the road and are soon diverted to Daytona Beach, where Jason has a chance to reignite romance with old flame Shadia (Zoey Deutch) while perpetually libidinous Dick pursues Shadia's obliging friend, Lenore (Aubrey Plaza).
"The greatest gift a grandson can give his grandfather is a hot college girl who wants to have unprotected sex with him before he dies," declares Dick but standing in his way are loutish college dudes Cody (Jake Pickering) and Brah (Michael Hudson).
Dirty Grandpa drinks from the same filthy glassware as The Hangover and its bromantic brethren. The two leads throw themselves into the fray with abandon, weathering numerous indignities including a topless dance off in search of cheap laughs.
Amidst the filth, scriptwriter Phillips dispenses pat life lessons about taking charge of your destiny and respecting elders. A running gag involving a drug dealer (Jason Mantzoukas) and two inept police officers (Mo Collins, Henry Zebrowski) runs out of puff while the sight of De Niro repeatedly shoving his thumb up his co-star's bottom as a laddish prank gets a thumbs down on its first airing let alone the fourth or fifth.