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Now showing at Artrix School Drive,Bromsgrove,Worcestershire B60 1PQ 01527 577330

  • Minions
  • Mr Holmes
  • Queen & Country

Minions 3 stars

movie title

Since the dawn of time, the Minions have gravitated towards the most despicable master they can find. One Minion named Kevin embarks on an epic quest to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. Flanked by teenage rebel Stuart and diminutive scaredy-cat Bob, Kevin leaves the Minions' current home in Antarctica bound for 1968 New York City, where he stumbles upon the world's first female super-villain: Scarlet Overkill.

  • GenreAnimation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastChris Renaud, Sandra Bullock, Pierre Coffin, Steve Coogan, Allison Janney, Michael Keaton, Katy Mixon, Jon Hamm.
  • DirectorPierre Coffin, Kyle Balda.
  • WriterBrian Lynch.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration91 mins
  • Official sitewww.minionnation.co.uk
  • Release26/06/2015

You can have too much of a good thing. In small doses, Despicable Me's goggle-eyed hench-creatures are a deranged delight. As unwittingly heroes of their own big screen adventure, these pint-sized "knights in shining denim" lose some of their loopy lustre, hindered by Brian Lynch's flimsy script, which is disappointingly light on storyline and belly laughs.

A dazzling vocal cast of gifted comic actors is repeatedly short-changed. Very young children, who gurgle with glee at the Minions' bonkers vernacular combining Esperanto and gobbledygook, will adore the slapstick, pratfalls and the tiniest member of the Minions clan, Bob, who clutches a well-loved teddy bear called Tim.

Adults will be considerably harder to win over. The lack of a coherent storyline grates as much as the lazy cultural stereotyping of the British as tea-sipping, corgi-riding folk, who frequent pubs called The Pig's Spleen.

Since the dawn of time, Minions have gravitated towards despicable masters including Tyrannosaurus Rex, Count Dracula and Napoleon. Unfortunately, these masters die prematurely - at the hands of the clumsy, yellow hench-creatures - leaving the Minions in a state of deep depression.

One brave soul named Kevin steps forth to find an evil boss for his bald, jaundiced brethren. Flanked by Stuart and scaredy-cat Bob, Kevin leaves the Minions' ice cave retreat bound for 1968 New York City. Cue a President Richard Nixon billboard proclaiming "Finally: a name you can trust". Could the Minions have stumbled upon their arch-villain?

No. The plucky trio learns about a gathering of criminals in Orlando and hitches a ride to the convention with a bank-robbing family led by Walter Nelson (voiced by Michael Keaton) and wife Madge (Allison Janney).

Their daughter Tina (Katy Mixon) points the Minions in the direction of bouffant super-villain Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). "If I was a minion, that's who I'd want to work for," she swoons. Thus the trio pledges allegiance to Scarlet and her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), who are plotting to steal the Crown Jewels from Queen Elizabeth II (Jennifer Saunders).

While the soundtrack swings its flares to The Kinks and The Who, Kevin, Stuart and Bob careen around London armed with Herb's nifty gadgets: a robo-suit, lava lamp gun and hypno-hat.

Minions has a sprinkling of giggles and doesn't outstay its welcome but there's an unshakable feeling that Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda's film falls short. The groovy time period should be a velvet goldmine of visual gags but the best the film can muster is a nod to The Beatles and a faked moon landing.

The 3D version doesn't exploit the eye-popping format so parents with tykes in tow should save their money for the inevitable raid on the concessions stand. Animation is colourful and pristine, opting for shiny surfaces and sharp angles that reduce the need for meticulous detail and realism. Despicable? Meh.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 4th August 2015
Wednesday 5th August 2015
Thursday 6th August 2015

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Mr Holmes 3 stars

movie title

The year is 1947 and Sherlock Holmes, now 93, is a shadow of the brilliant logician, who once held court at 221b Baker Street flanked by Dr Watson and Mrs Hudson. The ageing sleuth has retired to Cuckmere Haven, where he fusses over his beehives and infuriates his widowed housekeeper, Mrs Munro. Her spirited son Roger inspires Sherlock to delve into the fog of the past to recall his only unsolved case - a missing person enquiry in 1919.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Thriller
  • CastSir Ian McKellen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Laura Linney, Milo Parker.
  • DirectorBill Condon.
  • WriterJeffrey Hatcher.
  • CountryUK/US
  • Duration104 mins
  • Official site
  • Release19/06/2015

No one is immune to the allure of that cruel and merciless mistress: time. She saps strength and suppleness from athletic bodies, defies every cream to wither beauty and dulls the sharpest intellects. Mr Holmes imagines the twilight years of one of literature's icons, who is facing the grim reality of dementia with what remains of his once-glorious wit, aided by doses of a rare restorative plant from Japan called Prickly Ash.

This Sherlock, portrayed with dignity and steely resolve by Sir Ian McKellen, is no longer the aloof master of deduction who traversed the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's imagination. Instead, he tends bees on the Sussex coast, haunted by the one case he failed to solve - if only he could recall the facts.

Bill Condon's slow-burning drama tests our little grey cells with a perplexing subplot: The Curious Case Of The Thrice Oscar-Nominated Actress And The Wayward Accent. Laura Linney is one of the finest performers of her generation, but here she is undone by a vocal delivery that roams wildly between the West Country, Ireland and America. Her valiant struggles are an unnecessary distraction.

The year is 1947 and Sherlock Holmes (McKellen), now 93, is a shadow of the brilliant logician, who once held court at 221b Baker Street flanked by Dr Watson (Colin Starkey) and Mrs Hudson (Sarah Crowden).

The ageing sleuth has retired to Cuckmere Haven, where he fusses over his hives, struggles to piece together fractured memories and infuriates his widowed housekeeper, Mrs Munro (Linney). Her spirited son Roger (Milo Parker) is fascinated by Sherlock and the boy shows a natural aptitude with the bees.

"Exceptional children are often the product of unremarkable parents," Holmes coldly observes, wounding Mrs Munro. The lad inspires Sherlock to delve into the fog of the past to recall his only unsolved case - a missing person enquiry in 1919 involving a distraught husband, Thomas Kelmot (Patrick Kennedy), and his beautiful wife Ann (Hattie Morahan).

As Sherlock's addled mind drifts between that ill-fated pre-war investigation and the present, the old man edges ever closer to an inglorious end.

Mr Holmes is distinguished by McKellen's measured central performance and the strong support from rising star Parker. The script slowly unravels the myth of the literary sleuth, including one bittersweet scene of the ageing Sherlock watching a film in which Basil Rathbone portrays him with unnatural gusto.

Plotting is pedestrian - there are no twists or big reveals - allowing us plenty of time to marvel at the picturesque locations, including one breath-taking shot of the White Cliffs of Dover. We'll meet Holmes again, in many different guises, but few will be as heartbreakingly frail or haunting as this.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 4th August 2015
Wednesday 5th August 2015

Queen & Country 2 stars

movie title

Bill Rohan undergoes basic army training alongside trouble-making pal Percy on the eve of the Korean War. The two young men are consigned to the typing pool, where they engage in a battle of wits with Sergeant Major Bradley and their despairing superior, Major Cross. As England continues to rebuild and heal wounds in the aftermath of the Second World War, Bill and Percy discover that their tomfoolery has unexpectedly devastating consequences.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
  • CastPat Shortt, Caleb Landry Jones, Callum Turner, Richard E Grant, Tamsin Egerton, David Thewlis.
  • DirectorJohn Boorman.
  • WriterJohn Boorman.
  • CountryIre/Fr/Rom
  • Duration115 mins
  • Official sitewww.queenandcountrythefilm.com
  • Release05/06/2015 (London); 12/06/2015 (nationwide)

In 1987, John Boorman seduced Oscar voters with his autobiographical comedy drama, Hope And Glory, and garnered five nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Taking its title from a refrain in Elgar's stirring Pomp And Circumstance Marches, the defiantly unsentimental film relived Boorman's memories of the Blitz through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy called Bill Rohan.

The writer-director juxtaposed global conflict with the intimate trials and tribulations of the Rohan family, conjuring memorable scenes such as Bill rejoicing when a wayward Luftwaffe bomb destroys his school. Queen & Country continues the misadventures of Boorman's fictional hero, unfolding almost 10 years later when Bill has come of age and can now serve his country.

Any affection for the 1987 picture sours as it becomes painfully clear that this second traipse down the filmmaker's memory lane is an emotionally underpowered family portrait, beset by awkward shifts in tone and uneven performances.

Dad's Army-style buffoonery sits uncomfortably next to serious consideration of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by returning soldiers, adorned with a tepid romantic sub-plot that fails to stir our unabashedly patriotic hearts.

Bill (Callum Turner) lives on an island in the River Thames with his parents Clive (David Hayman) and Grace (Sinead Cusack), grouchy grandfather George (John Standing) and free-spirited sister Dawn (Vanessa Kirby).

The young man enlists in the army and prepares other fresh-faced recruits for the Korean War. "They'll have their work cut out, making a soldier out of you, pipsqueak," jokes one of the Rohan clan. Bill and trouble-making pal Percy (Caleb Landry Jones) engage in a battle of wits with Sergeant Major Bradley (David Thewlis) and their despairing superior, Major Cross (Richard E Grant).

As England continues to rebuild and heal wounds in the aftermath of the Second World War, Bill and Percy discover that their tomfoolery has unexpectedly devastating consequences.

Meanwhile, Bill struggles to sustain a foundering romance with a posh ice maiden called Ophelia (Tamsin Egerton). "Don't expect anything from me, William. I'll disappoint you," she counsels. Ophelia might as well be talking about Boorman's film.

Queen & Country is a crushing disappointment. Turner is a solid protagonist, but his acting mettle is rarely tested while Texan co-star Jones fights a war of attrition with a plummy English accent and overacts wildly to distract attention from his verbal mangling.

Boorman's script occasionally glisters, like when one character sums up the intrigue of the Cambridge Five spy ring by deadpanning, "Buggery and skulduggery go hand in hand", but these nuggets of verbal gold are few and far between.

By the time Bill and Percy are hauled before a court-martial judge (Julian Wadham) to answer questions about the theft of a regimental clock instigated by Private Redmond (Pat Shortt), our patience has run out.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 6th August 2015