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Now showing at Cineworld Bexleyheath 28-70,Broadway,Bexleyheath,Kent DA6 7LL 0871 200 2000

  • Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy 3D
  • Hector And The Search For Happiness
  • Into The Storm
  • The Expendables 3
  • The Inbetweeners 2
  • What If
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes 4 stars

movie title

Simian flu has ravaged the globe, killing almost the entire human race. In San Francisco, one-time military man Dreyfus, who lost his entire family to the virus, leads the human survivors. The truce between humans and apes is tested to breaking point when a diplomatic mission led by Malcolm, his wife Ellie and teenage son Alexander enters the forest to request access to the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with its electricity.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller
  • CastKeri Russell, Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell.
  • DirectorMatt Reeves.
  • WriterMark Bomback, Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration130 mins
  • Official sitewww.dawnofapes.com
  • Release17/07/2014

Blending state-of-the-art special effects with an intelligent script, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes conjures two hours of animal magic that looks set to be crowned king of the blockbuster swingers. Tim Burton's abortive Planet Of The Apes is now a distant memory thanks to the 2011 revamp Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and this superior sequel, which pushes the art of motion-capture performance to new limits.

Andy Serkis' exemplary work as Caesar, the super-intelligent chimpanzee who leads the ape uprising, is the film's emotional heartbeat. His ability to convey the character's rage, despair and passion through movement and subtle gesture is breathtaking.

Toby Kebbell is also compelling as Caesar's war-mongering rival, who believes the key to his species' survival is the extermination of humans. Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver's script elegantly draws parallels between the feuding primates, juxtaposing tender scenes of parenting with bruising skirmishes that create divisions on both sides.

Ten winters have passed since simian flu ravaged the globe. In the absence of law and order, basic resources such as water, food and electricity are dangerously depleted. One-time military man Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), who lost his entire family to the virus, leads survivors of the ALZ-113 virus in San Francisco.

He dispatches a team led by family man Malcolm (Jason Clarke) to access the O'Shaughnessy Dam, which provides the city with electricity. In the forest that envelops the dam, the scouting party encounters apes led by Caesar, including his ambitious second-in-command Koba (Kebbell), impetuous son Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) and Bornean orangutan Maurice (Karin Konoval).

Malcolm's trigger-happy compatriot Carver (Kirk Acevedo) shoots one of the apes and the humans are banished to their stronghold. Once Dreyfus learns about the neighbouring ape community, he asks Malcolm and co to refrain from telling the other survivors.

"They're talking apes with big-ass spears!" shrieks Carver. Malcolm realises that he must earn Caesar's trust to gain access to the dam so he prepares to return to the forest with wife Ellie (Keri Russell) and teenage son Alexander (Kodi Smith-McPhee).

"If you're not back in three days, we're going to go out there and kill every last one of them," warns Dreyfus.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a slick thrill ride with brains as well as brawn. The grim mood, which permeates the first half, leads to all-guns-blazing war and director Reeves orchestrates these brutal sequences with elan.

Digital effects are jaw-dropping, giving birth to a realistic army of blood-thirsty apes who cram every chaotic, blood-spattered frame. The film's strong anti-gun message comes through loud and clear, but the appetite for destruction overpowers diplomacy.

"I always think ape better than humans," laments Caesar as his dream of lasting peace founders. "I see now how like them we are."

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Guardians Of The Galaxy 4 stars

movie title

Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora, genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, his tree-like sidekick Groot and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax The Destroyer, whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction
  • CastBradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Lee Pace, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin.
  • DirectorJames Gunn.
  • WriterJames Gunn, Nicole Perlman.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration128 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/guardians
  • Release31/07/2014

From its visually stunning opening set to the funky strains of Come And Get Your Love by Native American rock band Redbone, Guardians Of The Galaxy lends the Marvel Comics big screen universe a delightful retro twang. The sardonic anti-hero is seldom parted from his Walkman and he inspires his cohorts to greatness with repeated references to Kevin Bacon and Footloose. As the slick special effects attest, the budget for this intergalactic romp is big - so too are the laughs courtesy of director James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman. The opening sequence affectionately nods to Raiders Of The Lost Ark and when the mystery surrounding the film's fabled treasure is revealed, the space cowboy casually notes the trinket has "a shiny suitcase, Ark of the Covenant, Maltese Falcon vibe". Gunn doesn't skimp on the spectacle - if anything, a couple of the outlandish set pieces are too long - but he adds a comic twist to each deafening blast of pyrotechnics. Thus a centrepiece prison break is underscored by Rupert Holmes' 1979 hit Escape (The Pina Colada Song) and when the anti-hero barely escapes death in his spaceship and an extra-terrestrial girlfriend stumbles up from the hold, he looks at her with embarrassment and confesses, "I'm going to be honest with you. I forgot you were here". Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves led by blue-skinned tyrant Yondu (Michael Rooker), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a thief for hire, who steals a mystical orb sought by sadistic warlord Ronan (Lee Pace) and his army of Sakaarans. Peter evades Ronan's clutches and eventually aligns himself with a motley crew of mercenaries comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), his tree-like sidekick Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan. When Peter learns the orb is an ancient artefact with the power to destroy the universe, he must put selfish desires to one side to repel Ronan and his underlings including fearsome intergalactic hunter Korath (Djimon Hounsou). Guardians Of The Galaxy is a blast. Pratt brings swagger and dry wit to his emotionally wounded hero, while Saldana adds sass and sex appeal to her otherworldly assassin. Bautista is marvellous as the hulk who takes everything literally - "Nothing goes over my head, my reflexes are too fast" - but almost every scene is stolen by the computer-generated double-act of Rocket and Groot. Cooper voices his feisty gun-toting fur ball with a wonderful blend of defiance and sarcasm, and breaks our hearts when it seems that he might be separated from his beloved sidekick forever. Cameos from Benicio Del Toro and Glenn Close hint at a wider canvas of political intrigue that director Gunn will be keen to explore in a sequel star-dated for release in 2017.

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Thursday 21st August 2014

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Guardians Of The Galaxy 3D 4 stars

movie title

Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves, gung-ho American pilot Peter Quill is content to gallivant around the far reaches of space. He steals an orb, which is sought by Ronan and his army of Sakaarans, and evades capture by aligning himself with a motley crew of rebels comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora, genetically engineered raccoon Rocket, his tree-like sidekick Groot and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax The Destroyer, whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction
  • CastZoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin.
  • DirectorJames Gunn.
  • WriterNicole Perlman, James Gunn.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration128 mins
  • Official sitewww.marvel.com/guardians
  • Release31/07/2014

From its visually stunning opening set to the funky strains of Come And Get Your Love by Native American rock band Redbone, Guardians Of The Galaxy lends the Marvel Comics big screen universe a delightful retro twang. The sardonic anti-hero is seldom parted from his Walkman and he inspires his cohorts to greatness with repeated references to Kevin Bacon and Footloose. As the slick special effects attest, the budget for this intergalactic romp is big - so too are the laughs courtesy of director James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman. The opening sequence affectionately nods to Raiders Of The Lost Ark and when the mystery surrounding the film's fabled treasure is revealed, the space cowboy casually notes the trinket has "a shiny suitcase, Ark of the Covenant, Maltese Falcon vibe". Gunn doesn't skimp on the spectacle - if anything, a couple of the outlandish set pieces are too long - but he adds a comic twist to each deafening blast of pyrotechnics. Thus a centrepiece prison break is underscored by Rupert Holmes' 1979 hit Escape (The Pina Colada Song) and when the anti-hero barely escapes death in his spaceship and an extra-terrestrial girlfriend stumbles up from the hold, he looks at her with embarrassment and confesses, "I'm going to be honest with you. I forgot you were here". Abducted from his parents as a child and raised by thieves led by blue-skinned tyrant Yondu (Michael Rooker), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a thief for hire, who steals a mystical orb sought by sadistic warlord Ronan (Lee Pace) and his army of Sakaarans. Peter evades Ronan's clutches and eventually aligns himself with a motley crew of mercenaries comprising green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), his tree-like sidekick Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and vengeance-seeking warrior Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), whose entire family was slaughtered by Ronan. When Peter learns the orb is an ancient artefact with the power to destroy the universe, he must put selfish desires to one side to repel Ronan and his underlings including fearsome intergalactic hunter Korath (Djimon Hounsou). Guardians Of The Galaxy is a blast. Pratt brings swagger and dry wit to his emotionally wounded hero, while Saldana adds sass and sex appeal to her otherworldly assassin. Bautista is marvellous as the hulk who takes everything literally - "Nothing goes over my head, my reflexes are too fast" - but almost every scene is stolen by the computer-generated double-act of Rocket and Groot. Cooper voices his feisty gun-toting fur ball with a wonderful blend of defiance and sarcasm, and breaks our hearts when it seems that he might be separated from his beloved sidekick forever. Cameos from Benicio Del Toro and Glenn Close hint at a wider canvas of political intrigue that director Gunn will be keen to explore in a sequel star-dated for release in 2017.

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Thursday 21st August 2014

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Hector And The Search For Happiness 3 stars

movie title

Hector is a London-based psychiatrist, who is beginning to feel just as depressed, dissatisfied and jaded as the patients he is supposed to be treating. In an effort to jolt himself out of this fug, Hector kisses his long-time girlfriend Clara farewell and embarks on a globe-trotting journey of self-discovery to seek out true happiness. As he zigzags the globe, Hector crosses paths with a motley crew of disillusioned souls and reconnects with his ex-girlfriend Agnes.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastStellan Skarsgard, Jean Reno, Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette.
  • DirectorPeter Chelsom.
  • WriterPeter Chelsom, Maria von Heland, Tinker Lindsay.
  • CountryUK/Ger/Can
  • Duration120 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/hectorfilm
  • Release15/08/2014 (selected cinemas)

Based on the book of the same name by Francois Lelord, Hector And The Search For Happiness is a romantic comedy directed by Peter Chelsom about a man, who learns to appreciate everything he already has rather than hanker for more. Hector (Simon Pegg) is a London-based psychiatrist, who is beginning to feel just as depressed, dissatisfied and jaded as the patients he is supposed to be treating. In an effort to jolt himself out of this fug, Hector kisses his long-time girlfriend Clara (Rosamund Pike) farewell and embarks on a globe-trotting journey of self-discovery to seek out true happiness. As he zigzags the globe, visiting a Tibetan monastery and discovery the hidden delights of China, Hector crosses paths with a motley crew of disillusioned souls including a world weary banker called Edward (Stellan Skarsgard) and Professor Coreman (Christopher Plummer), who is in charge of Happiness Studies at UCLA. Hector also reconnects with his ex-girlfriend Agnes (Toni Collette) and she helps him to acknowledge that the happiness and fulfilment he seeks are closer to home.

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Thursday 21st August 2014

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Into The Storm 3 stars

Veteran storm chaser Pete consults his data and notes that an unprecedented weather system is heading for the town of Silverton, which could unleash a series of devastating meteorological events on the community. As Pete, colleague Allison Stone and fellow storm chasers race to the scene, their cameras recording every heart-stopping event.

  • GenreAction, Thriller
  • CastMatt Walsh, Sarah Wayne Callies, Richard Armitage, Max Deacon.
  • DirectorSteven Quale.
  • WriterJohn Swetnam.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration89 mins
  • Official sitewww.intothestormmovie.com
  • Release22/08/2014

Eighteen years ago, Dutch director Jan de Bont capitalised on the success of Speed to harness the full fury of Mother Nature in Twister. The special effects-laden action thriller followed rival teams of daredevil storm chasers as they converged on Oklahoma during a spate of devastating tornadoes. Back in the real world, the intervening years have born witness to increasingly extreme weather systems across the globe - tsunamis, hurricanes, floods - that have devastated communities and highlighted our helplessness against the elements. It's an ideal time for director Steve Quale to send us back into the eye of the cinematic storm in this adrenaline-fuelled disaster movie. Quale and his army of digital effects wizards unleash a wave of cyclones on an unsuspecting Midwest town and witness the carnage through the lenses of crazed storm chasers and terrified residents, who cannot outrun the swirling winds. As a visual spectacle, Into The Storm boasts all of the sound and fury you crave and expect, including one vortex bearing down on an airport and throwing around passenger jets as if they were toys. However, in the calm before this digitally-rendered hell, screenwriter John Swetnam doesn't spend enough time fleshing out his multitude of characters to ensure we care deeply that they survive the onslaught. Storm chaser and documentary filmmaker Pete Moore (Matt Walsh) is poised to lose his funding unless he can drive his armour-plated vehicle Titus inside a tornado. Meteorologist Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies) predicts a weather system will sweep through the town of Silverton and she joins Pete on the road with three camera operators: Lucas (Lee Whittaker), Daryl (Arlen Escarpeta) and new boy Jacob (Jeremy Sumpter). On the outskirts of town, the storm chasers encounter adrenaline junkies Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep), who give chase, determined to place themselves in harm's way to guarantee more hits on their YouTube channel. Meanwhile, Silverton high school vice principal Gary Morris (Richard Armitage) prepares for graduation of the senior class. Before the ceremony, he clashes with his two sons, 17-year-old son Donnie (Max Deacon) and younger brother Trey (Nathan Kress), who are grieving the loss of their mother. As the graduation begins, tornado sirens sound... Into The Storm plays to its strengths, capturing the decimation of large swathes of Silverton from multiple angles in the air and on the ground. The first-person conceit doesn't always work - shaky handheld footage reduces some action sequences to a blur - but it does afford Quale one excellent opportunity to pluck our heartstrings when Donnie and classmate Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey) record tearful farewells to their parents. Armitage, Callies and co are largely forgettable. Logic is smashed to smithereens well before Allison traces the predicted path of the storm and gasps dramatically, "It's heading straight for the school!"

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Thursday 21st August 2014

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The Expendables 3 3 stars

movie title

Barney Ross founded mercenary group the Expendables with his good friend Conrad Stonebanks, who eventually turned his back on the team to become an arms dealer. Barney was ordered to kill his friend for the greater good but Conrad survived the assassination. Many years later, Conrad resurfaces and Barney recruits some new faces to the Expendables team to take on this deadly adversary.

  • GenreAction, Thriller
  • CastJason Statham, Jet Li, Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Kellan Lutz, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford.
  • DirectorPatrick Hughes.
  • WriterCreighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Sylvester Stallone.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration126 mins
  • Official sitewww.theexpendables3film.co.uk
  • Release14/08/2014

Following a spectacular stunt aboard a moving train that opens this third instalment of the action franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger turns to Sylvester Stallone and wearily confides, "I'm getting out of this business... and so should you." Sage advice from the former governor of California. His words fall on deaf ears because The Expendables is a cash cow for Stallone, who directed and co-wrote the opening salvo in 2010 and has been reliving his muscle-bound glory days ever since.

Australian director Patrick Hughes, who impressed with the gritty low-budget western Red Hill, takes charge of this outlandish mission festooned with bone-crunching hand-to-hand combat, pithy one-liners and deafening explosions. And The Expendables 3 certainly opens with a bang. Several.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his crew of battle-hardened mercenaries - Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) - orchestrate a prison breakout. Their target: original Expendables member Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes), who has been off the grid for several years. "I heard you killed more people than the plague," growls Toll Road to his new comrade.

The bolstered team heads to Mogadishu at the behest of chief Max Drummer (Harrison Ford), where a spectacular skirmish at the dockyards brings Barney face-to-face with a ghost from the past. Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), co-founder of the Expendables, who Barney was ordered to kill, is alive and exceeding well on the ill-gotten gains of the arms trade.

Faced with an adversary, who possesses unlimited supplies of state-of-the-art weaponry, Barney retires the old team and enlists the help of Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and retired medic Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) to bring down Stonebanks. They assemble a fearless younger crew comprising bareknuckle brawler Smilee (Kellan Lutz), nightclub bouncer Luna (Ronda Rousey), hacker Thorn (Glen Powell), weaponry specialist Mars (Victor Ortiz) and infuriatingly talkative former Spanish Armed Forces operative Galgo (Antonio Banderas).

The Expendables 3 is an entertaining and ridiculously far-fetched tour of duty that sensibly welcomes fresh faces to the fold and provides Banderas, Ford, Gibson and Snipes with sizeable roles to turn back the clocks. "I haven't had so much fun in years," cackles Ford after he lays waste to hordes of enemy soldiers.

The clash between old school brute force and modern day tech savvy provides the scriptwriters with a rich vein of humour. Thus when Barney outlines his heavy-handed solution to toppling Stonebanks, Luna snorts derisively, "It's a great plan... if it was 1985."

Stallone looks good for his age and sparks brotherly banter with Statham, whose wavering accent is a prime target for put-downs. They look like proud fathers, passing the mantle to the next generation of action heroes, who could potentially help the Expendables sequels reach double digits while Stallone does his bit for the cause with a zimmer frame rocket launcher.

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The Inbetweeners 2 3 stars

movie title

Jay heads to Australia for a gap year, where he enhances his status as an incorrigible ladies man. With the promise of more sex than they can handle, Will, Neil and Simon head down under to join their pal and the four misfits abroad attempt to impress the female of the species including Katie, Polly and Lucy. The lads' ham-fisted chat-up lines and amorous overtures often lead to toe-curling humiliation.

  • GenreComedy, Drama
  • CastSimon Bird, James Buckley, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison, Emily Berrington.
  • DirectorDamon Beesley, Iain Morris.
  • WriterDamon Beesley, Iain Morris.
  • CountryUK
  • Official site
  • Release06/08/2014

Some of the Inbetweeners may have bagged jobs. Some of them may have even found girlfriends, but thankfully The Inbetweeners 2, the comedy series' second foray onto the big screen, shows our fumbling foursome back on reassuringly awkward form. And with three hugely popular E4 series behind them and the most successful British comedy of all time to their name in their first film, there's no need to change the discomforting formula here.

Although almost a year has passed since the lads' holiday to Malia, the four anti-heroes haven't matured in the slightest. Despite getting a place at Bristol University, Will (Simon Bird) is still chronically uncool and is yet to make any real mates on campus; hapless Simon (Joe Cooper) isn't faring much better up in Sheffield where he's lumbered himself with a demanding girlfriend who destroys his hoodies; randy Jay (James Buckley) has moved to Australia but is working in a toilet and sleeping in a tent in his uncle's garden, and dim-witted Neil (Blake Harrison) has somehow landed a job in the bank but is still as gullible as ever.

Fed up with their lives and enticed by Jay's boastful emails about his conquests with Kylie and Dannii Minogue and five-star lifestyle, Will, Simon and Neil decide to surprise him by heading down under for a four-week break.

Predictably, Jay has been fibbing about his 'DJ' job and his bed posts have no more notches in them than before he left Blighty. In fact, it turns out that he actually misses his ex-girlfriend Jane (Lydia Rose Bewley), first seen in The Inbetweeners Movie.

Rather than kip on Jay's bullying uncle's lawn, the gang tag along with Will's prep school classmate, the popular and pretty Katie (Emily Berrington), who he bumps into, and head to the traveller paradise Byron Bay in a car that has a mural of Peter Andre's face on the side of it.

When it looks like Katie is interested in him, Will tries to woo her, giving a toe curling performance on an acoustic guitar and then racing beefed up love rival Ben (Freddie Stroma) in a stomach-churning water park ride complete with high-octane bodily functions.

The 'bants', as Jay and Neil would call them, come thick, fast and foul here and each of the four friends has their own tortuous meltdown, with varying degrees of putridity and penis jokes bandied around.

Gross, puerile and filled with playground gags, The Inbetweeners 2 is everything you'd expect it to be.

What If 3 stars

movie title

Medical school dropout Wallace vows to steer clear of romance and seeks refuge in the company of his sister Ellie and her son Felix. By chance, he meets talented animator Chantry, who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben. Chantry and Wallace become good friends but both recognise a spark of attraction that could be fanned into a full-blown affair. They wrestle with their feelings for one another and contemplate whether the person you should spend the rest of your life with is your best friend.

  • GenreAdaptation, Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastDaniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Mackenzie Davis, Rafe Spall, Megan Park, Adam Driver.
  • DirectorMichael Dowse.
  • WriterElan Mastai.
  • CountryIre/Can
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.whatifmovie.com
  • Release20/08/2014

If you subscribe to a notion of free will - that we are architects of our own destiny rather than slaves to unseen forces - which in itself would be an act of free will, then it's easy to fixate on the never ending jumble of what ifs. What if I had worked harder at school; what if I had chosen another profession; what if I had taken a leap of faith and said, "I love you"; what if an actor other than Daniel Radcliffe had been cast in Michael Dowse's romantic comedy? Casey Affleck was reportedly interested in playing the film's emotionally bruised hero but eventually passed on the role. It's our loss. Radcliffe allows some of the woodenness of his Hogwarts years to creep into his portrayal of a medical school dropout, who stumbles upon love when he least expects it. On-screen chemistry with the luminous Zoe Kazan simmers pleasantly but never reaches boiling point, diminishing our investment in the characters as they struggle to overcome the fear of rejection and verbalise their churning emotions. With a different lead actor, who allowed the laughs in Elan Mastai's script to build naturally rather than forcing them, What If could have been an emotionally richer, funnier and sexier slice of modern day twenty-something angst with the potential to usurp the genre's reigning champion: (500) Days Of Summer. Wallace (Radcliffe) is disillusioned with love, convinced that he will never meet a significant other like his kooky roommate Allan (Adam Driver), who intends to marry his sweetheart, Nicole (Mackenzie Davis). "In fairy tales, love inspires you to be noble and courageous," opines Wallace, "but in real life, love is just an all-purpose excuse for selfish behaviour." Vowing to steer clear of romance, Wallace seeks refuge in the company of his sister Ellie (Jemima Rooper) and her son Felix (Lucius Hoyos). At this low ebb, Wallace encounters talented animator Chantry (Kazan), who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall). Chantry and Wallace become good friends but both secretly acknowledge a spark of attraction that could be fanned into a full-blown affair. As they wrestle with unspoken desire, Chantry's sister Dalia (Megan Park) makes a play for Wallace. This unexpected attention piques Chantry's jealousy and forces uncomfortable truths into the open. What If follows a time-honoured rom-com recipe and has many of the ingredients to delight but Michael Dowse's lightweight confection fails to rise properly. While Kazan eases into her role, Radcliffe is an awkward fit and his comic timing is slightly off throughout. Outlandish stretches of credibility in the final act certainly don't help but screenwriter Mastai has an ear for snappy dialogue than ensures plenty of smiles if not quite guffaws.

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Thursday 21st August 2014

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X-Men: Days Of Future Past 3 stars

movie title

In a dystopian 2023, Professor Charles Xavier and his mutant kin stand on the precipice of extinction. The Sentinel programme, conceived by scientist Dr Bolivar Trask, has almost wiped out the mutant population and the human sympathisers. One glimmer of hope remains: if Kitty Pryde can propel Wolverine's consciousness back to 1973, he might be able to stop shape-shifter Mystique from assassinating Trask. This is the pivotal event, which lights the fuse on the Sentinel programme.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • CastHugh Jackman, Sir Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, Sir Ian McKellen, Halle Berry.
  • DirectorBryan Singer.
  • WriterSimon Kinberg.
  • CountryUS/UK
  • Duration131 mins
  • Official sitewww.x-menmovies.com
  • Release22/05/2014

Past and present collide in a haze in a muscular sequel, which ushers Bryan Singer back into the director's chair for the first time since X-Men 2 in 2003. Familiar faces and new additions to the mutant fold jostle for attention in Simon Kinberg's script, which indulges in a spot of time travel to strengthen ties between the X-Men and Wolverine franchises.

Days Of Future Past delivers on the eye-popping spectacle including a breathtaking slow-motion action sequence in which a mutant (Evan Peters), who can move at superhuman speeds, diverts the trajectory of bullets before they reach the intended targets.

There is plenty of soul-searching too for the characters, who must make personal sacrifices for the greater good if the mutant race is to survive a sustained assault by hulking robotic hunters.

In a dystopian 2023, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his kin including Magneto (Ian McKellen), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry) and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) stand on the precipice of extinction.

The Sentinel programme, conceived by scientist Dr Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), has almost wiped out the mutant population and any human sympathisers using an army of highly skilled automatons attuned to mutant DNA. It's only a matter of time before the Sentinels track Xavier and the surviving mutants to a mountaintop temple in China and complete the extermination.

One glimmer of hope remains: if Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) can harness her abilities and propel Wolverine's consciousness back to 1973, they might be able to stop alluring shape-shifter Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Trask. This is the pivotal event, which lights the fuse on the Sentinel programme under the administration of President Nixon (Mark Camacho).

While Xavier and co prepare to fight the Sentinels, Wolverine's consciousness slips back to flare-trousered 1973 where he seeks out young Professor X (James McAvoy), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

Professor X agrees to divert Mystique from her ill-fated path but the best laid plans of mice and mutants often go astray and vengeful Magneto senses an opportunity to change the course of history in favour of the super-powered minority.
"Killing one man isn't enough," he tells Mystique.
"It never was for you," she responds coldly.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past is a solid and highly enjoyable chapter that doesn't get too bogged down in bamboozling science, letting protagonists do the talking with their claws and amazing abilities.

Jackman's hirsute brawler provides the narrative glue between parallel time frames and he shamelessly panders to fans with some gratuitous nudity. McAvoy and Fassbender trade physical and verbal blows while Oscar winner Lawrence performs impressive gymnastic feats in a figure-hugging blue make-up that leaves little to the feverish imagination.

The blitzkrieg of slick digital effects melds seamlessly with live action elements, although there are few concessions to the 3D format. A tantalising end credits teaser hints at what fans can expect from X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016.

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