Zoolander 2

Really, really, ridiculously disappointing.

The Assassin

There are martial arts movies and there are martial arts movies. The Assassin isn't either.

Batman v Superman

A bold, mature exploration of myths and epics - followed by a two-hour mess.

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 A Liar's Autobiography trailer

Five Monty Pythons. Back together again. Including the dead one.

Yes, it's the trailer for A Liar's Autobiography, the animated version of Graham Chapman's memoir's. Half of it's made up. The other half is very, very silly. And the whole thing looks abso-ruddy-lutely marvellous. Changing styles, genuine voice recordings and all of Flying Circus' bonkers editing? Yes please.

"The best film I've been in since I died!" says Chapman. Presumably right ahead of the Live at Aspen recording, where his ashes got knocked all over the carpet.

Read on for the A Liar's Autobiography trailer. It's out in the UK next year. But I'm very hopeful that it'll makean appearance at the London Film Festival in October.

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Brave film review
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
Certificate: PG

"A Queen doesnae place 'er weapon oan th' table."

That’s Queen Elinor (Thompson) 'spikin tae Princess Merida (Macdonald), a wild bairn who wants tae change 'er fate frae fancy dresses, formal duties an' fake smiles. Whaur most princesses practice cross-stitch, Merida rides ben th' forest. In place ay a lute, she wields a baw an' arraw. She's closer tae Link frae The Legend of Zelda than a Disney Princess. An' tae top 'er aff? An untrained barnit ay bricht red hair.

What sets Merida apart frae most animated heroes, Pixar included? One, she’s a lassie. Two, she's ginger. But three, an' most importantly, she doesnae hae a sidekick.

Merida spends aw day wi' 'er cuddie. but diz it gab? Ne'er. Half an hoor later, fleein' frae a horde ay male suitors, she winds up at a witch’s but-an-ben, a decision tha' introduces anither beastie tae th' story: a bear. It doesnae gab either.


Cannae kin whit aam saying? To read this Brave review in English, click here. 

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Film review: Brave (English)

Brave film review
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
Certificate: PG

"A lady does not place her weapon on the table."

That’s Queen Elinor (Thompson) speaking to Princess Merida (Macdonald), a wild child who wants to change her fate from one of fancy dresses, formal duties and fake smiles. Where most princesses practice cross-stitch, Merida rides through the forest. In place of a lute, she wields a bow and arrow. She's closer to Link from The Legend of Zelda than a Disney Princess. And to top her off? An untrained barnet of bright red hair.

What sets Merida apart from most animated heroes, Pixar included? One, she’s a girl. Two, she's ginger. But three, and most importantly, she doesn’t have a sidekick.

Merida spends all day with her horse. But does it talk? Never. Half an hour later, fleeing from a horde of male suitors, she winds up at a witch’s cottage, a decision that introduces another animal to the story: a bear. It doesn't talk either.

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Refugee Week animation BBC 

"I always had something special to show them. Pictures of my family, my mum and dad, me, Spider-Man…because I like Spider-Man..." 


There's some really quite stunning animation on BBC 2 at the moment in the series Seeking Refuge. It's a string of short films animating real-life stories of young people who have sought asylum in the UK. 

It's part of an educational series, which means it's dumped at God-knows-what-o'clock in the morning, but if you have a spare 20 minutes, the first episode is on iPlayer over here. It's worth a watch. There's no sign of a second episode yet, but let me know what you think - I'd be especially interested to hear how any Key Stage 2/Key Stage 3 students (its target audience) react to it. 

Apparently, it was broadcast to coincide with Refugee Week, a UK-wide event that goes on until tomorrow - which just goes to show that a pretty picture can go a long way. Look, ma! I'm raising awareness! 


Take a bow, animation directors Salvador MaldonadoTom SeniorJonathan TopfKarl Hammond, producer/director/editor Andy Glynne and your team of talented people.  


Top Cat: The Movie - still
Director: Alberto Mar
Cast: Jason Harris
Certificate: PG

You've got to hand it to Mexico. They really love Top Cat. As in, they REALLY love Top Cat. Over the years, they have elevated Hanna Barbera's foxy feline to the status of full-on folk hero. Redubbed, reworked and retooled, Don Gato was possibly more popular south of the border than in his home country.

Perhaps it was natural, then, for Warner Bros. to get Mexican studio Anima to create a feature film update of the TV series. But the results are far from tip top.

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The longlist of films eligible for the 2012 Best Animated Short Oscar was announced earlier this month by The Academy - and in among the 45 shorts that will eventually be whittled down to a handful of nominees (via a shortlist), I'm delighted to see that The Monster of Nix has made it. Along with, bizarrely, two different films about hamsters.

The Monster of Nix turned up at the 2011 London Film Festival in one of the International Animation Panoramas. It's got Terry Gilliam and Tom Waits both on vocals. And it really is quite staggeringly unique, both in terms of visuals and story. It stuck with me for weeks afterwards. Here's the first trailer:



And here's the main song from the Monster of Nix soundtrack, Lost in the Woods:



Can you name another film that includes the sentence "What good is a rolling nudist giant"? I'll be seriously rooting for this one next year (even over Pixar's effort) - presuming it makes it through to the next stage.

Read on for a full list of all 45 nominees (warning: contains The Smurfs) - or check out our Monster of Nix review instead. 

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A tale of pirates, ham, beards and Queen Victoria, Aardman's supremely daft adaptation of Gideon Defoe's The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists continues to look funnier by the minute. Especially the part where The Pirate Captain's biscuit falls in his tea.



The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists is out in UK cinemas in March next year. The only way it could look better? If we had another one of Aardman's Pirates! trailer song to singalong with.


Alois Nebel - review, London Film Festival (LFF)
Director: Tomas Lunak
Cast: Miroslav Krobot, Marie Ludvíková, Karel Roden, Leoš Noha, Alois Švehlík

In 1989, in an isolated train station near the Czech-Polish border, Alois Nebel (Krobot) is haunted by events from his childhood at the end of WWII. At the same time, a mysterious loner appears in his village. He has an old photograph. And presumably wants something to do with revenge - what that is, though, is never clear.

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Every once in a while, we all get cravings for a panorama of international animation, but just when you think a programme to facilitate this need doesn't exist, up pops the London Film Festival’s International Animation Panorama Programme 1.

Something quite different to the rest of the LFF line-up (it doesn’t have Michael Fassbender in it, for one thing), this collection of five short animated films promises cute tales, intriguing observations and funny skits, with an eclectic range of style.

Some are stronger than others - it's worth going on Sunday just to see The Monster of Nix, which features both Tom Waits and Terry Gilliam - but at a mere 73 minutes in total, this anthology (picked by Jayne Pilling) is a pleasant way to escape from the usual festival fare for an hour.

Here are a few thoughts on each:

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Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin
Certificate: PG

From the director of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (hurrah!) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (erm, perhaps not), Rango is an animated oddity. The trailers were cryptic to say the least - hello, clockwork fish - but Gore Verbinski's latest effort is an excellent existential Western. Sadly, there aren't more wind-up fish.

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