Review: Thor 2

"How's space?" "Space is fine."

Sunshine on Leith - A musical review

A review of The Proclaimers' musical to the tune of (500) Miles. (Warning: Contains bad singing.)

Review: The Selfish Giant

A heart-rending British drama starring two astonishing young actors.

World War H – or hate’s not all that

What do Shyamalan, World War Z and Man of Steel have in common? Hype - and hate.


iFlicks on Twitter


Rango has wrangled the UK Box Office ahead of The Adjustment Bureau, with an opening of £1.64m. Phillip K. Dick's sci-fi story came in second with £1.36m.

It's a solid start for Gore Verbinski's Western, which risked opening at the end of half-term after achieving the highest opening of 2011 so far in the US ($38m). It was a hard sell, too, given the adult-friendly nature of the gun-toting cartoon, but Paramount will be pleased to walk off with CGI stetson held high.

The timing of Rango's release was key. If it did open a week earlier, it would have faced tough competition from Yogi Bear, Gnomeo & Juliet and Tangled - all of which saw drops close to 70% as kids headed away from the multiplexes and back to school. As a result, Rango is now the animated film with the most screens in the UK (suck on that, Disney's Tangled, down in 12th place).

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Paul invaded the UK box office this weekend with £5.52m, the highest opening of 2011 to date. But the surprise of the week was Justin Bieber hitting rock bottom: Never Say Never 3D took just £820,592. The Beliebers won't be able to, erm, Belieb it.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost taking top spot was expected, of course, given that the film landed in cinemas on Monday. While £5.52m is technically a record-breaking figure, it had four days of previews to rack up that total.

Compare it to, say, the superior Hot Fuzz, which got £5.92m on its opening weekend with just Wednesday and Thursday previews and you get a better picture. Paul took around £3.2m over the weekend alone - a way behind Tangled's debut of £5.11m in three days. But with a lot of negative reviews (and without Edgar Wright or 3D), Universal will be pleased to label their sci-fi a smash hit.

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Gnomeo and Juliet stole the UK box office crown this week, keeping The King's Speech in a solid second place with £1.98m following its BAFTA victory.

It's a convincing win for Gnomeo and Juliet, which sits pretty at the top with a £2.95m debut. Not bad, given The King's Speech is still holding the most screens in the UK (543), but impressive with two other 3D animated kids movies out in force.

Yogi Bear put £1.82m into its pic-a-nic basket of soul-destroying naffness - again, a strong start given the competition, placing it in fifth place, £120k below Tangled. Disney’s fairytale has the fewest screens out of the three CGI contenders, but has now amassed a three-week total of just over £13m.

Fourth place went to True Grit, the Coens' remake, which performed astonishingly well in the US. It managed £1.82m from 372182000 screens, putting it shoulder to shoulder with Yogi Bear but without the 3D uplift. An average of over £4,000 per screen is pretty good for Paramount's Western, especially given the awards love going round to everyone else at the moment.

Black Swan and The Fighter also both posted takings of over £1m, lining up at number seven and eight respectively. That’s eight out of the UK Top Ten all taking over £1m at the box office. Eight. This never happens. Literally - it's never happened before. The BAFTAs are to blame for this box office silliness. As people flock to see the major nominees, money is flying into cinema cash registers.

It's sad to see The Fighter drop 50% to take £1.2m - compared to Black Swan's more typical 38% dip - but with so many movies out this week and the existing releases performing so well, there are only so many screens to go round. Black Swan's been out twice as long as The Fighter, but its £12m total gross is triple that of the boxing drama, which says a lot for its wider appeal. It's also showing in 100 more screens.

Perhaps the week’s most intriguing release was Never Let Me Go - demonstrating what happens during awards season if you don't get the nominations you wanted. It took just £625k from 265 screens.

A good comparison is last month's Conviction, which also had no BAFTA nominations. That took £279k from a similar spread of cinema screens, so it's not a terrible result given the heavyweight box office rivals. But a lack of nominations (and a low marketing push compared to Fox Searchlight's other movie, Black Swan) has left Mark Romanek's brilliant romance at the wrong end of the release schedule. Here's hoping Keira Knightley staring at people on the London Underground will help it stay afloat for one more week.

Just like the BAFTAs, the box office spotlight is still shining firmly on Colin Firth. £1.98m is less than we're used to seeing for Tom Hooper's drama, but it's been out for six weeks now. Six. By rights, it shouldn't be anywhere near the £2m mark. It's running total is now up to £33.7m, which makes it the 44th highest grossing movie in the UK of all time. And that's before it gets a kick from its Best Film triumph on Sunday - we're way past Slumdog Millionaire now, but that increased by £300k immediately following its BAFTA for Best Film, reversing a 32% drop from the previous week.

Paul tries to jump the royal shark by hopping into cinemas on Monday this week, so it should secure a top spot at the box office next week after 4 days of previews. But expect The King's Speech to stick around - just below Justin Bieber and Big Momma, who are both bringing their booty into play. And as half-term approaches, prepare for Yogi, Gnomeo and Rapunzel to squabble among themselves to see who can attract the most children. 



The Fighter failed to knock Tangled from the box office top spot after Disney's 50th took another consistently high total of £4.57m.

Dropping just £537k (about 10.5%), Tangled managed to hold off Mark Wahlberg, in third place, as well as topping The King's Speech for the second week running. The King's Speech is still number two, with takings of £2.74m.

This is the first time Tom Hooper's film has dipped below £3m since its release in January, losing 25% of last week's £3.6m. But it's still holding onto 545 screens - up 12 from last week - so we're only just now seeing the peak of its box office run. Or at least, we would be, if the Oscars weren't in three weeks.

The other awards contender, Black Swan, dropped a standard 32% to reach a solid fourth place figure of £1.72m. That loss for both Oscar front-runners is down to David O'Russell's The Fighter, which hit cinemas with a very strong £2.12m across 380 screens. Like The King's Speech, Black Swan also increased its share of cinemas over the weekend, but the boxing drama will be beating them back in a week's time after packing such a big opening punch.

Of course, Tangled has the advantage of its 3D ticket price, but new release Sanctum (or James Cameron's Sanctum In 3D to use its full title) suffered from poor word of mouth, notching up just £859k for Universal. They won't be too happy about such a so-so response. Maybe everyone was busy doing a spot of spring caving themselves - or they were just distracted by the Superbowl.

Also fairly floppy were seventh place A Little Bit of Heaven (£443k from a fairly wide release) and ninth place Brighton Rock. Rowan Joffe's remake can at least cling to only having 115 screens in the face of its £352k, which gives Brighton Rock's box office a surprisingly good average of £3,067 per screen.

Rabbit Hole, meanwhile, burrowed its way below the UK Top Ten (and Top 15 for that matter) with just £54,567 from its debut. It has 41 screens to its name; it is, after all, hard to sell a film about Nicole Kidman grieving. Its £1,330 average could be worse, but perhaps releasing it before The King's Speech would have given it more attention.  

It's soon time for True Grit to weigh in as the last of the awards grabbers slip into cinemas before the BAFTA cut-off date. The Coen Brothers' Western did remarkably well in the US with their highest ever opening, so Colin Firth, Mark Wahlberg and Natalie Portman will have a struggle on their hands.

Black Swan, now on £10m total, will be happy with a £15m overall gross. Meanwhile, The King's Speech is still in its counting house counting out its money (and awards). It's just passed the £30m mark and is easily on the way to hitting £40m. Slumdog's final total was £31.66m. The counting continues...



Tangled has toppled The King's Speech from the number one spot at the UK Box Office with an opening of £5.1 million.

As predicted last week, Disney's 50th animation took a strong portion of the weekend's profits, pushing The King's Speech down to £3.63m in second place.

Tangled is boosted by 3D uplifts and a wider family appeal than old sweary King Bertie, but while kids buy up the concessions stand, Tom Hooper's Oscar favourite is still in a commanding position. 

Let's not forget that over £3m is ridiculous for a period biopic's fourth week. A good quarter of a movie's takings can come from the pre-awards nominee stage, but winning the Best Picture Oscar (and, indeed, BAFTA) would push its popularity on even further. It has a total of £24.9m right now (over halfway to £40m) and it's still got another eight odd weeks to go.

A quick glance at screen counts is a good indicator of the market share and expectations. Tangled has grabbed 440 screens, with The King's Speech on 533 - that's up 40 again from last week, so it's clearly not peaked yet. Of course, Tangled will steal screens from other 3D movies, so expect Gulliver's Travels (now in eighth spot) to drop out of the UK Top Ten by Saturday.

Black Swan, meanwhile is still outperforming the rest of the new releases, with £2.5m from its second week. That's a wonderfully minuscule drop of £206k, or 7.5%. Natalie Portman will be pirouetting for some time to come if Fox Searchlight have a say in the matter; after last week's record opening for the studio, this could fast become their biggest ever success. No wonder they've upped their screens by 70 to 428.

It just goes to prove that a little awards love and a lot of marketing can go a long way. Take a look at Hereafter (don't look for too long - your eyes will die of boredom). It opened on £601k, not bad perhaps for a hard sell, but Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood are big names for certain shares of the audience - of course, the same people would rather see Geoffrey Rush in a bow tie than Matt Damon talking to the dead. Understandably so.

Hereafter will disappear sharpish, along with How Do You Know, which opened in tenth place with £374k. No question marks surrounding that figure (ho ho ho). A quick mention should also go to Javier Bardem's Biutiful, which got £156k from 47 cinemas. You can chalk that average of £3,320 per screen down to Bardem' raw sex appeal. Que fuego. Or something.

Jason Statham was the strongest non-Disney opener, with £921k to its name, benefiting from the counter-programming and filling in the hole where The Green Hornet used to be. While action fans head to The Stath, die hard cinephiles will be ticking off their list of awards nominees. The Fighter will, in theory, do well from that this weekend, although The King's Speech still has a lot of Momentum behind it (get it? Momentum?) so the studio will be trailing one in front of the other.

The next two weeks will be a strong test of Colin Firth's longevity, with True Grit rocking up to the party. Who knows? The King's Speech may well outlast Disney's heroine, no matter how long her hair is.



December flew by in a string of weekend wake-ups. But while the cool kids were watching free films, the REALLY cool kids were eating cupcakes - the even cooler kids stole several cupcakes for their imaginary children.

With embargoes flying around like the lurgy, it came down to cupcakes to provide a metaphorical opinion outlet. So here are the definitive cupcake critiques for Gulliver's Travels and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And no, Disney didn't offer up cupcakes to the Tangled masses. Meanies. I had to review a banana just to get the cupcake withdrawal out of my system.


Gulliver's Travels



The Voyage of the Dawn Treader



What Twitter said

(Before) "I fully expect this cupcake to be TERRIBLE"

(After) "Delicious. Better than Narnia cupcake. Lots of frosting, nice light sponge & tiny bits of glitter on top"

@robbiereviews: "YES!!!!! It wasn't just me!!!! (That loved the cupcake.)"


What Twitter said

(Before) "Cupcake for the win! #happyaslan"

(After, watching Love Actually) "Hugh Grant. Heathrow airport. VOMITS UP NARNIAN CUPCAKE"



What the film review said

"Robots and midgets and Jack Black. Oh my."


What the film review said

"Too much crap sinks the script." 


Cupcake verdict

Sparkly glitter is great on top of any food. Especially when it's edible and you're not expecting it. Complete with its pretty swirly pink icing and moist centre, surprise cake was an ideal climax to Sunday morning breakfast.




Cupcake verdict

The swirly pink icing returns with a vengeance, but the dry sponge wasn't all that delectable. Plus it was ruined by having a giant Dawn Treader logo stuck on the top. Nice sexy hand holding it, though. I'm like Nigella innit.




So to celebrate the release of the upcoming Tangled, their 50th feature film, Disney are taking over BFI Southbank in 2011 and showing all of their animated archive. Yes, The Disney 50. All the way back to Snow White. And all on the big screen.

It all kicks off on Sunday 16th January, on the day of the Tangled premiere. Then every weekend for the rest of the year, you can catch an old Disney movie. I remember seeing The Lion King in the IMAX a few years back (in 2D) and it was jaw-droppingly awesome.

I also can't wait to have the chance to see The Aristocats again. That was a sexy bit of cinema. Chicken Little? Not so much.

Now before I go all nostalgic or start debating whether they'll include the naughty words in the digital transfers, my question is this: can you remember all 50 Disney films? I'm fairly sure I can't. But here are 10 to start you off...

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