This week's cinema releases reviewed

Yahoo UK Movies Features29 March 2012

Wrath of the Titans (3D) – 3.5/5

In short:

Ten years after Perseus (Sam Worthington) defeated the mighty Kraken, the world of gods and men is peaceful. Perseus is happy to look after his son, and shun his immortal father Zeus (Liam Neeson) for a simple life as a fisherman. There is trouble ahead though, as Zeus's other son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) betrays his father and joins forces with Hades (Ralph Fiennes) in the underworld. Perseus can no longer ignore the threat and teams up with fellow demigod Agenor (Toby Kebbell), warrior queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike) and fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) to begin the fight back.

What we think:
As sequels go, this is one of the rare examples of a superior follow-up. Neeson and Fiennes have some fun as sparring Gods and the whole thing zips along at a cracking pace.

[Related feature: Sequels that were better than the original]

[Related content: All our film reviews]

The word out there:

The Hollywood Reporter: A thin and unimaginative storyline still shouldn't keep the ‘Clash of the Titans’ sequel from reaching Olympian box office heights.
Empire: If even a tenth of the care and attention lavished on the production design and action sequences had been afforded the script, this could have been an adventure of legendary proportions.
TimeOut: Good-natured idiocy is tempered with wit and self-awareness: the prospect of further additions to this franchise no longer sounds like divine punishment.
WhatCulture: The spectacle is huge, the effects are suitably impressive, and the big bad facing Perseus this time around makes the Kraken look like a monstrous afterthought.

Release date: 30 March
Runtime: 99 mins
Rating: 12A

StreetDance 2 (3D) – 3/5

In short:
Ash (Falk Hentschel) is a talented street dancer but keeps coming up just short on the big stage. Eddie (George Sampson), however, spots his potential and approaches Ash to create an all new dance group that can win at the Final Clash. After picking up various artists around Europe, Ash and Eddie settle into a training regime in Paris. Things aren't quite clicking, but all that changes when Eva (Sofia Boutella) enters the scene.

What we think:
The step away from its London roots feels unnecessary, but 'StreetDance 2' is still an entertaining dance film with some serious moves.

The word out there:
Empire: Shoddy 3D and flashy editing distract from the admittedly great dancing, but little else offers a particular reason to watch it.
TimeOut: Boutella shows promise beyond her day job as one of Madonna’s dancers but otherwise speaking parts are sensibly limited to those who can act.
Sky Movies: Although essentially a series of genuinely impressive dance set pieces linked by no more than adequate dramatic interludes, this scores thanks to its sly acknowledgment that street dance can take itself a little too seriously.
Digital Spy: There's evidently a big audience for a movie like this, so it's a shame that the filmmakers aren't ambitious enough to step outside of the dance genre's well-worn clichés.

Release date: 30 March
Runtime: 89 mins
Rating: PG

The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (3D) – 3/5

In short:
It's nearly time for the Pirate of the Year awards and The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is determined to win the big prize. His bumbling crew aren't much help, but then the captain himself isn't exactly the finest swashbuckler on the seven seas. For one thing, he has a Dodo for a parrot, and it's this creature that draws the attention of Charles Darwin (David Tennant). He persuades the pirates to come to London - risking the ire of noted pirate-hater Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) – so that the captain can present his pet to a group of scientists. And so begins a mad dash across London and onto the high seas where treasure, glory, fancy banquets and Brian Blessed await.

[Related gallery: A history of Aardman animations]

What we think:
It looks polished and the script tries hard to win a broad appeal, but there is something lacking from this ultimately unsatisfying animation. Not Aardman's finest hour.

The word out there:

The Telegraph: I’d gladly pay to watch it again and again. Filmmaking doesn’t get much more tax-efficient than that.
Total Film: Though we’d love to see how Aardman handle Defoe’s followup, An Adventure With Communists, this amiable but overstretched diversion is unlikely to spawn a Caribbean franchise.
TimeOut: Kids will be enthralled by all the action, slapstick and yo-ho-ho-ing while the olds will get a kick out of the intricate visual detail, sparkling wit (there’s not a single ‘avast behind’ gag) and wild historical inaccuracies.
On The Box: Aardman... manage to partly recapture the idiosyncratic charm that made them such outstanding filmmakers and yet there’s still something missing which doesn’t quite make it shine.

Release date: 30 March
Runtime: 88 mins
Rating: U

Mirror Mirror – 4/5 (Released Monday 2 April)

In short:
In a kingdom far far away, a beautiful young woman named Snow White (Lily Collins) has been confined to her room since the death of her father, the King. The person keeping her out of the public eye is her stepmother, the Queen (Julia Roberts), a vain and selfish woman. On her 18th birthday, however, Snow White leaves the palace to see what has become of her father's land. In the darkest depths of the woods, where unknown dangers lurk, she encounters Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is in a spot of bother after being attacked by a band of giants (or were they really so big?). The chance meeting could prove the salvation of the kingdom if things go Snow's way. If not, the Prince's seven mystery attackers may yet have something to say on the matter. But whoever intervenes, they will have to face the powerful dark magic of the Queen in order to set things right in the kingdom.

What we think:
A superbly realised marriage of the fun, the fantastical and the frenetic, 'Mirror Mirror' is a joy for audiences of all ages. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ has a lot to live up to after this.

The word out there:

HeyUGuys: A glittery Hollywood pantomime where the fun is instantly infectious, ‘Mirror Mirror’ is never boring,
Den of Geek: The kids certainly seemed to enjoy Snow White's journey to adulthood. Also, it's hard to shake the impression that ‘Mirror Mirror's unique styling - including a rather special scene that plays during the credits - is destined for a cult following in years to come.
Urban Cinefile: Good may still triumph over evil and true love's kiss is as sweet as honey but director Tarsem Singh and his team of writers... get the tone just right and seduce us in the process.
Filmwerk: A rousing panto “round of applause” then to this kids’ film that adults will have no problem with. It will brighten up any darkened day.

Release date: 2 April
Runtime: 106 mins
Rating: PG

Corpo Celeste – 4/5

In short:
Marta (Yle Vianello) is 13, and she's just moved back to a small town in Italy after spending most of her childhood abroad in Switzerland. Her mother Rita (Anita Caprioli) is working late shifts at an industrial bakery and has little time for Marta, and big sister Rosa (Maria Luisa De Crescenzo) is far from understanding. Her only connection to her new home is the church, where she is taking classes ahead of her confirmation. But with teacher Santa (Pasqualina Scuncia) rushed off her feet and priest Don Mario (Salvatore Cantalupo) more concerned about his position in the community than their troubles, Marta may struggle to fit in.

What we think:

Alice Rohrwacher's powerful debut is a thought-provoking film that deals with major themes in a quietly absorbing fashion. Mesmerising viewing.

The word out there:
The Guardian:
Some particularly harsh observations – a monstrous personal assistant working for the bishop, for instance – might be taken to mean that Rohrwacher is anticlerical, but the truth is more complex.
Empire: Quietly compelling, the cerebral slice of social realism is well worth hunting down.
Total Film: ‘Corpo Celeste’s acute sense of place, feel for adolescent confusion and miraculous resolution suggest that Rohrwacher is a talent to watch.
Little White Lies: Rich, heady filmmaking that employs small strokes on a huge canvas.

Release date: 30 March
Runtime: 100 mins
Rating: U

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