A LITTLE CHAOS
(UK, 2014) Dir: Alan Rickman. Stars Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci. "The scene in which a metaphor using a rose at its various stages of bloom and decline to depict a woman is one of the memorable moments in this rich, picturesque costume drama whose central theme revolves on the design and creation of part of the extensive gardens of Versailles," says Louise.
US, 2015) Dir: Tim Burton. Stars Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams. "A lie, compliance and the windows to the soul are the elements of this extraordinary true story in which male domination and female repression play key roles," says Louise. "It’s fascinating to discover that an item of what is essentially pop culture with which one was familiar some years ago has such a colourful history," says Andrew.
(US, Mexico, 2015) Dir: Neill Blomkamp. Stars Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Sharlto Copley, Sigourney Weaver. "Countless problems plague this misfire by South African director Neill Blomkamp, but above all it’s the total incredulity of the narrative concerning the development of the robotic Chappie that crushes it to rubble," says Louise.
(US, 2015) Dir: Kenneth Branagh. Stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgard, Derek Jacobi. "There are many highlights, but none more memorable than the sequence when the clock strikes midnight …It’s a bumpy ride for the radiant Ella (Lily James) …as the night comes to a crashing end as the pumpkin bursts – just like her dreams," says Louise. "Disney’s live action Cinderella benefits from Ken Branagh’s kudos in being able to attract the kind of cast and achieving the kind of tone such a well known and loved fairy tale needs," says Andrew.
FAST AND FURIOUS 7
(US, 2015) Dir: James Wan. Stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez. "Nothing is impossible in his no holds barred thrilling actioner in which cars leap from planes, skyscrapers and cliff-tops as stunts accelerate to levels that almost break the sound barrier," says Louise.
(US, 2015) Dir: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa "It's slick and fast and crammed with cons both big and small, but it's the irresistible dynamic between Will Smith and Margot Robbie that makes this smoke and mirrors flick so enjoyable," says Louise.
(US, 2015) Dir: Etan Cohen. Stars Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart. "Offensive by design and low-brow by nature, the joke wears thin by the end, but the film’s saving grace is its raw energy; a feeling that anything goes, as the narrative leapfrogs from one unlikely bad-taste scenario to the next," says Louise.
(US, 2015) Dir: Tim Johnson. Voices: Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez. "Adapted from Adam Rex’s novel in praise of family and friends, Antz director Tim Johnson’s film is original and fresh, with an easy to understand narrative that finds its endearing protagonist Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) on a journey that takes him from zero to hero," says Louise.
(US, 2015) Dir: Robert Schwentke. Stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Theo James, Jai Courtney, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Maggie Q, Ashley Judd. "Kate Winslet as the villainous, power-hungry, ice-cool blonde is the best thing in this overlong sequel in which spectacular special effects dominate and whose narrative is too cluttered to involve us beyond the superficial," says Louise.
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
(UK, 2014) Dir: Matthew Vaughn. Stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine. "A beguiling mash-up of the spy movie genre with a seamless blend of action, satire and spoof, Matthew Vaughn's envelope-pushing film offers hip, lip and zip," says Louise.
(Russia, 2014) Dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev. Stars Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Roman Madyanov, Vladimir Vdovichenkov. "With garlands galore – including a Golden Globe, a Best Screenplay at Cannes, Best Film at Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Oscar nomination (Best Foreign Language) and four major nominations at the European Film Awards – Leviathan sets up high expectations, with its warts and all glimpse into Putin’s Russia, a dictatorship in all but name but one without an ideology – except to steal money," says Andrew.
(France, 2014) Dir: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano. Stars Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tahar Rahim. "The delightful push-pull pairing of Omar Sy and Charlotte Gainsbourg makes this bittersweet comi-drama about connections a rich and engaging experience… The humour is subtle, the film treading a fine line between drama and comedy, as there is a constant weaving of emotional textures," says Louise.
SHAUN THE SHEEP
(US, France, 2014) Dir: Mark Burton, Richard Starzack. Voices of Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes. "A baa baa shop quartet, a cat making Hannibal Lecter noises and a dog disguised as a surgeon are some of the elements of this Aardman stop animation that relies on simple ideas, keenly observed action and a flock of humour. But don’t set your expectations too high," says Louise. "The wonderful English eccentricity of Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit captured our hearts and minds, their naïve antics and slam dunk adventures fed our funny bones. There is still a trace of all that in Shaun the Sheep, but not the distinctive personas nor the full bottle of wit, " says Andrew.
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: SPONGE OUT OF WATER
(US, 2015) Dir: Paul Tibbitt, Mike Mitchell. "In praise of teamwork, this second SpongeBob movie in 3D with its combo of adorable animated characters and integrated live action is bright, amusing, clever, naïve and hugely inventive," says Louise.