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What's On

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Now showing at Chapter Market Road,Canton,Cardiff,South Glamorgan CF5 1QE 029 2030 4400

  • Dear White People
  • Minions
  • Survivor
  • The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson
  • The Salt Of The Earth
  • The Wonders

Dear White People 3 stars

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On the campus of Winchester University, student Sam White frequently causes friction with her radio show, Dear White People, which highlights the racist behaviour of staff and students. She stands for election as the head of her house against her ex-boyfriend Troy Fairbanks, who just happens to be the son of the Dean. Sam wins the contest and her victory inspires a piece in the university newspaper penned by a black gay student called Lionel Higgins.

  • GenreComedy, Drama
  • CastTeyonah Parris, Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner.
  • DirectorJustin Simien.
  • WriterJustin Simien.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration106 mins
  • Official sitewww.dearwhitepeoplemovie.com
  • Release10/07/2015 (selected cinemas)

Writer-director Justin Simien satirises race relations in modern-day America in this comedy drama set on the campus of Winchester University. Sam White (Tessa Thompson) is a student at the university and frequently causes friction with her radio show, Dear White People, which highlights the racist behaviour of staff and students. She stands for election as the head of her house against her ex-boyfriend Troy Fairbanks (Brandon Bell), who just happens to be the son of the Dean (Dennis Haysbert). Sam wins the contest and her victory inspires a piece in the university newspaper penned by a black gay student called Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams). In retaliation, one of the white students, Kurt (Kyle Gallner), proposes a politically incorrect "blackface" theme for attendees to a campus party. When the black students learn of the plan, they protest and spark ugly scenes between the two factions.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 30th July 2015

Minions 3 stars

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Since the dawn of time, the Minions have gravitated towards the most despicable master they can find. One Minion named Kevin embarks on an epic quest to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. Flanked by teenage rebel Stuart and diminutive scaredy-cat Bob, Kevin leaves the Minions' current home in Antarctica bound for 1968 New York City, where he stumbles upon the world's first female super-villain: Scarlet Overkill.

  • GenreAnimation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family
  • CastChris Renaud, Sandra Bullock, Pierre Coffin, Steve Coogan, Allison Janney, Michael Keaton, Katy Mixon, Jon Hamm.
  • DirectorPierre Coffin, Kyle Balda.
  • WriterBrian Lynch.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration91 mins
  • Official sitewww.minionnation.co.uk
  • Release26/06/2015

You can have too much of a good thing. In small doses, Despicable Me's goggle-eyed hench-creatures are a deranged delight. As unwittingly heroes of their own big screen adventure, these pint-sized "knights in shining denim" lose some of their loopy lustre, hindered by Brian Lynch's flimsy script, which is disappointingly light on storyline and belly laughs.

A dazzling vocal cast of gifted comic actors is repeatedly short-changed. Very young children, who gurgle with glee at the Minions' bonkers vernacular combining Esperanto and gobbledygook, will adore the slapstick, pratfalls and the tiniest member of the Minions clan, Bob, who clutches a well-loved teddy bear called Tim.

Adults will be considerably harder to win over. The lack of a coherent storyline grates as much as the lazy cultural stereotyping of the British as tea-sipping, corgi-riding folk, who frequent pubs called The Pig's Spleen.

Since the dawn of time, Minions have gravitated towards despicable masters including Tyrannosaurus Rex, Count Dracula and Napoleon. Unfortunately, these masters die prematurely - at the hands of the clumsy, yellow hench-creatures - leaving the Minions in a state of deep depression.

One brave soul named Kevin steps forth to find an evil boss for his bald, jaundiced brethren. Flanked by Stuart and scaredy-cat Bob, Kevin leaves the Minions' ice cave retreat bound for 1968 New York City. Cue a President Richard Nixon billboard proclaiming "Finally: a name you can trust". Could the Minions have stumbled upon their arch-villain?

No. The plucky trio learns about a gathering of criminals in Orlando and hitches a ride to the convention with a bank-robbing family led by Walter Nelson (voiced by Michael Keaton) and wife Madge (Allison Janney).

Their daughter Tina (Katy Mixon) points the Minions in the direction of bouffant super-villain Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock). "If I was a minion, that's who I'd want to work for," she swoons. Thus the trio pledges allegiance to Scarlet and her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), who are plotting to steal the Crown Jewels from Queen Elizabeth II (Jennifer Saunders).

While the soundtrack swings its flares to The Kinks and The Who, Kevin, Stuart and Bob careen around London armed with Herb's nifty gadgets: a robo-suit, lava lamp gun and hypno-hat.

Minions has a sprinkling of giggles and doesn't outstay its welcome but there's an unshakable feeling that Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda's film falls short. The groovy time period should be a velvet goldmine of visual gags but the best the film can muster is a nod to The Beatles and a faked moon landing.

The 3D version doesn't exploit the eye-popping format so parents with tykes in tow should save their money for the inevitable raid on the concessions stand. Animation is colourful and pristine, opting for shiny surfaces and sharp angles that reduce the need for meticulous detail and realism. Despicable? Meh.

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Thursday 30th July 2015

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Survivor 3 stars

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Security expert Kate Abbott is drafted to the US embassy in London to identify visa applicants who pose a threat to homeland security. Intuition tells Kate to look closer into Romanian doctor Emil Balan, who wants to visit America to attend a medical conference. An elusive hit man known as The Watchmaker is hired to eliminate Kate in order to expedite Balan's visa application, which is part of a bigger plot to inflict massive damage on American soil.

  • GenreAction, Thriller
  • CastRobert Forster, Roger Rees, Milla Jovovich, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Pierce Brosnan.
  • DirectorJames McTeigue.
  • WriterPhilip Shelby.
  • CountryUS/UK
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official sitewww.survivormovie.com
  • Release05/06/2015

Pierce Brosnan's glory days as suave secret agent James Bond are a long and distant memory, which grows considerably fonder with each improbable twist and turn in Survivor. Originally entitled Alchemy, James McTeigue's explosive-laden spy thriller uses the covert war on terrorism since the September 11 attacks as a wobbly framework for a predictable game of cat and mouse between a fearless US agent and a sadistic assassin on the streets of London.

Brosnan sheds his nice guy persona to play the sharp-shooting villain, who "has had so much reconstructive surgery, nobody knows what he looks like". It's a throwaway line of dialogue to casually explain why the striking Irish actor can swan around the capital, leaving destruction and bullet-riddled bodies in his wake without fear of capture, while statuesque co-star Milla Jovovich is tracked by almost every CCTV camera.

Her ability to emerge unscathed from a hail of bullets during the film's action sequences is one of many perplexing questions that remain unanswered by Philip Shelby's flimsy script. Director McTeigue, who previously razed London in the 2005 dystopian fantasy V For Vendetta, seems content to demolish a few more city blocks and ignore gaping holes in the plot.

Security expert Kate Abbott (Milla Jovovich) is drafted to the US embassy in London by her mentor, Ambassador Maureen Crane (Angela Bassett), to identify visa applicants who pose a threat to homeland security. Intuition tells Kate to look closer into Romanian doctor Emil Balan (Roger Rees), who wants to visit America to attend a medical conference.

She delays his visa application with the backing of section chief Sam Parker (Dylan McDermott) and investigates further, aided by four ambitious interns (Antonia Thomas, Sean Teale, Rege-Jean Page, Jing Lusi). An elusive hit man known as The Watchmaker (Brosnan) is hired to eliminate Kate in order to expedite Balan's visa application, which is part of a bigger plot to inflict massive damage on American soil.

The first attempt on Kate's life fails and video evidence falsely implicates her in the terrorist atrocity. Hunted by The Watchmaker and Inspector Paul Anderson (James D'Arcy), Kate defies embassy survival protocol to evade capture and defuse the terrorists' hydrogen, methane and fluorine bomb.

Survivor is a generic battle of patriotic Americans versus nasty foreigners that casts Jovovich in her familiar role as a one-woman killing machine. Brosnan's lacklustre performance remains in the shadow of a fake moustache that occasionally crawls across his upper lip, while Frances de la Tour fleshes out a thankless supporting role as a technowizard, who affirms Kate's innocence.

Set pieces are solid if unremarkable including bruising fistfights between the two leads. The picture's 48-hour timeframe and a threat of six-digit casualties should generate a far greater sense of urgency than McTeigue accomplishes.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 30th July 2015

The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson 3 stars

Out of the blue, singer-songwriter and guitarist Wilko Johnson is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It is inoperable and doctors grimly predict that he has less than 12 months to put his affairs in order. Johnson rejects chemotherapy, since it won't extend his life expectancy, and he embraces the diagnosis by savouring every day in this life-affirming documentary. Through the lens of the camera, Johnson achieves an odd sense of euphoria in the face of apparently certain death.

  • GenreBiography, Documentary, Indie
  • CastWilko Johnson, Roger Daltrey.
  • DirectorJulien Temple.
  • WriterJulien Temple.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official sitewww.ecstasyofwilkojohnson.com
  • Release17/07/2015 (selected cinemas)

In 2009, singer-songwriter and guitarist Wilko Johnson appeared in Julien Temple's documentary Oil City Confidential to wax lyrical about his beloved Canvey Island in Essex and share memories of his time in the band Dr Feelgood. The musician and filmmaker reunite for this surprisingly uplifting portrait of terminal illness, which meets sixty-something Johnson shortly after the death of his wife. Out of the blue, the singer is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It is inoperable and doctors grimly predict that he has less than 12 months to put his affairs in order. Johnson rejects chemotherapy, since it won't extend his life expectancy, and he embraces the diagnosis by savouring every day. He records a final album with good friend Roger Daltry, which turns out to be a critical and commercial success, and tours Japan. Through the lens of Temple's camera, Johnson achieves an odd sense of euphoria in the face of apparently certain death.

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Thursday 30th July 2015

The Salt Of The Earth 3 stars

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For the past four decades, revered Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado has chronicled the changing face of mankind through a lens. This documentary follows the photographer as he embarks on his latest project entitled Genesis, which intends to immortalise people and communities who have clung onto their traditions in the face of technological advances and global capitalism.

  • GenreBiography, Documentary, World
  • CastWim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Sebastiao Salgado.
  • DirectorWim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.
  • WriterWim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier.
  • CountryFr/Bra/Ita
  • Duration110 mins
  • Official site
  • Release17/07/2015 (sellected cinemas)

Celebrated filmmaker Wim Wenders follows up the acclaimed documentaries Buena Vista Social Club and Pina with this visually arresting portrait of the creative process, co-directed by Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, son of revered Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado. For the past four decades, Sebastiao has documented the changing face of mankind through a lens, pricking consciences with his monochromatic images of the famine in Ethiopia, the aftermath of Desert Storm in Kuwait and the desperate plight of refugees from war-torn Rwanda. In The Salt Of The Earth, Wenders follows the photographer as he embarks on his latest project entitled Genesis, which intends to immortalise people and communities who have clung onto their traditions in the face of technological advances and global capitalism. The filmmaker chooses to shoot in striking black and white to mimic the aesthetic of his enigmatic subject.

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Thursday 30th July 2015

The Wonders 3 stars

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Gelsomina is the eldest of four daughters, who help their taciturn father harvest honey from nearby hives and sell the golden nectar in jars to the local community. As summer beckons, life on the farm is thrown into disarray by the arrival of a 14-year-old German boy called Martin, who will work alongside the family as part of a youth rehabilitation program. There is a palpable attraction between Martin and Gelsomina, that threatens to distract her from her responsibilities.

  • GenreDrama, Romance, World
  • CastMaria Alexandra Lungu, Sam Louwyck, Alba Rohrwacher, Monica Bellucci.
  • DirectorAlice Rohrwacher.
  • WriterAlice Rohrwacher.
  • CountryIta/Switz/
  • Duration111 mins
  • Official site
  • Release17/07/2015 (selected cinemas)

Gelsomina (Alexandra Lungu) is the eldest of four daughters, who help their taciturn father (Sam Louvyck) harvest honey from nearby hives and sell the golden nectar in jars to the local community. Unlike her truculent sister Marinella (Agnese Graziana), Gelsomina is always prepared to work to ensure the family succeeds and she keeps a close eye on the bucket that constantly fills with precious honey and must be changed regularly. As summer beckons, life on the farm is thrown into disarray by the arrival of a 14-year-old German boy called Martin (Luis Huilca), who will work alongside the family as part of a youth rehabilitation program. There is a palpable attraction between Martin and Gelsomina, that threatens to distract her from her responsibilities. Meanwhile, a TV game show called Village Wonders, hosted by the ethereal Milly Catena (Monica Bellucci), arrives in the forest, offering a big prize to the best farmers in the region. Gelsomina proudly enters her dysfunctional clan, unaware of the dire consequences of her proud actions.

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Thursday 30th July 2015