Yahoo Movies UK: Latest Film News, Exclusives & Trailers
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All this week's theatrical releases reviewed

Yahoo UK Movies Features

The Muppets – 4/5

In short:
Two brothers have grown up loving the Muppets. Walter has always been a bit 'different', and his affection for the characters has never diminished. His sibling Gary (Jason Segel) has moved on, but when he takes his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) on an anniversary trip to Los Angeles, he brings along Walter to visit The Muppets Studio. Unfortunately an oil baron by the name of Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) plans to raze the studio to the ground and drill for black gold. Walter is mortified by the plan, and with the help of Gary he finds Kermit and pleads for assistance. Soon they are on the road and looking for the old gang so that they can put on a show, buy back the studio and save the day.

What we think:
There are plenty of enjoyable moments, and some incredibly catchy songs to hum along to, so let's not dwell on the small flaws. This is a kid’s film that the grown-ups will definitely enjoy more than the youngsters.

[Related feature: The men behind The Muppets]

The word out there:
The Telegraph: Disney must be hoping this film will win over a new generation of fans, but it’s good enough to win over the old ones too.
Empire: Made absolutely for grown-up fans, this is the Muppets as you fondly remember them: funny, smart and gleefully insane.
Total Film: The sunniest, happiest film in the world – and if the under-10 in your life can’t appreciate that, it might be time to put them up for adoption.
Radio Times: Although primarily aimed at a younger audience, director James Bobin... packs the film with just enough retro references and subversive humour to strike a chord with grown-ups.

Release date: 10 February
Runtime: 109 mins
Rating: U




The Woman In Black – 3.5/5

In short:
Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) has struggled to cope since his beloved wife died in childbirth. Now, in order to keep supporting his young son (Misha Handley) with his work as a lawyer he must complete an assignment in a small Yorkshire town. The job involves sorting paperwork for a derelict home deep in the moors so that it might be sold. Of course, there's a reason it's been lingering untouched for so long. Spooky happenings disturb his progress, and soon he encounters the ghostly visage of the eponymous woman in black - and it has horrific consequences.

What we think:
Good ghost stories have been few and far between in recent years. But where 'The Awakening' didn't quite hold together, Daniel Radcliffe's post-Potter spook-a-thon 'The Woman In Black' is eerily satisfying until the bitter end.

[Related feature: How movie music makes you cry]

The word out there:
The Telegraph: This feels less like a remake than a new reading of an old story, trembling with freshly terrifying resonances.
TimeOut: ‘The Woman in Black’ is old-fashioned, ornate, imposing, occasionally creaky – and possessed of more than a few enjoyably nasty surprises.
Film4: Shocktastic and schlocktastic, The Woman in Black is lots of fun, though not for the faint-hearted.
IndieLondon: While flawed, The Woman in Black remains a hugely effective chiller of the classically crafted variety.

Release date:  10 February
Runtime: 95 mins
Rating: 12A



The Vow – 3/5

In short:
One fatal night, loved-up husband and wife Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) are involved in a car crash. They both survive, but Paige wakes up from a coma with amnesia. She can't remember why she left her law degree to become an artist, she can't remember why she no longer talks to her family, and she can't remember falling in love with Leo. Her parents (Jessica Lange and Sam Neill) spot an opportunity to reconnect with their daughter, but this just makes it more difficult for Leo. In Paige's mind she is still engaged to charming businessman Jeremy (Scott Speedman), but can Leo help her, and himself, by rekindling their romance? Or is it impossible to fall in love with the same person twice?

What we think:
Tatum and McAdams hold your attention, even when the film takes repeated turns for the bland. Not exactly the most romantic prospect to settle down to watch this Valentine's though.

The word out there:

The Daily Express: Memory loss as a story device always seems contrived but here it sets up an intriguing, humorous and thought-provoking drama about relationships and how people change.

Empire: The few weaknesses in the plot can be overlooked as The Vow makes for a wonderful - if a bit teary - romance that is brilliantly acted.
TimeOut: Much is seen from the point of view of the husband vowing to win back his wife, so distancing this story from its target market (women, if you hadn’t guessed).
Sky Movies: While the premise is quite promising, the dead hand of Valentine's Day co-writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silberstein supplant the human interest potential with a mawkish rom-com sensibility.

Release date: 10 February
Runtime: 104 mins
Rating: 12A



A Dangerous Method – 3.5/5

In short:
It's the early 1900s and psychoanalysis is emerging as a science. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) is an up-and-comer in the field, and he believes it is the techniques of Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) that will cure his latest, most challenging patient. Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) displays great intelligence, but also a troubled past that has clearly damaged her mind.  While Freud is keen to push the man he sees as his natural successor into more radical elements of medicine, Jung and Spielrein embark on an affair. Soon ideological differences become apparent and personal relationships descend into emotional turmoil. The line between teacher and student is blurred, and there will be no going back.

What we think:
David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen reunite for this enjoyable tale of warring allegiances during a tumultuous time in the development of modern science. But in the end it's  Knightley and Fassbender who steal the show.

The word out there:
The Guardian: This is a cool, measured, loquacious film; even its sexual adventures are shown with a clinical detachment, and there is a droll undercurrent of black comedy.
Empire: Despite a top-notch cast performing well, and bravely in the case of Knightley, this is an austere, somewhat repressed movie.
Digital Spy: Ultimately, there's no danger of being deeply moved by this film - it's just a tantalising glimpse of part of what makes us human.
ViewLondon: A Dangerous Method is an engaging and thought-provoking drama with terrific performances from all three leads, though it doesn't quite deliver the emotional punch you're hoping for.

Release date:  10 February
Runtime: 100 mins
Rating: 15




Big Miracle– 3/5

In short:
It's the late 1980s, and Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) is an Alaskan-based news reporter about to stumble on the biggest story of his career. Whilst filming out in the icy wilderness he spots three whales trapped beneath the ice. Soon the story reaches the national media, and the small town of Barrow is overrun by reporters and environmental activists, all with their own agendas. One such activist, Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore), just happens to be Adam's ex. But before anything can happen between them a rival appears on the scene in the form of an eager journalist (Kristen Bell).
As the plight of the whales becomes more desperate, help comes in the unlikely form of the wealthy oilman (Ted Danson) who is keen for some good PR. But can all of these forces combine to save the whales before the last airhole closes forever?

What we think:

It's not going to win over the most cynical of viewers, but given half a chance there is something quite pleasing about 'Big Miracle'. It has its heart in the right place, and that counts for a heck of a lot in this genre.

The word out there:
Total Film: “You’re not as easy to hate as I thought!” Barrymore says to Danson. Those initially resistant to Big Miracle may reach the same conclusion.
TimeOut: By-the-book dialogue and lame performances do the film no favours but, hey, worse things happen at sea.
Den of Geek: I’m not expecting Oscar winning performances here, but a bit of something – anything – would be preferable to what we end up with.
Real.com: Big Miracle grows on you as the seriousness of situation unfolds and the breathtaking surroundings keep you in awe.

Release date: 10 February
Runtime: 107 mins
Rating: PG




Casablanca – 5/5

In short:
It's 70 years since this wonderful love story first hit the screens. Starring Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, a man who runs a classy drinking den in the eponymous city in North Africa, the film centres on the return of an old flame. When Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) saunters into his bar, Rick is powerless to resist, but with World War II tearing Europe apart there are bigger issues at play. The Nazis are intent on keeping Ilsa's husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henried) away from rebels in other cities but it's Rick who holds the key to his freedom. The politics of the situation do little to mask the true feelings of those involved in this timeless live triangle.

What we think:
An undisputed classic, remastered for the big screen. If you haven't seen it yet, you're in for a treat and if you have seen it before it's just as good as you remember it.

The word out there:

Empire: The most iconic War romance in cinema history and deservedly so. This is a perfect blend of a tight script, stylish cinematography and cult performances from Bogart and Bergman.
Total Film: Of all the performances in all the world, Bogart’s Blaine is perhaps the most iconic. But Humph’s just one reason to revisit a perennial favourite that hasn’t dimmed with age.
Little White Lies: Even hardened cynics who might be impelled to dismiss it as a collection of button-pushing clichés will most likely get swept up in the all the unabashed romance.
The Guardian: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman still grip 70 years on in Michael Curtiz's nuanced war noir.

Release date: 10 February
Runtime: 102 mins
Rating: U




Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace – 1/5

In short:
Back in 1999, when George Lucas first unleashed 'The Phantom Menace', fans were blown away... by the aberration they were witnessing. Gone was the charm and ingenuity of the earlier trilogy, and instead we were force fed outlandish costumes, borderline racist political shenanigans and infuriatingly irritating supporting characters. Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor tried their best as Jedi Knights wondering around CGI backdrops, but Lucas opted to concentrate on the visuals instead of the any discernible story. Widely, and rightly, regarded as the worst 'Star Wars' film, it's now also available to experience in 3D. Enjoy.

What we think:
An undisputed stinker, reworked in 3D. If you haven't seen it yet, then stick to the older 'Star Wars' movies. If you have seen it before, don't give it a second chance. It's the same old rubbish now in 3 appalling dimensions.

The word out there:
Total Film: So, now George Lucas has gone back to tamper with the film that tampered with your childhood, what's changed? The answer is disappointingly little.
TimeOut: What does come alive in the new print is the background detail – this was always a beautifully designed film, crammed with gorgeous costumes, sleek CG spacecraft and knowing nods to the earlier films.
Little White Lies: The politest way you can describe the 3D is 'subtly effective', but it won't alter your view of the film for the better or for worse.
The Guardian: This damp squib belated prequel is given a retrospective 3D revamp for no good reason

Release date:  9 February
Runtime: 136 mins
Rating: U