FILM REVIEWS: Inside Out 2; Arcadian; Watched; Unsung Hero; and The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Westside’s pubs and bars will be licking their lips with both England and Scotland at Euro 2024 from today, Friday 14 June. But we’ve also got you covered at our two brilliant multiplex cinemas instead… including
Pixar’s return and a trilogy with 17 Oscar wins rooted in Birmingham.

Inside Out (PG, 96 mins). The original 2015 Pixar animation featured the emotions of Joy and Sadness inside an 11- year-old’s head. Now 13, can Riley cope with Anxiety and more in this coming-of-age sequel?

The verdict: **** In the first film, Riley’s family moved to San Francisco, hence Sadness joined Joy inside her head. With the leap to high school looming, Riley’s mind is now facing Anxiety, Envy, Ennui and bright-red Embarrassment – coming, ready or not for ‘a preview of the next ten (mostly teenage) years’.

Whether Inside Out is offering a tase of what’s to come, mirroring today’s early-teen challenges or stirring memories for mums and dads, this is a funny, colourful, well-rounded family film for all ages to enjoy in different ways.

Arcadian (15, 92 mins). Paul (Nicolas Cage) lives with twin sons Thomas and Joseph on a fortified farm. When one boy doesn’t return home, will Paul find a way for the family to survive the post-apocalyptic horror lurking every night? Shot in rural Ireland, it bears comparison with Gareth Edwards’ low budget Monsters (2010).

The verdict: *** In what could be dubbed ‘Home Alone Together’, there’s a neat twist, some good action set-pieces and, unlike The Watched (see below), the creatures impress, too. Natural features – including head-butting sheep and a stunning waterfall – make this the most thoughtful, sense-of-place thriller about two brothers since Christian Bale starred in
Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace (2014).

Some viewers might not want her romantic diversion, but Saltburn’s Sadie Soverall (Charlotte) thrives alongside Lost in Space star Maxwell Jenkins (Thomas) and Jaeden Martell (Joseph) from Knives Out. The end titles include a ‘Hair for Mr Cage’ credit for Pamela Warden. She did a great job –it defines him.

The Watched (15, 102 mins). Also shot in Ireland, 28-year-old artist called Mina (Dakota Fanning) is stranded in a forest, later with three strangers, all watched by mysterious creatures at night.

The verdict: ** The early shots of the forest are magical and for Mina to have a caged bird as a fellow traveller is cute. But her fellow captives offer amateur dramatics more than fear.

Following his outstanding debut in 1999 with The Sixth Sense (15, 108 mins) – showing again at Cineworld Broad Street at 7.45pm only in Screen 11 on Monday, July 29 – filmmaker M Night Shyamalan’s subsequent movies kept fading.

With The Watched’s early intrigue soon dissipating, M Night’s daughter Ishana Night Shyamalan will be hoping the only way for her is now up.

Undung Hero (PG, 113 mins). Not to be confused with the national award-winning garage in Selly Park run by Smallbone & Sons for 90 years, this faith-based ‘true story’ is about another family called Smallbone, and whose members struggle to make the move from Australia to the US.

Verdict: ** Showing only at Odeon Broadway Plaza, it’s all about families sticking together. The depicted journey to create the filmmakers and Grammy Award winners King + Country and Rebecca St James labours all the way – Disney’s recent Young Woman and the Sea release is far more inspiring.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, extended versions (12A / more than 11
hours!).
Middle-earth is back… with extra time and no penalties!

The verdict: * The ‘book of the century’ author JRR Tolkien (b. 1892) spent his formative years growing up in Moseley and then Edgbaston just yards from the Westside BID area today.

The three LOTR films won 17 Oscars from 30 nominations and grossed more than $3 billion worldwide two decades ago. The massively extended versions of each film will have one evening screening per day across the opening weekend of Euro 2024 – Friday to Sunday at Odeon Broadway Plaza, and from Saturday to Monday at Cineworld Broad Street.

The Fellowship of the Ring (12A), The Two Towers (12A) and The Return of the King (12A) were originally released from 2001-2003 after shooting began 25 years ago in October 1999. Yikes!

ENDS

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