Toy Story 4 ~ Malvern Cinemas

Star rating: *****

In my humble opinion this is one of the best Toy Story movies in the franchise – and I love the first three so I’m sticking my neck out here! There are so many new characters that entertained me combined with the originals and of course a number of them who joined the cast in the third film. My little boy loves Forky, and his antics are the making of this story.

We catch up with the gang when Bonnie is getting ready to go to kindergarten and Woody is no longer in favour, he’s been relegated to the closet. However, regardless of Bonnie’s disinterest, he’s hell-bent on making her kindergarten orientation day go without a hitch. It’s here we meet Forky – he thinks he’s trash and Woody is making it his mission to keep Forky out of the bin and in Bonnie’s clutches as her toy.

The other main storyline follows a previously unknown backstory which clears up the mysterious disappearance of Bo Peep from the third film. When Woody happens upon the antiques store which has been her home, there’s danger, adventure, chaos and a lot of laughs along the way. We meet Bunny and Ducky, carnival game prizes waiting for a kid to take them home, Gabby Gabby – a rather tapped doll who’s really just trying to find a kid to form a bond with and Duke Caboom, he was rejected by a kid and now he’s stuck in the antiques store, posing!

It’s a race against time for Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep and co. to rescue Forky from the clutches of Gabby Gabby and her creepy ventriloquist dummy accomplices. Considering it’s an animation I find myself getting emotionally invested in the characters and the story, I definitely shed a tear or two along the way.

Tom Hanks is back as Woody with Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack as Jessie and Annie Potts as Bo Peep. Tony Hale plays Forky, he gets funnier as the movie progresses, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are a hilarious double act as Ducky and Bunny, while Keanu Reeves is superb as Duke Caboom. Buttercup the Unicorn (Jeff Garlin) deserves a mention too for constantly suggesting that they try and get Bonnie’s dad arrested.

I want a fifth film please – I haven’t finished with the toys yet!

Malvern Cinemas is one of our favourite cinemas, if you want to experience it too: www.malvern-theatres.co.uk

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The Lion King ~ Live Action Movie (Malvern Cinemas)

Star rating: *****

The Lion King has long been one of my best loved Disney movie. It’s jam packed with action, tragedy, comedy and with an overriding theme of love conquering all. The beauty of the animated version never fails to amaze me. However, the live action incarnation wowed and impressed me beyond measure. It follows the same storyline and the same well-loved Disney songs are peppered throughout which it was difficult not to sing along to but they’re sung by what looks like real animals!

The attention to detail is remarkable and the setting for the movie is absolutely breath-taking. Disney are renowned for perfection and this is not exception.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, we follow the adventures Simba, a lion cub who’s next in line to the throne and the apple of his mum and dad’s eye. His Uncle Scar, who’s not a lion in favour with the pride lurks in the shadows and has been pushed further down the line of ascension courtesy of Simba’s birth. Feeling wronged, Scar is on a mission to dispose of Mufasa, his brother and his young nephew to leave the path clear for him to seize the crown. He’s relying on the help of hungry hyenas to assist with his plan. Meanwhile Simba is oblivious to his relative’s devious plot and comes a cropper at his paws a couple of times, until a stampede created by the devilish hyenas is the catalyst for Mufasa’s devastating downfall. Simba is not only bereft but also carrying the guilt that he caused his father’s death as Mufasa was trying to save him from the stampede which Scar had all but pushed his nephew into. As Simba grows in exile – he has the company of a meerkat called Timon and his bestie Pumbaa, a warthog. Scar has his ill-gotten place on the throne as King, and his hyena sidekicks are feasting like royalty beside him. Will Simba return to save the day? Nala, the lioness who was a childhood friend and his betrothed according to law, is certainly not going to sit back and let chaos reign supreme.

The unmistakable velvet voice of James Earl Jones features as Mufasa, who else could have brought such wisdom, knowledge and authority to the King of the Jungle? He is joined by the talents of Chitiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, he was just as demonic as Jeremy Irons was in the role. There’s also Beyonce Knowles-Carter as Nala, JD McCrary as young Simba, Donald Glover as the adult Simba, Billy Eichner as Timon alongside the fantastic Seth Rogen as Pumbaa. Florence Kasumba as Shenzi the Hyena was a menacing presence for sure. John Oliver gave a memorable performance as Zazu.

My highlights of the film revolved around the numerous moments of laugh out loud comedy – from Timon and Pumbaa’s interactions and the addition of other animals in their fabulous rendition of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’! The hyenas also provided much entertainment as they bantered between themselves. Zazu was also as comedic as in the original animation, John Oliver has put his own stamp on it.

The sound department have done a superb job and the entire creative team should be proud of a wonderful achievement, as a live action movie so far it’s my favourite.

Malvern Cinemas is an amazing setting to watch a movie in – why not check out their listings and book to see a film there: Malvern Cinemas

Dumbo ~ Malvern Cinemas

Star rating: *****

Dumbo is a classic Disney movie and as a self-confessed Disney-a-holic I’d put the original animated version somewhere in my top ten films of all time. A live action incarnation with a Tim Burton spin sounded appealing and alarming all at once, however it was a joy from beginning to end. Probably not entirely suited to our five year old as he found some of the darker edged scenes to be somewhat disconcerting, however this did not spoil his overall enjoyment and when Dumbo flew, our boy was beside himself.

Dumbo himself and indeed all of the animals were fascinating to watch, such attention to detail added to the exceptional realism and Dumbo’s mother in particular was quite something to behold.

The story stays fairly faithful to the original, there isn’t much of a place for Timothy Mouse in this version although he’s definitely featured, just not as Dumbo’s friend. His friends come in the form of the Farrier family, bereaved following the death of their mother and newly reunited with their father, Holt (Colin Farrell) who has returned from war with an arm missing – Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) are the pals the young elephant with over-sized ears comes to rely upon. The poor young chap has gone from being a laughing stock when he was new born to the sad departure of his mother following her rampage to protect her son. Max Medici (Danny DeVito), owner of the Circus Dumbo belongs to is capitalising on the discovery that Dumbo’s ears can be used as wings. However, with the fame of his top billing act comes a villain set to take the act for himself under false pretences. Enter V. A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) with his arm-candy, trapeze star Colette Marchant (Eva Green).

With the Farrier children intent upon using money earned from Dumbo’s act in the Coney Island circus to buy back his mother, the truth about Candevere’s intentions catalyses a chain of events which may or may not lead to a happy ending for the much loved elephant and his keepers.

The story from the animation has been expanded upon and has a sinister air on occasion, however that is to be expected with a Tim Burton production – it’s not going to be happy ever after without a number of twists, turns and evil plots along the way. DeVito, Keaton, Farrell and Green shine in the lead roles and the children are superb.

Go and see the elephant fly for yourselves, it’s a heart-warming tale of love, ultimately and I bet you’ll not be able to help yourselves falling in love with delightful little Dumbo! Book your tickets to see the film at Malvern Cinemas, here: www.malvern-theatres.co.uk

The Incredibles 2 ~ Review

Star rating: *****

It’s been a long time coming, and following the success of the first Incredibles film, I’m surprised it’s taken so long to be reunited with the family of superheroes and my personal favourite, Edna the costume designer (played by Brad Bird who also directs the movie). We re-join the madcap life of the Mr Incredible (Craig T Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack at a time when non-superhumans have turned against them.

Time has not moved on much since the close of the original film, baby Jack-Jack is still a baby. At the close of the first movie, we knew that Jack-Jack had powers, so did his babysitter, she understandably freaked out and wasn’t inclined to give notice of her intention to leave… hurriedly.

So, with almost everybody within an immediate radius and beyond against them, the five-some are moved into a motel and laying low. Violet’s teenage love-life is still an ongoing ‘issue’ revisited too. However, fortunes take a sudden turn for the better when Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) bumps into a Super Hero fanatic hell-bent on finding a more positive place for them in the modern world. Winston Deaver (Bob Odenkirk) and his somewhat reluctant sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener) are responsible for offering an opportunity to be seen as the heroes they are and along with that comes a very stylish gadget-laden home.

With the spotlight on Elastigirl as the super heroes are thrown back into the spotlight, and Mr Incredible holed up at home as a gloomy house-husband – we are left wondering who ‘Screenslaver’ is, the arch enemy whom Elastigirl finds herself up against. Meanwhile, Dash is struggling with Maths homework, Violet is nursing a broken heart and Jack-Jack’s powers are discovered. He has many powers, which make him attractive to super hero costume designer, the quirky and theatrical Edna Mode.

The storyline appears to be more engaging than in the original movie and the characters have lost none of their appeal – so this is a win/win in every way. Disney at its best, go see!

*** Feature Show *** ~ Aladdin

If I ask if you’ve seen Disney’s Aladdin – the vast majority of you will put your hand right up and might even give me a chorus of ‘Friend Like Me’ the popular big number sung by the incomparable late great Robin Williams who played the Genie. If you’re a theatre fan (or even if you’re not much of a theatre-goer) you’ll have to have been living in a cave not to have heard of the West End’s version of Disney’s Aladdin which has been wowing packed houses at Prince Edward Theatre.

My question is, have you seen it yet?

If the answer is no, would you like to find out some excellent reasons why you shouldn’t miss this spectacular West End show?

If the answer is yes, maybe the reasons I’ll hit you with will inspire you to go again…

  1. It’s Disney! ~ need I say more? Disney sprinkles its inimitable magic whether it be on screen or stage and to step inside the theatre and see this show is to absorb a whole new world of Disney magic (pardon the pun!).
  2. A famous Princess ~ maybe you’ve heard of Jade Ewen? She’s made a name for herself as a popular singer before joining the show and she makes for a perfect Princess Jasmine.
  3. Sing-along ~ unlike some musicals, this one boats so many well known songs that you can’t help but sing along.
  4. A glorious theatre ~ if this is your first time in the West End then you couldn’t pick a better theatre to start with than the Prince Edward Theatre. The atmosphere in the beautiful auditorium alone will astound you before curtain up!
  5. Watch the trailer and let that speak for itself! 

Are you convinced? Would you like to know a secret?

Thanks to the magic lamp, we have an offer you’ll LOVE! No booking fee for performances from 4 – 28 June 2018. Sound like a plan? Go for it: Aladdin Tickets

 

 

 

Photo Credits: Aladdin the Musical Website 

** This article features Affiliate Link with Encore Tickets **

BAFTA Film Awards 2018

For the full list of BAFTA award winners, follow the link: BAFTA Film Awards 2018

What a night, eh? From Joanna Lumley’s take-over as presenter to the display of unity from the female guests who wore black to the criticism of Kate Middleton for failing to wear black – it was all going on at this year’s film BAFTAs.

2017 saw some films of outstanding quality, I’ve been tempted by genres I might not otherwise have engaged with too. Who took home the trophies was of real interest to me and there were some hot contenders in each category.

Fun, games, and gossip aside, it truly was a remarkable evening celebrating some of the best in the film industry and there were many deserving winners. Here are a few of my highlights:

Animated Film

Coco is such a ground-breaking Disney movie, it was thoroughly deserving of the award for Animated Film. I often feel that Disney thinks outside the box with its choice of film subjects and this one definitely conforms to my theory, whilst retaining that Disney magic.

Leading Actress

Frances McDormand fascinates me, every nuance of her performance regardless of role, is measured and beautifully believable. I have yet to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – it’s top of my list to catch up on though. As an actress in every level and for all of her credits, as well as this particular role – McDormand was the obvious winner.

 

Leading Actor

I actually shouted out Gary Oldman as the winner and clapped like a seal when this was announced. Darkest Hour is a moving, stunningly shot film and Gary Oldman enhances it with the most uncanny performance. Oldman is a talent de force, however would he have sprung to mind as ideal casting for Churchill? No! An inspired choice, though. Bravo!

Supporting Actress

I, Tonya is on my list to see at the cinema this weekend, so I’m unable to comment on Allison Janney’s performance, completely. However, from the clips that have caught my attention, I had already got her pegged as the winner in this category. I can’t wait to see the full movie, I have a feeling I will want to give Janney a standing ovation in the auditorium. She’s a marvel!

Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name – how glorious is this movie? The observational sub-text and exploration of the abstract is captured in cinematography which adds a new dimension to the story. As an adaptation it’s one of the finest screenplays I’ve seen and fully deserved the win.

Films on my hit-list for 2018
  1. I, Tonya 
  2. The Shape of Water
  3. Black Panther
  4. The Incredibles 2
  5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

I’m excited to see Margot Robbie in I, Tonya!

 

Pick of The West End

The West End is saturated with a cornucopia of musicals, plays and extraordinary theatrical pieces – it’s not always easy to know what to choose and often tempting to want to see it all! If you’re anything like me, that is! So – Break A Leg are going to try to make that choice easier by bringing you a weekly bulletin of offers, deals and opinions. The good news is that you can book tickets through this website as we are partnered with the wonderful Encore Tickets. So, step inside our short guide to the pick of What’s On in the West End this week! 

West End hit, Matilda plays at the Cambridge Theatre, a new West End cast has just been announced and its exceptionally critically acclaimed:

‘Writer Dennis Kelly and composer and lyricist Tim Minchin go to the top of the class with this anarchically joyous, gleefully nasty and ingenious musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story’ –  The Observer

If you love the story in book form or you’ve seen the film, you’ll love this brilliant adaptation – it’s pure theatrical gold!

 

Click away to grab a deal today – just hit the image below! 

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Aladdin is set in the town of Agrabah where Princess Jasmine is unhappy with her father, The Sultan’s desire to find her a royal groom. Jafar, the power-hungry Grand Vizier is however, plotting to take over the throne. Jasmine sneaks out of the palace and meets Aladdin, a charming street urchin and reformed thief. When they are found out, Aladdin is sentenced for execution.  Jafar, however saves him and orders him to fetch a lamp from the Cave of Wonders…. but when there is a lamp, there is also a Genie! Aladdin is transformed into Prince Ali in attempt to Jasmine’s heart and prevent Jafar’s evil plans.

To see the West End Musical adaptation ‘in the flesh’ at Prince Edward Theatre, find a magic lamp… or simply…

Click away to grab a deal today – just hit the image below! 

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A major new production of the smash-hit West End and Broadway musical swings into the new Marble Arch Theatre.
Nomax is single, broke and drinking his sorrows away when five guys named Moe – Big Moe, Little Moe, Eat Moe, Know Moe and Four-Eyed Moe – appear out of nowhere to help him straighten out and sing and dance his way to love!
Featuring the hits of original jazz king Louis Jordan, including Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby, Early In The Morning, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie and, Saturday Night Fish Fry, Five Guys Named Moe is a theatrical experience like no other!

Would you like to experience it?

Click away to grab a deal today – just hit the image below! 

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In The Woman in Black, junior solicitor Arthur Kipps journeys to the funeral of a client, Mrs Alice Drablow where he sees a young woman with a wasted face, dressed all in black, standing in the churchyard. Confused by the villagers’ reluctance to speak of The Woman in Black, Kipps goes to Mrs. Drablow’s former home Eel Marsh House, a building in the middle of a marsh, cut off from the mainland at high tide. While sorting through her papers he finds a box of letters, and ultimately discovers, to his own terrible cost, the dreadful secret of the Woman in Black.

Price Band A Tickets – Tuesday performances: Was £47.50 Now £20.00, saving 58%

Valid until 24 October 2017

Click away to grab a deal today – just hit the image below! 

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OPENING 12 September 2017 and if you want to know what the show’s all about, read my review of its run at Coventry Belgrade Theatre, here: Footloose Review

Click away to grab a deal today – just hit the image below! 

MCM Expo Comic Con ~ NEC, Birmingham

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

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MCM Expo presented comic con and memorabilia at its best on 21st and 22nd March at Birmingham’s NEC. Easily our favourite venue for this event, the halls were buzzing and the tills appeared to be ringing as some stalls were more than ten deep at frequent periods during the weekend.

UK Garrison and Rebel Legion had brought along their best storm troopers as usual, with a wide variety of characters from the ‘Star Wars’ franchise available for photo opportunities. Actor, Warwick Davis was also present, with a lengthy queue of fans at his table and it was a fortuitous time for him to be there as UK Garrison celebrated their 15 year anniversary. Congratulations to you from Break A Leg Review.

Funko Pop seems to be one of the ‘must have’ items this year, we saw many dealers with a huge array of the figures and stock appeared to be flying off the shelves. As Disney fans, we can appreciate the draw of them and long may they reign!

Cosplay is always such a key element at comic cons and on this occasion we saw many Disney characters strolling around, there were particularly impressive ‘Sleeping Beauties’, perfect Captain Jack Sparrows and a superb Zarina (the pirate fairy) from the ‘Tinkerbell’ films. We never cease to be amazed by the effort that cosplayers put into their costumes and we have been fortunate enough to interview two regular con-goers who are cosplayers, themselves. Their interviews can be found here: https://breakalegreviewblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/break-a-leg-review-interview-ian-blyth/ and here: https://breakalegreviewblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/break-a-leg-review-interview-samantha-kent/

For the first time, this year we caught the cosplay parade, and we were impressed with the confidence that all of the participants displayed. It’s an inspired way for enthusiasts to showcase their ‘talent’ and we will look out for the parade again at future cons.

The next Birmingham events is 21st to 22nd November and you can buy tickets in advance here when they become available:  http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/birmingham/

The next MCM Expo will be on 22nd to 24th May and the venue is Excel in London, advance tickets can be purchased here: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/

 

 

 

 

Disney on Ice – NIA, Birmingham

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

Celebrating 100 years of Disney magic was the aim of this spectacular show at Birmingham’s NIA Arena, and to say it was done ‘in style’ is an understatement.

Surpassing themselves, in our opinion – the talented and fearless team of skaters worked wonders as they conjured up sweet memories of Disney films gone by. Starting with Aladdin, was an ingenious (pardon the pun) idea and tribute, and we were blown away by the acrobatic skills of ‘Aladdin’ and the main ‘Genie’ (for there were several genies!) it was simply amazing. Equally, Beauty and the Beast provided an opportunity for more demonstrations of intricate footwork, seamless moves and a breath-taking backdrop. It must be no mean feat to perform so marvellously dressed as the Beast or indeed a candlestick!

Its A Small World was inspired, as huge Disneyland Paris fans it resurrected memories of a fantastic ride, capturing all of the magical innocence of the experience. The scenery that was ‘shifted’ with the performers was barely noticeable as every transition occurred so smoothly. We hope that there are more links to the Disney parks in future shows as this element definitely enhanced the first act.

Toy Story was our personal favourite, which featured skaters who mimicked the characters exceedingly well and gave some of the best all round performances. There were some stunning special effects used throughout, notably during the Pinocchio scene and some of the more ‘obscure’ Disney films were showcased, which was the icing on the cake.

With appearances from Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and so many sing along moments, this is a must see show. Tickets can be booked by following this link http://www.feldentertainment.com/Shows/DisneyOnIce/

Have a Disney kinda day, everyone!

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