The biggest films in cinemas now
Turns out, Pixar’s sentient toys can still make us cry: Nearly 25 years after their cinematic debut, the sweetly selfless plastic pals return in a fourth ‘Toy Story’, one charged by the animated series’ thematic essence of finding purpose in being useful to others. It’s a hopeful, immensely human chapter that echoes and extends the franchise’s complex notions of loyalty, displacement and self-worth, doing so with humour and warmth. Working from a script by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom (as well as six other story contributors, including the ousted ex-Pixar chief John Lasseter), director Josh Cooley successfully balances all these elements – a noteworthy achievement considering the large cowboy boots he had to fill after the epic yet nuanced ‘Toy Story 3’, one of Pixar’s more perfect achievements. The reliable company of old friends certainly helps. Now happily living with a new kid, Bonnie (voiced by Madeleine McGraw), Tom Hanks’s pull-string pardner Woody, Tim Allen’s devoted Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack’s feisty Jesse and the rest of the gang are back. New to the clan is Forky (Tony Hale of ‘Veep’, adding nervy personality and genuine weirdness), an existentially confused spork with low self-esteem that the ever-imaginative Bonnie creates as a kindergarten craft project. Convinced of his status as trash (an unusually raw class dilemma for a Pixar movie), Forky get a crash course on his toyness from Woody, himself thrown by a life crisis resembling that of a retiree. B
Twenty-seven years on from the release of the animated classic, Aladdin gets the live-action treatment, with ‘Sherlock Holmes’ director Guy Ritchie at the helm. The well-known plot is the stuff of Disney magic: a rags-to-riches tale in which a common thief wins the heart of a princess with the help of a magic lamp that transforms him into a prince. If ‘Aladdin’ is not quite a scene-for-scene remake, it gets pretty close. The plot is tweaked with some sensible improvements. Agrabah, a mythical Silk Road city, is described in the original opening song as ‘barbaric’. It’s now simply chaotic, with a bustling population of people from as far as northern Europe (look out for Billy Magnussen’s hilarious Prince Anders) to China, and everywhere in between. It’s clear this version of Aladdin celebrates the cultures from which the ‘Arabian Nights’ folk tale emerged – a lesson no doubt learned from ‘Black Panther’, which led the way in providing an alternative to the white saviour motif of many big-budget movies. Canadian-Egyptian actor Mena Massoud perfectly captures Aladdin’s street-smart charm, while British-Gujarati actress Naomi Scott gives a fire-cracker performance as Princess Jasmine, showing she’s less concerned with finding a husband than learning the required skills to succeed her father (Navid Negahban) to the throne. Marwan Kenzari’s Jafar verges on panto villain, but there’s no denying he cuts a menacing figure. Best of all, the film is a proudly out-and-out musical. Bol
Keanu Reeves’s aggrieved assassin is back for another riotous kick-punch-shoot-repeat action gem.
This madcap Pokémon adaptation is a tonne of fun until ponderous plotting replaces the anarchy with something you’ve seen a hundred times before.
An epic slab of superheroics, Marvel's big finish earns its heaviness – it may even wreck you.
Brie Larson isn't given enough to do in a Marvel movie that marinates in '90s nostalgia but doesn't quite rise to the occasion of its own significance.
Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz spar for the affections of their queen in Yorgos Lanthimos's swooningly rude period piece – a royal flush.
This sequel doesn’t have the original’s breathless inspiration, but it’s still a funny and warm-hearted watch.
This ever-imaginative franchise mislays its mojo slightly in an overcrowded final outing.