Incredibles 2 (PG)
The WORLD’S favourite suburban superhero family is back, 14 years after The Incredibles, with a hilarious and sharply observed action comedy in which Elastigirl and her husband Mr Incredible temporarily swap roles.
It turns out that superheroism is easy-peasy compared to the heroism of day-to-day parenting, as any mum queuing with her kids for a moment’s relief at the cinema this summer will tell you.
In Incredibles 2, Mrs Incredible a.k.a. Elastigirl, is out and about using her stretchy powers to catch criminals and stop runaway trains, planes and automobiles. Meanwhile, Mr Incredible is left at home, holding the baby (Jack-Jack).
A scene from the Walt Disney Studios new movie Incredibles 2,a sequel to a 2004 film
The shady Deavor Corporation, which has decided to try to rehabilitate the government-banned ‘supers’ in the public eye, believes people will be more sympathetic to a smart superheroine than a clumsy superhero who leaves a smouldering mess of collateral damage behind.
Mr Incredible mans up to single- parenting rather sweetly. Unfortunately, he has the strength of a hundred men . . . and the patience of a child.
He is utterly flummoxed by his super-speedy son Dash’s maths homework, and his daughter Violet’s huffs and high-school crushes. Unlike most teenagers, when Violet wants to be invisible, she can actually disappear.
Plus Jack-Jack seems to be developing strange new powers in tandem with tantrums. What can possibly go wrong?
In the first movie, as far as the family knew, Jack-Jack was powerless, but the slapstick in the sequel shows him behaving like any capricious toddler, except with superpowers he can’t control.
In the midst of battling the Underminer villain, Violet protects her family by throwing one of her most super force fields yet
One minute he has green laser eyes, the next he bursts into flames, then he’s a purple devil-child, and soon he’s going mano a mano with a racoon in the garden, which left the audience at my screening wheezing with laughter.
Once again, Mr Incredible is voiced by Craig T. Nelson, and Elastigirl is Holly Hunter, whose ironic rasp is perfect.
A new character, executive Evelyn Deavor, is voiced by Catherine Keener and is worth watching carefully. Samuel L. Jackson is back as the Incredibles’ friend, Frozone, who can turn almost anything into an enormous blue iced slushie. Scary fashionista Edna Mode (voiced by the film’s director, Brad Bird) returns to create a superhero romper suit for the newly empowered Jack-Jack. Thanks to her German-Japanese heritage, Edna discovers that the music of Mozart keeps Jack-Jack on a happy, even keel. For a while.
This sequel also shows just how far CGI effects have come since the original, and the retro-futurist design will hold parents’ gaze while their kids roll with the action.
There’s nostalgia here for a generation which saw the first film as children, and Incredibles 2 has already broken American box office records for an animation.Although set in the Sixties, there are modern references, as a baddie called Screenslaver takes control of all the other super-heroes by sending hypnotic messages through TV screens or goggles which look like Google’s recent smart glasses.
Screenslaver’s voice intones: ‘You don’t talk, you watch talk shows. You don’t play games, you watch game shows.’ We are becoming slaves to our screens, and it must stop.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily for future phone addicts, the Incredible family comes together to fight as one, and there’s a zinging finale to a film which is as delightful as the original.
In Skyscraper, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson does what he does best: leaping between a rock and a hard place — in this case a giant crane and a burning 240-storey tower.
Johnson’s leap of faith has been promoted in the film’s trailer, and the stunt is a classic, as riotously improbable as it is enjoyable.
While you nervously bite your fingernails, Johnson mostly dangles by his fingertips from great heights. Starring alongside The Rock is The Pearl, the highest building in the world, with tip-top fire and security measures, which Johnson goes to inspect in Hong Kong.
Dwayne Johnson hangs on to a ledge on a burning 240-storey tower in Skyscraper
He brings his wife and kids along to China ‘to see the pandas’, a set-up which is conveniently doomed to go wrong, given their luxury accommodation on one of The Pearl’s highest floors.
Johnson plays Will Sawyer, an ex-FBI man who lost a leg in action, but the below-the-knee prosthesis doesn’t hold him back. He literally gets hopping mad when it comes to saving his family from the burning building and defeating a gang of arsonists with a secret mission.
Talking of missions, Johnson’s fly-on-the-wall crawl up The Pearl is only aided by sticky duct tape on shoes and hands! It makes Tom Cruise’s similar stunt up the Burj Khalifa building in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol look positively wussy.
Duct tape provides a recurring joke. As Johnson seals up a bloody gash in his shoulder he observes drily: ‘If you can’t fix a wound with duct tape, you’re not using enough duct tape.’
The action is gravity (and sanity) defying, but The Rock is such a warm, convincing presence you forgive the silliness.
Neve Campbell is his wife Sarah, a trilingual military surgeon, and Georgia (McKenna Roberts) and Henry (Noah Cottrell) are his cute twin kids who scream ‘Daddeeee!’ at key moments.
As we take an initial tour of the building, with its above-the-clouds viewing platforms, and virtual reality hall of mirrors, you know these are about to be a perfect playground for the mayhem to come.
Note of caution: despite the fantasy premise, this film has disturbing resonances following the Grenfell tragedy, and may be upsetting for younger children.
First Reformed (15)
Ethan Hawke stars as an American minister in spiritual crisis in First Reformed, an eccentric and peculiarly gripping film from veteran director Paul Schrader.
The drama’s road from doubt to certainty is a messy, convoluted and very human one.
Hawke is Ernst Toller, pastor of an old Dutch Reformed white clapboard church more visited by tourists than believers, but that suits his solitary contemplation and hard drinking just fine.
Ethan Hawke stars as an American minister in spiritual crisis in First Reformed
His soldier son has been killed in a pointless war, and Toller is searching for shreds of meaning.
A younger environmental activist and father-to-be Michael (Philip Ettinger) visits Toller, and seems suicidal about the future of the polluted earth. The pastor treats him with honesty, rather than the happy-clappy cheer of the mega-church which overseas his parish. Soon Michael’s heavily pregnant wife Mary (clue!) finds herself alone and — guess what? — she’s played by the gorgeous Amanda Seyfried of Mamma Mia fame.
She, too, is looking for answers from the church, and its celibate pastor. They are two lost souls who don’t believe in platitudes, but long for transcendence.
Schrader shoots the film in a wintry, desolate style, in dull beige and grey, only broken by the pink of Pepto Bismol in Toller’s whisky as he fights stomach cramps.
Many critics have taken First Reformed very seriously as a deep inquiry into religious belief, but much of it has a black-comic touch. After all, Schrader is also the writer of Taxi Driver.
Hawke’s performance is superb, as he white-knuckles his way through the Bible and wastes away like a vision-maddened saint.
One joyous and completely unpredictable scene will leave you gasping, as the film makes a clever U-turn towards the end.
The Secret of Marrowbone (15)
Still on the spiritual plane, The Secret Of Marrowbone is a mystery told with so many reverse-ferret plot twists that the whole haunted house premise eventually collapses.
George MacKay tries his best as 20-year-old Jack, the eldest of four siblings who are on the run from their psychotic father in England in 1969.
Their ailing mother brings them to her decrepit wooden home in the American countryside, and promptly dies.
The Secret of Marrowbone tells the story od four siblings who are on the run from their psychotic father in England in 1969
The kids decide to hide this fact so they can stay together as a family until Jack can be their guardian, once he reaches 21.
Meanwhile, the old Marrowbone house starts creaking and quivering. Cracks and stains appear in the ceiling.
Mirrors are covered as five-year-old Sam (Matthew Stagg) quakes with fear of apparitions, and his siblings Billy (Charlie Heaton) and Jane (Mia Goth) begin to freak out too as their father’s presence makes itself felt.
Anya Taylor-Joy pops up as a librarian and love interest, but none of the characters aside from Jack are more than sketched out, and a talented young cast is wasted.
The revelations are nasty, but slow to unfurl.
The film manages to combine a Five-Go-Mad, Enid Blyton innocence with rather wishy-washy scares, which will satisfy neither horror fans, nor a young adult audience.
An intense mother-daughter relationship is at the emotional core of Pin Cushion, a coming-of-age story which slides between fairytale hopes and the nightmare of daily life.
Lily Newmark plays teenager Iona, a pale-skinned, geeky redhead with childish plaits who comes to a new town in Derbyshire, hoping for friendship. She befriends the school’s mean-girl clique, but her home life is decidedly peculiar.
Lily Newmark plays teenager Iona, a pale-skinned, geeky redhead with childish plaits
Iona’s mother Lyn (Joanna Scanlan) is a hunchback, with one leg shorter than the other, who wears mismatched heels. The household is almost a museum to kitsch and handicrafts. Cath Kidston, it’s not.
Mother and daughter call one another ‘Daftie 1’ and ‘Daftie 2’, but that comfort and co-dependence is destroyed as Iona breaks free, finds a sort-of boyfriend, and peer pressure mounts. School may be miserable, and Iona is bullied, but she lies with great care and tenderness to protect her childlike mother.
Unlike many films in this genre, Pin Cushion ends with a shocking denouement that proves the intelligence and daring of debut director Deborah Haywood.
A KID’S EYE VIEW OF… Incredibles 2 (PG)
THE first Incredibles movie came out nearly 14 years ago — a month before I was born — so I’ve basically been waiting my entire life for this one. And I’m glad to say that it was definitely worth the wait.
Like a lot of people my age I had never seen the Incredibles on a big screen before. The music was brilliant, too, especially on a cinema sound system.
Picking up just exactly where the last movie ended, Incredibles 2 follows everyone’s favourite superhero family, the Parrs, as they fight to make ‘supers’ legal once again.
To do so, Mrs Incredible/ Elastigirl must go into the city and battle a mysterious new threat who goes by the name of The Screenslaver, while Mr Incredible must stay at home and parent Dash, Violet and multi-powered baby Jack-Jack.
As soon as the movie starts, there are special Disney and Pixar logos in the retro Incredibles style, which look fantastic. The animation in this one is also amazing, and the texture on the hair and the clothes looks really realistic.
One of the best parts is just seeing more of the Incredibles themselves. The scenes at home, when they’re arguing around the dinner table, make them seem like a real family.
The funniest parts mainly came from Jack-Jack, ranging from Mr Incredible having to deal with his 17 different powers, to him having a hilarious fight with a raccoon, to Edna Mode babysitting him.
One of my favourite characters is Frozone, who was one of the best characters in the first movie, and is back in this one.
The Screenslaver was a good and intimidating villain, but I still like Syndrome from the first film more. However, this is one of my only problems with the sequel — and it isn’t really even a problem.
The new superheroes are also amazing, with Voyd’s portal powers and Reflux’s lava vomiting being my favourites.
Overall, I loved this sequel to one of my favourite movies of all time. I hope they make an Incredibles 3 — this time without the 14-year gap.
ELLIS BARNES-CHURCH, 13