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This week at the cinema - August 15, 2018

Times of Malta takes a look at the latest big screen releases

Ewan McGregor and Jim Cummings (voice of Winnie the Pooh), rediscover childhood in Christopher Robin.

Ewan McGregor and Jim Cummings (voice of Winnie the Pooh), rediscover childhood in Christopher Robin.

Christopher Robin (2018)
Genre: Adventure
Director: Marc Foster
Starring and voices of: Ewan McGregor, Jim Cummings, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Brad Garrett, Peter Capaldi
Duration: 104 minutes
Class: U
KRS Releasing Ltd

Christopher Robin, a fictionalised imagining of the titular characters from A.A. Milne’s classic Winnie the Pooh children’s stories, is taking audiences back to the Hundred Acre Wood.

However, Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is now no longer the imaginative and whimsy child he once was, and as he matured, lost touch with Pooh, Tigger and all of his forest friends. Now a mature and reserved family man, the pressure is on to keep up with a demanding boss.

Abandoning a family holiday to deal with an office crisis, hijinks ensue when Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh are unexpectedly reunited and Christopher Robin must take Pooh bear back to the Hundred Acre Wood, the fantasy land of his childhood.

The film received average to good reviews, with audiences being  more favourable than critics. 

Helen O’Hara of Empire Online

found the film to be falling “just short of magic”, with the film failing to deal meaningfully with the themes of family and friendship, and finding director Marc Foster (Finding Neverland, The Kite Runner) to be “reaching for more and simply not finding it”.

David Sims of The Atlantic took a more favourable view, finding the film both strange in tone as it is charming. Calling the venture an “uncanny experiment” in the juxtaposition of post-war Britain with the “essential calmness” of Winnie the Pooh, Sims says the film serves as a reminder to not let stress, no matter the stakes, get the better of us – a message as relevant in 2018 as ever.

Christopher Robin has been banned from screenings in China, where critics of the government haven taken to comparing President Xi Jinping to the bumbling Winnie the Pooh. However, it is expected to do well in all other major box offices. The film has so far grossed $62 million worldwide since its US release on August 12.

Christopher Robin will be released in Malta on Friday.

Ratings
IMDB: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Empire: 2 stars

Amandla Stenberg rebels against the system in The Darkest Minds.Amandla Stenberg rebels against the system in The Darkest Minds.

The Darkest Minds (2018)
Genre: Sci-fi thriller
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Bradley WhitfordDuration: 104 minutes
Class: 12A
KRS Releasing Ltd

The young adult science fiction thriller is based on the novels by Alexandra Bracken and marks the live action directorial debut of Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2).

In a dystopian present, children with superpowers are classed by threat level and forced to live in internment camps. Sixteen-year-old Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) escapes to find a sanctuary for herself and her ragtag group of friends.

The film received mainly poor reviews, with many lamenting the lack of fresh ideas and adherence to trite stereotypes of the young adult genre.

Amy West of Empire Online said it was “safe” and “forgettable”, citing an interesting premise whose “banality squashes any potential”.

While A.A. Dowd of The AV Club called it a “cheap-looking sci-fi melodrama” and“a generic and frankly very tedious compendium of young adult clichés.”

The $34 million production fared very badly at the box office, with an intake of only $21 million worldwide since its release in the US on August 3.

Ratings
IMDB: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Empire: 2 stars

A nervous little elephant and a cat are the protagonists of The Giant Pear.A nervous little elephant and a cat are the protagonists of The Giant Pear.

The Giant Pear (2017)
Genre: Animation
Directors: Amalie Næsby Fick, Jørgen Lerdam, Philip Einstein Lipski
Voices of: Liva Elivira Magnussen, Peter Frödin, Henrik Koefoed, Peter Plaugborg,Søren Pilmark, Jakob Oftebro
Duration: 79 minutes
Class: U
KRS Releasing Ltd

Adapted from a Danish children’s book by satirical cartoonist Jakob Martin Strid, the film follows Sebastien, a nervous little elephant, and his feline friend Mithco.

As they search for their missing friend J.D., the mayor of Sunnytown, the duo accidentally set sail in a large green pear and encounter many dangers and adventures along the way.

The villain is the stubby vice-mayor Twig, who wants to build a large skyscraper in Sunnytown.

The film has sparse reviews, with most critics commenting that the quality of the animation is not on par with some of the industry heavyweights and the story and plot are really meant only to entertain very young children.

However, Leslie Felperin of The Guardian called it “pretty decent as European cartoons go” and suggested it is “an endearing, air-conditioned escape from the summer heat.”

Ratings
IMDB: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Empire: N/A

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