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What’s showing on the big screen now

JACK Reacher (12A) - Former military officer Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) is a ghost in the system, even to the US government with all of its technology and resources.

He is lured out of hiding when a mentally unstable sniper, James Barr (Joseph Sikora), is arrested for the murder of five innocent people outside PNC Park in Pennsylvania. Before Barr slips into a coma, he writes down three words - Get Jack Reacher. On cue, Jack makes contact with lead detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) and District Attorney Rodin (Richard Jenkins), convinced that the cops have caught their perpetrator. However, Rodin’s daughter, defence attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), isn’t convinced of Barr’s guilt and she hires Jack to check the forensics. As Jack follows a chain of evidence, he falls foul of criminal mastermind The Zec (Werner Herzog) and a sharp-shooting henchman (Jai Courtney), whose business interests may play some part in the unfolding mystery.

Rating: Three stars

Parental Guidance (U) - Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) and his wife Diane (Midler) are childhood sweethearts, who have been married for more than 40 years. They are free from the responsibility of raising children: Artie is a baseball commentator for his local team while Diane keeps in shape by pole-dancing with her gal pals. Poor Artie is crestfallen when the new owners of the team sack him from the commentary booth to inject fresh blood into the club. Soon after, the couple’s daughter, Alice (Marisa Tomei), telephones to ask Artie and Diane to babysit their three grandchildren - Harper (Bailee Madison), Turner (Joshua Rush) and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf) - while Alice accompanies her husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) on an important business trip. Diane readily accepts, but it soon becomes clear that the grandparents do not know how to relate to Harper, Turner and Barker and their 21st century fads.

Rating: Two stars

Midnight’s Children (12A) - Across a jubilant India, children are born with magical powers to unsuspecting parents. Saleem and Shiva are two such babies, one destined for poverty as the son of a street musician, the other for middle-class comfort, until a maternity nurse (Seema Biswas) is swept up in revolutionary fervour and switches the infants’ name tags, thereby robbing Shiva of his privileged birth right. Saleem (Satya Bhabha) grows up removed from his family. A simple sneeze unlocks Saleem’s ability to telepathically contact the other children born at midnight, and using this mystical bond, the chosen ones plan to pool their amazing capabilities. However, Shiva (Siddharth) harbours deep resentment towards Saleem and plots to seize control of this band of misfits. He rises through the ranks of the Indian military, providing Shiva with the authority and firepower to strike down Saleem and his sweetheart, the witch Parvati (Shriya Saran).

Rating: Three stars

Life Of Pi (PG) - An inquisitive writer (Rafe Spall) turns up unexpectedly at the door of Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan), having been told the stranger’s life story deserves to be immortalised in print. In flashback, Pi recounts his youth as the son of a circus owner (Adil Hussain), who decided to sell the family business in Pondicherry and emigrate to Canada with his wife Gita (Tabu) and two boys. A raging storm causes the Japanese freighter to overturn and young Pi (Suraj Sharma) escapes in a lifeboat along with a zebra, orang-utan, hyena and a tiger called Richard Parker. The rest of the clan, including Pi’s older brother Ravi (Vibish Sivakumar), perish at sea. As the days pass, the predators prevail until just Richard Parker and Pi remain, trapped together in a vast expanse of water.

Rating: Four stars

Pitch Perfect (12A) - Beca (Anna Kendrick) arrives at Barden College with dreams of becoming a music producer, to the chagrin of her father, university professor Dr Mitchell (John Benjamin Hickey). He promises to fund a career in Los Angeles if she agrees to become involved in campus life. So Beca reluctantly signs up with all-girl a cappella group The Bellas, who flopped spectacularly at last year’s sing-off when soloist Aubrey (Anna Camp) projectile vomited over the audience. Aubrey’s right-hand gal, Chloe (Brittany Snow), is open to Beca’s bold ideas to reinvigorate the repertoire but Aubrey insists they stick to her songbook of 1990s favourites. New girl Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) throws her considerable weight behind Beca but as the competition draws near, tensions are evident.

Rating: Four stars

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (12A) - Director Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth in the first instalment of The Hobbit trilogy, based on JRR Tolkien’s classic novel. Jackson begins his film at Bag End, with the elderly Bilbo (Ian Holm) penning a book to his cousin Frodo (Elijah Wood). Rewind 60 years and we meet the young Bilbo (Martin Freeman) in the Shire as he encounters Gandalf The Grey (Sir Ian McKellen) and a 13-strong company of dwarves, who intend to reclaim their lost gold from the dragon Smaug in his mountain lair. Bilbo agrees to accompany dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his troops on their perilous mission. En route, the brave souls encounter elvish allies including Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), as well as wretched Gollum (Andy Serkis) and the corpulent Goblin King (Barry Humphries).

Rating: Three stars

Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings 3D (U) - In the magical realm of Pixie Hollow ruled by Queen Clarion (voiced by Anjelica Huston), Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman) and her friends busy themselves gathering berries and coaxing flowers to bloom. Fairy Mary (Jane Horrocks) oversees the final shipments of baskets, which snowy owls collect and fly into the Winter Woods. When the time comes for the animals to cross the rubicon, Tink helps Fawn (Angela Bartys) to lead the critters to the checkpoint and watches with envy, aware that she and her pals are forbidden from crossing the divide into the kingdom ruled by Lord Milori (Timothy Dalton). Curiosity gets the better of the mischievous fairy and Tink hitches a ride inside the last basket to the Winter Woods, where a visit to the Keeper (Jeff Bennett) of the library reveals that she has a sister called Periwinkle (Lucy Hale). They hatch a plan to smuggle Periwinkle into Pixie Hollow, unprepared for the repercussions of their actions.

Rating: Three stars

So Undercover (12A) - So Undercover sends a young private eye on her most tricky mission: to infiltrate a college campus. Street-smart investigator Molly (Miley Cyrus) learnt everything from her father, former police officer Sam (Mike O’Malley). She quit school to work alongside him and now gets a kick out of exposing cheating spouses or apprehending petty thieves. FBI agent Armon (Jeremy Piven) approaches Molly with a tantalising proposition: he needs her to go undercover as a college student to gather evidence for his latest case. With her girlish looks, Molly is perfect for the mission and she fits in on campus, and soon becomes a target for the resident bullies. As she finds her feet, Molly falls head over heels for Nicholas (Joshua Bowman) but has to continue lying to him in order to protect her cover.

Rating: Two stars

 

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