March 11th releases

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probably the least popular animal at the petting farm

Anomalisa (15)

Scriptwriter Charlie Kaufaman directs an animated cartoon about a man who looks like Rodney from Only Fools and Horses in existential angst.

 

Fifty Shades of Black (18)

Oh dear parody films are back !

 

Kung Fu Panda 3

The true life story of a king fu trained panda in ancient China. (No it’s not, you idiot! – Ed)

 

The Witch

Those expecting to see a cackling bandy legged old crone will be disappointed if they attend The Witch expecting to see Amanda Holden instead this is a horror film set in the 16th century replete with century appropriate dialogue too. But don’t let that put you off.

Starting with Ralph Inneson (the appalling Finchy from The Office) as  a devout Christian expelled from his Calvinist community and takes his wife and four children into the depths of a new England forest where they set up home. All seems to go well until his new born baby disappears in a deeply unsettling scene. Isolated by their location and from their community he struggles to keep the family together as the crops fail and his wife, distraught at the loss of their child, withdraws into herself. Convinced that the baby has been taken by a wolf they soldier on with his eldest daughter, played by newcomer Anya Taylor Joy,  looking after the younger brother and the twins.

The baby’s disappearance ignites the  implosion of the family as the twins misinterpret a joke by their older sister, their mother, already upset by the baby’s disappearance, frantically looks for a family heirloom , the oldest brother  gets lost in the woods with terrible consequences and the father battles to keep the family together  as the crops fail and food grows scare. At the same time a pervading air of menace pervades the air with the presence of seemingly malevolent animals and their own live stock grows increasingly relevant to their predicament.

For fans of M Night Shymalan director of the Sixth Sense, & Unbreakable before his career went into freefall with The Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender this will bring back back memories of The Village but this is on a whole different level.  Once again this is a first time feature film debut this time by Robert Eggers whose back ground is in design for both costume and sets and this has been something of a labour of love for him in terms of research and writing. Though this is a horror film The Witch focuses heavily on atmosphere and is highly successful in evoking disquieting menace generating a sense that you shouldn’t be watching some scenes but you can’t take your eyes off it. Eggers superb use of music and naturalistic lighting as well as great performances especially those that he draws from the children is stunning and has deservedly already won him an award at last year’s Sundance Festival.  With the Oscars race row now subsiding it’ll please the Academy that there is a character here called Black Phillip. Unfortunately he’s a goat. And if there were nominations for best performance by a goat the one featured here would be a contender as its presence seems to be a constant reminder that all is not well here.

Unsettling and disturbing with some superbly orchestrated sequences as a debut Eggers would appear to be a talent to watch.

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