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Empire Sunderland

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Sunniside Leisure (formerly Limelight Entertainment Complex), 4 Lambton Street, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR1 1TP

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 81 min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Miguel Arteta
  • Cast: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould

After an especially bad day, eleven-year-old Alexander (Oxenbould) wishes that the rest of his family would have one: the next day, they do. Loosely based on a 1972 kid's book, this highly entertaining and pleasingly edgy family comedy features witty performances from all but especially Oxenbould, and Garner as his overworked mum.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

Annabelle

Annabelle
  • 3 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 98 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: John R Leonetti
  • Cast: Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard

When cultists invade the home of expectant parents Mia (Wallis) and John (Horton), the soul of one of them enters a doll named Annabelle that John has given to Mia. This spin-off from 2013's The Conjuring over-relies on the doll's supposedly terrifying presence, but it's better than it deserves to be, with some frightening set-pieces.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

The Babadook

The Babadook
  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • Australia
  • 93 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Jennifer Kent
  • Written by: Jennifer Kent
  • Cast: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Tiffany Lyndall-Knight

Widowed single mother Amelia (Davis) struggles to discipline her son Samuel (Wiseman); when he becomes obsessed with a pop-up book character called The Babadook, things get nasty. Genuinely upsetting and at times terrifying tale of loneliness, loss and depression, executed with impressive style by debut director Kent.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

The Book of Life

The Book of Life
  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 95 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Jorge R Gutierrez
  • Cast: Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Diego Luna, Ron Perlman

Manolo (Luna) and best friend Joaquin (Tatum) are both in love with feisty Maria (Saldana), but it all goes El Sur when squabbling gods La Muerte (del Castillo) and Xibalba (Perlman) make a wager over who'll win her. Lively, colourful animation exploring dark themes, with great gags, superb voice work, and a delightful soundtrack.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls
  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 97 min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
  • Cast: Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan

Eggs (Hempstead-Wright) lives underground with a family of Boxtrolls, marginalised creatures who make their home from rubbish. But then the trolls are hunted by a group of exterminators, led by the grotesque Snatcher (Kingsley). Adventurous, intense and sometimes disturbing animated movie, with plenty to keep adults occupied; whether kids will respond is another question.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

Dolphin Tale 2

Dolphin Tale 2
  • 2 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 107 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Charles Martin Smith
  • Cast: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble

Winter, the bottlenose dolphin with the prosthetic tail, needs a friend, and teenager Sawyer (Gamble), kindly mom Lorraine (Judd) and moody doctor Clay (Connick Jr) have to find one. An overqualified cast are wasted in this colourless true-life story, set firmly in the cinematic tradition of tiresome animal-related do-gooding.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov

Dracula Untold

Dracula Untold
  • 2 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 92 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Gary Shore
  • Cast: Luke Evans, Charles Dance, Sarah Gadon

In this Dracula origin story, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (Evans), is a warrior and a family man, who sells his soul to protect his people from the Turkish hordes. There's good work from Evans and Gadon and a show-stopping performance from Dance (under layers of prosthetics), but overall it's po-faced and humourless.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

Fury

Fury
  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • US/UK
  • 134 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: David Ayer
  • Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jason Issacs, Scott Eastwood

The tale of a Sherman tank crew, led by Sgt Don 'Wardaddy' Collier (Pitt), in the final weeks of WW II. Grim and intense (heads and limbs blown off, bodies crushed under tanks) but in one of his finest performances, Pitt shows the humanity beneath the gung-ho façade; Lerman is also impressive as the rookie.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

Gone Girl

Gone Girl
  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 145 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: David Fincher
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike

Nick (Affleck) comes home on his fifth wedding anniversary to find his wife Amy (Pike) gone, and a series of revelations cast him in the worst possible light. Fincher directs with cool proficiency and a sense of brutal fun; Affleck is perfect, and Pike gives a bravura, breakout performance.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

Grace of Monaco

Grace of Monaco
  • 3 stars
  • 2013
  • Belgium, Italy, France, Monaco, US
  • 103 min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Olivier Dahan
  • Cast: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Frank Langella, Parker Posey

The tale of the transformation of Hollywood star Grace Kelly (Kidman) into a princess of Monaco, and her ensuing clashes with Hitchcock (Griffiths) and de Gaulle (Penvern). Possibly thanks to executive meddling during the edit, it's a confused and flyweight piece with little emotional depth.

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Wed 5 Nov

Horns

Horns
  • 2 stars
  • 2014
  • US/Canada
  • 123 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Alexandre Aja
  • Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Heather Graham

When Ig (Radcliffe)'s girlfriend Merrin (Temple) is murdered, suspicion falls on him; but then he sprouts horns and people begin to confess their secrets to him. Unfortunately Aja neglects the more interesting crisis-of-faith theme and overstuffs the narrative, so despite nice work from Radcliffe (and Graham, great fun as an evil waitress) it lacks hiss or bite.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

Interstellar

Interstellar
  • 2014
  • US/UK
  • 169 min
  • Directed by: Christopher Nolan
  • Cast: Jessica Chastain, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway

Star-studded epic sci-fi adventure from The Dark Knight director Nolan.

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Fri 7 Nov

Love, Rosie

Love, Rosie
  • 2 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 102 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Christian Ditter
  • Cast: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Tamsin Egerton, Suki Waterhouse, Jaime Winstone, Art Parkinson

When Alex's family move to Dublin to America, he and his best friend Rosie are separated. Can their friendship survive the distance? Based on the novel by Cecelia Ahern.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

Muppets Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wanted
  • 3 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 112 min
  • U
  • Directed by: James Bobin
  • Cast: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey

A world tour goes awry when the Muppets find themselves accidentally caught up in a jewel heist.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov

National Theatre Live: Frankenstein

National Theatre Live: Frankenstein
  • 2011
  • UK
  • 15
  • Directed by: Danny Boyle
  • Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller

Mary Shelley's classic gothic tale realised by Danny Boyle in his return to theatre. The roles of Dr Frankenstein and the Creature are alternated between Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller.

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Mon 3 Nov

Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger

Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger
  • 1 star
  • 2012
  • UK
  • 105 min
  • U
  • Directed by: Debbie Isitt
  • Written by: Debbie Isitt
  • Cast: David Tennant, Jessica Hynes, Marc Wootton, Pam Ferris

Tennant takes over starring duties from Martin Freeman in this sequel to the 2009 British festive hit.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler
  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 117 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Dan Gilroy
  • Written by: Dan Gilroy
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton

Lou (Gyllenhaal) is a young man in LA who finds work as a freelance cameraman, feeding grisly news footage to the sensationalistic networks. A characterful satire of the cynicism, manipulation and inhumanity prevalent in TV news, with showstopping work from Gyllenhaal as the motor-mouthed protagonist.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
Mon 3 Nov
Tue 4 Nov
Wed 5 Nov
Thu 6 Nov

Northern Soul

Northern Soul
  • 3 stars
  • 2014
  • UK
  • 99 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Elaine Constantine
  • Written by: Elaine Constantine
  • Cast: Eliot James Langridge, Josh Whitehouse, Antonia Thomas, Steve Coogan

In 1974 Lancashire, John (Langridge) meets Matt (Whitehouse) and becomes hooked on Northern Soul, the high-energy soul and funk that northern English clubbers loved to dance to. Constantine's debut feature is simplistic and the story is underdeveloped, but she knows the scene and the all-important dancefloor scenes hum with energy.

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Mon 3 Nov

Royal Opera House: I due Foscari

Royal Opera House: I due Foscari
  • 2014
  • UK
  • Directed by: Thaddeus Strassberger

Live screening of Verdi's tragedy, starring Plácido Domingo.

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Sun 2 Nov

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • 3 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 101 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
  • Cast: Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Danny Woodburn, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub

Visually distinctive reboot of the franchise chronicling the adventures of four late-adolescent, martial-arts-trained, pizza-addicted chelonians and their intrepid reporter pal (Fox). The CGI-enhanced turtles are an improvement on their cinematic predecessors, Fox is commendably committed and Arnett is enjoyable as her smitten cameraman. Like its heroes' favourite food, exciting and loaded with cheese.

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Sat 1 Nov
Sun 2 Nov
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Thu 6 Nov

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