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Cinemas - starting this week - 10/10/08

KIDS film it may be but here is a family flick that uses its adventure story and fantasy world premise to deliver a stark message to the leaders of our own planet.

The city of Ember is dying. This is an underground civilisation lit solely by electric lamps – not even fire exists down here. And those lamps are losing their lustre and with the dying of the light comes the end for everyone.

Eventually we discover the reason why the end is nigh – basically, those who run the city are corrupt, apathetic or just plain misguided and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out exactly what this film and Jeanne Duprau’s book on which it is based is trying to tell us.

With no adults to rely on, it is left to young Saoirse Ronan (from Atonement) and Harry Treadway to decide they are not going to accept the inevitable.

They set out to discover the secret behind a mysterious message left by those who built the city which they believe will find them a way out of Ember.

The most stunning aspect of the picture is the sheer visual flair employed by director, Gil Kenan, taking the next natural step up the film-making ladder after making such an impact with the superb animated Monster House.

He shows he has learned a lot from Terry Gilliam who must be kicking himself for not managing to nab a project which is so tailor-made for his approach.


THE MUTANT CHRONICLES (18) (All major cinemas)

BRUTAL science fiction action film which combines Starship Troopers with Aliens in the story of a human army led by Thomas Jane who take on the might of artificially created slice-and-dice monsters threatening to wipe out mankind. Not subtle but loads of fun if you like that sort of thing.


THE HOUSE BUNNY (12A) (All major cinemas)

ONE day, Anna Faris will make a comedy classic. For now, she is saddled with being the best thing about average movies such as this one in which she is a Playboy bunny, thrown out of the mansion by Hugh Hefner and ends up helping a college sorority group of misfit girls find their inner beauty.


NIGHTS IN RODANTHE (PG) (All major cinemas)

MIDDLE-AGED romance with a hint of Mills and Boon has Richard Gere and Diane Lane meeting and falling in love during a hurricane in North Carolina. Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks – best known for The Notebook – this is quality stuff, if a little hard to swallow.


MIRRORS (15) (All major cinemas)

KEIFER Sutherland tries to translate his 24 success into renewed big screen fame but does so via yet another poor US adaptation of an Asian horror movie – this time one about homicidal mirrors in a burnt-out department store.



IGOR (PG) (All major cinemas; weekend previews)

ANOTHER computer animated effort which has been a big hit in the States and focuses on a hunchback sidekick of a master scientist who dreams of conquering the world of science himself. Previews take place ahead of next Friday’s official release.