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Chicken Run | DVD | (04/12/2000)
from £3.99 | Saving you £9.00 (69.30%) | RRP
As warming as a nice cup of tea on a cloudy day, Chicken Run is that charming singularity, a commercially successful British family movie that has near-universal appeal without compromising its inherent British pluckiness (that will be the first and last poultry-pun in this review). It invites us into the Plasticine-world of Tweedy's farm, a far-from-free-range egg factory ruled with an axe of iron by greedy Mrs.Tweedy. One intrepid chicken, Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha) sets her sights on breaking out the whole flock, a cast of beautifully individuated chicken characters including ditsy Babs (voiced by Jane Horrocks), matronly Bunty (Imelda Staunton) and practical-minded Mac (Lynn Ferguson). Each effort is thwarted, and Ginger repeatedly reaps a spell in the coal bunker for her troubles, prompting the first of many allusions to The Great Escape, one of several World War II films name-checked throughout. (Grown-ups will have a ball playing Spot-the-Allusion Game here.) When an American rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson) literally drops in from the air, the hens are set all a-flutter with excitement thinking he'll help teach them to fly away at last. But Rocky is not all he seems. Although the action sags just a fraction around the 40-minute mark, it's the set pieces that really lift this into the realm of cartoon genius: the montage of inept flying attempts, Rocky and Ginger's narrow escape from Mrs Tweedy's new pie machine (an horrific contraption of chomping steel and industrial menace) and the magnificent, soaring climax. Despite the fact British animators (such as the directors, Nick Park and Peter Lord, themselves) regularly scoop Oscars for their short films, our record in full-feature length cartoons has been scrappy at best. There have been a few highlights--Animal Farm (1955), The Yellow Submarine (1968), Watership Down (1978)--and, er, that's about it really, unless you count The Magic Roundabout: Dougal and the Blue Cat. ChickenRun, made by the Aardman production house who produced the delightful Wallace and Gromit shorts among many other treats, has proved that Britain can compete with the most calculated, merchandised and screen-tested Disney production and win. --Leslie Felperin
You Again | DVD | (28/03/2011)
from £4.29 | Saving you £5.70 (57.10%) | RRP
When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in high school she sets out to expose the fiance's true colors.
Penelope | DVD | (23/06/2008)
from £3.89 | Saving you £14.10 (78.40%) | RRP
Penelope is afflicted by a secret family curse that can only be broken when she is loved by one of her own kind. Hidden away in the family's majestic home she is subjected to meeting a string of blue-bloods through her parent's futile attempt to marry her off and break the curse. Each suitor is instantly enamored with Penelope (and her sizable dowry)... until the curse is revealed. When a willing mate cannot be found mischievous tabloid reporter Lemon (Peter Dinklage) hires Max (James McAvoy) to pose as a prospective suitor in hopes of snapping a photo of the mysterious 'Penelope.' Max who is really a down-on-his-luck gambler finds himself drawn to Penelope and not wanting to expose or disappoint her disappears and leaves Lemon in the lurch. Fed up by this latest betrayal and determined to live life on her own terms Penelope breaks free from her family and goes out into the world in search of adventure - curse be damned.
The Santa Clause 2 | DVD | (17/11/2003)
from £3.99 | Saving you £14.00 (77.80%) | RRP
Considering how lame this sequel could have been, The Santa Clause 2 makes for a pleasant seasonal diversion. It's got the familiar smell of Disney marketeering, and more than a few parents will object to this further embellishment of the St Nick legend, but Tim Allen's amiable presence provides ample compensation. As a divorced dad who inherited the jolly man's job in The Santa Clause, Allen now faces another Yuletide challenge. According to the "Missus Clause" in his North Pole contract, he can't continue to be the real Santa until he gets married. As luck and five credited screenwriters would have it, Allen falls for the Scroogey principal (Elizabeth Mitchell) of his son's school, while a phoney, power-hungry duplicate Santa wreaks havoc on the North Pole's overworked elves. It's all as sweet as spiced eggnog, with that warmed-over feel of a mandated sequel, but the Christmas spirit does prevail with the sound of sleigh bells and Allen's rosy-cheeked "Ho, ho, ho!". --Jeff Shannon
College Road Trip | DVD | (26/01/2009)
from £4.15 | Saving you £9.84 (70.30%) | RRP
Choosing a college and striking out on one's own is an exciting time that requires a big adjustment by both child and parent, but few parents will have as much difficulty relinquishing control over their daughter's life as Chicago police chief James Porter (Martin Lawrence). The ultimate in loving but overprotective fathers, James wants his daughter Melanie (Raven-Symoné) to attend nearby Northwestern College, so when she's waitlisted and called for an interview at Georgetown in Washington, D.C., James gets more than a little nervous. Squashing her plans for a road trip to D.C. with her girlfriends, James insists on a father-daughter expedition which he envisions being full of reminiscing, heart-to-heart conversations, and a healthy dose of persuasive promotion of Northwestern. The car trip definitely doesn't turn out as planned--instead it’s a trip rife with strained silences and festering conflict in which the police vehicle rolls down a wooded embankment, Melanie's little brother (Eshaya Draper) and pet pig stow away in the back of the truck, and the Porters inexplicably keep running into a syrupy sweet father (Donny Osmond) and college-bound-daughter (Molly Ephraim) whose close relationship, clean-cut enthusiasm, and willingness to befriend and help the Porters is downright unsettling. Absurdly funny scenes include the family pig crashing and demolishing a fancy outdoor wedding; James' party-loving mother (Arnetia Walker) scrambling to live up to her son's uptight image of her as a fragile, elderly woman; James breaking into a local sorority house and hiding under a bed in hopes of protecting Melanie's innocence, and James' and Melanie's unexpected skydive into Washington, D.C., in order to keep Melanie's interview appointment at Georgetown. In the end, James and Melanie both mature as a result of their road trip and are finally able to forge an emotionally healthy relationship with one another. (Ages 8 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
Get Santa | DVD | (16/11/2015)
from £5.00 | Saving you £N/A (N/A%) | RRP
It's days before Christmas and reindeer are found running loose through the streets of London. Meanwhile an astonished 9 year-old Tom (newcomer Kit Connor) discovers Santa (Jim Broadbent) in the garden shed. He has crash landed while test driving his new sleigh and enlists Tom and his father Steve (Rafe Spall) to help him get back to Lapland. But what happens when Santa is arrested and thrown into prison? Will Steve and Tom be able to break him out in time for Christmas? Get Santa is a heart-warming and funny family adventure about a father and son reconnecting to discover the magic of Christmas.