Jason Best reviews the latest films... Cinema new releases for Friday January 26th including Early Man

Cinema new releases for Friday 26th January

Early Man

Stop-motion maestro Nick Park’s first feature film since 2005’s The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a typically daffy comedy adventure about a plucky caveman who rallies his misfit Stone Age tribe to save their valley from Bronze Age invaders by taking them on at football. Eddie Redmayne’s goofy hero Dug and his chums can’t match Wallace and Gromit’s eccentric charm, but the silly visual gags and groan-inducing puns (‘Jurassic Pork’) still come thick and fast. Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall and Richard Ayoade feature alongside Redmayne among the top-flight British voice cast. ***

Last Flag Flying

Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, former army buddies Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne take a topsy-turvy, tragicomic road trip to bury Carell’s son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. Richard Linklater’s small-scale but beautifully acted movie mixes bittersweet laughs with sober reflections on loss, friendship and the futility of war. ****

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

The first two instalments of the post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure trilogy based on young adult novelist James Dashner’s bestselling books left us breathless and baffled. So it’s a good job Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Rosa Salazar’s rebel teens haven’t run out of puff as they approach the finishing line of the series’ labyrinthine mysteries. Admittedly, the film doesn’t barrel along quite as rapidly as the first two movies: it runs a winding, stamina-testing 142 minutes! And on the occasions when the action stalls we have a bit too much time to ponder the holes in the plot. Yet even if there are a few too many nick-in-time rescues for comfort, the movie remains rollicking entertainment. ***

More film reviews next week.