10   +   6   =  

Plundering the archives seems to be the order of the day for Disney. Pretty soon every animated classic will have returned to screen in live-action form. It’s no wonder when Alice in Wonderland broke the billion barrier last time out. The sequel returns this week alongside financial crime, period comedy and investigative journalism at its finest.

Tim Burton has handed directing duties on to James Bobin (of Flight of the Conchords and the last two Muppets movie fame) but pretty much everyone else is back for this follow-up to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Based on Lewis Carroll’s sequel, Mia Wasikowska returns as Alice, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway reprise roles as the Red Queen and the White Queen, and Johnny Depp is the Mad Hatter once again. It should be a visually impressive experience though reviews suggest the story leaves a little to be desired.

Money Monster is another release light on content, but it is at least fun. Directed by Jodie Foster, a hostage situation arises when George Clooney’s smarmy financial TV show host is taken captive on air by a man very unhappy with recent advice dished out on the programme. Julia Roberts also stars as Clooney’s producer in an enjoyable thriller lacking in smarts.

It’s been only five years since Damsels in Distress and we already have a new Whit Stillman film. This is the guy who made us wait 13 years between The Last Days of Disco and Damsels after all. Moving from his usual collection of upper-class east coast Americans, Love & Friendship adapts Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan about a trouble-making society woman descending on in-laws as she tries to outrun scandal. Chock full of brilliantly witty lines, it’s hilarious from start to finish.

There was some shock when Spotlight won Best Picture at the Oscars this year, but there really shouldn’t have been. It was, after all, the best film nominated. Tom McCarthy’s blistering Boston Globe investigation into a Catholic Church paedophile cover-up weaves numerous strands together with delicacy to create a slow-burning, hard-hitting masterpiece. That’s more than enough reason to buy now it’s out on DVD.

That’s all we have time for again. See you next week for mightily incompetent private investigating.

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