Into Film Clubs
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The second film in The Secret Life of Pets franchise returns to cinemas this week and reunites us with Jack Russell terrier Max, his family and the cast of pets that live in his apartment building. When Max's owner has a baby, he becomes too overprotective of the new arrival and on a family holiday to the countryside, meets a farm dog named Rooster who helps Max overcome his fears whilst his friends back in the city have their own wacky adventures. The Secret Life of Pets 2 is charming animated fun that intertwines lessons on growing up and responsibility with slapstick humour and very cute animals.
Two new, but very different, musicals hit our screens this week. First off, Disney's latest live-action remake Aladdin is here. Based in the fictional city of Agrabah, this classic tale follows an orphaned street-thief as he falls in love with a beautiful princess before discovering a magic lamp which houses a genie who grants him three wishes. This vibrant and colourful remake of the classic Disney animation blends fantasy, romance and comedy with some show-stopping musical numbers.
Equally as extravagant is Rocketman, a biopic covering the life and times of renowned British pianist and singer Elton John. Taking us on a whirlwind journey through his life as a young child on a Middlesex council estate through to his first successes as a performer in America en route to pop stardom, the story does not shy from the excess and addictions that plagued him. Also touching upon his struggles as a gay man in an era which did not fully accept him, Rocketman is an honest and vivid portrayal of this most flamboyant of musicians.
This live action remake of the beloved Disney animation follows a young street thief who crosses paths with a charismatic genie.
Age group7–14 years
This week's new DVD releases include stylish period piece Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan as the titular character and Margot Robbie as her cousin Elizabeth I as they fight over the throne An elegant, slick and accessible exploration of this crucial portion of 16th century British history, it still manages to explore topical themes around gender roles and sexuality.
Beautiful Boy, meanwhile, focuses on the turbulent relationship between a father and son after the latter develops a crippling drug addiction. Buoyed by two emotional performances from Steve Carell and young star Timothée Chalamet, this is an emotionally raw drama that considers the emotional well-being shared between family members.
Stylish period-drama which examines the relationship between Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century.
Age group14+ years
There are also two new additions to the catalogue this week, starting off with the 2014 cyber-horror Unfriended, credited with kicking off the 'ScreenLife' genre in which films play out entirely on a computer or mobile screen. This particular tale concerns a group of teens whose lives spiral out of control after a mysterious user named "billie227" joins their online video chat. Unfriended is a thrilling film which nevertheless deals with important subjects such as online safety, cyber-culture and the effects of bullying.
Another fresh addition is Welsh-language short Elen. Set in rural North Wales, it follows Elen, a kind ten-year-old girl with epilepsy and a vivid imagination. When a new pupil joins her school, Elen must overcome some of her fears. This is a heartfelt story of friendship and acceptance that creatively uses animation to depict its lead character's perspective.
An online group-chat between five teenage friends takes a sinister turn when an account belonging to their dead classmate joins the conversation.
Age group14+ years
A film list that celebrates the power of music to express identity and bring people together.
Suitable forAll ages
No. of films23
We look at the long-awaited 'Mamma Mia' sequel and how audiences are being drawn back to the unique experience of the big-screen musical.
Reading time 6 mins
Watch drug addiction drama 'Beautiful Boy', in cinemas from 18 January, and download our new Relationships and Resilience assembly resource as an accompaniment.
Reading time 7 mins
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