Lord! Look at the cheekbones on that thing! You could grate cheese on those. Evil cheese!
With a plot as cheerfully convoluted as its title, viewers might start to feel sea-sick trying to keep up with the ridiculous twists and turns of The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists. But does it matter? Not really. This is home-made Aardman animation at its most visually dazzling, and the love, humour and detail locked in every frame ensures that story quibbles are soon tossed over-board.
A professionally sceptic author is called upon to expose the mystery of a ghost in a post-WWI boys school. Spookiness naturally occurs and soon we’re treated to an atmospherically compelling (if somewhat less than innovative) creepfest, full to the brim of half-seen spooky children and wandering around in the dark as it heads towards its somewhat disappointing climax.
Prepare yourself for a relentless onslaught of legendary British voices, classic Aardman stylings, slick 3D and more Christmas spirit than you could shake even a really big candy cane at – it could only be Arthur Christmas. And it’s totally, overwhelmingly charming, just like you knew it would be. What are you doing on a computer? Just go and watch it, Scrooge – and would it kill you to wear a snazzy jumper?
Another Year, the latest devised-piece-cum-film from Vera Drake director Mike Leigh, has been widely acclaimed at Cannes and the London Film Festival. At the risk of turning Best For Film into some sort of underground band of critical mavericks, I really don’t see why. It may be a far cry from Leigh’s best work, but its extraordinarily realised characters do a reasonable job of balancing out a plot which ends up being more hollow than touching.