Missing Link – the latest films coming to Portsmouth cinemas

Grab the popcorn for these new release.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 10:15 am
Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) and Mr Link (Zach Galifianakis) in the Missing Link. Picture: PA Photo/Lionsgate Films/Laika.

Writer-director Chris Butler and his army of puppet fabricators, model-makers and creatives go west to London and America's Pacific Northwest for a rip-roaring Victorian-era expedition to validate the existence of mankind's primitive ancestry.

Missing Link is a painstakingly crafted, technical tour-de-force, populated by gorgeously hand-crafted characters and incredibly detailed sets that range from a vast ocean liner and a rarefied gentleman's club to a rootin' tootin' saloon and an ice-laden temple.

The amount of painstaking work crammed into each vibrantly painted frame is jaw-droppingly evident – it takes a small army one week to produce approximately four seconds of animated action.

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Butler's relentlessly upbeat, family-friendly script trades in humour and boo-hiss villainy rather than inner turmoil and self-sacrifice, promoting core messages of acceptance and understanding in a world where mankind destroys the things it does not comprehend.

Suave English gentleman Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) and long-suffering assistant Lemuel Lint (David Walliams) nervously await a close encounter with the Loch Ness Monster.

Photographic evidence of the aquatic beast's existence should secure Sir Lionel admission to an esteemed fellowship of high-society adventurers and explorers in the heart of London overseen by egotistical president Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry).

The trip to bonnie Scotland ends in water-logged disaster and Mr Lint quits his position. Soon afterwards, Sir Lionel receives a tantalising letter, which beckons him to the Pacific Northwest to learn the truth about the fabled Sasquatch.

He follows hand-written directions and encounters an 8ft, 630lb talking creature (Zach Galifianakis), who is desperate to travel to the fabled Himalayan valley of Shangri-La to be united with furry relatives, the yetis. Sir Lionel agrees to lead the globe-trotting odyssey and invites the forest-dwelling companion to pose as his new manservant, Mr Link.

Feisty old fame Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), who possesses the only map of Shangri-La, joins Sir Lionel and Mr Link, unaware that they are being shadowed by a gun-toting assassin called Stenk (Timothy Olyphant).

Missing Link goes down a treat like a cup of Sir Lionel's freshly brewed Earl Grey.

Released April 5.

Shazam! (12A)

Since Marvel Comics launched its ever-expanding cinematic universe with the muscular blockbuster Iron Man, rival DC Comics has largely played catch-up.

David F Sandberg's hugely entertaining romp marks a welcome shift in tone for the stable, swaggering away from dark, brooding seriousness into the irreverent territory of Deadpool, albeit with family-friendly humour and a nostalgia for body swap fantasies including Big.

Scripted with tongue wedged in cheek by Henry Gayden, Shazam! plays to the strength of leading man Zachary Levi, who channels the naivete and nervous energy of a 14-year-old boy trapped inside the hulking frame of a spandex-clad saviour of the universe who initially goes by the moniker Captain Sparklefingers.

There are plenty of in-jokes for comic book aficionados and a crowd-pleasing reveal towards the end plus two additional scenes fashionably concealed during end credits that tease future instalments.

Released April 5.

The Keeper (15)

Marcus H Rosenmuller directs a rousing true story, which changed the course of footballing history.

Bernd Trautmann (David Kross) is captured by the British during the Second World War and becomes a prisoner of war in a camp run by Sergeant Smythe (Harry Melling).

During a penalty-scoring challenge, Bernd's talents as a goalkeeper pique the interest of Jack Friar (John Henshaw), who manages a struggling local football club.

He makes a deal with Sergeant Smythe to enlist Bernd as the club's new goalkeeper to help push for league glory.

At first, captain Bill Twist (Michael Socha) and team-mates are reluctant to welcome a German into their ranks, but Bernd's supreme athletic ability inspires unity.

Bernd also wins over Friar's spirited daughter Margaret (Freya Mavor), who develops romantic feelings for the prisoner.

Thanks to Bernd, the club pulls off a stunning victory on the football field and a scout for Manchester City approaches the prisoner.

His appointment catalyses outrage among fans, and local rabbi Alexander Altmann (Butz Ulrich Buse) calls into question the morality of City's president (Julian Sands) for fielding a German player.

Released April 5.