Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney): The third installment of the hugely successful Pixar franchise sees the toys (voiced by a cast including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack) confronted with a problem. Their owner Andy is no longer a child and when he goes off to college, they are supposed to be put in to the attic. But a misunderstanding sees them end up somewhere else.
With new characters voiced by Ned Beatty, Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Keaton this sequel has been in the works for a long time. The delay was mainly down to the friction between former Disney chief Michael Eisner and Pixar but when these problems were resolved with the new regime under Bob Eiger – which saw the 2006 merger of the two companies – the film was back on track.
Directed by Lee Unkrich, co-director of Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo, this looks set to be another huge success for Pixar. Like the previous Toy Story films it has managed to combine critical plaudits with an inbuilt appeal to audiences of all ages. [Nationwide / U]
Splice (Optimum Releasing): This sci-fi horror concerns two scientists (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) in the near future who experiment with human DNA for a large corporation, only to slowly realise that they have made a mistake.
Directed by Vincenzo Natali, still best known for the 1997 film Cube, it got a proper wide release in the US from Warner Bros last month, despite being filmed on a lower-than-normal budget. The visual effects are solid but the major problem is that it is too derivative, especially of David Cronenberg’s The Fly, and doesn’t really add anything to the crowded horror sub-genre which depicts science gone wrong. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 15]
Directed by Bart Freundlich, this seems like token summer counter-programming for female audiences who don’t fancy seeing the big summer blockbusters. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / 15]
Baaria (E1 Entertainment): Director Giuseppe Tornatore (best know as the director of Cinema Paradiso) returns with a film about his childhood growing up in Sicily. [Odeon Covent Garden & Key Cities / 15]
City Island (Anchor Bay Films): A low budget US indie about a dysfunctional family in the Bronx, headed up by a prison guard father (Andy Garcia) who secretly yearns to be an actor. Julianna Margulies and Emily Mortimer co-star and Raymond De Felitta directs. [Key Cities / 12A]
Ivul (Artificial Eye): A semi-autobiographical film from director Andrew Kotting about a young man (Jean-Luc Bideau) coming of age in a manor house in France with a Franco-Russian father. Jacob Auzanneau and Aurélia Petit co-star. [Curzon Renoir & Selected Key Cities / 15]
Jasper, Penguin Explorer (Soda Pictures): Directed by Eckart Fingberg and Kay Delventhal, this German animated film is about a penguin (voiced by Rick Adams) who thinks another world exists beyond the ice caps of the South Pole.
Khatta Meetha (Eros): A Bollywood remake of the 1989 Malayalam film, Vellanakalude Nadu, starring Akshay Kumar as a construction contractor. [C’Worlds Feltham, Shaftesbury Ave., Wood Green, Vue Acton & Key Cities]
My Night With Maud (bfi Distribution): A reissue of Eric Rohmer’s 1969 film about the relationship between a Catholic and a Marxist and a freethinker named Maud. [BFI Southbank, Curzon Soho & Key Cities / PG]