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Review - Film - Animated moon heist draws big laughs

DESPICABLE ME

Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud

Starring: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand

Certificate: U

Out on DVD: February 21

Rating: 35

This film centres on the dastardly villain Gru, who wants to steal the moon. However, he doesn't bank on young upstart Vector stealing his crown - and his shrink-ray, which he desperately needs to shrink the moon before he can steal it in the first place. Alongside this storyline, there is the sub-plot of three cutesy orphan girls doing more stealing - of Gru's heart. Then there are the minions.

This film is made by seasoned animators: director Chris Renaud worked on Ice Age 2: The Meltdown and Horton Hears a Who!, yet this is the pair's first full-length feature on their own. The animation is crystal clear with some impressive sequences - the fairground scene is cleverly done and the backgrounds always have some quirky details.

The voices are provided by a strong cast. Steve Carell adopts a strange Eastern European accent as Gru, which means Julie Andrews, as his mother, needs to try and keep up - but is not always successful. Then there's Russell Brand as the voice of a pointless scientisthenchman - but then I find him pointless, full stop.

This is not a bad film, nor is it a great film. But it is funny. The comedy is fast-paced and there are some great slapstick scenes - my favourite is when Gru is trying to break into Vector's house. The film is a bit muddled - is it about a baddie, comically failing to rule the world? Is it about how he realises there are more important things in life than world domination because of three little girls? Is it a showcase for the minions? It would have been nice to have a bit of back story on all the characters.

This film tries to tug at the heartstrings but is never going to do that as well as a film like Pixar's Up. It just feels like it's trying to do everything at once.

Kirsty Sainsbury Logan, Filmclub leader, Frettenham Primary, Norfolk

Rating: 45

Fantastic, wicked and awesome. Despicable Me is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. The horrid tricks Gru plays with his minions on other people are mean, but amusing. The hundreds of minions are quite stupid; they don't seem as nasty as Gru and they are laughable without meaning to be.

They all live in Gru's lair, hidden in a normal house in a quiet street. This was quite scary really because it could have been in anyone's street. As the movie goes on, it is clear that Gru is a villain in competition with another villain, Vector, to steal the moon. The only way he can get the moon is with a shrink-ray gun, which Vector has hidden in his home.

Gru sees three orphan children selling cookies and devises a plan using these girls to get inside Vector's house, get the gun and then steal the moon. His plan to adopt the girls goes wrong when they begin to show him some love and make him look at life differently. His annoyance with the children starts to change to affection with hilarious consequences. I think it was lovely that the girls brought out Gru's caring side. They have such fun, especially at the fairground when they make him go on the rollercoaster.

The music in the film is really cool and the antics of the minions made me laugh out loud. I also liked the killer dog as it tried to rip Gru's leg off many times.

This film occasionally made feel quite sad, but eventually it has a happy ending for Gru and the girls. I think Despicable Me is a great film but it's not quite successful all of the time. I don't like animated films, but this one has just about everything you could wish for.

TJ Sainsbury Logan, 10, Frettenham Primary School, Norfolk

Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, set up after-school clubs where children meet to watch, discuss and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister

FILMCLUB PUPIL REVIEWS

A BOUT DE SOUFFLE (BREATHLESS)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Starring: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Jean-Luc Godard

Cert: PG

Out now on DVD

Rating 55

I was chucked into the deep end with this, Jean-Luc Godard's first (and possibly best) feature film. But when I got used to its sudden jump-cuts and the continuous jazz music, I began to feel this film was (pun intended) a breath of fresh air.

Breathless tells the story of Michel Poiccard, who is on the run from the police and turns to his American girlfriend Patricia for help. She unknowingly hides him as he tries to find money for them to flee to Rome.

Michel's childish love for Patricia leaves the film with a frustrating ending as it is not your typical love story, with the characters ending up almost where they began.

I enjoyed the film's charm and its free-form personality. Even though some scenes can drag on, Godard cleverly combines hints of violence and random conversations to create a film that keeps you thinking and exhilarates you right up until the very end.

Lewis Price, 18, Ashby School, Ashby-de-la-Zouch

IMITATION OF LIFE

Director: Douglas Sirk

Starring: Lana Turner, John Gavin, Sandra Dee

Cert: 12

Out now on DVD

Rating: 45

I must say that movies from this era excite me because of the power they hold in cinematic history. They have a style that, unfortunately, very rarely appears now.

I found it thought-provoking from the beginning and I think this is because of the characters. I found the role of Sarah Jane especially intriguing, but also creepy in parts. It was sometimes uncomfortable to watch the dark, random antics of this character. It almost seemed that the characters of Sarah Jane and Annie tend to overpower the main story and this makes for a confusing and quite disappointing result.

The essence of this story is not about getting what you want, but rather the nature of mother-daughter relationships and how they seem to have such importance and such influence on a person's life. Overall, this was a film that excited me, but it's not the best from this era.

Aleena Din, 14, Macmillan Academy, Middlesbrough.

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