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Review - Film - The toys are back in town

Toy story 3

Director: Lee Unkrich

Starring: Voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack

Released on DVD on November 22

Certificate: PG

Rating: 55

After seeing many of my favourite Disney films slaughtered by their sequels (The Lion King II, Cinderella III etc), my expectations of Toy Story 3 were low. I was fully prepared for the scripting to be out of character, with a diluted plot and unsatisfying ending, but this final instalment of Toy Story is truly remarkable.

This film seeks to show the troubles and anxieties of separation, as well as the difficulty of letting go, through characters we have known over the years and grown to love like our own toys and, just like Andy, are reluctant to leave behind. The film contrasts moments of hopelessness with comedy and includes the usual lengthy but hilarious escape scenes.

Beautifully scripted and drawn, fabulously acted and, most of all, effortlessly captivating, Toy Story 3 closes the lid of the toy box in a way that won't disappoint even the most avid fan.

The ending was unexpectedly emotional for me. Watching Andy as a 17-year-old (the same age as me), I felt as if I, too, was letting go of the familiarity of my childhood and going into the unknown. Like Andy, I need to come to terms with the fact that I am soon to become an adult. But I took comfort in this message of hope: that what you were makes you who you are and that no matter where you go, your childhood will always be a part of you.

Sarah Wilson, 17, the Boswells School, Chelmsford, Essex

Rating: 55

It has been an 11-year wait and four years in the making, but finally we have the third and final instalment of Toy Story.

We are reacquainted with the characters from the previous films, giving new viewers an opportunity to get to know these much-loved toys and, very quickly, we are given the central dilemma of the film: Andy is all grown up and going to college, so what happens to the toys now? Are they given away, put away in the attic or thrown away in the trash? Does Woody's mantra "No toy gets left behind" hold true a third time?

The story, by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich (who also directs), and the screenplay by Michael Arndt, are full of joy, love, peril and hope. The film explores many themes, such as childhood, family, friendship, belonging, rejection and growing up, that will resonate with young and old. I laughed and cried in equal measure.

Although this film is the last of the trilogy, I think it is number one, from the opening to the epilogue in the credits: its look, storyline and underlying emotion will engage and thrill any viewer.

Filmclub leader Alan Harbottle, Mosspits Junior School, Liverpool

Filmclub, a charity supported by Lovefilm, helps to set up after-school film clubs where children watch and discuss a range of films, promoting learning in an informal setting. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to cinema classics. Join at www.filmclub.orgregister



Director: Pascal Chaumeil

Starring: Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier

Released on DVD on November 22

Cert: 15

Rating: 45

This is another generic rom-com flick, but with a rather unique and inspired idea. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. I had my doubts, but they were cast aside a dozen or so minutes in by the director's ability. Each character is well developed. I had a feeling of what to expect, but I was surprised by the way the story unfolded.

The story is simple: Alex (hilariously well played by Romain Duris) is a professional in the art of breaking hearts and opening women's eyes to the reality of their relationships. The leader of a three-man group that infiltrates people's private lives, you'll spot him hurling himself onto cars and forcing tears in equal measure.

The film effectively diverges from the cliches of a typical romantic comedy. Though it was mostly predictable, each joke brought me to tears and each serious moment successfully brought out the contrasts in the plot.

Despite the shaky camera angles and misplaced supporting acts, overall the film was very well done. If you are expecting this to turn out like any other rom-com, you will be pleasantly surprised by this awkwardly entertaining film.

Myat Aung, 15, Ilford County High School, Essex


Director: Mark Palansky

Starring: Christina Ricci, Richard E Grant

Out now on DVD

Cert: U

Rating: 45

Most of us have parts of our appearance that we are not totally happy with - but we probably do not have the issues of Penelope.

She is a smart and sensitive young woman who, as the victim of a family curse, has grown up with the snout of a pig instead of an ordinary nose. Having spent much of her young life hidden away, she is then pursued by a mean-spirited photographer who wants to make a fortune from taking a picture of her and selling it to the highest bidder.

But when his plan results in a case of mistaken identity and a broken heart for Penelope, it sets her on the road to solving her problems and facing the world.

Penelope is well played by Christina Ricci, who is brilliant in this original and touching movie. There is also plenty of British talent to back her up in this cast.

At the beginning, I didn't think the film was very imaginative, but I was wrong. My English teacher would love me if I could have such an imagination. I have to take my hat off to the director. Overall, the actors, especially the children, were amazing. I want to act for a living one day and I am sure I would get the part if I had such talent.

Mollie Mann, 11, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, East Sussex.

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