Cinemas: What’s on this week

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Your guide to the films on general release now

Megamind 3D (PG)

Megamind is a fast-paced computer animated adventure that asks if a villain could become a hero when the entire world is pitted against him. Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) is separated from his alien parents as a child and crash-lands on Earth, where he grows up in the Metro Prison For The Criminally Gifted. Megamind destroys rival Metro Man, allowing him and his loyal henchman, Minion (David Cross), to take charge of Metro City but he soon finds life is empty with no one to fight.

Rating: Four stars

Monsters (12A)

Six years ago previously, a NASA probe returning to earth with samples of an alien life form, crashed over Central America. Following the crash, new life forms began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as a infected zone. Newspaper photographer Andrew (Scoot McNairy) agrees to help his boss’s daughter, Samantha (Whitney Able), return home. The ports are about to close and Andrew is told he must pay an extortionate fee to get Samantha on the last boat before the borders are locked down. The only other option is to pay a smuggler to shepherd them through the infected zone where the tentacled aliens roam. Andrew and Samantha have no choice and head off into the wilderness. As they near the US border and freedom, the couple encounter the gargantuan beasts close-up and discover that the real monsters might just be mankind.

Rating: Four stars

Secretariat (U)

Housewife and mother Penny Chenery agrees to take over her ailing father’s Virginia-based Meadow Stables, despite her lack of horse-racing knowledge. Against all odds, Chenery, with the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin, manages to navigate the male-dominated business, ultimately fostering the first Triple Crown winner in twenty-five years with colt Secretariat.

Rating: Four stars

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (15)

The real Father Christmas is unearthed in a science expedition in Finland, In no time at all, almost all of the children from the local village vanish without trace, including Pietari’s (Onni Tommila) best friend Juuso (Ilmari Jarvenpaa). The village must fight back to defeat the exhumed Santa and restore ho-ho-hope to their close-knit community.

Rating: Four stars

Unstoppable (12A)

In a Pennsylvania rail yard, Dewey (Ethan Suplee) foolishly jumps off a slow moving freight train in order to race ahead and change a set of points. Unfortunately, the throttle jars forward and the carriages speed down the line without a driver... or any air brakes. More worrying, the locomotive includes drums of a highly flammable liquid. Yardmaster Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson) clears the entire line to prevent a head-on collision. Further down the line, veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine) orchestrate a daring rescue plan to slow down the runaway train before it reaches the notorious Stanton curve, where it will inevitably derail.

Rating: Four stars

The American (15)

Following a bungled assassination attempt in Sweden, hit man Jack (George Clooney) decides to abandon the killing game once and for all. He telephones handler Pavel (Johan Leysen), who suggests that Jack should lay low in the Italian town of Castelvecchio. The hit man drives to the remote community and on the spur of the moment, he disobeys orders and sets up camp in nearby Castel Del Monte. By day, Jack keeps himself busy by constructing a custom-made weapon for mysterious client, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten). By night, he enjoys the carnal delights of local prostitute, Clara (Violante Placido). As Jack’s paranoia takes hold, he seeks counsel from local holy man, Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli).

Rating: Four stars

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest (15)

Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) stands accused of multiple murders in the final chapter of the Millennium trilogy, based on the award-winning books by Stieg Larsson. The police, led by Inspector Jan Bublanski (Johan Kylen), are convinced that she is guilty but tenacious journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) scents a cover-up. So he sets out to prove her innocence and expose the shocking truth on the pages of his magazine, Millennium. He races against time with editor Erika Berger (Lena Endre) to unearth incontrovertible proof of the hacker’s innocence. The stakes couldn’t be higher: If Lisbeth is found guilty, she will be sent back to a psychiatric ward under the care of abusive physician, Dr Teleborian (Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl).

Rating: Four stars

Machete (18)

Danny Trejo cuts a swagger as Machete, an assassin for hire who barely escaped death at the hands of drug lord Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal) and now lives under the radar in Texas. As his name suggests, he is skilled with a blade and can scythe through a crowd of gun-toting men without suffering a bruise. Desperate to make ends meet, Machete accepts a job offer from spin doctor Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey) to assassinate xenophobic Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), who is on the presidential campaign trail. As he prepares to pull the trigger, Machete almost takes a bullet and realises that he has been set up by Booth and McLaughlin. On the run and with few places he can hide, Machete seeks refuge with his priest brother, Padre Cortez (Cheech Marin).

Rating: Two stars