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Missing the cinema? Here’s what to watch instead

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With perfect timing, I contracted bronchitis as the world went into lockdown. So I can’t do anything but watch TV and concentrate on breathing.

Here are three reviews of high-impact films for those missing the thrill of the cinema.

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel‘s Iron City is a well-realised, post ‘fall’ city and the characters are actually believable—Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly and Rosa Salazar (Alita) in particular. Not only that but the motion-capture animation is excellent, see this YouTube video for some behind-the-scenes footage.

Expect great action sequences, enormous scale and minute detail—as you would expect from a Robert Rodriguez film. But just a little unsatisfying. Despite the action, it feels like two hours of exposition, of an origin story…I guess these days it’s all about the sequel.

In terms of content, it’s okay for teens—just beware of sci-fi violence and the odd F-bomb.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I loved the novel this is based on and really enjoyed this adaptation—the film has sanded off the rough edges of the story but grabs at our emotions nonetheless.

The whole story is told in first person by Enzo, a gorgeous golden retriever voiced by a gravelly Kevin Costner. He adores his owner, Milo Ventimiglia, and is uncertain about his love interest, Amanda Seyfried. It is masculine yet sensitive, funny and sad.

Suitable for the whole family, if they are not too stressed out about sickness or loss. Keep the tissues nearby.

Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw

What else is there to say except: glorious, mindless fun. Look forward to lots of chases, lots of explosions, lots of muscles and lots of banter between Dwayne and Jason.

The main antagonist comes in the form of Idris (sigh) Elba as a mechanically enhanced enemy—although they’re fighting over a supervirus that threatens to overtake the world, so there’s that. There’s also a shadowy Dr. Evil we never see and Princess Margaret from the first iteration of The Crown to boot. Our two heroes race around the world, only to end up in Samoa—the Rock even dons a lavalava at one point. What’s not to love?

Oh, and there are extended cameos from Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart.

Suitable for teens and up—lots of swearing but the violence isn’t too graphic, despite what you might expect.

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