This week’s movie releases

‘Penguins of Madagascar,’ ‘Mortadelo y Filemón’ deliver a dual dose of animated espionage

A film of their own: ‘Penguins of Madagascar.’
A film of their own: ‘Penguins of Madagascar.’

Already the stars of their own TV series, the penguin quartet from the Madagascar animated film franchise – Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private – get their own feature this week. Following on from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Penguins of Madagascar finds the four drafted into an elite task force devoted to helping out unfortunate animals across the globe and forced to help stop a nefarious octopus intent on global domination. A classy voice cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich and Werner Herzog.

Aiming to give it a run for its money in the animation stakes this week, Mortadelo y Filemón contra Jimmy El Cachondo is the third feature based on the much-loved Spanish comic series about a pair of disastrous secret agents. While the first two movies were live-action affairs, this opts for 3D digital animation and brings back the original installment’s director, Javier Fesser – who also made the excellent, and very different, Camino (2008).

The latest from the great Terry Gilliam, The Zero Theorem is a sci-fi movie in the same dazzlingly imaginative vein as the director’s previous Brazil and Twelve Monkeys. Christophe Waltz stars as a mentally unraveling computer programmer working on a project to discover the meaning of life. With Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Lucas Hedges, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw and Matt Damon.

Shot in Rio, though set in an unnamed metropolis, teen adventure Trash is the story of three youngsters who scrape a living sifting through the city’s garbage. The trio find themselves in peril when they come across a wallet that lifts the lid on a nationwide corruption scandal. Directed by Billy Elliot’s Stephen Daldry, this British-Brazilian co-production is written by Richard Curtis and stars Rooney Mara, Martin Sheen, Wagner Moura and Selton Mello.

Spanish thriller Fuego (2014) stars José Coronado as a cop enacting his long-gestating revenge 11 years after an ETA car bomb left his wife dead and his 10-year-old daughter in a wheelchair. Luis Marías writes and directs.

Manhattan transfer

Writer-director Sophie Lellouche’s romantic comedy Paris Manhattan tells the story of an unlucky-in-love Woody Allen fan who starts receiving advice from the great man – who stars as himself – after she bumps into him on the streets of the French capital.

Finally, 83-year-old French New Wave legend Jean-Luc Godard delivers one of his most talked about movies in years with Goodbye to Language, a challenging, experimental collage in which he makes striking use of 3D. Applauded at the Cannes festival, the film has had cinephiles falling over themselves to praise and/or make sense of it, though those who like their features with a beginning, middle and end – and in that order – might not be so impressed.


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