(PG) Hotel Transylvania 2 is a clever and funny animated romp that kids and adults will both enjoy. Seven years have passed since the end of the first film; Count Dracula’s (Adam Sandler) daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) marries her human boyfriend Jonathan and soon there’s a baby on the way. Will the child of a human and a vampire be one or the other, or some sort of hybrid? When Mavis and Jonathan leave Dennis with “Vampa”, Drac springs into action, on a quest to prove “Dennisavitch” is a vampire.
In the Heart of the Sea (M) Ron Howard’s new film purports to tell the story that inspired Herman Melville’s great novel, Moby-Dick. Ben Whishaw plays Melville, whose interview with the last survivor of the doomed whaling ship Essex (Ray Winstone) gives the author the idea of writing about an obsessive ship’s captain and a great white whale. The film is loaded down with visual effects but Howard’s direction is strangely uninspired and the storytelling is turgid.
Love the Coopers (PG) It wouldn’t be December without a baggy, over-talky American dramedy about a dysfunctional extended family coming together for the holidays, bitching and bickering and letting cats out of bags, before finding some sort of resolution that reminds us of the true spirit of Christmas. Love the Coopers sets itself up to explore some interesting, if not original, questions but it baulks at probing too deeply and instead retreats into schmaltz.
The Night Before Violet In this endearing road musical, Violet is on her way by Greyhound bus from her home in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she hopes to meet a televangelist faith healer who she believes will be able to remove a disfiguring scar left from an accident when she was a child. The work is now more than 20 years old and it is odd that it has taken so long to come here. Mitchell Butel’s production works well partly because of the enormously attractive personality that Sam Dodemaide (pictured) brings to her performance as Violet. The show is also a fine ensemble piece. The characters Violet meets on the road are played and sung with great energy by a very lively cast. Jeanine Tesori’s highly enjoyable music, played by a band led by Lucy Bermingham, is a mix of gospel, bluegrass, blues and country and western. It’s an American dream. Hayes Theatre Company, 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point. Today, 2pm and 8pm. Tickets: $49-$54. Bookings: (02) 8065 7337 or online. Until December 20.