THE POST (12)
Blunt) relocate to London with the rest of the ornaments including Lord Redbrick (Sir Michael Caine), Lady Bluebery (Dame Maggie Smith), Benny (Matt Lucas), Nanette (Ashley Jensen), Paris (Stephen Merchant) and Fawn (Ozzy Osbourne).
While Gnomeo and Juliet are otherwise engaged in a flower shop, a shadowy figure kidnaps the newly arrived denizens of the garden.
Sherlock Gnomes (Depp), sworn protector of London’s garden gnomes, investigates with long-suffering sidekick Watson (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
“It’s an ornamental crime on a scale we have never seen before,” surmises the sleuth, who deduces his archnemesis, deranged pie mascot Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou), is the mastermind behind the grand theft.
A scattershot hunt for clues leads Gnomeo, Juliet, Holmes and Watson around the capital via a doll museum, where Sherlock’s ex-girlfriend Irene (Mary J Blige) presides over a harem of misfit mannequins who seem to have been salvaged from the rejects bin of the Toy Story films.
Sherlock Gnomes is elementary in the most unflattering sense, punctuating the title character’s laboured investigation with perfunctory action sequences set to classics from the Elton John back catalogue (he is one of the film’s executive producers).
McAvoy and Blunt fail to enliven their feuding sweethearts while Demetriou’s Machiavellian mascot is starved of tasty one-liners hard-baked with madness and mischief.
In stark contrast to the writing, animation is polished and seduces the senses.
There is no greater disappointment than a beautifully wrapped present with little of appreciable value inside. ★★★★★
DRAMATISATION of the 1971 legal showdown between US President Richard Nixon and the free press. In 1966 Vietnam, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) witnesses the loss of US troops and reports his concerns to Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood). Ellsberg photocopies classified reports and leaks pages to The New York Times. Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), executive editor of The Washington Post, encourages one journalist to chase down the report, leaving publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), a friend of McNamara, to decide whether or not to pursue the uncomfortable truth. ■ Download/stream from May 14 and available on DVD/Blu-ray from May 21.
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep