Writer-director Armando Iannucci OBE realises great expectations with his madcap spin take one of Charles Dickens's indomitable literary heroes. The Personal History Of David Copperfield breathlessly abridges the mid-19th century serial and novel to focus on the quixotic and colourful characters, whose fates intersect with the titular hero.

A galaxy of stars in the British acting firmament sparkle in small yet perfectly formed roles including a delightfully bonkers Tilda Swinton as Betsey Trotwood, who mistakes salad dressing for smelling salts, and Peter Capaldi as lovable rapscallion Mr Micawber.

The setting may be pungently Victorian but the tone is unmistakably modern from the hero's knowing narration to nudge-nudge wink-wink flashes of directorial brio that bookmark each chapter of David's rites of passage.

Dev Patel plays the likeable comic foil in the midst of the madness, who is slowly educated in the whims of his fellow man, but flecks of tragedy are always hand-tied with fanciful ribbons to humour.

For example, when David's mother perishes, the sad news is related in hilariously ham-fisted graduations of the truth - "Very ill", "Dangerously ill", "She's dead!"

As a young tyke, David Copperfield (Jairaj Varsani) is raised by his mother Clara (Morfydd Clark) and housekeeper Peggotty (Daisy May Cooper) in a home filled with laughter and love until the arrival of a stern and cruel stepfather, Edward Murdstone (Darren Boyd).

The new man of the house beats and terrorises David, who is dispatched to London into the dubious care of debt-riddled landlord Mr Micawber (Capaldi).

As David comes of age (now played by Patel), he aims to become a scholarly man of the world by attending a boarding school run by Mr Creakle (Victor McGuire).

New acquaintance James Steerforth (Aneurin Barnard) has a profound impact on David's outlook on the world and demonstrates the self-serving nature of the human condition.

In time, David seeks out his eccentric great-aunt Betsey Trotwood (Swinton), who lives in perpetual fear of donkeys with kite-flying companion Mr Dick (Hugh Laurie), and is taken under the wing of respected lawyer Mr Wickfield (Benedict Wong).

Wickfield's slippery clerk Uriah Heep (Ben Whishaw), who is "attempting to learn gentleman's humour from a book", has unrequited romantic designs on the lawyer's daughter (Rosalind Eleazar) and sets in motion a plan to usurp David.

The Personal History Of David Copperfield barrels along at a jaunty pace, buoyed by a magnificent ensemble cast armed with expertly polished one-liners.

Period detail is suitably grim and fusty as a counterpoint to the light and breezy dialogue, which reminds us of how bitingly funny Dickens was on the page.

Iannucci's adaptation, co-written by Simon Blackwell, weaves pithy invented details into the fabric of Dickens's book without drawing undue attention to these delightful authorial touches.


Thanks to my three-year-old niece, I'm well-versed in the daredevil escapades of PAW Patrol, the Canadian animated TV series which is top dog for pre-schoolers on the Nick Jr channel.

My expert training in canine co-operation proves exceedingly useful in this turbo-charged instalment directed by Charles E Bastien, which gently preaches self-belief and the importance of fastidiously cleaning your teeth.

The episode's guest hero - a racing driver called The Whoosh - skids confidently into shot, removes his helmet (safety first!), flashes a gleaming smile and proclaims, "It's a great day for racing and it's a great day for flossing, kids".

Pointedly, The Whoosh snacks on a sugar-free energy bar before the final lap of each race and when he does commit the cardinal sin of tardiness, he quickly excuses himself by blaming his meticulous toothbrush regime.

Dental excellence is the sparkling prize of PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue, which transfixed litters of wide-eyed, pint-sized fans around me in the cinema.

Ten-year-old boy Ryder (voiced by Jaxon Mercey) and his four-legged crew - police dog Chase (Justin Kelly), firefighter dog Marshall (Drew Davis), recycling dog Rocky (Samuel Faraci), construction dog Rubble (Devan Cohen), air rescue dog Skye (Kallan Holley) and aquatic rescue dog Zuma (Carter Thorne) - are hired as the mobile pit crew for the inaugural Adventure Bay 500.

The high-octane race should be a coronation drive for fan favourite The Whoosh (Isaac Heeks).

The other competitors are Lionel Lightspeed, Riff Rockenbock, Willy 'Wide Wheels' Jr and The Cheetah (Addison Holley), who is the cousin of Foggy Bottom's power-hungry Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo).

The Cheetah is determined to win at any cost - "If you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em!" - and she sidelines The Whoosh with a sprained arm following a stomach-churning spin on the track.

Marshall, who is The Whoosh's "biggest fan-pup", is hand-picked to deputise for his idol behind the wheel.

"I believe in you Marshall. You just need to believe in yourself," The Whoosh counsels the nervous pup.

If the self-doubting dalmatian can remember his training - "Stay calm and steer steady!" - he should be signing pawtographs after the chequered flag.

PAW Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue is an extended episode of the TV series that doesn't pause to consider the implausibility of the premise (fire rescue dog Marshall can't possibly reach the pedals of a full-size racing car to zoom to glory).

Computer-generated visuals, which look crisp at home, are slightly jagged when blown up on the big screen but pacing is brisk and there is wholesome intent in the script.

The main feature is preceded by a five-minute sneak peek of another Nick Jr series, The Adventures Of Paddington, in which the marmalade sandwich-chomping bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) hunts for a monster hiding beneath his bed. Scary.


Director Floria Sigismondi sends chills down the spine with a contemporary adaptation of Henry James's late 19th-century ghost story, The Turn Of The Screw.

The film transplants the jump scares to the countryside in Maine where Kate (Mackenzie Davis) accepts a position as a live-in nanny to two orphans, Miles (Finn Wolfhard) and Flora (Brooklyn Prince).

Housekeeper Mrs Grose (Barbara Marten) explains the children are "very special" and Kate quickly surmises that the youngsters are traumatised by the loss of their parents, who perished in mysterious circumstances.

The new nanny becomes unsettled by the erratic behaviour of Miles and Flora and Kate fears the children are hiding a dark secret linked to the departure of the previous governess.

As the shocking truth is revealed, poor Kate is driven to the brink of madness by denizens of the secluded manor.


Released in 2003, Ju-on: The Grudge was an unsettling Japanese horror about a curse borne of a grudge held by someone who dies in the grip of powerful anger.

A lacklustre American remake followed two years later as well as homegrown and English-language sequels.

Nicolas Pesce writes and directs this reboot which links three stories of hellish haunting through the eyes of traumatised police detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough).

She moves to a small town in Pennsylvania with her son Burke (John J Hansen) following the death of her husband from cancer.

Muldoon answers a call about a dead body in the woods and attends the scene with colleague Detective Goodman (Demian Bichir).

He shares suspicions about a curse on a local property 44 Reyburn Drive, where the deceased was working with owners Faith and William Matheson (Lin Shaye, Frankie Faison).

In flashback, two other families fall victim to a malevolent presence that infects and destroys without mercy.


1. 1917

2. Bad Boys For Life

3. The Gentlemen

4. Jumanji: The Next Level

5. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker

6. Little Women

7. Bombshell

8. Jojo Rabbit

9. Just Mercy

10. Frozen II

(Chart courtesy of Cineworld)