As anyone who has sat through Arnie’s relentless onslaught of ice-related puns in Batman & Robin will attest, the fourth film in a series can often prove to be a sequel too far.

Having concluded a perfect original trilogy nine years ago, Pixar are risking a lot by getting Woody, Buzz and co. back out of the box for Toy Story 4.

Here’s hoping that the old magic is still there… Also out this week, the Superman story gets a horror makeover in Brightburn, and there’s a tech upgrade for Chucky in Child’s Play.

New releases

Toy Story 4

  • Cert U, 100 mins
  • Vue York, City Screen, Everyman
  • From Fri Jun 21
  • More details

This nervously-awaited fourth entry in the much-loved series promises new faces and the return of an old friend.

The story this time round sees the gang heading off on a road trip with their new owner Bonnie – which leads to an unexpected reunion with Woody’s long-lost friend Bo Peep (missing in action since Toy Story 2).

Intriguing new recruits include Forky, a plastic spork with an identity crisis, and a Keanu Reeves-voiced stuntman by the name of Duke Caboom.

Brightburn

As superhero movies continue to dominate the box office, it’s inevitable that studios will try and come up with fresh twists on increasingly familiar stories.

Such is the case with Brightburn, which takes a Superman-style origins story down a dark and sinister path.

In the Smallville-esque town of Brightburn, Kansas, childless couple Tori and Kyle Breyer (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) believe their prayers have been answered one night when they rescue a baby from the wreckage of a spaceship – but as the young lad (Jackson A. Dunn) begins to exhibit violent tendencies alongside his unearthly powers, their doting affection slowly turns to creeping dread…

Director David Yarovesky previously made 2014 sci-fi horror The Hive, while Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn is on hand as producer.

Child’s Play

This remake of the classic 1988 horror film offers a toy story of an altogether less family-friendly variety.

The plot sees young Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman, Benji) given a doll by his mum for his birthday – but the gift soon starts to take on a terrifying life of its own.

The big change in this version is that, rather than being possessed by a serial killer, the murderous Chucky is an app-operated ‘smart doll’ who goes on the rampage after someone tampers with his settings.

If nothing else, it’s got a promising cast, with Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) as Andy’s mum, Brian Tyree Henry (Widows) as the detective on the case, and the voice of Chucky provided by Mark Hamill.

One-off screenings

Following its 70th anniversary screening at Vue earlier this month, I’m pleased to report that Kind Hearts and Coronets is making its way to City Screen this week.

You can catch the Ealing Studios classic about a most genteel murderer on Sunday 23rd, when it shows in their regular Vintage Sundays strand.

There’s another golden oldie on offer on Monday 24th, with a Dementia-Friendly Screening of Casablanca – open to all, but especially for people with dementia and their family, friends and carers.

Next – who’s up for a film about ultra-low latency direct market access?

You’d rather watch The Emoji Movie again, you say? I’ve actually heard good things about The Hummingbird Project, which shows in the Discover Tuesdays strand on Tuesday 25th.

Starring Jessie Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Salma Hayek, it’s a thriller set in the world of high-frequency trading, where Eisenberg and Skarsgård plot to build a straight fibre-optic cable line between Kansas and New Jersey – speeding up the connection by a few milliseconds and giving them a vital advantage over their stock exchange competitors.

Meanwhile, with the 50th anniversary of the moon landings imminent, documentary Apollo 11 (showing on Weds 26th) utilises previously unseen archival footage to give an immersive recreation of one of the defining achievements of the 20th century.

Finally over to Everyman, where their Studio Ghibli season continues on Sunday 23rd with 1997’s wonderful Princess Mononoke – and this English-dubbed version boasts a screenplay from none other than fantasy luminary Neil Gaiman.