A QUIET week at the cinema precedes next week’s arrival of Marvel’s latest Avengers blockbuster. Indeed, perhaps the biggest release of the week is Red Joan, a drama of very small scale in comparison.

Dame Judi Dench is the headline name of the film, which comes from theatre great Sir Trevor Nunn, but don’t be fooled. Red Joan is predominantly a flashback piece, with Dench looking back to her younger self, who is played by Kingsman: The Secret Service star Sophie Cookson. Dench is ever watchable but underused. Cookson is promising but under fuelled here. It’s a true story but a pinch of salt is required.

Dench and Cookson play Joan Stanley, a lovely woman as we meet her: softly spoken, a retired librarian and part-time gardener. But then, the police come a calling and it is revealed that gentle Joan has a fiery past. Her son can’t believe the twist and you’ll struggle too.

A jump back to the thirties finds naive Joan in her student days. Whilst at a screening of commie classic Battleship Potemkin, she becomes entangled in the misdoings of Soviet sympathisers, leading to a job that will - in the present day - see her named a spy. Was sweet Joan really responsible for the development of atomic weapons in the East? Do we care? Not really. Red Joan a fine, easy watch but the words compelling and thrilling hardly come to mind.

Tom Hughes co-stars as Joan’s Jewish young lover - naturally - and there are roles too for Stephen Campbell Moore and Alfie Allen. Watch this for Dench, by all means, but don’t expect to remember it long after the credits.

As we’re still in the throws of the Easter holidays, another quick release for the week should please young fans of Pixar’s Cars trilogy - mainly because it’s a shameless copy. The most expensive animation to ever come out of Malaysia, Wheely sees a cabbie (Ogie Banks) take on a mobster truck in the hope he can save the love of his life.

The animation is fine, the story is fine and characters fine. Wheely’s main appeal is that its bright and breezy enough to win the eyes of undemanding tots. Alternatively, repeat viewings of How to Train Your Dragon 3, Dumbo or Missing Link will likely engage families more. Indeed, the latter is currently screening in Skipton.