Out in the UK This Week
Mike Leigh at the BBC (2 entertain, cert 12)
Before heading off on his film career, auteur Leigh did some great stuff for TV. Here’s the pick of his 1973-84 output, including Nuts in May and Abigail’s Party, along with Leigh’s own audio commentary, intelligent interviews and a clutch of shorts.
Twilight (Contender, cert 12)
The movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s Young Adult novels starts here with smart, sylphlike Kristen Stewart falling for Byronically moody vampire Robert Pattinson in a swoony and chaste romance heaving with unrequited girlish longing.
Hansel and Gretel (Terracotta, cert 15)
Grimm gets the grim treatment in a fabulous fairy/horror/fantasy thriller from Korean Yim Phil-Sung which inverts the usual story and is as unsettling to watch as it is gorgeous to look at. Probably for adults only.
Sky Kids (Unanimous, cert 12)
One man movie industry Robert Rodriguez reinvents the spy caper in an adventure thriller made for 12 year old US lads who salute the flag. A suprisingly decent Boy’s Own adventure in the Spielberg vein but made for less than his catering budget.
Female Prisoner Scorpion Trilogy (Eureka, cert 18)
A Quentin Tarantino wet dream, three early 1970s cult Japanese exploitationers not unadjacent to the idea behind Kill Bill and starring achingly pretty Meiko Kaji as the dangerous gal in question. Anyone doing a PhD in female revenge stories…?
Super High Me (Revolver, cert 18)
Putting a spin on the Super Size Me idea, LA stand-up Doug Benson – “number 2 stoner comic in the country” – swears off pot for a month and then hits it big-style. Making points about civil liberties and legalities as he tours the US, it’s worth rolling up for.
The Silence of Lorna (Artificial Eye, cert 15)
The Dardennes brothers’ Belgian slow-burner about an Albanian woman caught up in a sham-marriage racket plays elaborate if glum games with the viewer and builds slowly towards a satisfying conclusion.
The Signal (Optimum, cert 18)
Like a J-horror film remade by George Romero, a patchy three-part zombie splatterflick with creative slaughter and more ambition than execution, though its big idea – our electronic devices are out to get us – will flick a few switches.
Inkheart (EV, cert PG)
There are stars aplenty (Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany) but they don’t save this messy fantasy about characters summoned from books by “silvertongue” Brendan Fraser. Books are just dandy, its big idea, swamped by “no they’re not” SFX.
Max Payne (Fox, cert 15)
There’s “something’s rotten in the force” in this cop drama starring Mark Wahlberg, sexed up with Night Watch-style visuals, lots of scowling Russians and the cheekbones of Mila Kunis and Olga Kurylenko.
Outlanders (Sterling, cert 15)
Polish lad Adam (Jakub Tolak) comes to London and winds up in a dodgy building game. Grungey realism meets Sweeney-style cops in a drama that looks made for TV but has timeliness on its side.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Dreamworks, cert PG)
Spot the famous voice (Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett-Smith) as the anthropomorphised animals return in a comic animation that feels cobbled together from bits of The Lion King, Ice Age etc.
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© Steve Morrissey 2009