The week's new films reviewed and rated: Chris Morris, John Cusack and the return of J-Lo

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Tom Huddleston presents a new weekly round-up of all the week’s film releases, big and small.

Both of this week’s two most-anticipated releases take a slapstick look at male bonding, albeit from very different angles. Chris Morris’s long-awaited debut feature, ‘Four Lions’, is a scabrous peek into the muddled mindset of homegrown Jihadi suicide bombers, as a gang of hapless, intellectually challenged would-be terrorists attempt to strike a blow against consumer culture.

At the opposite end of the comedy spectrum, ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ takes John Cusack back to the ’80s to right the wrongs of his misspent youth. Different topics, similar approaches: both films are daft but delightfully funny, and would make a great post-pub double bill.

The big Hollywood releases this week are a pair of limp, derivative moneyspinners: J-Lo tries to convince audiences she’s just a normal gal in feeble romantic comedy ‘The Back-up Plan’, while Jackie Earl Haley dons the spiky glove in an unimaginative and wholly unnecessary remake of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’. Better than both (just about) is wacky eco-romp ‘Furry Vengeance’, in which our four-legged friends take revenge on developer Brendan Fraser, with child-friendly results.

There are far richer pickings in the arthouse sector: ‘A Room and a Half’ paints a dizzyingly unconventional portrait of Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, weaving in reminiscence, fiction, documentary and animation, while ‘Cameraman’ takes a more conventional but equally inspiring look at the life of great British cameraman Jack Cardiff, who shot Cinemascope classics like ‘The Red Shoes’ and ‘Black Narcissus’.

Of the small releases, the one to look out for is ‘Sus’, a powerful three-hander inspired by late ’70s racial strife in Britain and featuring a knockout performance from Ralph Brown (‘Withnail and I’s Danny) as a tough-nut Thatcherite cop. Football fans will fall for ‘One Night in Turin’, a nostalgic look at England’s ill-fated Italia ’90 World Cup narrated by Gary Oldman and prominently featuring Gazza’s tears. But it’s hard to imagine anyone loving ‘Psych 9’, a ropey serial-killer thriller about creepy goings-on in a hospital.

The week's releases in a nutshell:

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Dave Calhoun on 'Four Lions'

‘Morris and his team dress their sharp observations and savage one-liners in the clothes of slapstick pratfalls and broad gags.’
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Tom Huddleston on 'Hot Tub Time Machine'

‘Where this film scores over the likes of "The Hangover" is in the script, which replaces brash overconfidence with a looser narrative structure and a shaggier, more playful sense of humour.’
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Cath Clarke on 'The Back-up Plan'

‘All the usual rom-com accessories come as standard: sassy BF, calamitous first date, cutesy pet dog…’
ROOM_AND_A_HALF02.jpg

Trevor Johnston on 'A Room and a Half'

'This swirl of memory and imagination captures the essential poetry and struggles of a great artist’
Nightmare.jpg

Nigel Floyd on 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'

‘In this tedious "reimagining" of Craven’s seminal slasher movie, you’ll be struggling to stay awake.’
Furry Vengeance.jpg

Derek Adams on 'Furry Vengeance'

‘Elements of Chuck Jones’s unruly style are evident in some of the more amusing scenes, but did they have to pad it out with so many repeated pratfalls?’
PA-12721 (still 7).jpg

David Jenkins on 'One Night in Turin'

‘This documentary waxes nostalgic about England’s turbulent Italia ’90 World Cup campaign, neatly slotting in to the pre-hype for the 2010 World Cup.’
Sus.jpg

Tom Huddleston on 'Sus'

‘With the election looming, ’80s anti-fascist demonstrations back in the news and controversy over stop-and-search still raging, the release of "Sus" is auspicious.’
15.Sara Foster stars as Roslyn in Psych9.jpg

Nigel Floyd on 'Psych:9'

‘Bordering on the hysterical, but never remotely scary or interesting.’

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