The week's new films reviewed and rated: Chris Morris, John Cusack and the return of J-Lo
Tom Huddleston presents a new weekly round-up of all the week’s film releases, big and small.
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:
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.’
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.’
Cath Clarke on 'The Back-up Plan'‘All the usual rom-com accessories come as standard: sassy BF, calamitous first date, cutesy pet dog…’
Trevor Johnston on 'A Room and a Half''This swirl of memory and imagination captures the essential poetry and struggles of a great artist’
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.’
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?’
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.’
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.’
Nigel Floyd on 'Psych:9'‘Bordering on the hysterical, but never remotely scary or interesting.’
Director Tom Hooper and his cast tell us how they turned the super-musical into movie blockbuster.
The Time Out film team weighs in on the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards
Get ready for the big guns… Spielberg, Tarantino and Bigelow
Daniel Craig’s 007 comeback, a genius indie romcom and all the mysteries behind ‘The Shining’ unravelled.
The results of our study on the state of films and filmgoing in 2012.
Read 'Time Out film debate 2012 highlights'
'The Hobbit' actor tells us why he wouldn't have a pint with Bilbo Baggins.
Dave Calhoun speaks to the director of 'Skyfall' about the latest film in the Bond franchise.
The genre-hopping director tells us how he invented a new genre with 'Life of Pi'
The twice Palme d'Or-winning director discusses 'Amour'.
Read our interview with Michael Haneke
The Danish director talks about his powerful new drama 'The Hunt'.
Read our interview with Thomas Vinterberg'
Time Out looks back at the impact of the 'Twilight' saga.
Discover what 'Twilight' has done for us
Time Out heads to the Lake District to visit director Ben Wheatley on set.
Read about our visit to the 'Sightseers' set
The director talks about 'Frankenweenie', which he describes as 'the ultimate memory piece'.
Read our interview with Tim burton
Our pick of the best films showing over the festive period.
Read 'The top ten Christmas films of 2012'
Mean Girls? Dirty Dancing? Tell us your favourite film guilty pleasure.
Read 'Film guilty pleasures'
What will Disney do to 'Star Wars'?
Read about the new 'Star Wars' trilogy
Ten young actors come of age on the silver screen.
Read 'When teen stars turn serious'
From Connery to Craig, we revisit all 22 Bond films.
Read '50 years of James Bond'
The director talks Scientology and working with Joaquin Phoenix.
Read the interview
Ten funny horror movies which went spectacularly off the rails.
Read 'Hilarious horror films'
The director talks psychopaths and theatre – 'my least favourite artform'.
Read the interview
We round-up the five best horror movies of Autumn 2012.
Read about this Autumn's best horror movies
Time Out visits Istanbul to see the latest Bond movie being made.
Read 'On the set of Skyfall'
Does Skyfall refresh or rehash the James Bond franchise?
The British director explains why 'Ginger and Rosa' is her most mainstream film yet.
'I’m almost as in demand as Brad Pitt’