ALISTAIR Harkness reviews the rest of this week’s film releases
Christmas With the Coopers (12A) | Rating: * | Directed by: Jessie Nelson | Starring: Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Amanda Seyfried, Alan Arkin
This year’s cinematic Christmas turkey comes in the form of a typically irritating tale that sees a large family trying to cover up their blatant dysfunction during the silly season. Diane Keaton and John Goodman star as the about-to-separate heads of the clan whose various members are wrestling with unemployment, divorce, hormones and general disappointment. In lieu of any insightful observations about how Christmas can actually bring people together when they stop obsessing about making it perfect, the film tries to evoke a little Christmas spirit by namechecking a bunch of movies with a proven track record of delivering the seasonal goods.
Unfortunately this also results in a very odd and ultimately creepy subplot in which Grandpa Cooper (Arkin) lusts after a suicidal waitress (Seyfried). Narrated by the family dog (voiced by Steve Martin), this is for Christmas movie masochists only.
Unbranded (15) | Rating: ** | Directed by: Phillip Baribeau
Following four college buddies as they live out their frontier dreams by herding mustangs from New Mexico to Canada, this documentary brings to light an intriguing side debate about the economics of letting wild horses roam ever-shrinking grazing lands when their protected numbers are rising every year. Mostly though, it remains focused on the not-very-interesting personal stories of four cowboy-loving guys on a gap-year adventure. One weird detail does stick in the mind: apparently young cowboys like nothing better than passing the time on long rides reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD (15) | Rating: *** | Directed by: Paul Goodwin
Here’s an affectionate tribute to the long-running anti-establishment British comic 2000AD, best known for giving the world Judge Dredd and hot-housing miscreant talents like Watchmen co-creator Alan Moore and Arkham Asylum writer Grant Morrison. A world away from the blandness of unthreatening Brit titles like The Eagle, the original 2000AD was violent, edgy and political and its unashamedly geeky creators delight here in reliving how much they shook things up while hunched over drawing boards or sat down the pub hatching plots. Director Paul Goodwin provides fans with an exhaustive oral history and conveys the comic’s bold house-style by interspersing interviews with animation.