ALISTAIR Harkness provides a brief rundown of the films appearing in cinemas near you.
The Amazing Spider-Man (12A) Rating: **
Needlessly repetitious reboot of Spider-Man that retells the high-school-set origins story with a darker, moodier edge instead of coming up with a new adventure for the already-pushing-30 Andrew Garfield to sink his teeth into. Emma Stone co-stars as love interest Gwen Stacy, while Rhys Ifans plays rubbish villain The Lizard.
Brave (PG) Rating: ****
Disney/Pixar’s Highland-set fairytale puts an endearing spin on the old princess/wicked step-mother dynamic by using a more believably fraught mother/daughter clash as the basis for a spirited and magical adventure. Kelly Macdonald voices the flame-haired, bow-and-arrow-slinging Merida in winning style, but the transformation that her Emma Thompson-voiced mother undergoes is what really steals the show. The visuals are typically lush, too.
The Dark Knight Rises (12A) Rating: ****
Big, bold and occasionally brilliant, the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series pushes the comic book movie to the limits of what it can really bear, but comes good in the end thanks to Nolan’s ability to use cinematic sleight-of-hand to create a grand spectacle that embraces its more fanciful elements while pretending not to be interested in them. Set eight years on from The Dark Knight, the early parts of the film – featuring a crippled Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) living like a hermit – may be a little clunky, but once it gets going (courtesy of Tom Hardy’s Bane and Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman) it really gets going, bringing the trilogy to a close in a suitably epic way. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman co-star.
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (U) Rating: **
The Ice Age franchise trundles on, serving up yet more banal adventures that allow its makeshift band of moribund mammals to pound us with family values messages. All the old characters are back, but not even the presence of a Peter Dinklage-voiced, buccaneering monkey called Captain Gutt can enliven proceedings.
The Lorax (U) Rating: **
Another delightfully succinct Dr Seuss tale is mercilessly padded out for the big screen in this underpowered, animated eco-parable. Danny DeVito voices the titular Lorax, the furry little critter whose position as the spokesman for the trees has been diminished thanks to corporate greed wiping out all the greenery surrounding the city of Thneedville.
Magic Mike (15) Rating: ****
Think Saturday Night Fever rather than The Full Monty, as Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper opus has more to offer than grinding crotch shots of its abdominally perfect stars. Instead it’s a slyly funny, slick and subversive drama that plays around with the tropes of the A Star is Born-story and makes them relevant to today’s harsh economic climate. Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer star.
7 Days in Havana (15) Rating: **
Another disappointing anthology film, this one features seven short films by seven filmmakers (among them actors Benicio Del Toro, Pablo Trapero and Gaspar Noé) set over seven days in Havana. The over-long results feel like an extended promo for the drinks company that funded the project.
Ted (15) Rating: ****
Mark Wahlberg stars alongside Ted, a randy, pot-smoking, foul-mouthed teddy bear in Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut. The bear comes to life for lonely kid John and becomes a talk show favourite, but is forgotten when the novelty of a chatty plush wears off. Flash forward 27 years and the film catches up with John and Ted, who now live together and spend their spare time getting high and obsessively watching the campy, 1980 version of Flash Gordon. Though John has a job – albeit an undemanding one – Ted has, essentially, become a crutch, pulling double duty as the archetypal annoying slacker best friend who refuses to grow up and a literal representation of John’s inability to put away childish things and become a man. But somehow the film manages to be consistently amusing. It does a good job of skewering the peculiarly male desire to remain a child, while squeezing the last drop of humour from it. When John and Ted’s inevitable bust-up happens – in a marvellously extended fight scene executed with all the demented energy of a Tex Avery cartoon – it’s all the funnier because it is grounded in a believable friendship going sour. Mila Kunis co-stars.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 10 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east