The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (PG, Paramount)
It’s a dream team for blockbuster cinema – Steven Spielberg, the man who helped invent the summer movie blockbuster back in the Seventies with Jaws, and peter Jackson, the man who proved that three-hour movies about geeky hairy people with a fascination with jewellery can be the biggest movies of all time. Together, how could they fail to deliver anything other than stunning spectacle high-octane action adventure cinema? Truth is, they didn’t fail, Tintin is spectacular, the adventure yarn (penned by Steve Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish) fast paced, and the duo conjures up some of the globe-trotting action synonymous with the Indiana Jones movies (or old, not that alien-filled nonsense of the Crystal Skull). Where it does fall slightly flat is the visual effects. With Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig motion-capping Tintin, Captain Haddock, and the big bad guy Rackham, with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the Thompson Twins.
My Week with Marilyn (15, Entertainment In Video, March 16)
Michelle Williams was pipped to the post when it came to the Oscars but her role as Marilyn Monroe in this drama was as deserving of the best actress gong. Streep took it, deservedly so, some might say, but we still can’t help thinking it was a shame Williams went home empty handed. Still, this fine movie adds t her already impressive CV – with a fine supporting turn by Eddie Redmayne as the impressionable young English lad who spends the week with the famous blonde when she is over here shooting a movie. Let’s face it, she’s had a far more successful career post Dawson’s Creek than lank-haired Dawson (recently seen on One Tree Hill) and Katie Holmes (last seen trying to escape from Tom Cruise’s clutches)
Machine Gun Preacher (15 Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Although this sounds like the sort of trashy spin off from Tarantino and Rodriguez’s grindhouse mess (the fact it stars man-muscle Gerard Butler doesn’t help its cause), it is in fact a movie directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) starring Butler as a reformed drug-dealing biker who puts the skills learned in his previous profession to good use defending a Sudanese orphanage. Far-fetched and preposterous you might say were it not for the fact that this is based on Childers’ memoirs. Rousing stuff!
Tower Heist (15, Universal)
Various docs and other well-meaning folk have tackled the financial crisis – how it could have been avoided and how it’s affected the little folk – but none more effectively as this slick, Hollywood Ben Stiller starrer, in which, the staff of a posh Manhattan tower block take it upon themselves to get even with their boss when he has swindled away their pensions, life savings, the lot. It’s got its faults, the heist itself at the film’s third act is wholly underwhelming, but there are many top performances from the oddball individuals coerced in to this makeshift bunch of criminals (Matthew Broderick as a former broker who’s lost it all and Eddie Murphy’s smart mouthed thief brought in who’s for his professional experience, in particular).
Moneyball (12, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Using mathematics to win at baseball – it doesn’t sound like the most thrilling of movies, but herein lies its wonderful appeal of this Brad Pitt starring drama. Pitt plays a baseball coach who uses a ‘sabermetric approach’ to analyse other teams and prospective players in order to assemble the most competitive team that his club can afford. The little guy against the money men, there are similar undercurrents here to Tower Heist’s ‘stick it to the man’ drive, only here it is wrapped up in an Oscar-nominated package.
Weekend (18, Pecadillo Pictures)
This low-budget film, the second feature from Andrew Haigh, stormed to numerous critical awards, it’s story of a one night stand between two gay men in Nottingham that blossoms into a weekend of self-discovery is a moving, heart-warming, insightful and yet never schmaltzy affair. Receommended.
Take Shelter (15, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
He’s been beavering away recently as General Zod in next year’s Man of Steel superman movie, but still found time to star in this small American indie about a man, husband and father who struggles with apocalyptic visions in the rural US midwest. Marking Shannon’s second feature with filmmaker Jeff Nichols, this is a timely study of contemporary twentieth century anxieties (fatherhood, financial woes, general state of the world stuff) that boasts a standout central performance from Shannon (how he wasn’t Oscar nommed for this, we’ll never know). For the uninitiated, find out about Shannon now before next year’s Superman takes him stratospheric.