Danny Collins (15)
Al Pacino has done comedy drama before on a number of occasions. Here he clearly gets to find some ageing rock star persona, receiving a life-changing letter from John Lennon, that was written to him 40 years earlier but never delivered. He embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family and himself.
The trailer and pre-release publicity has shown a deliberately mushy and sentimental underbelly but with a dominant central performance and excellent support from Christopher Plummer, Annette Bening and Jennifer Garner there's surely than enough to go with.
This looks like enjoyable fare.
Man Up (15)
On the surface, the second comedy of the week looks a bit like a British version of When Harry Met Sally, or rather When Ephron Met Curtis.
The film is clearly laced with a number of familiar clichés but within the setup, much depends on the likability of the leads and the measure of the comic entertainment on show.
Lake Bell and Simon Pegg are both fine actors and can hopefully lap up what looks like being a relatively light and breezy comedy, yet that's kind of the point and provides pleasant and undemanding viewing for a weekend night.
San Andreas (3D)
Disaster films still evidently pack the audiences in. This one boasts a big cast, stellar special effects and bags of enthusiasm. Dwayne Johnson, our dependable action hero, is thrust into the heart of film surrounding an earthquake that hits the West Coast. That’s kind of it as far as plot synopsis goes.
The big issue for many disaster films is the not the care and craft that goes into destroying things, it is the setup and characterisation around it. Let's be blunt though, many folks flock to see disaster films because of the urge for some well-crafted destruction and director Brad Peyton is very capable of delivering that. Johnson is usually always fun with it too!
The Connection (15)
Getting a wide release, this French thriller stars Jean DuJardin as a Marseille magistrate Pierre Michel on a campaign to dismantle the drug smuggling operation: the French Connection.
He enters into battle the kingpin, Gatean "Tany" Zampa (Gilles Lellouche), who runs the largest underground heroin trade into the States. Of course, Michel needs to make the decision between bringing La French down and the dangers for him and his family.
Set in Marseille, the film is bound to get comparison to The French Connection (a tad unfair as very few thrillers match up to that classic!) as well as more contemporary fare such as Michael Mann’s Heat. Can the film’s Gallic charm and superstar actors outweigh the film’s sense of familiarity?
The New Girlfriend (15)
Showing at The Electric, this week’s most intriguing film is from the great French director François Ozon’s new film, a psychological drama starring Anais Demoustier as Claire, a young woman whose closest friend since childhood passes away leaving behind a husband (Romain Duris) and a new-born baby.
She drops by his house and finds him dressed in his dead wife's clothes and feeding their baby with a bottle. Aware of his predilection, he has a female persona created for him named Virginia - he becomes more attached to Virginia, leading to a number of troublesome situations and a rift between Claire and her husband (Raphael Personnaz).
Ozon is a master of subversion and this seems like being no different - sexuality, gender roles, lust, desire - all territory for two fantastic leads to fly!
That's it from me this week. As always, any queries or quibbles, you can find me @timmy666 on twitter. Have a great week at the cinema!