Yahoo Movies UK: Latest Film News, Exclusives & Trailers
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All this week's releases reviewed

Yahoo UK Movies Features

Safe House – 3/5

In short:
Notorious traitor and former CIA man Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) has been sighted in Johannesburg. The CIA move in and Frost is held in the usually quiet safe house run by young agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). He'd been pestering his superior David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) for some field action, and now is his chance: but he didn't bank on quite this much trouble. An armed gang storm the safe house and Weston escapes with Frost in tow. Now he has to cope not only with the rival armed forces fighting for custody of the fugitive, but the mind games of Frost himself.

[Related video: Exclusive Ryan Reynolds interview]

What we think:
Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds provide more than enough mettle to make this otherwise bog-standard espionage thriller into entertaining popcorn cinema.

The word out there:
The Daily Express:
The picture is, effectively, one long chase with simplistic, by-the-numbers plotting but the action is staged with breath-catching realism and intensity and the location adds interest.
Total Film
: Bring earplugs and you’ll enjoy an efficient vehicle for Denzel that makes good use of its South African scenery. Espinosa nimbly combines flash with Paul Greengrass-style flair.
Film4: The gunshots are deafening, the goons generic and the plot merely a cookie-cutter excuse for some action.
WhatCulture: ‘Safe House’ is a competently-acted but utterly forgettable procedural that’s full of exasperatingly idiotic character decisions due to lazy scripting.

Release date: 24 February
Runtime: 115 mins
Rating: 15




Rampart – 3.5/5

In short:
It's 1999 and the Los Angeles Police Department is being torn apart by the corruption scandal at Rampart Precinct. A fundamental change in policing is about to begin, and old school cop and Vietnam veteran Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is about to meet the forces of change head on. After beating the living poop out of a scumbag who crashes into his car, Dave is faced with the prospect of legal action by the city bigwigs; and he's not going down without a fight. Meanwhile, his home life is crumbling and nobody wants to be around him anymore. The question is, can Dave adapt to survive or is he destined for extinction?

What we think:

This sleazy cop drama is not an easy watch. But somehow, like a passer-by at an accident site, we couldn't tear our gaze from Harrelson's sleazy cop as he was gripped by the final death throes of his era.

The word out there:

The Guardian: Rampart is a gripping movie, and a great addition to the Ellroy canon.
Empire: A familiar story oddly presented, but with a powerful central performance from Woody Harrelson.
TimeOut: ‘Rampart’ is sure to provoke furious reactions in those unwilling to succumb to its mood of reckless abandon. But for those who can, this feverish slice of LA noir is set to be one of the purest cinematic pleasures of 2012.
Sky Movies: The storyline becomes so busy with flailing sub-plots, including a confusing armed robbery and a brush with internal affairs, that the narrative sags under the weight...

Release date: 24 February
Runtime: 108 mins
Rating: 15




The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – 2.5/5

In short:

A group of pensioners find their lives heading down a depressingly familiar path as they prepare for retirement and beyond in the UK.  Evelyn (Judi Dench) is trying to cope with the loss of her husband. Muriel (Maggie Smith) is desperate for a hip replacement, but her stubbornness and unsubtle racism make it difficult to treat her at home. Jean and Douglas (Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy) are unable to find happiness in any of the homes they are forced to move into. But they all find the perfect answer to their problems over in India, in the flamboyantly titled Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Or have they? The group are soon disappointed to find their accommodation is unfinished and run by the excitable Sonny (Dev Patel), who has problems of his own.

What we think:
Your stay at this particular hotel will be lengthy, predictable, and full of OAPs showing off their fleshy bits. Each to their own.

The word out there:
The Telegraph: Good intentions alone do not make a great film, and it’s certainly not: but it’s sweet-natured, good-hearted and decent.

Total Film: The pleasure of seeing a supergroup of Brit-veterans soon withers in an OAP comedy that plumps for light laughs over deeper insights.
Digital Spy: This is a moving film that's a brilliant showcase for a superb cast. Take your granny to this one but be warned, there may be a few tears shed!
The Film Pilgrim: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel brings together a talented cast and a beautiful story which will no doubt do wonders for the tourist trade in Jaipur from the moment of its release.

Release date: 24 February
Runtime: 124 mins
Rating: 12A




Red Dog – 2.5/5

In short:
Back in the '70s, Dampier was just a ball of dust way out on the west coast of Australia. As a group of miners come together from their disparate lives, they begin to form a community. But only when a mangy red dog from the outback shows up do they realise that they had more in common than they thought. Told retrospectively from the comfort of a bar, this is the story of the Red Dog, the people whose lives he changed, and the master who made this dog an Australian legend.

What we think:
Charming in a meandering, folksy sort of way, the true story behind 'Red Dog' just about carries the corny and predictable storytelling of director Kriv Stenders.

The word out there:
Empire: A heartwarming tale about man's best friend.
Total Film: The human characters are rather sketchily drawn and the storytelling follows a blandly ‘uplifting’ path.
TimeOut: It’s not quite as blatant a tearjerker as some of its pooch-based predecessors, and frankly, it’s all the better for it.
IndieLondon: A charming movie that will eventually tug at the heart-strings as well as forcing viewers to battle back those tears. And that’s despite a somewhat contrived ending.

Release date: 24 February
Runtime: 92 mins
Rating: PG




Black Gold – 2.5/5

In short:

The Sultan of Salmaah (Mark Strong) has just lost a battle to Nesib, Emir of Hobeika (Antonio Banderas). To the victor, the spoils, and Nesib takes guardianship of the Sultan's two sons as a guarantee that the war is over.  The boys are lovingly brought up and Auda (Tahar Rahim), the youngest, becomes a studious observer of both religion and Leyla (Frieda Pinto), the daughter of his guardian. But when a Texan oil man promises riches for the crude under their feet, tensions rise again and Auda returns to his father to try and avert another senseless battle. When war becomes inevitable, Auda must cross a barren stretch harsh landscape to find Leyla. And in the meantime, he must decide whose side he is on.

What we think:
Even with a cast of unlikely Arabs, including Mark Strong, Antonio Banderas and Freida Pinto, 'Black Gold' manages to answer a few questions about Middle-Eastern politics by heading back to the 1930s.

The word out there:
Empire: Ambitious but very tedious and talkatively hackneyed, redeemed just a smidge by the money shots of a swarm of extras on horseback sweeping across the sands.
TimeOut: In its eagerness to reflect a broad span of Arab opinion, the film sees good and ill in both rival rulers, a narrative approach unsuited for a would-be epic.
Sky Movies: The cinematic equivalent of watching sand pouring through an egg timer that takes well over two hours to empty.
ViewLondon: ‘Black Gold’ is a disappointing drama that never really strikes the emotional oil it’s drilling for, thanks to a dull script, sluggish direction and some uneven performances.

Release date: 24 February
Runtime: 130 mins
Rating: 12A




One For The Money – 1/5

In short:

Jane Evanovich's novel provides the basis for this, the latest Katherine Heigl movie to hit the big screen. Struggling to find work, Stephanie Plum (Heigl) takes on the job of covering for her cousin who happens to be a bail bondsman. Things get complicated when Plum has to bring in an ex-boyfriend and when dead bodies start turning up as well. With a series of killers and cops on her trail, there really is only one way out of her predicament, but can Stephanie go all the way in her new career?

What we think:
A series of books, you say? Well if there are any more film adaptations that come out after this effort we might just start looking for another career ourselves.

The word out there:
The Hollywood Reporter: Janet Evanovich’s best-selling Stephanie Plum series deserved better than this woefully executed, stillborn attempt at a franchise.
Total Film: Heigl’s fine and there’s some zingy dialogue, but the violence jars with the comedy and, despite being written and directed by women, it still comes off as needlessly sexist.
The Scotsman: Is there no stopping Katherine Heigl? Please... A punishingly dim collision of high concept and low standards.
Little White Lies: As bland and flavourless as movies come. Please God, no Two For The Show!

Release date: 24 February
Runtime: 91 mins
Rating: 12A




Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel – 3.5/5

In short:

This fascinating documentary takes a look at the life and times of Roger Corman, one of the most influential figures in contemporary American cinema. He's often cited by the likes of Tarantino and Scorsese as a huge part of their filmmaking development, and seeing the latter talk at length about his experiences on early Corman films is a real eye-opener. Even better is a brutally honest assessment by Jack Nicholson, who not only looks back at the director in his prime, but also reminisces about his own stuttering first steps in Hollywood. Full of clips and unfettered access to some incredible archive footage, the 85-year-old Corman still manages to take centre stage.

What we think:

Seeing some of the biggest names in Hollywood talking so candidly - and affectionately - about Corman, you quickly realise the importance of the film maker. This is a fitting tribute.

The word out there:
DenofGeek: To borrow a saying originally written about Frank Sinatra, this is Corman’s world. We just live in it.
Daily Record: It’s an affectionate tribute to a maverick who’s still going strong at 85, and whose recent ‘gems’ include Sharktopus and, seriously, Piranhaconda.
OnTheBox: It’s a wonderful celebration of his life which is constantly charming, frequently funny and will hopefully shine a spotlight on a frequently overlooked and important film maker.
Dread Central: [This] documentary chronicles how Corman created his cult film empire, one low-budget success at a time, capitalizing on undiscovered talent and pushing the boundaries of independent filmmaking.

Release date: 21 February
Runtime: 90 mins
Rating: 15