Out Now – 14th September 2012

To Rome with Barfi

Hope Springs
Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones attend an intensive week of marriage-counselling held by Steve Carrell. So awkward attempts to reignite sex in middle age are encouraged by The 40 Year Old Virgin?

The studio that brought you Coraline and Corpse Bride returns with another supernatural animation, just missing out on the summer holidays. This time another misfit child – Norman, obviously – employs his ability to talk to the dead in order to save his cursed town.

Premium Rush
A bike courier gets chased around New York by a dodgy cop, carelessly flouting the Highway Code, riding on the pavement, jumping the lights and failing to signal at turnings. I assume. I have issues with the poster for Premium Rush: partly because it’s not obvious what the title is but more importantly, they have photoshopped Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s beautiful face beyond recognition. Not since the Deschanel-Rimmel debacle has a Mild Concern favourite been so grievously treated.

About Elly (limited release)
A group of middle-class Iranian families go to the seaside for a holiday and to do some matchmaking. The plot makes it sound part horror (deserted villa without mobile phone reception) and part romantic comedy (people pretend two non-married people are actually married) but is more likely a well-executed relationship drama.

Anton Corbijn: Inside Out (limited release)
Curzon Soho has the exclusive showing of this intimate portrait of the life of Anton Corbijn.

Barfi! (limited release)
A romantic comedy about Barfi (who is both hearing and speech impaired) and the adventures his love for two different women take him on. Watch the rather cute trailer, which makes it look like the Indian answer to Amélie:

Keyhole (limited release)
A gangster drags his life of crime back home and somehow embarks on an emotional tour throughout each room. Given the lead character is called Ulysses and plot synopses repeatedly refer to his homecoming as an “odyssey”, I’m guessing this is based on Homer’s epic. But does it have John Goodman as a Deep South Bible-selling cyclops?

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (limited release)
“A union pensioner and his wife are robbed, but find that merely getting the assailants brought to justice is not enough for their consciences.” Ethical drama! IMDb plot keywords include Loss Of Job, Robbery, Marseille and Crisis of Conscience.

To Rome With Love (limited release)
I assumed this was the next in the series of declarations of affection to major world cities. I wasn’t that far off as it does contain an all-star ensemble cast with multiple stories, but this is a Woody Allen project featuring the man himself. Favourite, yet completely inexplicable, line from <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIbYqxqtP38>the trailer: “We’re covering that shave live, from the first to the last stroke.”

When the Lights Went Out (limited release)
In 1974, a family move into a new – and haunted – house during the nationwide blackouts. To survive, they must exorcise the poltergeists. “Based on true events.” Really?

The American – Review

It’s not hard to see why people might be impressed by The American, it is a slow burner with plenty of tension, nice cinematography, the odd laugh and occasional outbursts of violence that feel particularly real and brutal.

After writing that sentence I feel I should have enjoyed the film more but my honest reaction is that it was a little dull. In order to build the tension a lot of time passes with very little happening, George Clooney builds a gun and has sex with a prostitute a few times, not to mention his trips down to the river. I didn’t really worry about Clooney’s character as he wasn’t particularly likable and I certainly wasn’t concerned with his budding romance considering the way his last had ended at the beginning of the film.

Anton Corbijn has done a lovely job directing what must have been a threadbare script, but the film lacked the vital bit of humanity needed for me to get any real enjoyment out of it. Everyone on twitter seemed to love it though so maybe you will too.

The American is on general release on 26th November 2010.