All the latest movie releases reviewed

Want to know what to watch at the cinema this week? Look no further...

Friends With Kids – 3/5

In short:
Jennifer Westfeldt writes, directs and stars in this relationship comedy that takes a look at the effects of having children with friends. Best friends Julie (Westfeldt) and Jason (Adam Scott) decide they want to have kids together, but will keep an otherwise platonic friendship. Is such an arrangement ever successful, or will obstacles such as a sexy Megan Fox get in the way? 'Bridesmaids' alumni John Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd reunite as interfering friends.

What we think:

Not quite the riotous 'Bridesmaids' reunion we had hoped for, there are still plenty of sassy laughs and dollops of John Hamm to keep most people happy.

The word out there:

The Guardian: [W]orks as a decent romantic dramedy, even if the suspicion of a vanity project lingers like dirty nappy odour – and for anyone who hasn't yet had the misfortune of procreating with someone they're sexually attracted to, it's a persuasively argued treatise to boot.
Total Film: Smart dialogue, a gifted ensemble and good intentions from Jennifer Westfeldt, but her grown-up romcom can’t quite escape feeling like a sitcom on the big screen.
The Birmingham Post: ‘Friends With Kids’ is effervescent fun and never unbearably smutty – just very adult, with language to match.
WhatCulture!: The more predictable inevitabilities of its latter half aren’t as fun as it’s unconventional set-up, but it proves a mostly fulfilling sit with few caveats...

Release date: 29 June
Runtime: 107 mins
Rating: 15

Watch the trailer for 'Friends With Kids'



Killer Joe – 4/5In short:
In a run-down Texas trailer park, the Smith family are approaching a dark time in their history. Oldest son Chris (Emile Hirsch) is sick of his mother's boozy, violent antics. After she abandons her family to shack up with another man Chris thinks he's found a way to settle old debts. With his father Ansel’s (Thomas Haden Church) approval he decides to hire a corrupt cop called 'Killer' Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to bump her off, pay him with a chunk of the hefty life insurance and live off the rest. The plan starts to unravel when Ansel's meddling and untrustworthy new wife Sharla (Gina Gershon) gets involved.

What we think:

Grimy and ridiculous, this pulpy Texan noir is as riotously enjoyable as it is frightening and subversive. Worth watching for some of the superb central performances alone, but be warned: you'll never see McConaughey in the same way again.

The word out there:
The Telegraph: The positively Jacobean climax, which earns the film its 18 certificate and then some, finds an imaginative use for takeaway southern-fried chicken that is perhaps even more revolting than eating it.
The Guardian: Friedkin and Letts don't pull their punches, and Matthew McConaughey holds the centre of the movie as a cold, cruel gourmand of violence...
Real.com: ‘Killer Joe’ will leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth of some, but it’s arguably a controversial, if disjointed and engaging, return to form for Friedkin after a six-year absence on the big screen.
Horror.com: We are six months through 2012, and ‘Killer Joe’ is so far the best I've seen in cinema disturbia.

Release date: 29 June
Runtime: 103 mins
Rating: 18

Watch the trailer for 'Killer Joe'



Your Sister's Sister – 4/5

In short:
A year after the death of his brother, Jack (Mark Duplass) is still not coping. He's unhappy at work, emotionally lost, and more than a little lonely. When he lets his temper get the better of him at a memorial service, old friend Iris (Emily Blunt) steps in and suggests he takes a break at her family's country cabin. Reluctantly, Jack agrees, but when he arrives at the cabin he finds Iris's sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) has had the same idea. Awkward at first, the pair loosen up over a tequila or two - until they are perhaps a little too loose. When Iris arrives to check in on her close friend the next morning, a series of awkward revelations send the trio reeling.

What we think:

A subversive rom-com drama with a realistic feel, 'Your Sister's Sister' could finally catapult director Lynn Shelton to bigger things.

The word out there:

The Express: [After] a big conflagration, everything wraps up all too conveniently as if the filmmakers and cast (who improvised heavily) simply ran out of puff.
Little White Lies:  We’d much sooner have more snappy dialogue and awkward bedroom fumbling and less exterior procrastination next time.
Entertainment Weekly: Duplass, DeWitt, and Blunt do some of their subtlest, most sweetly calibrated work ever, playing off one another with the kind of ease and trust that is, in itself, a demonstration of love.
Sky Movies: A great example of how much can be done with little budget and almost no time (it was filmed in just 12 days), ‘Your Sister's Sister’ is billed as a romantic comedy but isn't anything like the brash rom-coms that Hollywood makes so many of.

Release date: 29 June
Runtime: 90 mins
Rating: 15


Watch the trailer for 'Your Sister's Sister'



Storage 24 – 2.5/5


In short:

Charlie (Noel Clarke) and his friend Mark (Colin O'Donoghue) are going through the arduous chore of dividing up possessions in a 24 hour storage facility. Charlie has recently split from his girlfriend, so the awkward situation only gets worse when she shows up with her best friend. With this mini-drama unfolding, there is a bigger crisis going on outside, as London is in chaos following a plane crash. The mysterious cargo being carried by the military aircraft manages to find its way into the endless corridors of the storage depot, and so ensues a desperate battle for survival.

What we think:
This competent sci-fi horror lacks any real bite, but at least manages to look the part.

The word out there:
The Express: Not especially original but surprisingly effective.
Empire: One or two serious scares and some excellent creature design work make this a superior British horror sci-fi.
Time Out: Soapy romantic complications fail to engage our emotions, and as for those ‘Alien’ bolt-ons: an overhead ducting system that allows access to every ‘secure’ unit adds suspense, but insults the intelligence.
Sky Movies: It's diverting even if it never cranks up the tension much further than the odd jolt.

Release date: 29 June
Runtime: 87 mins
Rating: 15


Watch the trailer for 'Storage 24'



Lovely Molly– 2.5/5

In short:
'Blair Witch Project' helmer Eduardo Sanchez brings another horror to the big screen. It begins with reluctant newlywed Molly (Gretchen Lodge) moving back into her childhood home with new husband/absentee lorry driver Tim (Johnny Lewis). Her parents are deceased, but memories of her childhood trauma live on, as, perhaps, does something altogether more frightening. When Tim heads off on another driving job, Molly turns to her sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden) for company, comfort, and a puff of marijuana to ease the nerves. With Molly on the verge of an emotional and psychological precipice, strange happenings tip her over the edge.

What we think:
A mish-mash of themes proves a mixed blessing for this muddled, but suitably scary haunted house flick.

The word out there:
Bloody Disgusting: [S]ubtle, brooding horror that merely delivers on everything it promises. Sanchez shows tremendous restraint in keeping it simple and in the end, rewards the audience with a haunting little film that’s ultimately timeless.
TimeOut: Ambiguity is legitimate, but not when it supplants sense. And especially not when a film’s cynical hedging of its psychological/supernatural bets seems mostly designed to breed sequels.
Little White Lies: As bravely unnerving, uncanny and unexplained as the film that made Sánchez famous.
ViewLondon: Despite the occasional creepy moment and a strong performance from Gretchen Lodge, there isn't really enough in ‘Lovely Molly’ to get excited about...

Release date: 29 June
Runtime: 99 mins
Rating: 15


Watch the trailer for 'Lovely Molly'



Dark Horse – 4/5


In short:
Abe (Jordan Gelber) was his father's (Christopher Walken) dark horse, destined to succeed against all odds. Things don’t go to plan and as a result Abe is stuck working for his dad at the family business, where he primarily bids for Thundercats figures on eBay or being coddled by his overprotective mother (Mia Farrow). The rut threatens to engulf Abe, until he chances upon equally damaged thirty-something Miranda (Selma Blair), who he instantly asks to marry him. When she accepts, Abe struggles to cling to reality. Vivid hallucinations manifest all his self-doubt and rage, warping his judgement, and could, ultimately, destroy him.

What we think:

A painful punch in the face for loser comedies, this is a deliciously dark comedy for everyone who hates them. But beware, 'Dark Horse' retains the usual relentless, stilted gloom that has become director Todd Solondz's trademark.

The word out there:
Empire
: Less confrontational than most Solondz movies, in that it refrains from violence or kink, but still unsettling and affecting.
The Guardian:  I staggered out of ‘Dark Horse’ wondering whether the drinks had been dosed with ground glass and the balloons inflated with poison gas. I also felt I had attended maybe one too many of these sour little soirees.
MovieLine: It's a just-heightened world that becomes so stifling by the end that you want to run screaming out the door and not stop until you reach the state lines.
Shadows on the Wall: Solondz takes another hilariously pitch-black exploration of human behaviour with a film populated by excellent actors playing seriously messed-up characters. And it can't help but force us to look at how we interact with people around us.

Release date: 29 June
Runtime: 86 mins
Rating: 15