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All this week's movie releases reviewed

Yahoo UK Movies Features
20 April 2012

Gone – 2/5

In short:
Jill Parish (Amanda Seyfried) is struggling to come to terms with an incident from her past. She was kidnapped and only just escaped with her life. Or so she claims. After finding no evidence of the alleged kidnapping, the police decide she is crying wolf. One evening she returns home from work to find her sister has gone missing. Desperation sets in as she believes her attacker has struck once again, but the authorities refuse to take her seriously. A new detective on the beat (Wes Bentley) says he believes her, but can he be trusted?

What we think:
All you'll really want is for someone, anyone, to end it all as quickly as possible.

The word out there:
The Hollywood Reporter: Such a pile-up of ambiguity, in the end, looks less like tricksterism than incompetent storytelling.
Entertainment Weekly: Which stinks worse? The absurdly large pile of red herrings ‘Gone’ amasses? Or the film's sub-Scooby Doo conclusion?
TimeOut: Poor Seyfried. It’s fast looking like the highlight of her career was ‘Mamma Mia!’
CinemaBlend: I'm not really sure why ‘Gone’ wasn't released directly to DVD to begin with, but that's the best future for this movie.

Release date: 20 April
Runtime: 94 mins
Rating: 15

Watch the trailer for 'Gone' starring Amanda Seyfried

Lockout – 3/5

In short:
Secret service agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is framed for the murder of a colonel and arrested. Despite the best efforts of Shaw (Lennie James) to prove his innocence, Snow faces a long spell in space prison MS One. Meanwhile, at the orbiting jail an uprising occurs and just as the President's daughter (Maggie Grace) is on a humanitarian visit to assess claims that MS One is the answer to Earth's overcrowding problems. In these desperate times, Snow is asked to free the valuable hostage, and in the process clear his name. Security Service bigwig Langral (Peter Stormare) doubts that anything can be done, and has a contingency plan ready. Can Snow break in, find the cargo, escape and clear his name before it's too late?

[Related content: Read our 'Avengers Assemble' review]

What we think:
Guy Pearce is having a lot of fun with a droll turn that is as sassy as it is outlandish. The action and effects let the film down a bit though.

The word out there:

Empire: With some extra character beats – or at the very least extra quips – they might have hauled this into cult classic territory.
TimeOut: Pacing and tone are all over the place, while tension is repeatedly squandered in favour of another sweaty punch-up.
SkyMovies: The result is a ludicrously enjoyable sci-fi thriller salted with some sharp lines caustically delivered by Pearce as a sort of thinking man's Jason Statham.
IndieLondon: With a witty script and pacey direction, ‘Lockout’ is na enjoyable space prison flick that delivers plenty of pulpy thrills and features a terrific performance from Guy Pearce.

Release date: 20 April
Runtime: 95 mins
Rating: 15

Watch the trailer for 'Lockout'

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen – 2/5

In short:
The sedate life of fisheries expert Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) is sent into turmoil when government politicking results in his secondment to a city investment firm. The project he's assigned to is the brain child of a benevolent Sheikh (Amr Waked), and it involves introducing salmon fishing to Yemen. Fortunately shrewd investment manager Harriet (Emily Blunt) is on hand to help; although her skills are about to be compromised by an emotional blow that leaves her devastated. Now Dr. Jones not only faces an impossible professional task, but an emotional one that will sorely test his loner tendencies, and perhaps even burst his solipsistic bubble.

What we think:
A fishing film that, as you might expect, spends too much time waiting for something to happen. We weren't hooked.

The word out there:
Empire: As awkward as McGregor’s geeky hero and almost as confused as the titular plan, Salmon Fishing is still very likable if you’re prepared to take the bait.
TimeOut: This attractively mounted but terminally twee take on Paul Torday’s comic bestseller could woo back the prestige crowd -- though it’s a contender for screen history’s least sexily titled romance.
HeyUGuys: Under anyone else’s direction, ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen’ could have suffered in its translation to the screen.
The Film Pilgrim: ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen’ is a pleasantly light-hearted and good-willed drama. Don’t go out of your way to catch it in cinemas, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to rent the DVD one day.

Release date: 20 April
Runtime: 107 mins
Rating: 12A

Watch the trailer for 'Salmon Fishing In The Yemen'

Elfie Hopkins – 2/5

In short:
Ever since the mysterious death of her mother, dour slacker Elfie Hopkins (Jaime Winstone) has been embarking on a series of futile “investigations”, suspecting everyone of wrongdoing and annoying the locals of her small village.  Her only friend, Dylan Parker (Aneurin Barnard), tags along, but is desperate to escape the oppressive confines of their home. Things trundle along until the arrival of a new family begins to upset the order of things. The Gammons are rich and beautiful, but there is something dangerous about them. The head of the family (Rupert Evans) seems to take a shine to Elfie... or at least he does until she turns her detective skills onto his clan.

What we think:
A nice idea poorly executed. 'Elfie Hopkins' wants to tap into something quirky but the script never allows the simplistic characters any opportunity to excel.

The word out there:
Little White Lies: All of the characters are hammed up to the point that many of the scenes descend into an unintentional pantomime.
Empire: It's a bit of a mess that doesn't serve its decent cast well. Avoid like a stinky kipper.
Total Film: Gratuitous gore, contrived plotting… and Ray Winstone’s butcher cameo deserves to be filleted.
FilmJuice: The mystery elements don’t work because there’s no mystery; we know the Gammons are wrong ‘uns from the start.

Release date: 20 April
Runtime: 89 mins
Rating: 18

Watch the trailer for 'Elfie Hopkins'

Marley – 4/5

In short:
You don't exactly have to be a fanatic to know a Bob Marley song. His music has infused popular consciousness so deeply that most of us could hum at least one of his reggae tunes. But how well do we really know the man himself? The answer, for most of us at least, is not very. But director Kevin Macdonald wants to change that by getting to the heart of this complex, enigmatic figure. The film runs from the rise of the mixed race boy from a small town in rural Jamaica to the global sensation who wrote songs that won hearts and even galvanised political movements, and covers just about every life event in between.

What we think:

A gripping in-depth study of one of the music world's most enigmatic musicians, and perhaps the first seminal documentary about Bob Marley.

The word out there:
Empire: A masterful doc to rival Macdonald's ‘Touching The Void’.
Total Film: You might wish for more live material but what’s here is stirring, probing and moving.
OnTheBox: Kevin Macdonald’s documentary shines a light on one of music’s greatest icons but thankfully stops short of deification.
Digital Spy: Up there with ‘No Direction Home’ and ‘The Filth And The Fury’, Marley is one of the greatest ever historical music documentaries.

Release date: 20 April
Runtime: 144 mins
Rating: 15

Watch the trailer for 'Marley'

Fury – 2/5

In short:
Foley (Samuel L. Jackson) has just been released in prison after a 20-year stint for murder. He got caught up in a 'grift' gone wrong and paid the price, and he's determined not to go down that road again. Aspirational high-roller, and son of Foley's former partner in crime, Ethan (Luke Kirby) has other ideas though. He's got his eye on dodgy businessman Xavier's (Tom Wilkinson) money laundering business, and will stop at nothing to rope Foley back into the fold for one last job.

What we think:
Could this film's sudden appearance and new title possibly be a ploy to capitalise on his role in 'Avengers Assemble'? We can't see why else you'd watch it.

The word out there:
Variety: Jackson's additional role as exec producer indicates his strong commitment to the material, even if the result doesn't support his unique powers onscreen.
The Hollywood Reporter: A gritty serving of pulp fiction masterfully perpetrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
TimeOut: ‘Fury’ takes itself so seriously that it denies us even a few guilty-pleasure giggles. Surely there were sheepish faces all round in Jackson’s camp when they saw this?
A-Review-A-Day: The suspense certainly builds up, and the characters face some tough moral choices, but there are just a few problems with pacing and characterisation.

Release date: 20 April
Runtime: 90 mins
Rating: 18

Elles – 3/5

In short:
Parisian magazine journalist Anne (Juliette Binoche) has a settled life, with a beautiful apartment, high-earning husband and two sons - but her latest article is about to spark some soul searching. She has just finished interviewing 'Lola' (Anais Demoustier) and Alicja (Joanna Kulig), two attractive young students who have turned to prostitution in order to meet the vast expenses associated with studying in the French capital. Their mixed tales of excitement, sexuality and woe has affected Anne deeply, and in ways she didn't expect. Now she must not only condense their complex worlds into a short article for her glossy magazine, but cope with their experiences and what they say about her own sheltered life.

What we think:
Juliette Binoche delivers a fantastic central performance in this stylishly shot story of a journalist investigating student prostitution, but there's just not enough substance beneath the glossy exterior.

The word out there:

The Guardian: The salacious treatment of the subject matter teeters on the edge of voyeurism.
Empire: Another bravura performance from Juliette Binoche glosses over the flaws in a soft-focused glimpse at the seamier side of student life.
Total Film: Malgorzata Szumowska’s film won’t tell you much about the oldest profession that you didn’t already know – and Binoche’s marital clashes feel like a standard feminist tract circa 1975.
HeyUGuys:  Elles is a solid if unremarkable tale of middle-class in conflict which is made all that more interesting and memorable by an (unsurprisingly) fantastic turn by Binoche.

Release date: 20 April
Runtime: 99 mins
Rating: 18

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