DEATH PROOF (18) (All major cinemas)
THE whole Grindhouse double bill saga has been the biggest setback of Quentin Tarantino’s career.
For those not in the know, Tarantino had teamed up with Robert Rodriguez to produce a homage to 70s exploitation action-skin flicks which were churned out for no money and stuck together for drive-in double bills.
But while there seemed to be an enormous sense of anticipation for the Tarantino-Rodriguez package – two movies for the price of one! – when it was released in America, audiences unexpectedly stayed away in droves.
This led production and distribution company Miramax to completely rethink their strategy for foreign markets and decide to split the movies into separate stand alone releases with extra footage added to bulk them up to a healthier running time.
Rodriguez’ bloodthirsty SF entry Planet Terror is due later in the year but now we get to see Tarantino do a Travolta on Kurt Russell and revive his somewhat moribund career with his best role in years.
Russell plays a psychotic driver who stalks beautiful young women across the highways of America and then tries to run them off the road and into an early grave.
He potentially meets his match, however, when Tracie Thoms, Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead decide they are not going to be his latest passive victims and begin fighting back.
Reviews have been positive - indeed, the failure of the Grindhouse concept took critics as much by surprise as it did the film-makers themselves.
STAR RATING: ***
I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY (12A) (All major cinemas)
FANS of Adam Sandler and comedy of the broadest kind – the two frequently go together – turned this into a big US hit but it is likely to have a rougher ride among more discerning UK audiences.
Sandler’s questionable charms rarely captivate British film goers to any great extent and many may still have not forgiven him for his earlier Click travesty.
This has him playing a macho firefighter who agrees to help out pal Kevin James by posing as a gay couple so James can secure the future of his children.
If this sounds contrived, well, it is, as director Dennis Dugan merely needs an excuse to come up with loads of homophobic gags which are contradicted by its deliberately pro-gay stance.
STAR RATING: **
EVENING (12A) (All major cinemas)
GREAT cast but poorly reviewed tearjerker which sounds more than a little depressing as we join dying Vanessa Redgrave in a look back through her life as she lies on her deathbed.
Therefore much of the movie is told in flashback as we see her when she was young and looked like Claire Danes who was madly in love with Patrick Wilson who was also the object of lust for Danes’ best friend Mamie Gummer.
Meryl Streep, Toni Collette, Natasha Richardson and Glenn Close also crop up somewhere along the chronological line.
STAR RATING: **
THE BRAVE ONE (18) (All major cinemas; Friday and Saturday previews)
JODIE Foster is at her fraught best as the victim of an assault who decides to fight back in what has been termed a 21st century female Taxi Driver. Weekend previews take place ahead of next Friday’s release.
MICHAEL CLAYTON (15) (All major cinemas; Thursday previews)
GEORGE Clooney makes an early bid for Oscar glory with his showy role in this corporate law drama as a specialist in fixing difficult cases. Dry subject matter but powerhouse acting is on the cards. Thursday previews take place ahead of next Friday’s release.