Tom Cruise is good value as a man haunted by snatches of memories of his earlier life in sci-fi adventure OBLIVION (12: Universal).
The plot borrows heavily from other well-known films of the genre, but it’s thought-provoking and packed with edge-of-the-seat action and impressive special effects.
Cruise plays Jack Harper, a security repairman tasked with maintaining the airborne robot drones that monitor Earth in 2077. The planet has been evacuated in the aftermath of a decades-long interplanetary war and is still being scavenged by aliens.
Harper and his communications officer (Andrea Riseborough), their memories erased for security reasons, are waiting for a call to rejoin the rest of humankind on a lunar colony.
In the interim Harper rescues an astronaut from a downed spacecraft and uncovers the dark secrets behind the war. He also encounters Morgan Freeman, who gives a statesmanlike performance as the leader of a rebel force.
> London-set biopic THE LOOK OF LOVE (18: Studio Canal) throws the spotlight on Paul Raymond, the pioneer of adult entertainment in the UK, who funnelled his porn profits into property and became the richest man in Britain.
Beginning in the late 1950s, with the opening of the topless Raymond Revue Bar in the heart of sleazy Soho, the film offers snapshots of his life until his retirement from the public eye in the early ‘90s.
Steve Coogan gives a surprisingly moving performance as Raymond, who struggles to communicate with his first wife (Anna Friel), his long-term lover (Tamsin Egerton) and his daughter (Imogen Potts).
Tragedy ensues in a sensitively handled film that doesn’t take a moral stance on the sex industry but is a bitter-sweet study of heartbreak and the true cost of success.
> There are just two things wrong with SCARY MOVIE V (15: Entertainment In Video) – it’s not scary and it’s barely even a movie.
A ballet dancer and an ape researcher are tormented by demonic forces following the birth of their son. They seek the aid of assorted experts in the supernatural as well as setting up a house full of cameras to bring the nightmare to an end.
A slung-together bombardment of genre send-ups, it hits rock bottom the moment Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan open this sorry show trashing their tabloid reputations in an embarrassing Paranormal Activity spoof.
From then on the modern ghost story Mama takes the most heat with increasingly idiotic sidesteps into Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Black Swan, Sinister, Evil Dead, Inception and The Help.
The director and writers seem clueless as to what’s funny, so throw in everything from tasteless bulimia and pregnancy gags to a surreal Fifty Shades Of Grey skit and a party sequence involving a robot pool cleaner.
> Director Steven Soderbergh’s hypnotic thriller SIDE EFFECTS (15: Momentum) sees a psychiatrist (Jude Law) prescribe an experimental ddrug to a patient suffering from depression.
It seems to miraculously resolve her psychological problems, but also results in sleepwalking and disturbing personality changes with consequences that could destroy the doctor’s life.