Cute comedic yarn ABOUT TIME (12: Universal) stands tall alongside Richard Curtis’s romantic classics Notting Hill and Four Weddings And A Funeral.
Single man Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) turns 21 and gets the chance to improve his unhappy life when his father (Bill Nighy) reveals they both have the ability to travel back in time and change their personal history.
He uses that talent in the way that, perhaps, most guys would at that age – to get a girlfriend. As Tim tries to win the heart of an American woman (Rachel McAdams) he has fallen for the film turns into a celebration of those little moments that we all too often take for granted.
Unusually, it’s not the boy-meets-girl story that’s the most touching, but rather Tim’s relationship with his dad (a typically bumbling Nighy) that gives the movie its heart.
Once you overcome the limited scope of the tale, it’s a rewarding experience.
> Hugh Jackman is pushed to the limit in PRISONERS (15: Entertainment One), a haunting thriller that will keep you rooted to your seat throughout.
He’s cast as the father of a kidnapped girl, while Jake Gyllenhaal is the cop who, in his eyes, fails to put away the chief suspect, a young man with learning difficulties (Paul Dano).
The police can find no evidence of wrongdoing, but Jackman is not convinced of his innocence and takes it upon himself to do the questioning. It’s no more Mr Nice Guy and his heavy-handed tactics involve kidnapping the suspect to force him into a confession.
Prisoners can be difficult to watch because of the extreme violence and the turn of events that leads to decent people, including the parents of another child who has also gone missing, becoming party to the torture.
> Kristen Wiig was fearless in her quest for laughs in smash hit Bridesmaids and she’s playing the loser again in GIRL MOST LIKELY (12: Lionsgate). But this is a comedy that fails to deliver after showing a lot of early promise.
Wiig is a struggling writer forced to move back home to live with her batty mum (Annette Bening) and her lover (Matt Dillon).
The household also includes an eccentric brother and the lodger who’s taken over her bedroom.
Wiig is a likeable actress, but her character here is weighed down with too many neuroses, while her dalliance with the free-spirited house guest just doesn’t ring true.
And although Bening and Dillon are wickedly funny, these are roles they could do in their sleep.
> Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton, the leading players in thriller RUNNER RUNNER (15: 20th Century Fox), seem to have been dealt an empty hand and no one walks away a winner.
It’s a tired old story of a young achiever who gets in over his head and the film manages to feel sluggish despite the fast pace.
Timberlake is a maths whizz who uses gambling to pay his way through college in what we’re assured is a growing trend in these economically troubled times.
When he lands a job with an online gambling mogul any sense of topicality dwindles.
Affleck is on autopilot as the corrupt boss who tempts his young protege with Costa Rica’s party lifestyle, while Arterton is treated like set dressing as the two men’s love interest.