Cuban Fury Director: James Griffiths Stars: Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, Chris O'Dowd
As film pitches go, ‘Nick Frost and Rashida Jones in a romantic comedy about salsa-mad industrial engineers’ sounds like it was devised during a strenuous game of stringing random words together. James Griffiths’ amiable but flat-footed debut feature plays that way too, counting on its super-game cast to feel their way through a script that, however droll in concept, is surprisingly short on clear punchlines. They do their disarming best, but the gags still raise more smiles than laughs.
Frost plays Bruce, a doleful, tubby office drone whose social life is limited to equally pathetic golfing buddies and his tiki-bar waitress sister Sam (Olivia Colman, lovable as ever in a Carmen Miranda get-up). You’d never guess that he was once a teenage salsa-dancing champion, until peer bullying drove him to abandon his passion. He’s practically forgotten it himself, until his beguiling new boss (Jones) turns out to be a bit of a hoofer herself.
All of which makes for the basis of a pretty straightforward wallflower-makes-good story – with Chris O’Dowd a welcome sideshow as Bruce’s obnoxious alpha-male rival. Well, supposedly obnoxious, though it’s hard not to feel that the more dynamic leading man is taking the secondary role here. Guy Lodge
The Raid 2 Director: Gareth Evans Stars: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra
Delirium awaits action fans with British director-writer-editor Gareth Evans’s intoxicating sequel to 2011’s The Raid – another Indonesian gangster film that alternates sequences of ground-breaking (and bone breaking) combat with scenes of the most boring conference meetings imaginable. Almost laughably, there’s a plot here, mainly unrelated to the first film, involving a cop gone undercover (Iko Uwais), a gangster’s showboating son (Arifin Putra) and a limping criminal overlord (Alex Abbad). Evans can’t pull off a simple conversation to save his life, and his unnecessarily complex The Departed-style set-up reveals a desperation to be taken seriously.
He should rest easy: no other filmmaker on the planet can touch Evans for long-take beatdowns and wildly inventive flourishes that call to mind Jackie Chan’s heyday with 1992’s Supercop and little since. That’s accomplishment enough. You’ll hear your crowd’s first wave of stunned applause after a muddy prison-yard showdown that results in a sizeable diminishment of the inmate population.
Occasionally, Evans tries to mix up his tone; he’s still working on that. There’s exactly one joke in the entire two-and-a-half-hour epic, when a henchman whose weapon of choice is a baseball bat hits a few balls with fatal precision. Expecting strong female characters is a fool’s errand, and the only nod in that direction is a hammer-wielding angel of death (and, less prominently, some karaoke girls). Regardless, only viewers with zero appreciation for the genre will leave unimpressed; devotees should add approximately six stars to the rating above. Joshua Rothkopf
The Philosophers Director: John Huddles Stars: James D’Arcy, Sophie Lowe, Daryl Sabara
An apocalyptic drama that sees a group of high-minded philosophy students at an international school in Jakarta debating who would be saved in the case of a disaster based upon their professions and logic. But things take a turn as the real and hypothetical worlds collide – are the students really prepared to live by their ethos and continue the eugenics experiment? Time Out staff
Stand Off Director: Terry George Stars: Brendan Fraser, Colm Meaney, Martin McCann
Brendan Fraser is back, not as a gun-toting archaeologist – although there are few antiques in this comedy drama. Martin McCann plays Jimbo, a young father with heavy debts who robs a fish market. After seeking refuge in a furniture store, he takes the customers hostage. Time Out staff
Pororo: The Racing Adventure Director: Young Kyun Park Stars: Chris Jai Alex, Anthony Anderson, Zhang Anqi
The inquisitive penguin and his cute friends accidentally cause a plane to make an emergency landing in their village. Inside the plane are turtles that are being shipped to Northpia to deliver ice sleds. Pororo and his friends believe that the turtles are racers, and end up taking lessons from the reptiles before they embark on a racing challenge together. Time Out staff
Jersey Boys Director: Clint Eastwood Stars: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda
If you’re not one of the 19 million people who’ve already seen the stage production, now’s the time to swallow your pride and indulge your latent passion for ’60s balladry and screeching falsetto vocals. This musical biography of pop super-group The Four Seasons doesn’t stray far from the Broadway show: John Lloyd Young reprises his role as Frankie Valli, while the script doesn’t appear to take too many liberties with the plot. Clint Eastwood is at the helm, and given his track record in handsome biopics of American cultural icons, he should do the boys proud. Time Out staff
Battle of the Damned Director: Christopher Hatton Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Melanie Zanetti, Matt Doran
Swedish hunk Lundgren plays a private military soldier, Max Gatling, who’s on a mission to save an official’s daughter. Gatling has to enter an infected zone where everyone turns into zombies – so far, so standard, until the squadron of robot soldiers turn up and Gatling becomes their captain. If all you want from your flick of the week is zombies, fight scenes and lots of shootings, then you won’t be disappointed but if you expect much more, you’ll likely be left unfulfilled. Time Out staff