Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary
Director: Marc Webb (CERT 12A, 136 minutes)
The plot: Marvel has just scored the biggest superhero flick ever ($1.3bn and counting) with Avengers Assemble. But it’s also banking on our insatiable appetite for DNA-tweaked costumed vigilantes with this franchise reboot. With a renewed emphasis on character, relationships and emotion, Marc Webb – the director of indie romcom (500) Days Of Summer – takes the reins as geeky high-school senior Peter Parker (Garfield) is once again bitten by a spider, developing superhuman agility, strength and web-slinging abilities. Meanwhile, stump-armed Dr Curt Connors (Ifans) is busy splicing species, eager to absorb the ability to grow back severed body parts.
What’s right with it? No one who’s seen Garfield’s work in The Social Network and early film Boy A will be surprised to learn that he makes a riveting Peter, fusing hurt at childhood abandonment with guilt for the death of his uncle in a mugging. As Gwen, Stone is her trademark mix of fun, feisty and adorable, and the script cunningly places her at the centre of the action through her internship at Connors’ workplace and familial connection to top cop Captain Stacy (Leary). Main surprise: the witty screenplay.
What’s wrong with it? This is essentially another origin tale, so if you saw Sam Raimi’s 2002 movie Spider-Man, there are similarities. We’ve watched both Stone (23) and Garfield (28) play grown-ups, so it’s odd to see them now as schoolkids.
Verdict: A highly entertaining and satisfying spin on Stan Lee’s beloved comic-book tale, and all the better if you’ve never seen, or have totally forgotten, previous versions. 4/5 @charlesgant
STARRING: Katy Perry, Angela Hudson, Bradford Cobb
DIRECTORS: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz (CERT PG, 97 minutes)
The plot: In February 2011, Katy Perry embarked on a year-long,128-date world tour that would see her reach dizzying heights of success, but that would also spell the end of her marriage to Russell Brand. This film is the behind-the-scenes story of that year, and of the years leading up to her current superstardom.
What’s right with it? If you thought Katy was just a cartoon prop of a celeb, prepare to have your opinion flipped. This is one feisty, fun-loving and very honest girl, and we really enjoyed our glimpse into her crazy life.
What’s wrong with it? Russell doesn’t get much of a say, and at times it can feel a bit cheesy.
Verdict: If you’re a Katy fan, see it. If you’re not a Katy fan, see it anyway. You may just come away feeling thoroughly uplifted. 4/5 @Broomie29
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche
Directors: Various (CERT 18, 107 minutes)
The plot: So, what does actor Jean Dujardin do to follow up Oscar-winning smash The Artist? Why, this larky comedy with pal Lellouche – a series of sketches where the pair play lying, cheating philanderers.
What’s right with it? Director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) contributes the best of the bunch, with Dujardin as an ageing lothario who’s desperate to get laid while away on a work conference. The final raunchy skit deftly skewers the pair’s co-dependent relationship.
What’s wrong with it? You may tire of these macho dudes, and the overall point – that men have an absurd double standard when it comes to fidelity – is hardly news.
Verdict: Portmanteau movies are always hit-and-miss, and this one is no exception. 3/5 @charlesgant