Alan Dee’s movie preview (08.09.11)

FRIENDS With Benefits, for those of you searching for a topical and moving celluloid examination of how people confined to the dole queue take strength from each other will, alas, be disappointed.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 8th September 2011, 5:47 am

That’s because the Friends are Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and the Benefits relate to no-strings between the sheets fun. Guess where this one goes?

She’s a recruitment high flyer, he’s a graphic designer, both have problems with long-term relationships but both are pretty fit, so why not just have a physical fling? You know why, and they find out.

It’s billed as a modern relationship comedy, but it struggles from the start – it would like to be fresh, sexy, witty and thoughtful but the two leads create no sparks and the story is painfully predictable.

Patricia Clarkson, still best known as the bonkers mum from TV’s Six Feet Under but building an impressive body of cinema work, tries hard as the girl’s mum and Woody Harrelson pops up as the guy’s gay best mate, but neither will be listing this dud in their top 10 lists.

> Apparently we need another film version of Jane Eyre, which seems to have come to the screen as often as Sherlock Holmes or Nightmare On Elm Street.

As everyone knows the story backwards it’s all about the central performances, this time from Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, with Jamie ‘Billy Elliot’ Bell and Judi Dench also popping up.

Director Cary Fukanaga goes for brooding and atmospheric, telling the Bronte classic through flashbacks, and makes the most of a top-notch cast. Both leads look rugged and conflicted enough to convince – it’s not the traditional bonnets and bodies take on the Bronte/Austen canon, but most people will probably still wait until it turns up on telly rather than making a special trip.

> What on earth could Troll Hunter be about? It’s about a troll hunter, dummy, and this is comedy horror from Norway starring Otto Jespersen as a world-weary pest controller who has to track down enormous trolls who roam the spectacular Scandinavian landscape but gets involved with a clutch of student film-makers – all the excuse you need for more wobbly ‘found’ footage and ironic mockumentary.

> Then there’s Colombiana, which stars Zoe ‘Avatar’ Saldana as an assassin bent on vengeance.

Her parents were killed as she watched when she was just a little girl, and she was raised after that by a mobster uncle who took her into the family firm.

She’s aiming to settle scores, but she has the FBI on her trail. Glossy nonsense scripted by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, who wrote the 2008 hit Taken, but it’s too slick to by anything else but a time-passer.