Sounds Like: A documentary about the history of S&M.
When In Fact: It's the just-dropped directorial feature debut of one Ms Drew Barrymore, following the pleasantly arse-over-tit tale of a small town misfit (Ellen Page) who finds solace in her local roller derby team. As wholesome as a hiking boot full of porridge, or something.
Honey, I Blew Up The Kid
Sounds Like: A rubbernecking, made-for-TV docudrama gleaned from the horrifyingly breezy diary entries of a dead-eyed infanticidal terrorist.
When In Fact: It's the goonish and somewhat predictable sequel to 1989's Honey, I Shrunk The Kids , in which proto-geek father Rick Moranis learns nothing from past experience and once again turns his cack-handed scientific meddling on those he's morally obliged to look after. Tsk.
Chariots Of Fire
Sounds Like: The most pant-tighteningly awesome film Ray Harryhausen never animated, crammed to the toga-tops with belching hell-lizards, winged racing carts and blazing skirmishes with chillingly rheumatic armies of the undead.
When In Fact: A handful of stringy, translucent blokes in thoroughly depressing short shorts splash through the grey shallows of a windswept Scottish beach, recreating a true story about 1920s men running fast and winning stuff. A bloody good one, mind. But still.
Sounds Like: A skewed black comedy that comes off like a tasteless mash-up of Groundhog Day and Death Becomes Her, in which a murderous husband pays the ultimate price for bumping off his wife - having to do it again and again, only to see her breeze back in and resume criticising his taste in pullovers every single time.
When In Fact: Some Parisian junkies persuade unlikely-looking safecracker Zed (Eric Stoltz) to take part in their fail-tastic heist attempt. There is a girl called Zoe (Julie Delpy) in it, but the screengrab above is easily the closest she comes to getting deaded.
Sounds Like: The ideal film to take your mum to see on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, because it's got old things in the title. Maybe it's got something to do with the Antiques Roadshow.
When In Fact: It doesn't, as Total Film learned over perhaps the most excruciating two hours ever suffered by a man clinging numbly to a bag of Wine Gums. It's actually a seat-clawingly nipple-packed reimagining of the Marquis De Sade's cackling S&M fantasies - after he'd been sectioned, for crying out loud. One day, we'll definitely be recounting all this to a shrink.
Sounds Like: Peversely, exactly the sort of film you wouldn't take your mum with you to see. More the sort of thing you'd make a point of sitting down to watch alone, and most probably not at lunchtime. Unless you work nights.
When In Fact: Um...well, remember T he Simpsons episode ('Bart On The Road') where Nelson looks up at the marquee after seeing Cronenberg's rotting adaptation of Burroughs' bugs-and-drugs novel , and ruefully declares "I can think of at least two things wrong with that title..."? Yeah, that pretty much sums up its appearance here.
Metalstorm: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn
Sounds Like: An unbelievably awesome movie, in which a futuristic bad dude - called Jared-Syn, a name deserving of destruction if ever we heard one - gets well destructified. By a big cloud of heavy metal music. Yeah!
When In Fact: He gets away. Completely undestructified. And by the time he does, we've sat through the vast majority of a reasonably appalling intergalactic western, shot in deeply queasy early-'80s "3-D". And hopefully, somewhere, a whole PR department feels the clammy slap of a well-deserved lawsuit and swears never to do this sort of thing again.
Sounds Like: It should be set, at least for a significant or prolonged chunk of its duration, in or around Fargo, North Dakota.
When In Fact: It isn't. Jerry Lundegaard (William H Macy) lives and works in Minneapolis, where his wife is snatched by kidnappers who drive through Brainerd, Minnesota as cop Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) picks up their trail. They hide out in nearby Moose Lake, and Jerry is finally arrested near Bismarck, ND. Fargo itself 'appears' in just one proper shot - a shot that wasn't actually filmed there.
Million Dollar Baby
Sounds Like: A profoundly horrible comedy involving a scratchcard-winning toddler. Probably one with CGI eyebrows, so it can pull faces to camera despite the fact that nobody else in the scene is aware of the audience. Gah.
When In Fact: It's Clint Eastwood's split-lipped and spongy-nosed boxing flick, depicting a drifting female fighter's tragic rise and fall under the mentorship of a faded coach with similar abandonment issues. Not a CGI eyebrow in sight - but you might wish you had some, to disguise your sobs during the tearjerking final act.
Back To The Future Part II
Sounds Like: It might actually involve Marty trying to get, y'know, back to the future...like what he did in the first one, an' that.
When In Fact: He leaps forwards in time, then tries to get back to the present. And then realises he has to go back to the past. And then comes back to the future. For a bit. Because then he has to go way back in time for Part III to start shooting. Not that we give a crap - in place of titular accuracy, we got hoverboards and a freakin' FLYING DELOREAN. In fact, we've found it hard to care about anything since.
The Cider House Rules
Sounds Like: Some ghastly strain of US college 'comedy'. Possibly centred on a group of whooping, date-rapey Alpha Kappa Phi fratboys who for no real reason descend on a small village in Somerset. Hilarity (and beard-growth and puking) ensues.
When In Fact: It's the sobering tale of a maturing orphan's search for identity and moral guidance as he crashes from violent foster parents to potentially marriage-wrecking love affairs, under the patronage of an ether-addicted abortionist who eventually dies of an overdose. Soundtrack unlikely to feature Limp Bizkit very heavily, then.
How To Make An American Quilt
Sounds Like: The sort of thing they made us watch during rainy school lunchtimes, in order to grind any residual naive cheer that bit harder into the icy dining room linoleum.
When In Fact: This maudlin, oestrogen-crazed life-assessment-slash-coming-of-age yarn can actually achieve much the same ends, unless you happen to be in a seriously sentimental and contemplative frame of mind when you snuggle down with it. Although to be fair, it does salvage crucial brownie points by failing to be at all instructive in a textile construction sense.
Sounds Like: We just came bottom of the class in Acting Our Age Studies.
When In Fact: It's about the heartwarming relationship between a wayward young boy and a captive killer whale, and there's absolutely no excuse for all that pathetic sniggering at the back. We should all be ashamed of ourselv-...hahaha! Willy !
Sounds Like: Alright then, so all that Free Willy pointing and giggling was lowbrow, even for us. Time to make amends - and luckily for us, Jurassic Park sounds like a film that might know what it's on about, scientifically speaking. Well, at least if we agree to ignore all that patently ludicrous 'bugs trapped in amber' horse poo.
When In Fact: The only one of the dinosaurs featured in Jurassic Park that would've been around during the Jurassic Period is the majestic brachiosaur - everything else, including the film's staple antagonists such as the tyrannosaur and the velociraptor, should properly be attributed to the Cretaceous Period. Which was spread over roughly the next 100 million years. Timefail!
The Human Stain
Sounds Like: Something a sweaty coach tourist might be caught frantically trying to scrub out of their undercrackers during a restroom stop in an off-colour Farrelly brothers misfire.
When In Fact: Director Robert Benton's savvy adaptation of the Philip Roth novel serves up an incisive take on the early-'90s climate of political, social and religious tension that marked out the Clinton-administered 'culture wars' era. At no point does Sir Anthony Hopkins soil himself on a warm bus - and yes, we've checked the DVD extras.
Courage Of Lassie
Sounds Like: It might have a certain glossy-coated TV pooch in it. One who's really good at sensing immediately when the local idiot child becomes stuck down a remote disused mine shaft, and working out the quickest route to rescue him without so much as a cursory glance at Google Maps.
When In Fact: It doesn't. At all. No, the panting protagonist in 1946's outrageously titled Courage Of Lassie - which stars a young Elizabeth Taylor, dontchaknow - is called Bill, and becomes a bit too bitey for the community's liking after serving in a war. Dogs bearing the on-screen name of Eric Knight's famous canine creation remain somewhat conspicuous by their absence throughout.
Sounds Like: We'd like to say a masquerade party held in the underworld, but predictably enough that isn't quite where our minds went first. We jumped straight to tentacled testiculars, and for that we make no apologies. Apart from this one. Sorry.
When In Fact: Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton chew the scenery with aplomb as the unlikeliest of couples, meeting in less than ideal circumstances but managing to carve out a mutually needy understanding across the (figurative and literal) fences of the local Louisiana prison and widower guard Hank's inherited racial prejudice.
Sounds Like: A sense-overloading carnival documentary with added cocaine peddling, favela-based gun play, and being impoosibly brilliant at football despite (or possibly because of) only ever having kicked around on a nudey beach outside of the World Cup. All aspects of which may contain generous traces of lazy stereotype.
When In Fact: The only reference to Brazil in Terry Gilliam's entire dystopian nightmare adventure is made in the recurring musical motif. Aquarela do Brasil , or 'Watercolour Of Brasil', is a tune made famous in 1939 by composer, football commentator and all-round freaky polymath Ary Barroso - Gilliam's tortured souls frequently hum snatches of the movie's de facto theme as a much-needed method of escapism.
The Constant Gardener
Sounds Like: A harrowing biopic of a flora-obsessed OCD sufferer, compelled by forces beyond his control to till the soil until his fingers really do go green. Gan grene, that is.
When In Fact: It's Fernando Meirelles' nomination-hoovering adaptation of the John Le Carré novel, following British diplomat Justin Quayle around some of the dustiest and least garden-friendly corners of Africa after his wife is murdered under sinister circumstances. We reckon he should've travelled by ride-on mower, a la Alvin Straight , but what do we know?
The Last Mimzy
Sounds Like: A needlessly offensive reimagining of Children Of Men .
When In Fact: It's a family (no, really) sci-fi about a skipload of wacky gadgets, disguised as kiddie toys and sent back to the present day from an ecologically-crippled future society desperate to avert the disaster that has befouled their once-green-and-pleasant lands. So it's not just an American spelling, then? We can't quite tell whether we're disappointed or relieved...