Also Out In Cinemas: April 2015

THE INVISIBLE LIFE

Set course for arthouseland, and bring a sandwich youll need something to enjoy during this snoozefest. The first film in 27 years from Portuguese director Vitor Gonalves, this is a look at a civil servant (Filipe Duarte) coping with the death of his mentor by doing his housework, cooking for one, and doing a whole lot of staring.
An attempt to rekindle a past relationship offers hope of something to grab on to, but stiff performances have already done their damage. Awarded an extra star for the occasional abstract 8mm shots from British artist Julie Brooks. Director: Victor Gonalves Starring: Filipe Duarte, Joo Perry, Maria Joo Pinho Theatrical release: 17 April 2015 Andrew Lowry

GENTE DE BIEN

Colombian Franco Lollis debut is a quietly moving father-son tale, borrowing heftily from the traditions of neo-realism. Together with his dog Lupe, 10-year-old Eric (Brayan Santamari) is sent by his mother to live with his father, Bogot handyman Gabriel (Carlos Fernando Perez), while she relocates for work. Theirs is a fractious relationship, made worse when Gabriels wealthy client Maria Isabel (Alejandra Borrero) takes pity, offering to put them up over the Christmas holidays. The rich-poor divide is sharply etched, and while the finale is manipulative, it still gnaws at you. Director: Franco Lolli Starring: Brayan Santamari, Carlos Fernando Perez, Alejandra Borrero Theatrical release: 17 April 2015 James Mottram

DARK HORSE: THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF DREAM ALLIANCE

Louise Osmonds telling doc recounts how a riff-raff syndicate from a Welsh mining village took on the racing elite. Thirty members, chipping in a tenner a week, trained the Dream Alliance from birth. Is he Champion the Wonder Horse or a sicknote donkey? Theres elation and emotion right into the home straight. Best of all, these commoners, turning up to a race meet with lager and homemade sarnies, show that you dont need to be royalty to win at the sport of kings. Director: Louise Osmond Starring: Jan Vokes, Brian Vokes, Howard Davies, Angela Davies Theatrical release: 17 April 2015 James Mottram

CRY OF THE CITY

From 1948, a routine crime-movie set-up cop and gangster who grew up together in the same city slum is transformed by noir specialist Robert Siodmak. Victor Mature, way less bland than usual, is the cop, Richard Conte is driven and dangerous as the wounded gangster, and the female supports are exceptional: Shelley Winters vulnerable beneath a blonde-floozy faade, Hope Emerson scary as a monstrous masseuse and 15-year-old Debra Paget making her screen debut as Contes girlfriend. The sleaze and grime of the city has rarely been so vividly captured. Director: Robert Siodmak Starring: Richard Conte, Victor Mature, Shelley Winters Theatrical release: 17 April 2015 Philip Kemp

AMAR AKBAR & TONY

Inspired by the 70s Bollywood comedy of the same name, first-time writer-director Atul Malhotras film follows three friends one Sikh, one Muslim and one Catholic as they overcome culture, circumstances and lacklustre hi-jinks. Its well intentioned and occasionally sweet, although hindered by a lack of comic finesse: gags are trite, turns rigid, beats clunky and obvious. Forgivable, of course, if made up elsewhere, but the story of Amars (Rez Kempton) post-prison romance ultimately succumbs to stodgy direction, woeful chemistry and an unconvincing script. Director: Atul Malhotra Starring: Rez Kempton, Sam Vincenti, Martin Delaney, Karen David, Laura Aikman, Nina Wadia, Meera Syal Theatrical release: 17 April 2015 Stephen Kelly

RUROUNI KENSHIN 3: THE LEGEND ENDS

Following the second films exposition, the concluding part of Keishi Ohtomos trilogy adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsukis manga is mostly a series of tense showdowns and epic set-pieces. It picks up where Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno left off, with former master-assassin Kenshin (Takeru Sat) preparing to finally face off against mad disfigured tyrant Shishio (Tatsuya Fujiwara). Theres a jaw-dropping sense of scale (at the expense of character exploration), the frenzied swordsmanship making for captivating carnage Director: Keishi Ohtomo Starring: Takeru Satoh, Emi Takei, Tatsuya Fujiwara Theatrical release: 17 April 2015 Matt Looker

THE EMPERORS NEW CLOTHES

Stand-up comic, Hollywood hopeful, Katy Perrys ex-husband... Russell Brands a man of many parts. Pardon us if we only part-swallow his latest: that of a quasi-Marxist revolutionary whose repetitive berating of bankers bonuses, tax-dodging corporations and other capitalistic ills is rather undermined by his own admission hes one of the very 1% whose wealth hed like redistributed. Michael Winterbottoms impassioned, intermittently illuminating polemic isnt short of bad guys for its hirsute host to sneer at. Notice, though, that the nearest it comes to a solution is to copycat the doorstepping, lobby-invading stunts Michael Moore was doing 20 years ago. Director: Michael Winterbottom Starring: Russell Brand Theatrical release: 21 April 2015 Neil Smith

HARLOCK SPACE PIRATE

From Han Solo to the Serenity crew to the Guardians Of The Galaxy, sci-fis full of loveable anti-heroes on the lam. But where the aforementioned all have charm and relatability, the characters in this CG animation (based on a long-running manga/anime franchise) are all derivative archetypes. Theyre also second-fiddle to a frenzy of impressive, fun but ultimately hollow action set-pieces. The plot concerning the eponymous captains mission to save a decolonised Earth while the government attempts to assassinate him is equally too overblown to convert non-fanboys Director: Shinji Aramaki Starring: Arata Furuta, Shun Oguri Theatrical release: 22 April 2015 Stephen Puddicombe

LET US PREY

In a sleepy Scottish town, a mysterious stranger (deliciously creepy Liam Cunningham) carrying a tattered diary of names and symbols is hauled in by police for questioning. Whats the betting all Hells about to break loose? The watchwords here are John and Carpenter, from the pounding synth score to the Prince Of Darkness-meets-Assault On Precinct 13-style set-up and even a half-inched surname from The Thing. As with Carpenters scares, Brian OMalleys film is smart, great fun and completely over-the-top. Sometimes, thats all you really want from a horror. Director: Brian O'Malley Starring: Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McIntosh, Bryan Larkin Theatrical release: 24 April 2015 Ali Catterall

THE GOOD LIE

Its Reese Witherspoons name atop the title but dont expect to see her until the harrowing first act of Philippe Falardeaus epic-of-the-heart has shaken you up, as several adolescent Sudanese flee their country, trekking 700 traumatic miles of desert to a Kenyan refugee camp. The group, led by Mamere (Arnold Oceng), is ultimately relocated to the US, where Witherspoons resolute Kansas native, Carrie, helps them find McJobs. Deftly dealing with issues of displacement, loyalty and courage, Falardeau and his cast never melt schmaltz over substance. Itll hit you hard. Director: Philippe Falardeau Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stoll, Sarah Baker Theatrical release: 24 April 2015 James Mottram