This week, Y’s movie critic, Kevin McIndoe gives his take on the A Family Man, Fireman Sam: Alien Alert!, War for the Planet of the Apesand CIA: Comrade In America.
A Family Man
I’m not a great fan of modern versions of morality tales. And especially on those that centre on that old chestnut that we all suffer from: work-life balance.
In this, a high-powered executive learns that life isn’t necessarily about climbing atop the greasy pole, and that some things are just way more important.
Dane Jensen (Gerald Butler) has been hankering after the CEO’s job at his headhunting firm for years.
So when the CEO (Willem Dafoe) says he’s packing it in, Dane beats off his chief rival Lynn Vogel (Alison Brie) and ends up sitting comfortably in the boss’s chair.
But his joy at his promotion is short-lived when his 10-year-old son Ryan (Max Jenkins) is diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia.
Dane has to rethink his priorities. For all his ruthlessness at work, he’s a likeable family man at home.
Butler just about manages to make him convincing.
The Scottish actor turns in a reasonably nuanced performance but his accent does wobble a bit.
Dafoe crunches the screen as Dane’s amoral boss, a heavyweight with few scruples for whom anybody who isn’t making money is not worth bothering about.
But here, the acting plaudits go to the veteran Alfred Molina, who is on scene-stealing form here. Pity his part wasn’t a bit bigger; it might have made the film a bit meatier.
It’s a family drama that does seem to be trying too hard to tug the heart-strings, and the dialogue seems a tad contrived.
For me, the film fails to convince but it does have some touching moments. I don’t like the ending, though.
Fireman Sam: Alien Alert!
Fireman Sam makes a comeback in this. He’s the Welsh firefighter who won’t ever let anyone down, and will make sure some health and safety lessons are learned in the process.
In this, Buck Douglas (voiced by David Tennant), the TV host from Alien Quest, arrives in Pontypandy and soon everyone starts looking for aliens, perhaps in a bid to seal their 15 minutes of fame.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the children’s show of the 1990s, this animation is a colourful caper. We know it’s all going to end well with Sam in the driving seat so sit back, relax and let the kids enjoy themselves.
CIA: Comrade In America
Aji Mathew (Dulquer Salmaan) is a fervent communist who defends college students against surly bus conductors, digs graves for the poor and likes to help those less fortunate than himself.
But when his girlfriend Sarah (Karthika Muraleedharan) goes to the US, she ends up having her marriage arranged with another guy. She begs Aji to get her parents to back out so he has no choice but to go and win her back in the “land of the free”.
Salmaan is back with another action thriller, directed by Amal Neerad, and this time it’s one based on true-life events with a nod to Indian politics. Great fun.
The Long View
War for the Planet of the Apes
This, the latest offering in the most recent franchise, has Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes forced into a face-off with a load of humans led by a deadly Colonel (Woody Harrelson). After a battle wipes out many of his peers, Caesar is forced on a deadly path of vengeance that will see him having to pit his wits against the Colonel. Whoever wins will determine both the future of the planet and the fate of their species. I haven’t seen a preview DVD but judging by the press pack, the film’s visuals look stunning and the CGI is bound to be top-notch. It’s looking good, and my expectations are high.
Oman Release Date : July 13
Review by Kevin McIndoe