After the footsore Godzilla, Roland Emmerich gets his eye-catching world-trashing set-pieces on track again as stormy weather lays waste to planet Earth. Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal are father and son wishing they'd worn bigger galoshes, and the 'message'is right-on (if inaccurate), but it's all about the gosh-wow effects.
Underrated, atypical Brit film from Penny Woolcock, smartly mashing up the thrills of Fight Club with the what-are-we-here-for musings of French existentialism. Marc Warren and Alec Newman are competitive males into bareknuckle bouts, drugs and strippers; Sienna Guillory is the single mum they soften for. Confused climax, but till then alarmingly gutsy.
Possibly the best John Grisham-based flick since The Firm: OK, the rest were lousy, but Gary Fleder rattles this courtroom thriller along with pace and panache, and a stellar cast. Lawyers Dustin Hoffman (anti-guns) and Gene Hackman (pro-his own fat pay cheque) face off as a widow claims damages for her husband's shooting. But jury rigger John Cusack and his moll RachelWeisz are the wild cards. Classy potboiler.
Subtle seafaring actioner set during the Napoleonic wars
In Wolfgang Becker's entirely beguiling movie, a young East German goes to extraordinary lengths to convince his mother the world hasn't changed while she's been in a coma—which means somehow covering up the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism. A beautifully realised humanistic comedy.
Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn ham it up energetically in this surprisingly perceptive, punchy comedy about where groupies go when younger rock chicks muscle them out. Hawn wants to keep headbanging in leather, Sarandon's primly settled in beige, Geoffrey Rush is a celibate writer caught in Goldie's slipstream. No more syrupy than Almost Famous.
Golden boy Sam Mendes' less-than-feelgood follow-up to American Beauty suffered a critical backlash, but its daringly gloomy photography (by the late Conrad Hall) is often breathtaking. An unsmiling Tom Hanks' hitman-with-a-heart is underwritten, but a wrinkly Paul Newman still oozes charisma and Jude Law's credibly sinister. A surprisingly bleak, long dark night of the soul.
Someone seems to have decided that Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman are a marketable team, and their umpteenth crime thriller together is brought to you by the estimable Carl Franklin. Judd's a perky lawyer whose husband (a wooden Jim Caviezel) may or may not be a mass murderer. Freeman's an amusing drunk, but sadly the plot's the last word in generic, and the 'twists' wear neon signs on their heads.