FILM / OTHER NEW RELEASES / Thank you. Please call again

The Adventures of Huck Finn (PG)

Director: Stephen Sommers (US)

Josh and SAM (12)

Director: Billy Weber (US)

Rookie of the Year (PG)

Director: Daniel Stern (US)

Look Who's Talking Now (12)

Director: Tom Ropelewski (US)

A Business Affair (15)

Director: Charlotte Brandstrom (US)

The Premonition (18)

Director: Rumle Hammerich (US)

Back to earth with a bump: after pigging out on the cream of world cinema, we return to a line-up of fast-food MacMovies. The least worst is probably The Adventures of Huck Finn, but its success must be credited to the source material: it is an able, if pedestrian rendering of Mark Twain's classic, plastered with irritating, virtually wall-to-wall music and some unexpectedly dull cinematography from Janusz Kaminski, the Oscar-winning DP of Schindler's List.

Elijah Wood, one of Hollywood's more bearable child actors (thank goodness the budget probably didn't stretch to Macauley Culkin) plays the quizzical, free-spirited Huck, who hops on a raft down the Mississippi to escape a brutal father and hooks up with an escaped slave, Courtney B Vance. The film wears its modern, enlightened political conscience a little ostentatiously ('Just 'cos an idea's popular, like slavery, don't make it right'), but has quite a bit of fun along the way: a highlight is the arrival of two scam artists, Robbie Coltrane and Jason Robards, the latter sporting a deliriously (and intentionally) phoney English accent to rival Dick van Dyke's landmark performance in Mary Poppins.

'Enough of the slop,' declares Huck roundly at one of the movie's more maudlin interludes: he's a pragmatist who won't make a psychodrama out of a crisis. For him, life and its problems are refreshingly simple. That's not the case in the contemporary kids' tales trotted out this week for the half-term market; they reflect an America of narcissism, child shrinks and dysfunctional families. In Josh and SAM the 12-year-old Josh is pole-axed by his parents' divorce and mother's remarriage - plus he's worried he might be gay.

He escapes into fantasy, telling his younger brother, Sam, that his name is an acronym (Stategically Altered Mutant) and he's a fine-tuned government killing machine. The little lie spins into a vast and tangled web as the two brothers set out on the road and tumble into a stream of odd, incongruous encounters. This is a small, surprisingly likeable film, but one which will have difficulty finding an audience.

Rookie of the Year is the movie which the actor Daniel Stern (Joe Pesci's sidekick in the Home Alone movies) has chosen for his debut as a director. In it a kid's broken arm heals into a 100mph thunderbolt, earning him a place as star pitcher in a major league baseball team. The rest delivers the expected mix of schmaltz (our hero resolves his feeling about his absent dad) and slapstick, with a manic, breathtakingly misjudged performance from Stern himself, as a coach who's one game short of a pennant.

The big puzzle of Look Who's Talking Now] is how Mikey, the hip baby voiced by Bruce Willis in the original Look Who's Talking, lost all his smarts when he learned to talk: now he's just an ordinary boring six-year-old wondering whether or not to believe in Santa Claus. This time the voice-over wisecracks are entrusted to the family dog, a mangy mutt vocalised by Danny DeVito, who gives the film a small and very welcome shot of wised-up sleaze, as well as a '12' certificate. The others are present in the flesh only: John Travolta fans should hang fire for his real performance in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.

For grown-ups, A Business Affair, a 'love story for the Nineties', finds Carole Bouquet's aspiring writer torn between her famous, self-centred novelist husband (Jonathan Pryce) and his rapacious American publisher (Christopher Walken). It is intended as a sophisticated romantic comedy, but the script's infelicities are of Golden Turkey calibre and its nave take on literary London will have jaws hitting the floor. The best thing is Walken, whose character is described variously and splendidly as 'the Brooklyn book bandit turned literary Lothario' and 'the Nijinsky of cunnilingus'; he appears to have, very sensibly, resolved not to take matters too seriously, and surfs through his role with amusing, ironic detachment.

The Premonition is a Danish psychothriller - or is it Swedish? Whatever the case, the film is morbid, dark and Scandinavian. During the longest night of the Nordic winter, a high-school student's nightmares seem set to come true, although the murderer may not be the man in her dreams. It's standard horror-flick fare, filmed in stately, slow- moving manner, as though A Nightmare on Elm Street were directed by a (very) junior Bergman. A curiosity.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape