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.

Arts and Entertainment Musical by Damon Albarn


Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment


film review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'