Film: Also Showing

Lethal Weapon 4 (15) Richard Donner n Men With Guns (15) John Sayles

n The Doom Generation (18) Gregg Araki n Character (15) Mike van Diem

n Kissing a Fool (15) Doug Ellin n Pepe le Moko (nc) Julien Duvivier

THE POSTER copy for Lethal Weapon 4 says it all. "The action you expect, the faces you love," it trumpets presumptuously. In other words, you've seen it all before and you're still going to come back for more, aren't you? The continuing success of this series of light-hearted thrillers is a testament to the number of people for whom cinema is a comfort blanket - a breezy stroll along familiar streets rather than an almighty leap into the great unknown.

To its credit, Lethal Weapon 4 does strive to bring a fresh tang to a stale recipe. Although Detectives Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are struggling to crack a counterfeiting industry run by Triads, a more pressing concern is the battle against old age. When action heroes contemplate hanging up their holsters, they are sometimes driven to make interesting career choices - it's no coincidence that Gibson took on his most challenging roles last year in Ransom and Conspiracy Theory. Lethal Weapon 4 doesn't offer him the same diverse opportunities as those films, but there are enough references to Riggs's age to create some interesting synchronicity between the actor and the role.

With an eye on the younger members of its audience, the picture also finds room for the sparky young actor Chris Rock, who is distinguished among this ingratiating cast by his ability to earn your laughter without pleading for it. Otherwise, the movie is all gratuitous destructions, raging fireballs and male bonding. One memorable set-piece remains, though, featuring Gibson doing 80mph on an upturned coffee table, and one with no tax or MOT at that.

From men with sitting-room furniture to Men with Guns, the conscientious and dreary new movie from John Sayles, who is going to have to do something very drastic to convince me that he isn't the most over-rated film-maker in America. In an unspecified Latin American country, a doctor (Federico Luppi) decides to investigate the fates of the students whom he trained as doctors.

However, his investigations reveal that each of them has met a grisly end at the hands of a brutal military regime. Unperturbed, the doctor presses on through ever poorer villages, collecting companions and testimonies which create an image of a country in crisis. Sayles is commendably adventurous in his choice of subject matter, but consistently fails to animate or dramatise any of his ideas. As films go, Men with Guns would make great radio.

Gregg Araki's The Doom Generation was made in 1995, before his last film Nowhere, but the ramshackle style and pop-culture preoccupations are the same. The America inhabited by the film's trio of bisexual psychopaths is on the brink of apocalypse: all-night convenience stores serve luminous junk-food and bear signs reading "Shoplifters will be executed"; the dismembered and decapitated flaunt their injuries and start speaking in tongues long after they should have stopped twitching.

The stoned humour which thrives in the air of depravity is best exemplified by the actress Rose McGowan - even as she is tramping ankle-deep through carnage, her lipstick remains unsmudged, her bob unruffled. But even a fan would have to concede that all this debauchery wears thin some way before the end.

The Dutch drama Character, winner of this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, follows the efforts of a young lawyer (Fedja van Huet) to escape the cruel control of his bailiff father. Told in flashback, the story evolves into a mystery hinging on the old man's enigmatic protestation that he was trying to help rather than hinder his son. The picture is too long, but I liked the playfully brooding tone which transforms it into a Gothic cartoon for grown-ups; indeed, the physiognomical peculiarities of its supporting cast would make Jeunet and Caro drool.

On to Kissing a Fool, a comedy starring the disturbingly uncharismatic David Schwimmer from Friends. He plays an egotistical sportscaster who feels claustrophobic at the prospect of marriage, and decides to test the loyalty of his bride-to-be (Mili Avital) by using his best friend (Jason Lee) as bait. Yes, it's another film about male fear of commitment - and yet another with nothing original to say on the matter. The only reprieve comes from Jason Lee, though it's a measure of how tired the movie feels that even he is just repeating his Agitated Best Pal routine from Chasing Amy.

A deserved re-release this week for Pepe le Moko, Julien Duvivier's 1936 thriller in which many themes which would later congeal to form film noir surface in an unusual context. The setting is the unforgiving labyrinth of the Algiers Casbah; Jean Gabin is the romantic criminal yearning for love whilst being hounded by the police. When his resolve starts to crack and splinter, you glimpse a vulnerability that is exquisitely moving. What begins as a battle of wits ends with a man grabbing at a future that will always be just out of reach. Ouch, in a word.

All films on release from tomorrow.

RG

Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Gravelle on trial for Danny Latimer's murder as Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

Review: Broadchurch episode 7

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Barry Norman has predicted a Best Actor win for Michael Keaton at this Sunday's awards

oscars
Arts and Entertainment
The right stuff: 'Ukip: the First 100 Days'

Review: UKIP: The First 100 Days TV
Arts and Entertainment
Anastasia Steele with Christian Grey in his offices in Fifty Shades of Grey

film
Arts and Entertainment
Class act: Julia McKenzie and Keeley Hawes in 'The Casual Vacancy'

JK Rowling's story is a far better drama than it is a book

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Channel 4's Indian Summers

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The BBC's version of 'The Crimson Petal and the White'

Books

Arts and Entertainment
We will remember them: 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at the Tower of London

Art Police investigate abuse sent to Paul Cummins over Tower of London installation

Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman was named worst actress for her performance as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco
film
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game; the film’s producer, Harvey Weinstein, said the UK government ought to honour its subject
film
Latest stories from i100
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.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower