Carancho, Pablo Trapero, 94 mins (12A)
Wanderlust, David Wain, 98 mins (15)
This Means War, McG, 94 mins (12A)

If you don't want to get tangled up with The Vulture, better fasten your seatbelt ...

Opening with some scary statistics about the high rate of traffic accidents in Argentina, Carancho then introduces two people who, in very different ways, work with the victims of those accidents. Martina Gusman is a young paramedic who scrapes them off the pavements of Buenos Aires and into ambulances every night. The other, Ricardo Darin, chases those ambulances. Darin, the eagle-nosed, hamster-cheeked star of The Secret In Their Eyes, is a lawyer who specialises in compensation claims. His clients are grateful for the money, not realising that Darin's company pockets 80 per cent of it. Carancho translates as "The Vulture".

Pablo Trapero, the director of Familia Rodante and Lion's Den, has hit upon the perfect film noir setting, and the perfect film noir protagonist. Scouting funeral parlours and emergency rooms for business, Darin is a Bogart-ish anti-hero who walks a fine line between legality and crime, and who sees being beaten up by aggrieved associates as an occupational hazard. Beneath his crumpled exterior, of course, he has a heart of gold, and when the beautiful Gusman steals it, he vows to get out of his dirty business. He just needs to complete one last job. What could possibly go wrong?

The vivid, grimy details of Darin and Gusman's nocturnal work are a good deal more distinctive than conventional hard-boiled plotting, and there won't be many thrillers this year that pack a bigger, more teeth-rattling punch. One thing's for sure: no one who sees Carancho will drive home from the cinema without fastening their seatbelt.

There are two Hollywood comedies out this week, both funnier on paper than on film. The more bearable of the two is Wanderlust, which stars Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd as dyed-in-the-wool New Yorkers who can no longer afford their cupboard-sized Manhattan "micro-loft".

They're forced to move in with Rudd's brother in Atlanta, but he proves to be so obnoxious that they flee to a nearby hippy commune called Elysium. It's not a bad fish-out-of-water premise, even if it could have been written 30 years ago, but the film spends so much time in Manhattan and Atlanta that most of the Elysium scenes are squeezed into a montage, and an awfully predictable montage at that. When you think of hippy communes, you think of drugs, nudism, free love and acoustic guitars. The screenwriters thought of exactly the same things.

Rudd and Aniston are never less than engaging, and Justin Theroux's turn as a swaggering guru should elevate him to leading-man status. But they're stuck with a screenplay that uses its best jokes in the opening scenes (and the trailer), and has such a rickety plot that it resorts to a TV news report to tie up its storylines at the end.

Still, it's not nearly as confused as This Means War, an action movie/romantic comedy hybrid which stars Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as two CIA buddies who both fancy the same woman, Reese Witherspoon, and who use their high-tech surveillance equipment to find out her likes and dislikes. It doesn't occur to either of them that they could just ask her.

The film could have been a comment on 21st-century romance, with all its opportunities for paranoid cyber-snooping, but instead it just churns out repetitive scenes of Pine and Hardy sabotaging each other's dates, interspersed by repetitive scenes of Witherspoon whinging about how conflicted she is. It's hard to know who is more objectionable: the creeps who misuse government resources, or the woman swayed by their ever-more ludicrous stunts.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
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.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering