Revolver (15)

King's Game (12A)

Howl's Moving Castle, Hayao Miyazaki (U)

Bread and Tulips (12A)

One Nite in Mongkok (15)

For the first few minutes it looks like a return to form. Ritchie's old mucker Jason Statham plays a gambler who comes out of prison determined to get his own back on Ray Liotta, the ruthless casino kingpin he blames for his incarceration. Alas, events soon get more and more perplexing and mystical, as if Ritchie had shredded the screenplays of The Usual Suspects and The Matrix Reloaded and then glued them together with the light off. There's a fair amount of unsavoury violence perpetrated by villains with names such as Skinny Pete and The Three Eddies, but it all takes place in a dream world where logic doesn't apply. To use a gaming analogy - as Revolver does, ad nauseam - we don't know what the rules are, and Ritchie could well be making them up as he goes along. Even his big-mouthed banter has given way to cod-philosophical blather, much of it in voice-over, and all of it as unhelpful as this: "If you change the rules of what controls you, you will change the rules of what you control." If only Vinnie Jones had come along and slammed someone's head in a car door.

Just weeks before a Danish general election, the leader of the opposition has a car crash that leaves him on life support, and leaves his job open to two candidates. A spin doctor immediately hands a defamatory story about one of the candidates to a correspondent, but the journalist suspects he's being manipulated for reasons that are even more nefarious than usual, so he investigates a plot that has echoes of the Campbell-Gilligan-Kelly affair. This smart little conspiracy thriller would slot snugly into an evening's TV viewing. But would need bigger personalities and dirtier deeds to fill the cinema screen - and to contend with politics in the real world.

In the Harry Potter franchise, magic is a subject you learn at school, whereas in this Japanese cartoon from the makers of Spirited Away, magic is an arcane and wondrous matter of promises, curses and untrustworthy demons. That is, it's a bit more magical. Adapted from Diana Wynne Jones's novel, Howl's Moving Castle is the story of Sophie, a dowdy girl who is transformed into an old woman by a wicked witch, and has to seek help from a vain wizard named Howl. One of the film's principal pleasures is the way Sophie remains loveably feisty and fearless throughout. When she realises what an aged crone she's become, she sighs, "Oh well, at least my clothes suit me now." The film's other main treat is the gorgeous animation, from the verdant Alpine countryside to the steam-puffing mobile home of the title. It's just a shame the film obeys the first law of Japanese animes, which states that all films should go incomprehensibly batty towards the end.

An Italian Shirley Valentine, Bread and Tulips stars Licia Maglietta as a klutzy housewife who decides, on a whim, to visit Venice without her husband and her teenaged sons, and then decides, on another whim, to stay there, lodging with a suicidal Icelandic restaurateur and working at an anarchist florist's shop. The film rambles along for too long, straying off the story's emotional main road to stroll up every cute and kooky side alley it sees. I could have done with a little less of Maglietta's "holistic masseuse" neighbour and the bungling plumber-turned-private-eye who's assigned to track her down. But when the film returns to its appealing heroine, it's as warm as freshly baked bread and as bright as a tulip, which could be why it won every major Italian Oscar. And it's unusual to see a film set in Venice that doesn't show off any of the postcard beauty spots. In fact, the only time that St Mark's Square appears in the film is when it happens to be reflected in a shop window.

There seem to be at least two films going on simultaneously in One Nite In Mongkok, and while they're both gripping examples of their genres, they don't quite fit together. They both begin with a feud between two Hong Kong gangs which culminates in a godfather hiring a hitman from a remote village (right) to rub out his arch enemy. But half of what follows is a light, Ong-bak-like tale of a naïve country bumpkin who travels to the big city to find his true love. The other half, meanwhile, is a steely thriller in which the police chase the assassin through the bustling streets, pausing now and then to debate the ethics of shooting suspects and planting evidence. The blood-drenched finale is so dispiriting that it belongs to another film altogether.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
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

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

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

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

music
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
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.

    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'