Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Director: Larry Charles

Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian

Certificate: 15

Genre: Comedy

Release date: Out now

The art of provocation has a new grandmaster. Sacha Baron Cohen had already made an unforgettable mark in the annals of satirical impersonation with Ali G, a creature who now looks almost well-adjusted next to his latest small-to-big-screen incarnation of ignorance.

Borat Sagdiyev, a TV reporter from Kazakhstan, has such a narrow view of mankind it could be passed off as naivety; unfortunately, it's a naivety based on a hatred of Jews, gypsies, gays and most of the neighbouring republics in the former Soviet Union.

Once Borat hits the road for Los Angeles the cruel genius of Baron Cohen and his writers is given full rein.

Time and again, Borat's escapades prompt utter amazement at how easily he has taken in his hosts: is it their gullibility, or is it his plausibility? Better not to think too hard. Book yourself a seat and be ready to laugh like a hyena.

Casino Royale

Director: Martin Campbell

Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench

Certificate: 12A

Genre: Drama

Release date: Out now

According to the latest actor to slip a licence to kill in his wallet, "If you don't get bruised playing Bond, you're not doing it properly". If that's the case, Daniel Craig must be black and blue. There were a few Roger Moore-style raised eyebrows when the new 007 was announced, but Craig's frown has emphatically seen them off.

Casino Royale was Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, though the screenplay brings it into a modern setting. In it James is just starting out as an agent and is still a little rough around the edges, and the film has a much rawer feel in comparison to the CGI overload of the last Bond outing, Die Another Day.

All the usual buttons are pressed - witty one-liners, chases, girls, poker and dinner jackets - but Craig brings a more human character to the screen. Much like the beautiful Vesper Lynd played by Eva Green, you'll find it hard not to fall in love with the new spy on the block.


Director: Ringan Ledwidge

Cast: Amelia Warner, Shaun Evans and Scott Mechlowicz

Certificate: 15

Genre: Psychological thriller

Release date: 15 December

Labelling this film as a psychological thriller is actually misleading: you could get higher levels of excitement from a day spent watching the traffic lights change.

The premise is sound enough, with two British backpackers hitching a ride across the Australian Outback with an American stranger, and gradually coming to realise that he's two sandwiches short of a picnic. Plenty of scope for tension, intrigue and suspense, yes? Apparently not. The script is clunky, the acting is shoddy and the film about half an hour too long.

Amelia Warner (pictured) as Sophie is gorgeous and Scott Mechlowicz as the psychotic Taylor looks good without a shirt on, but that's not going to win any Oscars. It's director Ledgwidge's first film so you could argue that he deserves a break. However, with so many independent, British films out there that aren't being aired, that argument becomes as lost as a madman in the Outback.