Asylum (15)<br></br>The Aristocrats (18)<br></br>Green Street (18)<br></br>Rock School (15)<br></br>The Longest Yard (12A)<br></br>

Reviewed,Anthony Quinn
Friday 05 July 2013 05:46

The attention to period in this adaptation of Patrick McGrath's 1996 novel - a remote English asylum at the close of the 1950s - is superb, though as a psychological chiller the film struggles to make an impact. Stella (Natasha Richardson), the emotionally repressed wife of the new deputy superintendent, falls violently in love with one of the asylum's most notorious inmates, Edgar Stark (Marton Csokas). It doesn't help that the lovers fail to spark any kind of amour fou: Richardson seems merely glum, while Csokas's brooding menace lacks the voice to back it up. Only Ian McKellen as Stark's psychiatrist, with his pursed mouth and hawkish gaze, catches the right mood.

The Aristocrats (18)

"The aristocrats" is the two-word punchline to the dirtiest joke ever told, a joke that a selection of professional, mostly American comedians discuss and reminisce upon with documentary-makers Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. The joke, a kind of secret handshake among the stand-up fraternity, plays out an infinite number of obscene improvisations that include bestiality, defecation, incest and rape. The problem is that a) any joke told repeatedly over 90 minutes soon loses its lustre, and b) this joke - basically an incongruous-title gag - isn't that funny anyway.

Green Street (18)

Hard to know where to start with this, but how about Elijah "Frodo" Wood as a football hooligan? He plays Matt, adopted as American mascot to a West Ham "firm". Writer-director Lexi Alexander aims to say something about tribal loyalty and machismo but gets everything so palpably, pitifully wrong, not least of it chief yob Charlie Hunnam's abysmal cockney accent and the egregious solecism of a black Millwall fan. The film doesn't glamorise gang violence so much as sentimentalise it, which is probably worse.

Rock School (15)

A Jack Black tutorial for real. One's instinct is to admire Paul Green and the group of kids he schools in the art of rock, if only for the eccentric nature of the enterprise. By degrees, however, Green reveals himself to be a tantrum specialist, frustrated showman and egomaniac. And, try as you might, it's hard to get excited by the concert finale of a multi-group tribute to the work of Frank Zappa.

The Longest Yard (12A)

The longest movie - or so it seems. Adam Sandler stars in a remake of the 1974 Burt Reynolds' vehicle The Mean Machine, about a disgraced sports legend who, in prison on a corruption charge, trains a ragtag crew of convicts to play football against a team of semi-pro guards.

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