Alan Dee’s movie preview: Rush revs up to take the flag in a crowded field

In a busy week for new releases there’s no question about which film will be first off the grid – Rush is aiming to race to box office success with plenty of hype and hoo-ha in the tank.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 11th September 2013, 5:12 am
Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl in Rush
Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl in Rush

Ron Howard is at the wheel, and the former Happy Days star is renowned for reliable if not exceptional drama, with Apollo 13 the pick of his plums, The Paper a sadly neglected classic and his big screen versions of Dan Brown potboilers best forgotten.

Here he tells the high-octane story of rival 1970s Formula 1 legends James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth and Niki Lauder (Daniel Bruhl).

One is a technically brilliant driver who worked his way through the ranks, the other a natural racer with a fondness for the playboy lifestyle.

Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl in Rush

Their rivalry involves triumph and tragedy and the events are not so well-known that today’s punters will be picking holes in the way writer Peter Morgan, who penned The Queen, has squeezed the true story into his script.

Top Gear fans will probably soak this up, but it might be a tougher sell for those not of a petrolhead persuasion.

That Roland Emmerich hasn’t got a lot of time for the White House – he blasted it to bits in Independence Day and now he’s up to his old tricks in White House Down, a routine bangs and baddies thriller in which misfit cop Channing Tatum has to protect Jamie Foxx’s Mr President when paramilitary thugs swarm into his Washington gaff.

It’s going for the Die Hard/Lethal Weapon vibe but doesn’t really convince as a buddy comedy, and fails to press the buttons as an action extravaganza or a political thriller either. All pretty obvious, and a lot of money has been spent on failing to impress.

Whether you are attracted to Insidious 2 depends pretty much on whether Insidious was your sort of film in the first place.

It’s another slice of spooky shivers, as the family which found themselves plagued by pesky demons in the first outing find that there’s plenty more where they came from as long as there are people prepared to pay for it. Will it give you sleepless nights? The 15 certificate suggests otherwise.

Arriving too late to tap into the summer holiday trade is Justin And The Knights Of Valour, an animated family adventure with lots of familiar voices to enjoy.

Aspiring knight Justin is a bit of a weed but he is urged to embark on a quest to recover his grandfather’s sword.

Julie Walters, Saoirse Ronan, David Walliams and Antonio Banderas all fill out the characters he meets along the way. It’s all cheery enough, doesn’t outstay its welcome but won’t be one of those ‘play it and play it again’ hits with the kids.