So enough time has elapsed for belated sequel SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (15: Lionsgate) to feel as fresh, hard-edged and visually stylish as the 2005 original adaptation.
This is a compilation of four tales –some new, some continuations – of crime and betrayal set in a dangerous city.
The stories criss-cross as square-jawed bruiser Mickey Rourke awakes on a highway surrounded by bodies and toxic femme fatale Eva Green compels ex-lover Josh Brolin to kill her supposedly abusive husband.
Cocky gambler Joseph Gordon-Levitt plots to destroy corrupt senator Powers Boothe, while stripper Jessica Alba seeks vengeance for Bruce Willis’s death.
It’s all elegantly rendered in dazzling monochrome sharpened by colour splashes (red lips, orange flame, pink feathers) and played stark and straight by the stellar cast, although Green’s copious nudity might surprise.
The film is slightly one-note, yet it conveys the essence of Frank Miller’s art better than ever.
> Child-friendly animated caper THE NUT JOB (U: Warner) has a promising set-up and a decent voice cast, including Liam Neeson and Brendan Fraser, but on the whole it lacks inspiration.
Expanded from a ten-minute short, the film revolves around Surly the Squirrel (Will Arnett), a self-serving rogue who is banished from the park by his fellow animals after accidentally destroying their food reserves.
Heading into the city, Surly stumbles upon a nut shop that has enough food to help him and the entire community survive the impending harsh winter.
Young viewers will be entertained by the slapstick and frantic set pieces, but adults won’t find the depth or sophistication that we now expect from animated features.
There are a few amusing sight gags and the animation is pleasing on the eye, but it’s an unremarkable romp that doesn’t live up to its promise.
> A small American town is unexpectedly ravaged by a series of devastating tornados in disaster movie INTO THE STORM (12: Warner).
Richard Armitage, who called the shots as Thorin in the Hobbit trilogy, has to play second fiddle to the angry elements in this white-knuckle adventure.
After a huge tornado touches down, the townsfolk flee for their lives as a professional storm chaser (Matt Walsh) and a meteorologist (Sarah Wayne Callies) try to capture the unprecedented weather on camera and thrill-seekers risk their lives for the chance to experience a twister close-up.
Meanwhile, local teacher Armitage has to put himself in harm’s way to make sure his kids are safe.
Director Steven Quale ramps up the tension with jaw-dropping CGI effects taking the viewer to the heart of Mother Nature at her most extreme.
In comparison, the human aspect of the film relies too heavily on clichéd archetypes, like mercenaries after film footage to sell for big bucks and troubled teens with distant fathers.
They’re bog-standard subplots that frustratingly interrupt the mighty bluster of the action sequences.