Cinema – What’s on this week

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Your guide to the latest films on general release now.

Water for Elephants (12A)

Poised to take his final veterinary exam, Jacob (Robert Pattinson) learns that his parents have been killed in a car accident and abandons his studies. With debts to pay and no roof over his head, the young man hitches a ride on a passing train, unaware it belongs to the circus run by August Rosenbluth (Christoph Waltz). The tyrant physically and mentally abuses animals and performers, including his beautiful wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) who rides the horses. When Jacob falls under Marlena’s spell, he tries to resist his feelings, working alongside the wife to win the trust of a special elephant. However, when August notices the way that the young man stares at Marlena, he exacts a horrific revenge.

Rating: Three stars

Hanna (12A)

Sixteen-year-old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) lives in snowbound Scandinavia with her father Erik (Eric Bana), honing the fighting skills she will need for the perilous mission that lies ahead: to kill ruthless CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett). Once she is trained and primed for action, Hanna bids farewell to her father and embarks on her quest to kill Wiegler with trained assassin Isaacs (Tom Hollander) and his henchmen on her trail.

Rating: Three stars

Everywhere + Nowhere (15)

Twenty-year-old Ash Khan (James Floyd) lives with his older brother Ahmed (Alyy Khan), sister-in-law Rubena (Shaheen Khan) and sister Sairah (Shivani Ghai). Ash is contemplating dropping out of college to pursue his musical ambitions as a DJ but Ahmed delivers a reality check. “You have two choices: You either finish your course or you come and work for me full-time,” he barks. So the young man continues to study while hoping for a shot on the turntables like Sairah’s DJ boyfriend, Ronnie (Simon Webbe). Ash shares his frustrations with best friends Zaf (Adam Deacon), whose father (Saeed Jaffrey) is seriously ill, and impressionable Riz (Neet Mohan). A romance with dancer Bella (Katia Winter) complicates matters as the four search for enlightenment in a haze of booze and drugs.

Rating: Three stars

Cedar Rapids (15)

Nice guy Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) works for an insurance firm which has won the coveted Two Diamonds award for excellence in customer service for the past two years. Gregarious agent Roger Lemke (Thomas Lennon) is the chief reason for the firm’s success and every year, he travels to a conference to compete against rival insurance firms for the glittering industry standard. After Roger dies, boss Bill Krogstad (Stephen Root) asks Tim to represent the company at the conference, making it clear that his future depends on the Two Diamonds award. So Tim nervously flies to Iowa where he room-shares with lovable Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr) and party animal Dean Ziegler (John C Reilly). The men introduce Tim to sassy agent Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche) and to conference leader Orin Helgesson (Kurtwood Smith), who ultimately decides which agency claims the prize.

Rating: Four stars

Thor (12A)

In the fantastic realm of Asgard, ruled by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife Frigga (Rene Russo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is an arrogant heir to the throne. He acts first and thinks later, endangering the lives of his trusty companions Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) and Fandral (Joshua Dallas) by launching a suicidal attack on the Frost Giants led by the menacing Laufey (Colm Feore). Odin strips his son of his powers and his legendary war hammer, and dispatches him to Earth as punishment, where the fallen god befriends scientist Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), protegee Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and intern Darcy (Kat Dennings). The spark of attraction between Thor and Jane is palpable but without his powers, the fallen god must face the same trials and tribulations as any other mortal.

Rating: Three stars

Insidious (15)

Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) move into a new house with sons Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and Foster (Andrew Astor). Late one night, Dalton hears a strange sound in the attic and foolishly goes to investigate. He glimpses a shadow and lets out a blood-curdling scream. The next morning, Foster tries to wake his brother but the boy has slipped into a coma. Three months Renai senses something terribly wrong in the home and Foster adds to Renai’s discomfort when he whimpers about an intruder. So Josh’s mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) invites her supernaturally gifted friend Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) to survey the property.

Rating: Three stars

Fast & Furious 5 (12A)

Former cop Detective Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and lover Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) spring her brother Dominic (Vin Diesel) from a prison bus then criss-cross borders, eventually hiding out in Rio with Dom’s childhood friend, Vince (Matt Schulze). The fugitives are double-crossed by drug lord Reyes (Joaquim De Almeida) and they vow revenge by plotting to steal 100 million dollars of the corrupt businessman’s ill-gotten gains. On their trail is federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who flouts the rules but always gets results. He amasses a top crew to bring Brian, Dominic and Mia to justice.

Rating: Four stars

Arthur (12A)

Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) is heir to his family’s vast fortune, presided over by his emotionally cold mother, Vivienne (Geraldine James). Vivienne informs Arthur that he will marry corporate executive Susan Johnson (Jennifer Garner) to ensure she can take charge of the company. If Arthur refuses, he will be cut off from his inheritance and the privileged lifestyle he has known since birth. Arthur resigns himself to marital hell, only to run into tour guide and aspiring author Naomi (Greta Gerwig).

Rating: Three stars

Beastly (12A)

Seventeen-year-old Kyle Kingsbury (Alex Pettyfer) is the golden boy of high school: handsome and athletic, he exploits his looks to get what and who he wants. Kyle foolishly ignores whispers about classmate Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen) being a witch and humiliates her in public. She retaliates by robbing Kyle of his chiselled cheekbones, cursing him to look “as aggressively unattractive outside as you are inside”.

Rating: Three stars