Cinemas: What’s on this week

Undated Film Still Handout from The Fighter. Pictured: Christian Bale as Dick Eklund and Mark Wahlberg as Micky Ward. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Momentum Pictures. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from The Fighter. Pictured: Christian Bale as Dick Eklund and Mark Wahlberg as Micky Ward. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Momentum Pictures. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

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Your guide to the films on general release now

The Fighter (15)

Micky (Mark Wahlberg) is a talented boxer from Lowell, Massachusetts, but he has always languished in the shadow of his half brother Dicky (Christian Bale), who famously knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard then lost everything to the ravages of drugs and crime. Trained by Dicky and managed by his monstrous mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), Micky accepts lacklustre fights for scant rewards until he is persuaded to cut himself loose from his loved ones and punch above his weight for the first time in his life. New girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams), who works in a local bar, encourages Micky to follow his dreams, incurring the wrath of the rest of the Ward clan, who resent outsiders from interfering in family business. Sure enough, Micky tastes victory and as his confidence grows, he faces the possibility of a shot at the world light welterweight title.

Rating: Four stars

Sanctum 3D (15)

In Papua New Guinea’s deadly Esa’ala cave system, expert diver Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) and his team, including Crazy George (Dan Wyllie) and Jude (Allison Cratchley), search for the path to the sea. They are under pressure to deliver results and adrenaline junkie financier Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd) arrives at the dive site with his girlfriend Victoria (Alice Parkinson) to spur Frank on before a storm system forces the divers to return to the surface. Sure enough, the cyclone catches everyone off guard, trapping Frank, his headstrong 17-year-old-son Josh (Rhys Wakefield), Carl, Victoria and the rest of the team. The only possible escape route is uncharted territory in the cave system but Victoria has never dived before.

Rating: Three stars

A Little Bit of Heaven (12A)

Marley Corbett (Kate Hudson) is a vice president at an advertising agency in New Orleans. Full of energy and surrounded by great friends including sassy gal pal Sarah (Lucy Punch) and heavily pregnant Renee (Rosemarie DeWitt), Marley has everything to life for - except that she doesn’t. A routine check up at the local hospital reveals shocking news: she has cancer and the disease has spread too far throughout her body for chemotherapy to have any positive effect. Supported by handsome doctor, Julian Goldstein (Gael Garcia Bernal), Marley comes to terms with impending death, sharing the diagnosis with her clucky mother (Kathy Bates) and emotionally distant father (Treat Williams). Thankfully, Julian is a tower of strength and as Marley prepares for her passing, she falls hopelessly in love with her medic.

Rating: Three stars

Brighton Rock (15)

Pinkie (Sam Riley) is determine to clamber up the ranks of organised crime in Brighton, aided by Spicer (Phil Davis) and his small team, and hopefully challenge the authority of rival gang leader, Colleoni (Andy Serkis). The planned murder of Fred Hale (Sean Harris) goes awry and innocent cafe waitress Rose (Andrea Riseborough) witnesses the chase, potentially putting Pinkie and the boys in the frame for the slaying. So the thug sets out to seduce shrinking violet Rose to win her silence. Cafe owner Ida (Helen Mirren) and her good friend Phil (John Hurt) follow the trail of evidence and eventually realise that Rose is staring into the jaws of death.

Rating: Three stars

How Do You Know (12A)

Star athlete Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) is dropped from the USA Softball National Team and seeks sanctuary in the bed of major league baseball pitcher Matty (Owen Wilson). During a brief pause in the relationship, Lisa goes on a first date with businessman George (Paul Rudd), just as he learns that he is being prosecuted for wire fraud. Torn between the two men, Lisa follows her heart in James L Brooks’s overlong romantic comedy. Characters talk a lot but say very little, conversing in greetings-card platitudes and psychiatrist-couch epithets. Rudd warmly embraces the stereotype of the nice guy loser but screen chemistry with Witherspoon is merely lukewarm.

Rating: Two and a half stars

Barney’s Version (15)

Based on the award-winning novel by Mordecai Richler, Richard J Lewis’s humorous character study charts the romantic entanglements of politically incorrect TV producer Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) through three tempestuous marriages to a free spirit (Rachelle Lefevre), a chatterbox Jewish princess (Minnie Driver) and a radio journalist (Rosamund Pike). He is also accused of murder and a mosaic of flashbacks exposes the sad truth. Giamatti’s compelling lead performance attracts no sympathy – Barney is the architect of his own doom and deserves everything that he gets. Pike is luminous and Driver injects comic relief, proving that behind every grating man there is a grating woman.

Rating: Three stars