THE second helping from the popular series of kids books by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (Cert PG) will no doubt satisfy its primary audience of pre-pubescent boys.
With a nod to the matchstick cartoon sequences of the book we once again follow the tribulations of diarist Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) as he moves on to middle school and endures the bullying of his older brother at home.
Adults in the audience may sigh at the all-too predictable portrayal of the parents (Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn) as ineffectual dimwits and brother Rodrick as borderline psychotic, although that helps to shift our sympathies a bit more towards Greg who otherwise might seem selfish and annoying. Thank goodness for the presence of chubby best friend Rowley (Robert Capron) as a reminder that there are good-hearted kids of that age. But, hey, this is a film for them, not us.
Another sequel, The Hangover – Part II (Cert 15), is content to serve up a retread of Todd Phillips’ raucous 2009 hit about the misadventures of a stag party in Las Vegas. This time Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) accompany groom Doug (Justin Bartha) to nuptials in Thailand. Once again they wake up with no recollection of the night before with some nasty surprises. No baby to mind this time, but a monkey, no lost tooth but hair shaved off, instead of stripper bride there’s an amorous ladyboy, and Mike Tyson is back – you get the picture.
From Michele Placido, the director of another Italian true-life crime thriller, Romanzo Criminale, comes Angels of Evil (Cert 15), a fast-moving portrait of Renato Vallanzasca, notorious Milan gangster of the Seventies and Eighties but long since banged up serving mutliple life sentences.
A criminal by the age of nine, Vallanzasca lost no time in becoming a feared mobster as he and his gang took out their enemies and wrested control of the Milan underworld with a string of bank robberies, kidnappings and murders. Along the way he captured the nickname ‘il bel Renè’ and his devilish charm and handsome face brought him celebrity status. Seemingly continually being arrested, his daring escapes from prison enraged the government, angered his rivals and fed his legend.
It sounds a bit reminiscent of the Frenchman, Mesrine, subject of a two-part biopic last year. Kim Rossi Stuart is a charismatic presence as the moustachioed leather-jacketed robber but the story is based on Vallanzasca’s own accounts and the image of a high-principled criminal mastermind who only killed in self-defence and never shopped his comrades seems a little too good to be true.
French-Canadian wunderkind writer-director Xavier Dolan’s second film, Heartbeats (Cert 15) chronicles a love triangle although its original title, Les amours imaginaires, gives a better idea of the theme.
Dolan also appears in front of the camera as Francis, a gay Quebecois, who with best friend Marie (Monia Chokri), forms a Jules et Jim-style relationship with golden-haired Adonis Nico (Niels Schneider) which develops into an obsessive passion they cannot confess to each other.
Enjoyment of this undoubtedly visually-arresting film will depend on whether you engage with these bright young things with impeccable taste in clothes and décor or whether you see them as shallow wasters.
Francis Ford Coppola has supervised the restoration at his Zoetrope studios of his 1979 masterpiece, Apocalypse Now (Cert 15) which still packs a punch as it hits the big screen once more. Inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart Of Darkness, it captures the emotional trauma of modern war.
In addition to the theatrical release a 3-Disc Full Disclosure Edition is coming out on on Bluray on June 13 which will include Apocalypse Now and Apocalypse Now Redux with more than nine hours of bonus material including new interviews with on-screen and behind-the-scenes talent, as well as the acclaimed making-of feature documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse.