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BAD MOMS 2 (MA15+) Just as funny with twice the not-so-nice US, 104 min

A quick check of last year’s cal­en­dar re­veals the first Bad Moms (a very prof­itable smash hit) was only re­leased 15 months ago. Surely it is way too soon for another ran­sack­ing of our box-of­fice pock­ets? Not quite. Some­what sur­pris­ingly, this swiftly as­sem­bled se­quel earns its keep as a crowd-pleas­ing com­edy for two telling rea­sons. Firstly, the hit-to-miss joke ra­tio is mod­er­ately high. When the big laughs do come, they do so with gusto. Se­condly, Bad Moms 2 re­freshes the proven for­mula of the orig­i­nal by dou­bling the num­ber of mis­be­hav­ing moth­ers in play. This time around, the foun­da­tion trio of Bad Moms — Amy (Mila Ku­nis), Kiki (Kris­ten Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) — must go head-to-head with their own bad moth­ers. As it is Christ­mas, a pe­riod that brings the worst out of most fam­i­lies, Amy’s con­trol-freak mom Ruth (Chris­tine Baran­ski), Kiki’s clingy mom Sandy (Ch­eryl Hines) and Carla’s trailer-trash mom Isis (Su­san Saran­don) will be do­ing their best to ruin this hal­lowed hol­i­day for all.

THE FOR­EIGNER (MA15+) Re­venge a dish best served old US-China, 110 min

They killed Jackie Chan’s daugh­ter. Now they’re gonna have to pay. But first, old Jackie has to work out ex­actly who “they” are. Af­ter los­ing his only child in a Lon­don ter­ror­ist bomb­ing, Quan (Chan) has a hunch the IRA (and their man in Bri­tish Par­lia­ment, played by Pierce Bros­nan) might be in it up to their ears. So runs the seen-it-all-be­fore premise of The For­eigner, a no-frills ac­tion-thriller as old school as this kind of fare can be.

GEOSTORM (M) Cloudy, with a chance of meat­heads US, 109 min

A D-grade dis­as­ter movie where the world’s weather has turned sus­pi­ciously ma­li­cious. Our only hope rests with the Daniel Day-Lewis of dumb ac­tion flicks, Mr Ger­ard But­ler. Gezza must zoom up to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion to shake his fists and throw some span­ners at a ring of weather-con­trol­ling satel­lites that have gone rogue. But­ler and a gri­mac­ing, vein-pop­ping cast play it way too straight in a movie fun­da­men­tally telling all con­ven­tional logic to go and get bent.

HAPPY DEATH DAY (M) If at first you don’t sur­vive, try, and try again US, 94 min

This ap­peal­ingly ap­palling thriller puts Ground­hog Day in a mi­crowave with the first Scream, and turns all con­trols way up high. Clev­erly, the movie knows we’ll all keep watch­ing to see what hap­pens, even if it against our bet­ter judg­ment. New­comer Jes­sica Rothe stars as Tree, a col­lege stu­dent trapped in a ter­mi­nal time loop. Every morn­ing, she wakes up in some­one else’s room across cam­pus. By mid­night, she will have died a ter­ri­ble death at the hands of a masked killer.

HOME AGAIN (M) What­ever they say, Reese is the word US, 97 min

Ea­ger-to-please (and-even-more-ea­ger-not-to-hard of­fend) rom-com es­capism de­pict­ing a sit­u­a­tion in­cred­i­bly hard to be­lieve, yet very easy to sit back and take in. Reese Wither­spoon stars as Alice, who af­ter a big night be­moan­ing her 40th birth­day, takes in three young aspir­ing film­mak­ers as lodgers. Wouldn’t you just know it? The com­bined traits of this well-be­haved pack of guy-candy amount to ev­ery­thing her ex­hus­band (Michael Sheen) should have been. Co-stars Candice Ber­gen.

JIG­SAW (MA15+) The eighth cut is not the deep­est US, 92 min

Spoiler alert: this grisly hor­ror movie ends with some brains de­part­ing a skull, and mak­ing tracks for the floor. To keep your own grey mat­ter where it should be housed, you should come along to Jig­saw only if you feel the urge to wit­ness a be­lated eighth in­stal­ment to the Saw fran­chise. There hasn’t been one of th­ese flicks since 2010. Though a lot has changed in the realm of hor­ror in that time, it is very much busi­ness as ooze-ual in the Saw slaugh­ter­house. You know the drill here. There’s a quar­tet of young mis­cre­ants be­ing held against their will in an en­closed space. To es­cape, they might have to part com­pany with an or­gan, limb, or a sub­stan­tial per­cent­age of their life­span. Mean­while, a ca­bal of clue­less cops and mor­ti­cians won­der aloud if this is all the work of the no­to­ri­ous master­mind Jig­saw, seem­ingly still at work in spite of dy­ing at the end of Saw 3.

SUBUR­BICON (MA15+) The best-slayed plans of mice and men US, 129 min

By 1950s stan­dards, it should be the per­fect crime. A timid hus­band (Matt Da­mon) wants his wheelchair-bound wife (Ju­lianne Moore) out of the pic­ture. Mainly so he can re­place her with her sketchy twin sis­ter (Moore again). A hefty in­sur­ance pay­out won’t hurt, ei­ther. While the rest of the all-white neigh­bour­hood goes into a rage over an African-Amer­i­can fam­ily dis­cov­ered to be liv­ing in their midst, the man of the house makes his move. With every part of the plan primed to fall into place, only one vari­able re­mains: how much does the un­happy cou­ple’s only child, a small boy, know about what is re­ally go­ing on? Di­rected by Ge­orge Clooney from a script penned by the Coen Broth­ers ( Fargo, No Coun­try for Old Men), this twisted tale of do­mes­tic evil car­ries a comic edge which will di­vide some view­ers. If you can get where it is com­ing from — but can’t pick where it might be head­ing — then this shrewd set of jabs at Amer­i­can pride and its many prej­u­dices has done the job mighty well. Co-stars Os­car Isaac.

THOR: RAGNAROK (M) Ham­mer comes down, hu­mour goes up US, 129 min

The third big-screen solo out­ing for Thor sees the big burly bearded bloke in his best form yet. While the movie sup­plies the kind of sprawl­ing ac­tion spec­ta­cle Marvel is renowned for, it is also a sly, dry com­edy packed with dead­pan punch­lines and ab­surd sight gags. The good­na­tured goofi­ness to the fore is def­i­nitely the hand­i­work of New Zealand film­maker Taika Waititi, fresh off his 2016 global sleeper hit Hunt for the Wilder peo­ple. When Waititi and an openly en­thu­si­as­tic cast — led by Aus­tralian duo Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Os­car win­ner Cate Blanchett as his evil older sis­ter Hela — get the laughs go­ing on a roll, the movie’s charm is ir­re­sistible. Co-stars Tom Hid­dle­ston, Tessa Thomp­son, Mark Ruf­falo.

THREE SUM­MERS (M) Per­fectly un­sea­son­able, Aus­tralia 102 min

A life­less Aus­tralian com­edy from go to whoa to no, lethar­gi­cally col­lect­ing all the sketchy car­i­ca­tures, re­dun­dant stereo­types and crass cliches writer-direc­tor Ben El­ton can think of. Af­ter El­ton ap­plies a heart-hard­en­ing grasp of modern ro­mance, then makes sev­eral lifeshort­en­ing lunges at lev­ity, what re­mains is just a dump­ster fire with di­a­logue. The plot stretches a mul­ti­tude of thin sto­ry­lines across three suc­ces­sive stag­ings of an an­nual folk mu­sic fes­ti­val. Char­ac­ters who have ini­tially got it wrong about how to be a good par­ent, a good spouse, a good lover, a good kid or a good mul­ti­cul­tural cit­i­zen will even­tu­ally come to their senses and get it right. But not be­fore a viewer’s pa­tience — or good­will to­wards an ap­peal­ing homegrown cast which in­cludes Michael Ca­ton, Deb­o­rah Mailman and Magda Szuban­ski — has been com­pletely va­por­ised. A fea­tured love story be­tween two unlov­able types (Re­becca Breeds as a feisty fid­dle player, Robert Shee­han as an annoying Ir­ish drifter) merely pro­longs the in­ert, inane agony of it all.

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