PICK OF THIS WEEK’S FILMS
ROBIN HOOD (12A) THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB (15)
The men are far from merry in director Otto Bathurst’s gung-ho action adventure, which canters through the blood-soaked origins of the English folk hero before he gives serious thought to riding through glens or stealing from the rich. Action set pieces are reminiscent of the Assassin’s Creed video games, employing slow-motion to excess as leading man Taron Egerton performs bonecrunching leaps and somersaults while firing arrows with his trusty bow. Bathurst delivers some decent thrills with these high-tempo sequences including a breathless chase in horse-drawn carts choreographed to resemble the chariot race from Ben-Hur, and the explosive theft of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s war taxes. Away from the testosterone-fuelled destruction, Ben Chandler and David James Kelly’s script allows Egerton to recycle his charm and swagger from the Kingsman films, while co-star Ben Mendelsohn embraces the pantomime season as a suitably slippery Sheriff of Nottingham.
Almost a decade after Noomi Rapace originated the role of emotionally damaged hacker Lisbeth Salander, Stockport-born actress Claire Foy becomes the third actress to wage war on abusive men as Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s avenging angel.
It’s a far cry from the elegance and pageantry of her award-winning portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown and Foy embraces the physicality of the eye-catching role.
Unfortunately, this incarnation of Lisbeth lacks the emotional complexity of earlier instalments. The tormented heroine has been reduced to a two-dimensional action hero, who screeches around Stockholm on her motorcycle like Batgirl and weathers a flurry of body blows and bullets with a grimace.
NATIVITY ROCKS! (U)
When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up.
That’s certainly true of writer-director Debbie Issit’s series of improvised comedies, which began in 2009 with the rollicking Nativity!,
The fourth instalment is a small step in the right direction after the miserable Nativity 3:
Dude, Where’s My Donkey?, which shamelessly tugs heartstrings by addressing the global refugee crisis alongside the usual yuletide tomfoolery. Musical theatre star Simon Lipkin fizzes with energy in every frame as man-child teaching assistant Mr Poppy, even when the film around him is stagnating, while Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood would be hard pushed to describe his pantomime villain as fab-u-lous.
The climactic stage performance to justify Coventry’s claim as Christmas Town of the Year is sweetly shambolic if overlong, reuniting characters with a generous sprinkling of tears.
NOBODY’S FOOL (15)
Fools rush in to watch writer-director Tyler Perry’s crass comedy about a high-flying