Alan Dee’s movie preview (27.10.11)

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TICK tock, tick tock, which of us can beat the clock? Well, Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfriend are the comely couple determined to give it a go.

They’re the big name stars of In Time, a high concept sci-fi thriller from Andrew Nichol, who has form in this area - SimOne, Gattaca – but not for a good few years.

There are echoes of Logan’s Run, but with a corporate twist – in the future, the ageing process has been harnessed but everybody dies young unless they buy more time.

Our buff central stars have to go on the run from the Timekeeper Raymond (Cillian Murphy) for reasons you don’t really need to know about, and the result is slick and professional action with a sci-fi gloss.

> So what on earth could Machine Gun Preacher be about?

Gerard Butler is the holy man with the firepower in question, a former crim who turns over a new life to become a warrior for children in war-torn Africa.

He decides to build an orphanage right in the middle of territory controlled by a ruthless rebel army, and then mount guerilla missions to rescue child soldiers from the ranks of the opposition.

Marc Forster, whose mainstream work includes Quantum of Solace but also made The Kite Runner and Stranger Than Fiction, is in confident charge and Butler goes some way to proving he’s not just a slab of beefcake or an amiable rom-com lead.

> Another film which does exactly what it says on the poster is Tower Heist, a silly but star-studded comedy with the likes of Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick along the way.

Director Brett Ratner brought us the Rush Hour series, so you know the combination of action and gags that will be served up here.

Stiller runs a posh New York high-rise block where crooked Wall Street billionaire (Alan Alda) is under house arrest for a massive swindle.

Stiller’s pension has turned to dust because of the money man, so he recruits career criminal Murphy – perhaps finally admitting that all those witless special effects star vehicles aren’t working for him and he’s best served by the sort of odd couple buddy comedies which took him to the top – to help him get his cash back.

> Straw Dogs, notorious 1971 drama with Dustin Hoffman, Susan George and worrying sexual violence courtesy of Sam Peckinpah, right? Not any more – for some reason we’ve got another version, 40 years on.

James Marsden and Kate Bosworth are the troubled couple moving to the countryside – Deep South America this time, not Cornwall – and coming up against unpleasant locals.

Not sure why we needed another version, but it’s a tough story and not for the faint-hearted.