ZAC Efron is a perfectly decent actor, but he’s finding it difficult to distance himself from those fluffy High School Musical movies.
His latest starring vehicle is THE LUCKY ONE (12: Warner), a slick, corny and undemanding rom-com that pushes all the big emotional buttons.
Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John), Efron plays Logan, a US marine who attributes several lucky escapes in Iraq to the photo of a mystery woman that he found there.
Back in the States, he vows to find out just who his guardian angel is.
She turns out to be kennels-owning divorced mum Beth (Taylor Schilling) whose baggage includes a dead marine brother and an obnoxious, bullyboy ex-husband who just happens to be a deputy sheriff.
This complex situation is compounded by Logan’s stupid inability to just come right out and tell Beth who he is and why here’s there.
Although Schilling marks herself out as an actress to watch, The Lucky One is only mildly diverting and won’t linger long in the memory.
> Here’s a film with a familiar ring to it...
Teen comedy-horror flick DETENTION (15: Sony) is the tale of a social outcast at a high school haunted by a serial killer.
The mysterious slayer, known as ‘Cinderhella’, has left residents in small US town Grizzly Lake in a state of terror, although initially he’s the least of Riley’s problems.
Riley (Shanley Caswell) is madly in love with her childhood friend, Clapton Davis (The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson), but he has his eye on cheerleader Ione (Spencer Locke).
Riley struggles to gain his attention and things take several turns for the worse when the school’s head, Principal Verge, comes up with a plan to catch the killer.
Verge is convinced that the culprit is a student and duly locks those he considers suspicious, including Riley, in detention for a day. What could possibly go wrong?
The whole affair is Verge-ing on the ridiculous, but there’s always a market for daft yarns like this.
> If you compiled a list of the most prolific straight-to-DVD actors, Cuba Gooding Jr and Dolph Lundgren would be arm-wrestling for a position at the top.
It’s hitman versus hitman in action-thriller ONE IN THE CHAMBER (15: Anchor Bay) as two super-efficient killing machines are pitted against each other in a mob war in Prague.
Assassin Ray Carver (Gooding Jr) is hired by gang leader Demyan Ivanov to eliminate Russian Bobby Suverov, the youngest brother of mafia boss Mikhail Suverov.
Distraught after his brother’s death, Mikhail recruits an eccentric Soviet known as ‘The Wolf’ (Lundgren) to take out both Ivanov and Carver.
Predictable, but the action doesn’t let up until the last man’s standing.
> Another assassin with at least one ‘v’ in his name – but a capital one this time to show his importance – is forced to feign his own death after betrayal in INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN (15: Kaleidoscope).
Viktor (Luke Goss) was raised in poverty in Romania and ekes out a living by ending the lives of others.
But when he’s put in danger by his employers, Viktor hatches a plan to fake his death and escape to London, only to fall in with another set of gangsters.
> STARSHIP TROOPERS: INVASION (15: Sony) is the CGI-animated sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s cult 1997 film called, erm, Starship Troopers.
Though there were two live action sequels to the original, this one follows on from the events of the first movie.
When a Federation outpost comes under attack from deadly bugs, Carl Jenkins (voice of Neil Patrick Harris) embarks on a top secret mission and vanishes.Jenkins’ best friend, Johnny Rico, leads an expedition to try and rescue Carl.
> In British horror TRUTH OR DARE (15: Cine-Britannia), a group of university students hold an end-of-year party and one, Felix, is picked on and abused.
Six months later, Felix invites his ‘friends’ to his birthday bash on his wealthy family’s country estate. Arriving at a cabin in the woods (see which way this is going?), the group are welcomed by Felix’s brother, Justin, who says the party has been cancelled but that they are welcome to stay the night...