Neil Fox on film - an expert opinion on the latest releases

The Rum Diary

The battle to get this book to the screen has been long and fraught and now it’s here, it’s clear to see that the result is an almighty compromise.

When it meanders, and revels in Johnny Depp’s character bumming around Puerto Rico trying to get drunk and laid it’s superb, full of the freewheeling energy that Hunter S. Thompson infuses in the original book.

When a ham-fisted attempt to shoehorn a political plot into the mix appears, the whole thing just falls apart.

It’s nice to see Bruce ‘Withnail & I’ back directing and in flashes, it’s excellent. Just, nowhere near enough. Sadly.

Arthur Christmas

Their next stop-motion release has the world of cinema buzzing, but this latest film shows that Aardman can deliver a decent story whatever the format. It tells the story of Arthur, naïve and awkward, and his attempt to save Christmas when one child is missed off.

It’s a classic idea and full of cheer and smiles for a bleak time.

It’s not It’s A Wonderful Life, or Elf, but it’s a nice Christmas film and should get everyone in the right spirit.

Immortals

A film that won’t get anyone in any kind of spirit except a rage is this dross. Yet another example of studios and filmmakers taking classic stories and not knowing what they have, believing fighting, shouting and sweating constitutes respect for some of the greatest stories ever told.

Here, hunky Henry Cavill – watch out for him as the new Superman – plays Theseus, on a mission to save the world at the behest of Zeus from naughty King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke). It’s brash, vulgar and pointless.

Wuthering Heights

Andrea Arnold’s adaptation of the classic novel is blistering, original, deeply moving and bold.

Wordless for long periods it relies on exquisite imagery, pacing and performance to tell this timeless tale of unrequited love and tragedy. It draws incredible performances from its young leads and even if it can’t sustain it and slides into sentiment it still astounds for the most part. Sublime British filmmaking.

Trespass

Nicolas Cage drags Nicole Kidman into his never ending battle to pay his huge tax bill with this dull thriller about a husband and wife taken hostage.

The fact it is directed by Joel Schumacher should have you running for the door.