8:00 PM, 18th November, 2011
Though comedies about two opposites undergoing a 'body swap' may seem old hat, it has never been done as raucously and charismatically as in director David Dobkin's (Wedding Crashers) newest film.
Written by the same team that unleashed The Hangover last year, The Change-Up follows Mitch (the always watchable Reynolds) and Dave (Bateman, dead-pan star of cult TV show "Arrested Development"), two best friends who over the years have slowly drifted apart. Dave is an overworked lawyer, husband and father of three, while Mitch is a single, quasi-employed man-child who has never met a responsibility he liked - both roles perfectly suited (at least initially) to their actors' respective comic styles. Following a drunken night out together (and with the help of a magical fountain), Mitch and Dave's worlds are turned upside down when they wake up the next morning in each other's bodies. Despite the initial freedom from their normal routines and habits, the guys soon discover that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
The comedy grows from classic fish-out-of-water scenarios and watching two great comic actors squirm by playing against type, as their characters struggle to avoid completely destroying each other's lives before they can find a way to get their old ones back. Ably supported by Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and Leslie Mann, The Change-Up is the latest in a string of frat-pack comedies guaranteed to raise a smile.
10:15 PM, 18th November, 2011
Roman centurion Marcus Aquila (Tatum) travels to Britain in order to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of the Rome’s Ninth Legion – and his father – over twenty years prior. His father was the last standard bearer for the ill-fated legion and Aquila hopes to redeem his family’s honour by recovering the legion’s missing golden emblem: the Eagle of the Ninth. Accompanied by his British slave Esca (Bell), Marcus sets off beyond Hadrian’s Wall, the northern frontier of the Roman Empire – and the edge of the known world – where the eagle standard was reportedly sighted. What ensues is an action-packed adventure as the two men uncover secret after secret on an increasingly dangerous and obsessive quest.
As directed by the stalwart Kevin Macdonald (The Last King Of Scotland), The Eagle is less like recent CGI-fests 300 and Clash Of The Titans and more reminiscent of the gritty and sombre mood of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. Unfortunately, neither visually impressive fight sequences nor an enigmatic plot adapted from Rosemary Sutcliffe’s classic novel can change the fact that the acting on display by one Channing Tatum is occasionally cringe-worthy. Coming off as wooden and even awkward at times, Tatum at least looks the part as the rugged warrior and acquits himself somewhat in the action scenes. The supporting actors also go some way to make up for it with some solidly mustered performances, particularly from the versatile Bell.
All in all, an engaging old-school adventure laced with mystery and tension that competently throws back to the sword-and-sandal epics of old.