BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
The Negotiator ★★★★
Apparently this was intended as a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone and would surely have been a very different film. Fortunately that didn’t happen. Instead we are offered two excellent actors in fine form – Samuel L Jackson and Kevin Spacey. Jackson is a Chicago police hostage negotiator framed for the murder of his partner. He knows he has been framed to cover up corruption within the Chicago PD and, interviewed by the Internal Affairs Division, takes a number of officers hostage and demands that Spacey, a negotiator from another precinct, be brought in to resolve the situation. The plot is padded out with action sequences that lead to murder as the bent cops try to kill Jackson, but the film is at its best in the tense interaction between the two negotiators, who at the start are by no means on the same side, as each seeks to control the other and Jackson tries to convince Spacey that he has been falsely accused.
The 40 Year Old Virgin ★★★
Steve Carell rocketed from scene-stealer to A-lister here as a middle-aged innocent whose friends decide to get him laid. As well as the raunchiness, there’s a sweet and sharply written script.
Meryl Streep is on fine form here as a nun convinced a liberal school priest is up to no good. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis round out the powerhouse cast, and all four actors were Oscar-nominated for their performances.
Wayne’s World ★★★★
Metal-lovin’ slacker dude Mike Myers and his haystack-haired cohort Dana Carvey find their cable-TV show targeted by a national network in this comedy. You’ll hate it. Not!
The Inbetweeners Movie ★★★
Raw, rude and raucous, the first big-screen spin-off from the hit TV series sees Will, Simon, James and Neil head off to Greece in search of fun, sun and something that rhymes with “sponge”.
Buy your copy of Radio Times Guide to Films 2015 for just £22.50 inc p&p