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Last throw of the dice for Hollywood A-listers

Last Vegas (12A)

Last Vegas (12A)

Dir: Jon Turteltaub

With: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro

Runtime: 105 minutes

THE star wattage of Jon Turteltaub's Hangover-style comedy is undoubtedly in the high millions. Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline - it is a line-up worthy of Caesars Palace. The idea is not bad either. One of the gang, Michael Douglas's ageing Lothario, is finally getting married. Pressed into one last hurrah in Vegas by his buddies, Billy and his one-time boyhood pals find themselves revisiting the past - warts, arguments, and all. To complicate matters further, Mary Steenburgen's lounge singer, Diana, finds herself the object of competing affections. With all this in its favour, Last Vegas is hardly a painful watch, but it too often squanders that goodwill by going for the easy, cornball laughs about getting older, and each character is a type - the grump, the wacko, the laid-back one, the smoothie - rather than a convincing person. Like Last of the Summer Wine if Hollywood had made a movie of it.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (12A)

Dir: Justin Chadwick

With: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris

Runtime: 146 minutes

IDRIS Elba gives the performance of his career to date as the beloved ANC leader who led the fight against apartheid, brought democracy to South Africa, and became the country's first black president.

At 146 minutes, Justin Chadwick's picture covers the story as comprehensively as you might imagine, if not a little too much so.

The story has a natural cut-off point in Mandela's release from prison, and in choosing to go beyond that the picture rather tails away. Regardless, the performances throughout are first class.

Elba has the accent nailed, but more importantly he conveys the dignity and unquenchable spirit of the man. Naomie Harris matches him for presence as Winnie Mandela, and the well-informed screenplay by William Nicholson (Gladiator, Shadowlands), adapted from Mandela's autobiography, gives her a fitting share of the spotlight. Hard to see any other picture of the great man being as definitive as this.

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