Safe House (15)


Dir: Daniel Espinosa

With: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds

Running time: 114 minutes

AFTER the success of the runaway train thriller Unstoppable, Denzel Washington shows he's not quite ready to hang up those action man boots yet in this slick if predictable thriller.

Washington plays Tobin Frost, a rogue CIA agent who decides to come in from the cold while in South Africa. Ryan Reynolds, long a Hollywood action man hero in waiting, is the ambitious but inexperienced agent forced to do baby-sitting duty.

Daniel Espinosa keeps the action pumping and the plot twisting; just a pity you'll probably guess the destination a touch too soon.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (12A)


Dir: John Madden

With: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy

Running time: 123 minutes

FROM the director of Mrs Brown and Made in Shakespeare comes this syrupy, Saga saga about sixty-somethings turning their back on rainy, depressing, age-discriminating Blighty for a new life in India. With a cast that ranges from Dame Judi Dench to Bill Nighy via Dame Maggie Smith, the performances are first-class but the script, despite the story hailing from a Deborah Moggach novel, is more sugar than spice, resulting in the kind of film in which everyone learns lessons and comes to the conclusion that life is too short so to heck with inhibitions. Worthy sentiments, but the relentless tweeness will be too much for some tastes.

Black Gold (12A)


Dir: Jean-Jacques Annaud

With: Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim, Antonio Banderas

Running time: 130 minutes

ANYONE out there missing those old-fashioned Saturday morning-style epics with wall-to-wall iffy accents and a Curly Wurly plot?

Then queue up, queue up for Jean-Jacques Annaud's drama, set in Arabia in the days before the discovery of oil.

Spain's Antonio Banderas and Britain's Mark Strong play rival Arabian princes who once went to war over a barren piece of desert. Once those clever Americans discover oil, the land becomes even more disputed. As the sands swirl the score does likewise and the costumed silliness mounts.