Captain Fantastic (15)

three stars

Dir: Matt Ross

With: Viggo Mortensen, George McKay

Runtime: 119 minutes

BEN (Viggo Mortensen) is living what might be called the Extreme Good Life with his six kids in a forest in the Pacific Northwest. The survivalist family hunt for their own food, stay away from society as much as possible and generally believe in the old hippy credo of sticking it to “the man”. Their grandfather Jack (Frank Langella) has other ideas, though, and circumstances are about to set the two sides on course for a collision. Half the time one does not know whether to be amused at the family’s ways, or irritated by their lethal smugness, and things become decidedly more silly and less convincing as the piece putters on. But if not fantastic, Matt Ross’s gaze at fatherhood has lots of winning moments.

Ben-Hur (12A)

two stars

Dir: Timur Bekmambetov

With: Jack Huston, Nazanin Boniadi

Runtime: 123 minutes

MENTION chariots and the mind automatically races to the Charlton Heston classic of 1959 with an incredible 11, count ‘em, Oscars to its name. Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov hasn’t a hope of filling those sandals with this remake when it comes to drama, tone, and overall class. That said, Bekmambetov is the director of Wanted and Day Watch, so there is a little compensation in the action scenes - that climactic chariot race in particular. A thrill ride in parts, as long as you can forgive the hokiness, wooden dialogue, and long-slog running time.