Film view: Reviews of the latest releases this week

Million Dollar Arm stars Jon Hamm and Aasif Mandvi.

Mickey Rourke as Marv in Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For

Scarlett Johansson stars as Lucy in the film of the same name.

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If

First published in Local Leisure
Last updated
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MILLION DOLLAR ARM (PG)

Sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) and business partner Ash Vasudevan (Aasif Mandvi) are on the brink of financial ruin.

They need to find fresh talent who can, in the words of Cuba Gooding Jr in Jerry Maguire, show them the money.

Unfortunately, home-grown sports stars are thin on the ground and overseas audiences are nuts about cricket, a sport which JB abhors.

Late one night, JB has a brainwave: a competition to bring two bowlers from India to America to challenge for a lucrative Major League Baseball contract.

Wealthy businessman Chang (Tzi Ma) finances the scheme but demands results within 12 months.

Flanked by translator Amit (Pitobash) and scout Ray Poitevint (Arkin), JB travels around India and unearths two raw talents: Dinesh Patel (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku Singh (Suraj Sharma).

They head for JB's plush apartment in America where fish-out-of-water Dinesh and Rinku train under pitching coach Tom House (Bill Paxton).

JB neglects his charges until Brenda (Lake Bell), the pretty ER nurse who rents his guesthouse, pricks his conscience.

Rating: Four stars

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SIN CITY 2: A DAME TO KILL FOR (18)

Once again, three stories entwine on the godforsaken streets of Sin City.

The ghost of police detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) haunts exotic dancer Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba).

She descends into booze-fuelled hell, desperate to put a bullet between the eyes of scheming Senator Roark (Powers Boothe).

Nancy manipulates her protector Marv (Mickey Rourke) into taking down the politician and his goons, regardless of the consequences.

Meanwhile, cocksure gambler Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his lucky charm Marcie (Julia Garner) prepare to take on Roark at the poker table.

Johnny humiliates his powerful host and suffers horrific consequences.

Nearby, Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) struggles to rein in his violent impulses following an encounter with old flame Ava Lord (Eva Green).

She begs Dwight to help her escape the clutches of her sadistic husband Damien (Marton Csokas) and his hulking bodyguard Manute (Dennis Haysbert). Love really hurts.

The plan goes awry and Dwight turns to old flame Gail (Rosario Dawson) and avenging angel Miho (Jamie Chung) to help him evade the cops (Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven).

Rating: Three stars

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IF I STAY (12A)

Musical prodigy Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) has never felt like she fits in with her parents Denny (Joshua Leonard) and Kat (Mireille Enos) or little brother Teddy (Jakob Davies).

"I've always felt like this Martian in my family," Mia tells Adam (Jamie Blackley), her school's resident dreamboat, who plays guitar in the band Willamette Stone and is destined for great things, including falling for Mia.

Their romance burns bright until Willamette Stone are signed to a record label and the pressure of touring takes Adam away from Mia.

Soon after, Denny and Kat pack the children into the car for an ill-fated drive down snow-laden roads.

Mia wakes from a head-on collision and watches paramedics rush her lifeless body into an ambulance.

At the hospital, where her grandparents (Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Rose) solemnly await news, Mia observes from a distance as medical staff attempt to save her life on the operating table.

If I Stay shamelessly tugs heartstrings, constructing an idyllic cocoon of love for Mia, which is shattered to smithereens by cruel misfortune.

Rating: Three stars

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INTO THE STORM (12A)

Storm chaser and documentary filmmaker Pete Moore (Matt Walsh) is poised to lose his funding unless he can drive his armour-plated vehicle Titus inside a tornado.

Meteorologist Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies) predicts a weather system will sweep through the town of Silverton and she joins Pete on the road with three camera operators - Lucas (Lee Whittaker), Daryl (Arlen Escarpeta) and new boy Jacob (Jeremy Sumpter).

On the outskirts of town, the storm chasers encounter adrenaline junkies Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep), who give chase, determined to place themselves in harm's way to guarantee more hits on their YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, Silverton high school vice principal Gary Morris (Richard Armitage) prepares for graduation of the senior class. Before the ceremony, he clashes with his two sons, 17-year-old son Donnie (Max Deacon) and younger brother Trey (Nathan Kress), who are grieving the loss of their mother.

As the graduation begins, tornado sirens sound...

Rating: Three stars

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LUCY (15)

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a carefree student living in Taiwan, who is tricked by her new boyfriend Richard into doing his dirty work and carrying a briefcase, jam-packed with potent new drugs, into a hotel for him.

Before the concierge has greeted Lucy, Richard has been dispatched and Lucy is held hostage by the neighbourhood's merciless mob of local drug lords headed up by the unsparing Mr Jang (Choi Min-sik).

Waking up, Lucy discovers that the mob has taken the liberty of surgically implanting thousand of pounds worth of a deadly blue drug, CPH4, which increases the user's brain capacity, into her stomach.

And more than that, if the bright blue crystals leak, it will kill her.

But leak it does and Lucy, who is sent across the world as a drug mule, soon finds her brain working on disturbing new levels, signposted in the film with frequent updates on the percentage of brain capacity she's using.

As well as being hell-bent on exacting revenge on the mobsters, Lucy also busies herself by tracking down the eminent professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) in Paris who has spent decades researching the brain's potential.

Rating: Three stars

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WHAT IF (15)

Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) is disillusioned with love, convinced that he will never meet a significant other like his kooky roommate Allan (Adam Driver), who intends to marry his sweetheart, Nicole (Mackenzie Davis).

Vowing to steer clear of romance, Wallace seeks refuge in the company of his sister Ellie (Jemima Rooper) and her son Felix (Lucius Hoyos).

At this low ebb, Wallace encounters talented animator Chantry (Kazan), who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall).

Chantry and Wallace become good friends but both secretly acknowledge a spark of attraction that could be fanned into a full-blown affair.

As they wrestle with unspoken desire, Chantry's sister Dalia (Megan Park) makes a play for Wallace.

This unexpected attention piques Chantry's jealousy and forces uncomfortable truths into the open.

Rating: Three stars

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DELIVER US FROM EVIL (15)

The film opens in night-time Iraq with two soldiers Tratner (Chris Coy) and Santino (Sean Harris) descending nervously into an underground lair, which could conceal the enemy.

A live night-vision feed from a camera affixed to Tratner's helmet cuts out and we hear blood-curdling screams.

Moving forward three years, Detective Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) patrols his south Bronx beat with thrill-seeking partner Butler (Joel McHale).

Dedicated to his soul-destroying job, Sarchie finds it hard to leave behind the stresses of the day when he returns home to his wife Jen (Olivia Munn) and daughter Christina (Lulu Wilson).

In the space of a single night, Sarchie answer two calls: a domestic dispute involving Iraq war veteran Tratner and an infanticide at the city zoo committed by a disturbed mother (Olivia Horton).

CCTV footage reveals she was spurred on by a hooded figure, who turns out to be Santino.

As the two cops investigate these connected incidents, they cross paths with Spanish priest Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), who claims that a demonic presence is responsible for the bloodshed.

Sceptical at first, Sarchie witnesses horrific visions, which suggest that Mendoza might be telling the truth.

As the detective edges closer to the horrifying truth, he endangers not only himself and Butler but also his wife and child.

Rating: Three stars

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