Alan Dee’s guide to the new movie releases

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SO, screen legend Al Pacino, what attracted you to the character of randy old goat chasing after Adam Sandler in a dress?

There are some questions you just don’t want to hear answered, and that’s among them.

But there’s no denying that Al features alongside that reliable indicator of a film worth avoiding, Katie Holmes, in the latest Sandler comedy.

Jack And Jill stars Sandler as a put-upon family man and his outrageous twin sister, and the best thing about it is that it’s only 90 minutes long.

> Wish-fulfillment time now in the form of Chronicle, in which three teenagers acquire incredible superpowers and learn that it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. You don’t say?

After experimenting on a slapstick small scale the fun is soon overshadowed by darker forces.

It’s shot in that fashionable shaky ‘found footage’ format that young film-makers haven’t got bored with yet, and it doesn’t outstay its welcome – a quick 84 minutes and away.

> There are some heavyweight names attached to Carnage, billed as a blistering black comedy exposing the tensions behind middle class manners.

You might think you can get that at any neighbours’ dinner party featuring a tagine and a Nigella desert, but the director here is Roman Polanski and taking leading roles are marquee attractions Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C Reilly.

There’s a posh New York apartment, and two pairs of parents have come together to thrash out a spot of playground unpleasantness involving their two sons.

It starts off polite but soon the cracks begin to show. There are echoes of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? dressed up in Hello clothes, and Polanski’s take on a hit stage play is as short and sharp as Chronicle – is this a new trend, movies that don’t expect you to sit down for well over two hours to make you feel your money wasn’t wasted?

Shot in a French studio, obviously, as Mr Polanski still daren’t return to New York, but such is his cachet that top-flight stars were prepared to make the journey to join the troupe.

> Journey 2: The Mysterious Island might come as a bit of a surprise to those who can’t recall Journey 1. That’s because this 3D adventure is a follow-up to 2008’s Journey To The Center Of The Earth, but with a truncated title, so you should have a clear idea what’s on offer.

There have been more considered film versions of Jules Verne’s works, but this is all about young stars, special effects and a determination to squeeze as much mileage out of a potential franchise as possible.

> Also out is Man On A Ledge, a ‘does what it says on the tin’ thriller about...a man on a ledge. There are echoes of Phone Booth in this tight tale, but there’s a twist that opens out the action. Stars Sam Worthington.