Alan Dee’s movie preview (19.08.11)

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YOU know how a high concept film is supposed to work – it’s the sort of idea that makes studio execs salivate as soon as they hear the title.

That short and sweet title should make anyone who hears is understand at once what the movie is all about, and want to see it. Snakes On A Plane was a good example – but, to be honest, Cowboys And Aliens takes some beating.

Jon Favreau, the former indie darling who cemented his place in the mainstream by directing both Iron Man movies, calls the shots here and the star names in front of the camera include Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Sam Rockwell.

But all are firmly put in the shade by an idea so simple and arresting that it’s amazing that nobody ever thought of it before.

Films like Westworld, Wild Wild West and even Back To The Future III have nibbled around this territory in the past, but why has it taken the best part of a century to pit gunslingers against invaders from so far out of town that they come from another planet?

So here we are with Independence Day meets High Noon and Gunfight At The OK Corral, and everyone is having a blast.

Craig is the taciturn stranger arrives who arrives in a one horse town with a mysterious shackle on his wrist and no memory of his past.

Ford is the local kingpin who rules with a rod of iron, but is soon put in the shade by the arrival of spaceships and ray guns.

Memories start coming back for the mystery gunslinger, who has to whip the townsfolk, together with sundry outlaws and Apache warriors, into shade for a shoot-out showdown. Watch it with a smile on your face – smart and silly at the same time.

> Teenage boys of all ages will have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Inbetweeners Movie, in which the four hapless sixth formers from the hit E4 sitcom take the traditional ‘TV hit goes cinema’ route and head off on holiday together.

It’s the last hurrah for Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison because they’re struggling now to convince in school uniform, not surprising when at least one of them is not far off 30.

The hit recipe of crude jokes, car crash embarrassment and innocent idiocy is followed faithfully as the four fly out to the Med, and the only disappointment is that there’s no place in the cast for the superbly sour and cynical teacher played by Greg Davies in the telly version.

> What’s 4D, then? It’s just a silly gimmick in the title of Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World In 4D, that’s all.

Robert Rodriguez directs again, the stars include Jessica Alba, Antonio Banderas and Jeremy Piven while Ricky Gervais provides the voice of a robot dog, but there’s nothing new in the latest chapter in a workmanlike but hardly exceptional series.

The 4D angle, if you’re interested, is a scratch and sniff sheet you should be issued at the box office and which may help to keep you awake.