What To Expect When You’re Expecting (12A) was inspired by Heidi Murkoff’s ‘pregnancy bible’, a non-fiction title detailing the various joys, pains and crises of pregnancy, which are here divided up between a number of women, chief among them Jules (Cameron Diaz), Holly (Jennifer Lopez), Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) and Rosie (Anna Kendrick) — and, for PC’s sake, the men in their lives. The women’s stories dovetail just enough to make the story look like a cohesive narrative, although the ride gets bumpy in more ways than one: Holly finds herself unable to conceive, and thus turns to the prospect of adoption, while another character suffers the personal tragedy of a miscarriage. Irreverent motor-mouth Chris Rock and a plainly bonkers Dennis Quaid inject a little much-needed testosterone into proceedings. Parents will very probably enjoy this one more than those who have yet to take the plunge.
Courtesy of films such as Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Darjeeling Limited (2007), director Wes Anderson has become the darling of those who like their movies geeky, quirky and chock-a-block with non sequiturs. Moonrise Kingdom (12A) may well be his most eccentric offering yet. Set in 1965, on a small island off the coast of New England, it follows the fortunes of 12-year-old khaki scout Sam (Jared Gilman), who runs away from his scout’s camp to ‘elope’ with young Suzy (Kara Hayward). They are pursued by Suzy’s parents Walt and Laura (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) — the latter of whom is having an affair with local police chief, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) — and Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) — along with a horde of weapon-wielding scouts, none of whom are especially fond of Sam. In another director’s hands, the story could well have become a Romeo and Juliet take on the Lord of the Flies, but Anderson is only interested in creating perfect, offbeat little cameos designed to reveal just how clever and quirky is Wes Anderson. The result is a jamboree of stiffly self-conscious acting and irritating character tics.
Directed by Paul Duane, Barbaric Genius (12A) is a documentary on the subject of John Healy, the author of the memoir The Grass Arena and formerly a violent alcoholic on the streets of London. The film is uneven in its construction, although Duane is admirably honest about his own shortcomings as a documentary maker. Healy is a fascinating subject even as he rejects the camera’s intrusion and the very idea of it transforming him into a character.