Iron Man 2 (Paramount): The hotly anticipated sequel to the 2008 blockbuster is all set to rule the UK box office this weekend as it kicks off the summer season. Interestingly it opens here a week before the US, which suggests Paramount are keen to build buzz in international markets before it opens in the States. The story sees billionaire inventor Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr) reaping the acclaim as an all-American hero who has “successfully privatised world peace” due to his fantastical suit. Problems begin when the US military and a rival defence contractor (Sam Rockwell) want access to his technology; a mysterious Russian inventor (Mickey Rourke) is hell bent on revenge; and Stark faces a major health from wearing the Iron Man suit.
The elements that made the first film such a success (Downey Jnr’s lead performance, the chemistry between characters) are stretched to unfortunate lengths as too many supporting characters from the wider Marvel universe are introduced (including Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson). It is still entertaining – and is a guaranteed hit – but Marvel and director Jon Favreau may regret the S.H.I.E.L.D plot elements in anticipation of the upcoming Avengers movie. [Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide / 12A]
The Last Song (Walt Disney): A drama centered on a rebellious girl (Miley Cyrus) who is sent to a Southern beach town for the summer to stay with her father (Greg Kinnear), where they start to reconnect with one another through their mutual love of music.
Developed alongside the Nicholas Sparks novel by the same name, this looks like another attempt by Disney to make Miley Cyrus into a leading lady. The US reviews suggest this might be a trickier task than expected. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / PG]
Gentlemen Broncos (20th Century Fox): A comedy about an aspiring fantasy writer (Michael Angarano) who has an idea stolen by an acclaimed novelist (Jemaine Clement) is under pressure to come up with a hit book.
Directed by Jared Hess (who made the breakthrough indie hit Napoleon Dynamite) this is something of a curiosity. Its release was delayed and when it did open in the US a few months ago was utterly savaged by critics, which makes its commercial prospects here fairly limited. [Ritzy & selected Key Cities / 12A]
A Disappearance Of Alice Creed (CinemaNX Distribution): A low budget British film about the kidnapping of a young woman (Gemma Arterton) by two ex-convicts (Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan).
Written and directed by J Blakeson it was shot in the Isle of Man (a popular location for production because of its generous tax breaks) and it screened at the London Toronto Film Festivals last year. Given the better than average names for a film of this size and a decent marketing effort, this could attract a reasonable audience who don’t fancy seeing Iron Man 2. [Vue West End & Nationwide / 15]
Erasing David (Picturehouse Cinemas): A documentary from director David Bond that explores the amount of personal information being gathered by various organisations in modern society. [Gate Notting Hill, Picturehouse Stratford, Ritzy & Nationwide]
24 City (New Wave Films): A hybrid drama-documentary from director Jia Zhang-ke about the changes in modern Chinese society as it undergoes its current economic miracle. [ICA Cinema & Key Cities / U]
A Boy Called Dad (Kaleidoscope Entertainment): A British film directed by Brian Percival about an absent father (Ian Hart) who returns to his family just as his 14-year-old sone has himself become a father. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Vue Shepherds Bush & Key Cities / 15]
Cleo From 5 To 7 (bfi Distribution): A BFI reissue for Agnès Varda’s 1961 film about a singer (Corinne Marchand) who befriends a young soldier (Antoine Bourseiller) about to ship out to Algeria. [BFI Southbank & Key Cities]
Housefull (Eros): A Bollywood film directed by Sajid Khan about ‘the world’s unluckiest man’ starring Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone [C’Worlds Ilford, Shaftesbury Ave., Odeon Greenwich, Vue Acton & N’wide]
The Milk Of Sorrow (Dogwoof): The winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin last year, deals the fears of abused women during Peru’s recent history. [Odeon Panton Street & selected Key Cities / 12A]
Revanche (Artificial Eye): An Austrian film about a man (Johannes Krisch) deadened by thoughts of revenge in the wake of a crime that was to grant him and his girlfriend a new life. Written and directed by Götz Spielmann. [Curzon Renoir & selected Key Cities / 15]
Valhalla Rising (Vertigo Films): Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, this historical drama is set in 1000 AD and follows a Norse warrior named One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) and a boy named Are as they travel with a band of Vikings in pursuit of a Crusade. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Ritzy & Key Cites / 15]