Davis: Romantic comedy, pirates, intellectual mystery, action

Four years ago, writer Jason Segel, producer Judd Apatow and director Nicholas Stoller gave us the crude but charming sleeper hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which also resulted in the successful spin-off Get Him to the Greek).

They now re-team for The Five-Year Engagement, in which Segel and Emily Blunt star as a couple whose relationship becomes strained when their engagement is continually extended.

While it may not get the attention of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it has a very good chance of becoming a classic like it and other Apatow productions such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, which I think should be given the sub-genre title of fractured romantic comedies.

Early reviews already note the chemistry between Segel and Blunt but also the scene-stealing supporting cast.

Although Aardman Animations has not done a stop motion animated feature since Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, they have been busy with the computer animated Flushed Away and Arthur Christmas.

They make their (hopefully) triumphant return to stop motion with The Pirates! Band of Misfits, from Aardman co-founder Peter Lord, director of Chicken Run.

Featuring the voices of Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Imelda Staunton and Brendan Gleeson, it is the story of a crew of amateur pirates and their equally inexperienced captain who try to plunder ships so the captain can accomplish his dream of winning the Pirate of the Year Award. To do so, he must defeat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz, but after various failed raids on useless ships, his dream of winning the prize seems to be out of reach until he hijacks a ship with Charles Darwin aboard.

Like previous Aardman releases, it will have the daffy British humour that is not just for kids and is getting strong critical reviews because of it.

In The Raven, John Cusak stars as fictionalized Edgar Allen Poe who joins forces with a young Baltimore detective to hunt down a mad serial killer who’s using Poe’s own works as the basis in a string of brutal murders.

At first, he is a suspect, but as Poe is questioned by the police, another grisly murder occurs. And when it appears someone close to him may become the murderer’s next victim, the stakes become even higher.

Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta).

In Safe, action star Jason Statham stars as a second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit whose family is murdered by the Russian Mafia after he blows a rigged fight.

Knowing that he will always be watched and anyone he comes close to will be killed, he wanders the streets of New York destitute and haunted by guilt. But when he witnesses a 12-year-old girl being pursued by the same gangsters who killed his wife, he swears to protect her, even though it throws him into the heart of a deadly high-stakes war.

Directed by Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans).

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