Arrugas, based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Paco Roca, is a Spanish animated feature about where all of us going but few of us stop to consider. It's the story of Emilio, a retired bank manager showing signs of dementia, who's deposited in a Galicia retirement home where he strikes up a friendship with wheeler-dealer roommate Miguel. As Emilio's health deteriorates, Miguel agrees to help him avoid a dreaded move to the upstairs ward for continuous care patients. The hand-drawn animation may jerk along, but there's no denying the effectiveness of director Ignacio Ferreras' visual storytelling. Especially neat is the way it incorporates the characters' fantasy worlds into the narrative: the opening scene, which collapses from Emilio arguing over a mortgage in his office to rowing over his soup in his bed, is a perfect encapsulation of the tragedy of old age. Dedicated to "all the old people of today and all the old people of tomorrow," it's an eye-opening exploration of a topic too often sidelined by popular culture.
And as if to illustrate the point, along comes Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, which relegates scenes of the former F.B.I. chief in his later years (a heavily made-up Leonardo DiCaprio) to a conventional framing device (see also the recent The Iron Lady). From there, it's quickly back to show the young Hoover's rise to power, exploiting information to keep his rivals in check and keeping his own private life - Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black coyly tackles his rumored homosexuality and cross-dressing antics - under the tightest of wraps. With Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Armie Hammer and Judi Dench.
Cross-dressing moves center stage in Albert Nobbs, produced, co-written and starring Glenn Close as a woman who spends 30 years living as a man to get work in 19th-century Dublin. Based on George Moore's novel The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, it's directed by Rodrigo García, son of writer Gabriel García Márquez and also features Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson and Brendan Gleeson.
Also out this week, Joel Schumacher's Trespass stars Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman as a wealthy couple held hostage in their mansion by a gang of robbers, while Underworld: Awakening sees Kate Beckinsale slipping into her catsuit once again for the fourth - and first 3D - film in the action franchise. This time the vampire warrior finds herself in a world where warring Vampires and Lycans face a new enemy trying to eradicate them both - humans.