This week’s movie releases

The Counselor leaves critics flat while Disney revisits Andersen classic The Snow Queen

Madrid -
Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender (left to right) at a screening of The Counselor.
Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender (left to right) at a screening of The Counselor. OLIVIA HARRIS (REUTERS)

The poster for The Counselor reads like it could have been drawn up by some fantasizing film fanatic, as novelist Cormac McCarthy turns in his first original screenplay and Ridley Scott puts it on the screen, with the help of actors Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt. But a glut of big names is never a guarantee of quality, as anyone who saw, say, Movie 43 can attest.

A thriller set in Texas border country, the movie features Fassbender as the hard-up lawyer of the title dipping his toe into the drug trade for one deal only with his club-owning, porcupine-haired client Bardem, only for things to turn very ugly indeed. Both Bardem and wife Cruz, who plays Fassbender's fiancée, are veterans of previous McCarthy adaptations — the lauded No Country for Old Men and the maligned All the Pretty Horses, respectively. Sadly, this seems to fit more with the latter, with many critics breathing a collective sigh of disappointment.

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright follow the very funny Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007) with The World's End, a sci-fi comedy with an equally British flavor. Five old school friends — Pegg, Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan — head back to their hometown to reattempt an epic pub crawl they tried 20 years before as teenagers. But making it to the last pub on their list becomes the least of their concerns when they uncover a robot invasion.

Frozen is Disney's computer-animated take on Hans Christian Andersen's classic The Snow Queen. Princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) sets out on a journey with mountain man Kristoff and his reindeer pal Sven to find her sister, Elsa, whose magical ice-making powers have frozen the kingdom.

A remake of recent Canadian comedy Starbuck, Delivery Man stars Vince Vaughn as a regular guy whose life takes a turn when he discovers he is the father of 533 children as a result of all the sperm donations he has made over the years.

Winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival back in May, Like Father, Like Son is the latest from Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda (Nobody Knows). Masaharu Fukuyama plays the work-obsessed dad who learns that, because of an error in the hospital paperwork, the six-year-old child he has been bringing up is not his own. Now he must decide whether to switch him for his real biological son.

French romance Bright Days Ahead stars Fanny Ardant as a recently retired dentist who strikes up an affair with the young teacher of a computer class she attends.

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