Alan Dee’s movie preview: Iron Man 3, Bernie, The Look Of Love

If ever a movie was critic-proof, it’s Iron Man 3.

Purists may mutter darkly about a comic book hero and a franchise being milked for all it’s worth, but c’mon, it’s Iron Man! He’s a smart-mouthed but vulnerable hero, he uses his millions to fight crime, he’s got a gorgeous assistant and just look at those special effects!

When you see some blockbusters you almost despair at the waste of money that despoils every scene, but the Iron Man crew make the big budget count and know what they’re doing.

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The plot doesn’t stand up to that much analysis – all you need to know is that there is a dark and deadly foe to be defeated, this time Ben Kingsley, and it’s game on.

Sharp scriptwriting superstar Shane Black, who penned much of the Lethal Weapon series, takes on directing duties.

That’s good enough for me – even though his only previous experience calling the shots was way back in 2005.

But then it was Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a cult noir thriller which also starred Robert Downey Jr back when he was just starting to rebuild his career after much-publicised troubles.

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Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle and of course Gwyneth Paltrow are all along for the rollercoaster ride.

> Bernie is a bit of an oddball release – it was wrapped nearly two years ago and only seems to be surfacing on the back of a Golden Globe nomination for star Jack Black. This dark tale, directed by Richard Linklater who also helmed Black’s biggest mainstream hit School of Rock, is based on a real story from small town America.

Jack’s a slightly creepy undertaker who cosies up to grumpy but loaded old bat Shirley MacClaine, finally cracks under the weight of her relentless nagging and kills her.

Using his professional skills he manages to fool the rest of the community into believing she is still alive for months until dapper district attorney Matthew McConaughey suspects all is not what it seems and starts digging deeper.

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It’s part scripted comedy and part docudrama, with many of the parts played by people who were actually involved at the time. A curiosity, and certainly not the hit the star needs to get back into the big time,

> Steve Coogan gets to play another neglected cultural icon in The Look Of Love, the much-touted biopic of porn magnate Paul Raymond, the man who bought magazines like Mayfair and Escort to a top shelf near you and in the process became for a time the richest man in Britain.

Coogan teams up again with director Michael Winterbottom - they collaborated on 24 Hour Party People, the 2002 biopic of music industry figure Tony Wilson - to lift the lid on an unusual and enigmatic character, with lots of priceless period detail and plenty of focus on the women in his life – wife (Anna Friel), glamour model mistress Fiona Richmond (Tamsin Egerton) and daughter (Imogen Poots).

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