Geoff Cox’s DVDs: The Lone Ranger, Alan Partridge Alpha Papa
For a thrilling slice of escapism, look no further than THE LONE RANGER (12: Walt Disney), which engages in the same kind of myth-making that made the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise such a success.
This enjoyable Western adventure is helped enormously by Johnny Depp, who delivers a wonderfully quirky performance as Tonto, and Armie Hammer, perfectly cast as the title character, his clean-cut cowboy foil.
How did an idealistic Texas Ranger become the legendary masked outlaw? Tonto relates the story to a wide-eyed kid at a Wild West sideshow and it mainly revolves around the pair’s efforts to thwart a corrupt railway pioneer (Tom Wilkinson) from rolling through Comanche territory.
Classic Western vistas are used to create a stunning backdrop for superbly staged action, helping to distract from a bloated middle section and Helena Bonham Carter’s ridiculous turn as a one-legged madam.
> It’s so refreshing to see a British comedy that thinks small and stays local, even if ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA (15: Studio Canal) doesn’t travel further than Cromer.
Steve Coogan’s endearingly foot-in-mouth Norfolk broadcaster debuted in 1991, so you could never accuse him of rushing a movie adaptation.
Here, with the station taken over and re-branded by a media conglomerate, who sack a fellow DJ (Colm Meaney), Alan acts as mediator in a police siege and inadvertently earns viral notoriety.
Alpha Papa abstains from the high-concept, travelogue approach of other small-to-big-screen comedy characters, like those of Sacha Baron Cohen and Mr Bean.
Instead the film draws from Partridge’s TV universe featuring Tim Key’s sidekick, Felicity Montagu’s PA and Phil Cornwell’s damaged jock.
They all benefit from a cleverly honed script full of hilarious lines and directed with sharp comic timing.
> Animated adventure PLANES (U: Walt Disney) is essentially an airborne take on Cars.
The familiar underdog tale centres on crop duster Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook), who aims to satisfy his need for speed by entering the ‘Wings Around The Globe’ race. The trouble is he’s hamstrung by a fear of heights.
Other contestants aren’t convinced he will conquer his phobia, branding him a hick and an upstart. Flyovers across M exico, Germany and the Himalayas help Dusty realise who his real friends are and the excitement builds after an unpromising start.
While youngsters are thrilled by the fast-paced animated action through storms, train tunnels and canyons, older viewers will enjoy the in-jokes and one-liners.
> If you laughed at the original film, you’ll probably laugh at ghastly follow-up GROWN UPS 2 (12: Sony). Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade engage in the same mind-numbing mix of childish slapstick and excessive toilet humour.
As a measure of the sequel’s subtlety, the opening scene involves a deer peeing into Sandler’s mouth. The plot is almost incidental, following Sandler’s hotshot Hollywood agent as he moves his family back to the town he grew up in and picking up where he left off with his old pals.
Midlife craziness ensues, with japes including that incontinent deer, an inflatable raft joke, a soft porn school ballet recital and a guy who ‘excretes’ chocolate ice cream