This week’s movie releases

With three directors, six time periods and a galaxy of stars, the epic Cloud Atlas lands

Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd star in Judd Apatow comedy This Is 40

Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd star in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up spinoff This is 40.

Featuring a first-rate cast — led by Tom Hanks and Halle Berry — twisting through time and space, ambitious epic Cloud Atlas arrives in Spain having been met with a mixture of praise, bafflement and criticism elsewhere. Boasting no fewer than three directors — Matrix duo Lana and Andy Wachowski and Run Lola Run’s Tom Tykwer — it’s an adaptation of David Mitchell’s bestseller that melds six different stories set in six different time periods — 1849 South Pacific, 1936 Cambridge and Edinburgh, 1973 San Francisco, 2012 Britain, 2144 Neo Seoul and a tropical island in 2321. The idea is to show the actions of individual lives impacting on one another in the past, present and future with the actors, who also include Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess and Hugh Grant, swapping gender and, controversially, races as they assume multiple roles.

Seven Psychopaths marks the American debut of writer-director Martin McDonagh, creator of the foul-mouthed and darkly funny In Bruges (2008), which featured Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two hitmen hiding out in the Belgian city. Farrell again stars here, this time as a writer struggling to finish his screenplay who gets mixed up with a vicious gangster (Woody Harrelson) after best friend Sam Rockwell and his accomplice Christopher Walken capture the mobster’s beloved Shih Tzu.

A spin-off of sorts to his pregnancy comedy Knocked Up, Judd Apatow’s This Is 40 centers on couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Apatow’s real-life wife Leslie Mann), two minor characters from the previous film, who find themselves confronting personal and professional disillusion as the big four -zero looms. The movie also features John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks and Apatow and Mann’s own children, Maude and Iris, as Pete and Debbie’s offspring.

Backwards breakup

With the arrival drawing near of his new crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), featuring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, Derek Cianfrance’s much-praised 2010 ‘anti-romance’ Blue Valentine finally gets a Spanish release. Starring Gosling and Michelle Williams as couple Dean and Cindy, the film flashes back and forth in time to chart the joyous start and aching decline of their relationship.

Malik Bendjelloul’s documentary Searching for Sugar Man is the story of Detroit rock musician Rodríguez, who became a phenomenon in 1970s apartheid South Africa despite bombing in the US. Unperturbed by rumors of his death, two fans set out to discover what happened to their idol and uncover an astonishing tale.

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