So... Jacko's rehearsal footage of what would've been his final gigs has been stuck together by the bloke who directed High School Musical (Kenny Ortega) and is now on the big screen within months of the legend's death. Not a good sign.

Here's what you need to know:

1. The pic's opening dedication 'For the fans' is a bad start. Directors say their film is 'for the fans' when they know that the majority of ordinary punters are gonna hate it. The movie proper then begins with dancers in tears telling us how happy they are to be working with MJ, then some Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' trial runs. To be honest, it's average.

2. But the music sounds amazing. Michael's vocals are patchy - he wasn't even trying to be 100% - but the band is tight, the editing tighter, and played over cinema speakers the classics send shivers down the spine. But still Jacko seems like a shadowy figure. Designers, choreographers, costumiers are all interviewed but MJ is a mumbly man in the background for the first 20 minutes.

3. Then we start to really see him. The perfectionism, the easy going chats, the gags. Whilst this is definitely not a film about Michael's private life, we see a clear picture of a professional. Every aspect of the impending show is in his head. He knows exactly how he wants it to be and is happy - often hilariously - to tell everyone. He looks at home on the stage and his ambition knows no bounds. Yet he's also very casual and it's certainly the most I've seen of Jacko as 'just a guy', the kind of man that his friends have been saying he is for years but which the media liked to ignore.

4. So the movie becomes a snapshot of what could have been. A performer who appears to be on top form smashes his way through umpteen tracks and has a vision for a spectacular event. We can only sit back, enjoy at least having this much, but also muse on what could have been. It's pretty electrifying, actually.

5. And what you're left with is a breathtaking but undeniably strange viewing experience. This is a movie that only got made because its star died. It's been hyped beyond belief yet details have been kept meticulously secret. Just watching it at the London premiere was a major event (for starters, it was at 1am!). Normally that kind of buzz shouldn't affect a film review but then this is no ordinary bit of pop culture. Its peak into a theatrical world is in itself fascinating, a great little film on preparing for a show. But tap yourself into the fact that you're also witnessing a bit of showbiz history and This Is It becomes an incomparably exciting film to watch.

The latest JKM poll result!

I asked you who your favourite wrestler-turned-actor was. The result? The Rock is beaten by pure indifference. Now there's a fight I'd like to see on WWE:

1. Like you James, I really don't know or care much about wrestling
2. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
3. Terry 'Hulk' Hogan
4. John Cena
5. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin

Precious - THE REVIEW

Precious is the gritty story of a 16 year old single mother in late 80s Harlem, New York, dreaming of a better life. Although Mariah Carey is in it, to say it's a Mariah Carey film would be like saying The Hangover is a Mike Tyson movie. She's actually pretty good in it, playing a welfare officer - and just a little bit scary without make-up - but Precious is something else altogether.

Here's what you need to know:

It's 80% brilliant. The unknown lead, Gabourey Sidibe (as Precious), plays nearly everything under the surface. She has a stony face that you know is hiding a million feelings but she's just too confused to let it all out. Because she's in such a helpless situation - but is so silently stoic and tough - you're rooting for her every step of the way.

It's 15% overdone. Precious' mum Mary is played by Mo'nique who gives one of the most startlingly shocking performances of recent years. Seriously, she will scare the crap out of you. At times though, her big scenes in her high rise flat are shot a bit like a horror movie, all moody lighting and eerie camera angles. It turns those moments into something from Carrie rather than what it should be - just really raw, indie cinema. The direction (not the performance) is completely out of sync with the rest of the film. Later, Mary has a scene in the Welfare Office which doesn't have that melodrama and, man, IT'S ONE OF THE MOST PANT-WETTINGLY DRAMATIC MOMENTS YOU'LL EVER SEE.

It's 5% a bit silly. Precious has dream sequences where she imagines being a superstar, all glamorous clothes and paparrazi flash bulbs. They're done a bit like something from a kids' TV show. It doesn't really work and again, isn't in tune with the rest of the film.

The cons don't ruin it though. This is one awesome display of acting, even if the direction is a bit amateur and occasionally sappy. It reminded a little of Hustle & Flow, another Sundance Film Festival movie that took on the big guns. Like that, this'll get Oscar nominations. Oprah's ALL OVER IT so you know something big's gonna happen.

Bunny And The Bull - A CLIP & REVIEW

Here's a clip from Bunny And The Bull, a film by Paul King, one of the gents behind TV's The Mighty Boosh. As you'll see in this clip, he's got Boosh-man Julian to make a cameo. There's also one from Noel **sound of Pixie Geldof screaming** Fielding.

The pic is very well made, being the daydreams and recollections of an agorophobic (played by Edward Hogg) who's both mourning and lovesick. Remembering his road-trip around Europe with best mate Bunny (occasional Boosher Simon Farnaby), his OCD house transforms into Swiss mountains, Polish back streets and Spanish bull rings.

All of which is very impressive - if you've never seen any films or music videos by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) who's done it all before, and in a more magical, less depressing way. The film's deliberately artificial, ramshackle feel - like a 70s jumble sale - is also breathtaking at first... but it's all so constraining, it's hard not feel suffocated after half an hour.

Loner Stephen and lairish Bunny are also pretty hard to like - one too weedy, one too beery. Luckily those Boosh cameos from Julian and Noel lift things just at the right time (Noel as a matador, anyone?), leaving a film that's as hypnotically weird as you'd expect it to be but too frustrating to break out into must-see territory.

Fantastic Mr Fox - THE REVIEW

You know how some people manage to look exactly like BOTH of their parents? That combination of Dad's unique goofy smile and Mum's cute button nose means that they could only have been sired by those two specific people? What's more, it's a look that on paper shouldn't work but somehow it kinda does... (or maybe it's just me with a thing about goofy smiles and button noses?)
Fantastic Mr Fox is the movie version of that very definite kind of offspring. Watch this animation and there are a million giveaway signs that mean it could only be the child of Darjeeling Limited director Wes Anderson and kiddy lit legend Roald Dahl.

Fans of the book will be relieved to hear that Dahl's trademarks remain. Like many of his stories, FMF champions the underdog (or in this case, underfox), relishing the power of family bonds over greed.
Fans of Wes Anderson, meanwhile. will see Dahl's characters imbued with Texan director's unique deadpan humour, something which works especially well with animals' more limited range of facial expressions. No wonder Wes loves working with the King Of Miserable, Bill Murray, whose voice features in this as... wait for it... a badger.

Add in Anderson's passion for shooting many scenes head-on, in a tableau style, and letting the intricate positioning of characters do the talking, like a painting, and you've got a family movie as grown-up as any of his previous outings. 'Family' is an apt word too - like The Royal Tenenbaums before it, this a film about relatives and blood ties, however dysfunctional.

All of which is several shades of awesome. Dahl's odd tale of a fox getting his own back wildlife-hating farmers is perfect for a director as matter-0f-fact as Wes. It's the only way to make the story believable. His use of 60s rock on the soundtrack once again does what it always has done - creates a picture of characters slightly at odds with their time, slightly shambolic, gently rebellious. His use of old-skool 'stop motion' animation just reiterates that, creating a film that's less 2009 Hollywood, more 1969 bohemian Europe. To me that's exactly what Dahl the man - and many of his characters - completely embodied.

That said, it doesn't ENTIRELY work. The weird blend of US accents (George Clooney and Meryl Streep as Mr & Mrs Fox) with English ones (Michael Gambon as Farmer Bean) is messy if you think too much about it. Locations are similarly patchwork, being part-Americana, part-Postman Pat. It's a brilliant film but one that would've been even better were its English heritage played up to more, giving the atmosphere more continuity. As it is, it's certainly less cosy than Dahl's original story.

Still, the voice talent (despite the accents) is spot-on, especially Gambon and Anderson regular Jason Schwartzmann as Mr Fox's depressed teenage son Ash. No, he wasn't in the original book but it's another opening out of the tale that fits the general tone of the story perfectly in its unique weirdness. Wes Anderson sure knows the most important rule for great kids' films - you've gotta really freak them littl'uns out.
It's out Oct 23rd.

The Rock IS The Tooth Fairy

Basically, this is The Santa Clause but about The Tooth Fairy. It's even directed by the guy who made The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (nice). It will, however, be better because:

1. It's The Rock not Tim Allen.
3. A great supporting cast - Stephen Merchant (cruelly cut out of much of this US trailer but will be in the UK one more I'm sure), Julie Andrews and Billy Crystal.
4. Its tagline is 'You can't handle the tooth!' which is actually brilliant.
5. I've had a very little sneak peak at the script and seem some stills 'and stuff' and it genuinely looks like it's got its heart in the right place. That's something in my book.

It's out early next year.

The latest JKM poll results!

Your fave turn by an ex-Friends star?

1. Marcel the monkey in Outbreak
2. Lisa Kudrow in Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion
3. David Schwimmer in Madagascar
4. Janiston in Marley & Me

I used to say that there's no such thing as a bad dog film until I saw Marley & Me. Here's my new mantra: 'There's no such thing as a bad monkey movie'. FACT.

Couples Retreat - THE REVIEW

It's always seemed a massive irony to me that Hollywood makes movies that take the piss out of so-called 'New Age' therapies.
It's as if the countless actors who regularly have them - the 'A' listers whose colons are irrigated, chakras cleansed and auras (and egos) massaged by LA therapists - can't quite see the comparison between their lives and their films. Why not celebrate what you so obviously believe in?

Couples Retreat doesn't, being another example of lowest-common-denominator thinking. Essentially its point is: 'Therapy? Nah, it's all bollocks.' Alas it doesn't have the guts to really make a pinata out of its target and give it a good thwack. The result is a half-hearted splat of a film that bookends its story with a gag about a kid taking a leak in a demo toilet at a DIY store. Classy.

The pic tells the story of three couples - Dave & Ronnie (Vince Vaughn & Malin Akerman), Shane &Ttrudy (Faizon Love & Kali Hawk), Joey & Lucy (Jon Favreau & Kristen Davis) - who spend a hastily arranged week at a relationship retreat as favour to friends Jason & Cynthia (Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell), whose own romance is crumbling. If you've seen the trailer you know that it's a good concept. You'll also know all the best gags (the stuff in the yoga lesson). It's just the handling that sucks dogs.

For a start, how do all these people get time off work at such short notice? Normally I hate that kind of anally retentive questioning of films ('How does Superman get changed in a 'phone box? That couldn't happen!' 'Shut up you pedant! It's a frickin' FILM') but in this case, when the main part of the film is so reliant on our believing that these people could all go away together, it's pertinant.

But the film doesn't bother to tell you.

If you can shut off important logic for a second to accept it, it's then you're faced with yet another lazy sketch of alternative therapy as being populated by weirdo hippies, poncey psychotherapists and sexually pradatory yogi, all of whom are just after your money. It's as open-minded as a Jon Gaunt fan club meeting.

What's more, most of the guy characters can see through the 'sham'. It's just the women who are tricked by it all. So not only do we have a film that distrusts anything slightly away from the norm, it also distrusts females. It's no coincidence, incidentally, that all the wives in this are pretty, quiet and bland. The only one who isn't - the black girlfriend Trudy - is some ridiculous kind of feral nymphomaniac. Yep, Couples Retreat is a film that just keeps on ticking those cliche boxes.

It reminded me of Wild Hogs, the stupidly successful middle-aged biker movie from 2007 whose main joke was that muscley gay men wanted to bum rape Martin Lawrence et al at any opportunity. Of course, it never actually happened although I'd quite like to have seen it. Would've been more entertaining than Big Momma's House.

To see Vince Vaughn, once so gutsy and edgy in his anger, reduce himself to this (and co-write the script) brings tears to the heart although several recent outings (hello Four Christmases) have hinted that his once inspiring punky attitude is now just pot-bellied laziness. As the film drags to a conclusion, packed with ridiculously wordy and over-complicated resolutions, it's like he's just given up. Goodnight Vince. It was fun for a bit (Old School, Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers).

So there we have Couples Retreat. Another unfunny prod at liberal thinking, where dull characters with no imagination are supposedly something to aspire to.

It'll make millions.

Out 16th October.

Zombieland - THE REVIEW

Until I saw Zombieland, the winner of the Best Cameo award for '09 was a shoe-in: Mike Tyson in The Hangover.

My mind has now been changed.

I'm not gonna ruin things by telling you which star now holds that title but suffice to say, as with everything in Zombieland, it's a perfect moment.

For this is a film with everything. Yes, it's first and foremost a horror flick, telling the tale of a handful of survivors after 99.9% of Americans have been turned into the undead. But it's a gorefest with so many nods to comedies, road movies, romances and teen pics that actual scares are less important than knowing winks, great lines and loveable characters.

And there are plenty. Jesse Eisenberg's nerdy Columbus - surely the only horror movie hero with Irritable Bowel Syndrome - is joyously understated, providing the perfect foil for his macho co-hort Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). If I'm pushed, it's Woody's picture, swaggering around as he does with his cowboy boots and sawn-off shotgun. He fills the screen with redneck attitude, a Tarantino/Rodriguez kinda guy with an odd love of the banjo. As Columbus puts it so poetically: 'He sets the standard for not to be fucked with'.

Meantime, the female stars Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who the boys meet en-route to a Californian safe-haven, are certainly no wallflowers. Stone is sexy for sure but it's never overplayed - quite refreshing for a teen slasher pic.

Most of all though, Zombieland works because it knows exactly what it wants to say, how it wants to say it and who the movie is for. With unerring energy it's a Shaun Of The Dead USA; ballsy, bloody and in-yer-face (witness the slo-mo opening credits, with Metallica on soundtrack duties) and with a use of locations from supermarkets to theme parks that kicks ass. The peppering of pop culture gags are spot-on and emotional moments are crucial but not over-played. In short, it's a slamdunk.

And then there's that mystery cameo, a scene or two of pure movie genius. Now, who's gonna tell Mike Tyson that he's lost his crown. You or me?