The first Percy Jackson adventure, The Lightning Thief, was an underrated little gem, ideally designed for pre-teens.
Three years later, the half-human son of sea god Poseidon pops up again, but in a rather sketchy film barely good enough to fill the void left by the Harry Potter franchise.
Working from the best-selling novels, PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS (PG: Twentieth Century Fox) is set in a world where Greek deities, humans and demigods coexist. Percy (Logan Lerman reprising the starring role) is with his pals at ‘Camp Half-Blood’, the secret retreat of the demigods.
When peace is threatened, they need to recover the legendary Golden Fleece to save the world, leading them to the ominous-sounding ‘Sea of Monsters’ (aka the Bermuda Triangle).
As they dodge obstacles like a giant mechanical bull, a cyclops and the ghosts of Confederate sailors, the story often hits choppy waters and only just about stays afloat.
> Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are perfectly cast as the wisecracking leads in smart thriller 2 GUNS (15: E1 Entertainment).
They bounce razor-sharp dialogue back and forth as undercover agents embedded in a Mexican narcotics syndicate, unaware of each other’s true identity.
That’s until they’re hung out to dry by their respective American bureaux and a botched bank raid puts a price on their heads.
They become fugitives and reluctantly join forces to take down a drugs kingpin (Edward J. Olmos) and the shadowy organisation (headed by Bill Paxton) that pulls the strings in the background.
This well-paced and action-packed film provides a myriad of plot twists without ever losing sight of the storyline.
> Fact-based haunted house flick THE CONJURING (15: Warner) starts as a potent tale of things that go bump in the night before it turns into a long-winded tribute to The Exorcist.
Before they investigated the notorious Amityville haunting, real-life demonologist Ed Warren and his clairvoyant wife Lorraine supported the Perron family through a supernatural onslaught at their Rhode Island farmhouse.
Here, the Warrens are played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, opposite Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston as the new homeowners whose five daughters are first to sense a hateful entity linking back to the Salem witch trials.
Shot with a camera that prowls, then jolts you, there’s a terrific ‘lifting the sheet’ scene, but the spectre turns into a bit of a wet blanket when it becomes clear where this is going, even in the dark.
> ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US (PG: Sony) takes a behind-the-scenes look at the teen pop sensations who gained worldwide fame after coming third in The X Factor.
But despite having Oscar-nominated documentary-maker Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) calling the shots, it reveals little about the quintet their adoring fans won’t already know.
It’s a bog-standard biography full of clearly choreographed backstage japes, wide shots of thousands of screaming fans, and proud, weepy mums hugging their pin-up sons Niall, Zayn, Liam, Louis and Harry.
Interviews with music journalists and Simon Cowell attempt to dissect the group’s success and the role social media played in catapulting the boys to the top is interesting.