Cert 15, 145 mins
Hands-up time. Firstly, while I know the basic set-up, I’ve never actually seen the TV series. Secondly, I’m male but not gay. So I’m not the target audience and don’t, as a female colleague put it, have the “emotional investment”.

However, coming with a clean slate, so to speak, I can approach this fresh without the burden of anticipation. So, arriving four years and countless rumours after the final series, are the continuing adventures of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) worth the wait?

Well, for a start, with returning writer-director Michael Patrick King having to juggle four storylines in order to give each of the actresses contractual quality screen time, it’s impossibly and indulgently overlong, as if they’d tried to cram an entire season into one movie.

Which means there are several times when (given King’s uncertain grasp of big screen pacing) it does sag. And, for someone for whom a designer label is something on a tea-bag, it does often feel like an exercise in fashion porn.

As if flaunting the high couture product placement (at one point Carrie even receives a personally signed gift from Vivienne Westwood) wasn’t enough, there’s but a dress montage and a fashion parade. And the accessories! Handbags, jewellery, shoes, the male supporting cast, a rutting dog gag.

But clearly there is a healthy appetite out there for the trials and tribulations of four obscenely wealthy, self-absorbed fortysomething New Yorker career women as they struggle with their love lives, their sex lives and their closets.

Plot? Well, you’ll have likely picked up most of it from the extended trailer. About to turn 50, Samantha’s in LA managing Hollywood heartthrob toyboy lover Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis) but missing NY and finding it hard to keep her sex drive on a one-man leash and play the little woman at home, especially given the antics of her new neighbour.

Already blissfully happy with hubbie Harry (Evan Handler) and their adopted Chinese daughter, Charlotte discovers she’s finally pregnant (though not until way into the second hour).

Career focused, Miranda’s got no time or interest in sex, promoting Steve (David Eigenberg) to a one-night indiscretion that prompts a separation.

And, no longer writing her column, but on to her fourth book, freelancing and still providing the narrative voice-over, Carrie’s not only finally moving in to apartment heaven with Mr Big (Chris Noth) but they’re getting wed.

Except, as you’ll already be aware, her plans for a large scale event give him jitters on the day, thereby facilitating the second half of the film (which unfolds over a year in what you may feel is real time) where the guys retire to their trailers and the girls get to go to Mexico and hang out together again, discussing love, friendship, sex, self-identity, forgiveness and bikini line waxing.

I have it on good authority the screenplay’s humour isn’t as sharp or as smart as the small screen originals. It’s also prone to some conservative moralising and high quota of schmaltz syrup.

That said, there are plenty of witty lines (mostly hogged by Cattrall) and in places it is genuinely quite touching.

I’m no fan of Parker or her supposedly striking cheekbone beauty (she does look better with dark hair, though), but as you’d expect, the central performances are all solid and, whatever the truth to tales about friction, the women’s chemistry is effortless and potent.

The men, even Noth, are naturally essentially little more than set-dressing, wheeled on to provide plot motors when required, and duly keep the wattage down.

It has to be said, however, that, as Carrie’s new assistant, Louise from St Louis, in her first role since Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson lights up the screen with her warmth and personality whenever she appears, stealing scenes from under Parker’s nose and making far more of the material than it deserves.

Ultimately, there are few surprises and happy endings are delayed rather than denied and, for fans who devotedly tuned in for six seasons, this is going to be like renewing old friendships one last (and it’s hard to envision a sequel) time.

For the rest of us, the city’s a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there. Not even for the sex.

Cert 18, 106 mins
Did you know that Aleister Crowley, the notorious occultist, sexual magick debaucher, terrible poet , ‘wickedest man in the world’, self-styled Beast of the Apocalypse and Sgt Pepper’s sleeve figure came from Leamington Spa?

I only mention that because it seems to be the only nugget of exposition that Iron Maiden singer and Crowley obsessive Bruce Dickinson didn’t manage to shoehorn into his appalling screenplay where almost every character’s name has real-life Crowley associations.

Anyone unlucky enough to have skimmed the pages of any of Dickinson’s sub Confessions Of...novels will know he’s not exactly the 21st century’s gift to literature. Looks like he’s not the answer to Hollywood’s prayers, either.

Co-penned and directed, if such an exalted term can be applied, by former Terry Gilliam editor Julian Doyle, this sci-fi horror feels like a particularly bad Hammer pastiche with a touch of Dr Who thrown in.

The plot, as it is, involves a visiting American, Dr Joshua Mathers (Kal Weber), at Cambridge to collaborate with resident scientist Victor Neuman (Jud Charlton) by linking a Virtual Reality cybersuit to the university’s Z93 supercomputer.

What he doesn’t know is that Crowley disciple Neuman has converted Crowley’s rituals into binary code and infected the machine with a virus. So when, in a clandestine trial run, Neuman persuades stuttering prof Oliver Haddo (Simon Callow) to test things out and it blows a gasket (a screen flashes up Brain Overload, no really), the old goat emerges transformed; a swaggering, loquacious slaphead who spouts profanities, urinates over a lecture class and indulges in all manner of sexual excess with the local prostitutes.

Persuaded he’s Crowley reincarnated, he’s also looking for a red headed woman whose blood he needs to perform the Chemical Wedding ritual to grant him immortality. Or something. Having crucified one bewigged imposter, he turns attentions to Lia (Lucy Cuddon), his ginger-tressed tutor group campus reporter. At one, admittedly inspired point, he even faxes her his semen.

Ah, but she’s having a thing with Mathers who, having now pieced the puzzle together, realises he has to save her, reverse the suit’s process and stop Crowley redux from getting it on with the Whore of Babylon. Or something.

The prologue, with John Shrapnel as a lascivious aged Crowley drooling over a couple of impressionable students (who will, of course, resurface several decades later) before he pops his clogs, is actually quite interesting; as is mention of rivalry with L Ron Hubbard and their common initiate, 1940s American rocket scientist Jack Parsons.

Unfortunately, presumably worried it might affect any future job prospects with Tom Cruise, this fascinating angle is quickly excised and no further mention made.

Instead, you’re left with increasingly camp and increasingly incoherent (huge chunks having been hacked away in the editing) horror farce that tosses in unexplained references to quantum mechanics (Schroedinger’s cat!) and confused talk of a fusion between science and spiritualism between cheap titillation shots of naked orgies.

Weber, Cuddon and, indeed, practically everyone gives the sort of blank, wooden performances that wouldn’t have passed muster in an Ed Wood film, leaving the field clear for Callow, spouting Crowley’s ‘do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’ dictum every other line, to provide the sort of ham that might have resulted from a cross between Laurence Olivier and Babe.

Crowley famously had little sense of humour and a huge ego. If I were Dickinson, I wouldn’t be engaging in any seances for a while.

Cert 12A, 114 mins
Ah, the ironies of family. There’s Spike Lee making thoughtful, provocative, issues-driven films like Do The Right Thing, 25th Hour, Summer of Sam and Get On The Bus, and here’s cousin Malcolm making a Martin Lawrence movie.

After things like Big Momma’s House (1 and 2), Black Knight, and Wild Hogs, the prospect of sitting through another broad Lawrence comedy is akin to driving needles under your nails. However, while it’s a given that he’s excruciatingly awful, the astonishing surprise is that he’s not the worst thing here.

He plays RJ, a self-help guru turned successful daytime LA chat show host who left home after a fall out with his disapproving tough love father (James Earl Jones) and manipulative competitive orphaned cousin Clyde (Cedric the Entertainer) and hasn’t been back in nine years.

However, he’s been coerced into attending his parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, along with his young son (an obligatory accessory for the cute cutaway moments) and self-absorbed trophy fiancee Bianca (Joy Bryant) who talks of their forthcoming marriage as an alliance.

Naturally when he gets to Georgia and is again confronted by his hard to please father and unimpressed relatives - disciplinarian sheriff brother Otis (Michael Clarke Duncan), con artist cousin Reggie (Mike Epps), mouthy blimp sister Betty (a painfully loud Mo’Nique), and Lucinda (Nicole Ari Parker), the high school crush whom he and the still sneaky Clyde fought over - old securities, old wounds and long simmering resentments all come bubbling to the surface.

And, equally naturally, superior condescending Bianca isn’t welcomed with open arms, either.

Predictably, there’s nothing like a little heartwarming humiliation, physical and verbal assault, and belittling admonishment to make a guy realise the importance of family and the shallowness of material success.

Lee apparently encouraged the cast to improvise, but appears to have had no ability to rein them back in, leaving the already broad, lowbrow comedy to spiral out of control into lame slapstick, screechingly unfunny riffing and obligatory fat and fart gags before running into a brick wall of sentimental melodrama.

And what, you wonder, is worse than Martin Lawrence?

That’ll be the “hilarious” sight of two sex-crazed dogs going at it. But only just.