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Arthur Christmas and Grandsanta

19 November 2012-11-19

Out in the UK This Week   Arthur Christmas (Sony, cert U, Blu-ray/DVD) There have been some terrible British animations in the past few years. Anyone remember Valiant? But this comic adventure re-imagining the Christmas delivery round as something that’s grown into a gigantic FedEx-like operation, with Santa Claus now almost as redundant as his … Read more
Matthew McConaughey and Juno Temple in Killer Joe

9 November 2012-11-09

Out in the UK This Week Killer Joe (Entertainment One, cert 18, Blu-ray/DVD) French Connection/Exorcist director William Friedkin returns to form and hands a decent role to Matthew McConaughey, who plays a dead-eyed contract killer menacing a family who thought they’d hired him to kill the materfamilias for insurance gain. As with The Exorcist, Friedkin … Read more
Jeremy Irons in Margin Call

12 November 2012-11-12

Out in the UK This Week Margin Call (Paramount, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) JC Chandor’s debut, and what a film, is about a Lehman Brothers’ (ish) bank hitting the skids. It’s the definitive Hollywood entertainment about the financial crash, a cool, glossy, edge-of-seat procedural about a night in the company of two low-level bank employees (Zachary … Read more
Santi Ahumada plays Lucía in Thursday till Sunday

Thursday Till Sunday aka De Jueves a Domingo

Dominga Sotomayor’s remarkable debut feature is a sotto voce drama about a family on a road trip. Proceeding by suggestion rather than assertion, it is in some respects similar to Pablo Trapero’s early, soapy drama Familia Rodante. There are faint hints of the work of Carlos Reygadas in there too, as well as more than … Read more
Claude and Esther

In the House

If you’ve seen 5X2, you’ll already know that François Ozon makes immensely clever and highly entertaining films, and that there’s a point to the cleverness; he’s not just showing off. In the House, aka Dans La Maison, is Ozon to the bone, another very clever piece of work. This time, however, the point he’s making … Read more
Pilou Asbaek as Mikkel

A Hijacking

London Film Festival, 2012-10-22 Stories of Somali pirates hijacking ships and holding people hostage for months regularly make the news bulletins but rarely seem to make it to the big screen. Which is odd considering that foreigners waving guns about in front of frightened innocents’ faces is a staple of cinema. Enter A Hijacking (original … Read more

29 October 2012-10-29

Out in the UK This Week   The Hunter (Artificial Eye, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) There’s a totally immersive sense of place in this engrossing thriller starring Willem Dafoe as the titular hunter in kill-or-be-killed Australia. He’s some sort of badass eco-transgressor working for a rapacious global megacorp and he’s after the mythical and possibly mystical … Read more
Fathers Julián and Nicolás patrol the shanty

White Elephant

London Film Festival, 2012-10-21 At a certain point in the career of a successful film-maker who isn’t working in the English language, you expect him or her to make a “breakout” film, the one that gets them noticed in the global multiplexes, the one that makes them some money. At this point in the career … Read more
simonkiller

Simon Killer

London Film Festival, 2012-10-20  Giving a film’s plot away in its title: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford did it. So, with a lot less fuss, did Snakes on a Plane. Here we have Simon Killer, about a guy called Simon, who’s a Killer. It’s a good thing we know this … Read more
Cristina Flutur (centre) as the novice nun

Beyond the Hills/Dupa Dealuri

The Romanian director Cristian Mungiu’s most well known film to date, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, followed a pair of student girls in 1980s Bucharest into a grubby hotel where a back-street abortionist first took their money, then demanded further payment, of a sexual kind. After he’d had his way, and then performed … Read more
Caleb Landry Jones

Antiviral

What’s that, you say, Cronenberg? Surely not a relation of David? Indeedy, this is the son, Brandon, and, apples not falling far from tree, chips tending to fly from old blocks, he serves us up a rather lipsmacking portion of body-horror just like dad used to make. And the lips, as you might have guessed, … Read more
Viktor Gerrat in Silent Souls

22 October 2012-10-22

Out in the UK This Week Silent Souls (Artificial Eye, cert 15, DVD) Two men from an almost extinct Russian ethnic sub-group, the Merja, take the dead wife of one of them to her final rest in this poetic, poignant drama which works brilliantly as character study and as a meditation on the notion of … Read more

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