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Reviews

Film round up

Jeremy Clarke

A cross between a mad scientist movie and a riff on The Terminator, The Machine (cert tbc; 100 mins) is a rare, intelligent British SF outing. Hammer's paranormal thriller The Quiet Ones (cert 15; 97 mins), by comparison, is muddled and lacks coherence.

In a triumph of style over content, French giallo The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears (cert 18; 102 mins) piles on sex and blood as a man's psyche unravels searching for his disappeared wife. Two Japanese schoolgirls, one ugly one pretty, bond in Shady (DVD, cert 15; 94 mins approx) to explore the feelings of caged pets and bullying victims; it takes a nasty turn in its final reel.

Brutal and claustrophobic British prison movie Starred Up (cert 18; 106 mins) holds audience attention throughout. Equally violent sword and sandal sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire (cert 15; 102 mins) sees Eva Green's ruthless, sword-wielding general upstage impressive sea battles.

Rossellini's far subtler 1945 classic Rome Open City (cert 12A; 103 mins) compellingly shows WW2 Italy under the Nazis. 1962 Czech Holocaust drama Transport From Paradise (DVD, cert 12; 93 mins) effectively depicts resistance and collaboration in the Terezin Ghetto, from where Jews were sent by train to 'work camps'. Gripping contemporary Filipino thriller Metro Manila (DVD, cert 15; 114 mins) concerns a farmer trapped by falling food prices who attempts to escape spiralling debt via an armoured car driver's job.

A thriller about a bereaved Anglican woman priest The Fold (cert 15; 89 mins) falls apart for lack of understanding the priesthood. A confessional death threat leaves Catholic priest Brendan Gleeson one week to live in John Michael McDonagh's Calvary (cert 15; 100 mins), which is better but lacks the black humour of the pair's prior tour de force The Guard. Part hackneyed, often chilling thriller Honour (cert 15; 104 mins) tackles honour killings in the UK's Indian community.

Sweet and cliché-free romance The Lunchbox (cert PG; 104 mins) puts on the screen Mumbai's remarkable delivery system whereby wives send lunch to their husbands' workplaces. Riveting Labor Day (cert 12a; 111 mins) has single mum Kate Winslet fall for escaped con Josh Brolin after he forcibly hides in their home.

Japanese comedy gem How To Use Guys With Secret Tips (DVD, cert 12; 116 mins) follows a young woman struggling to succeed in the world of work. Surprisingly good sequel Muppets Most Wanted (cert U; 112 mins) features Kermit's double: a Russian frog master criminal aided by Ricky Gervais, and closes with a Gulag song and dance number. Godfrey Reggio's avant-garde, visual tone poem Visitors (cert U; 87 mins) features music by Philip Glass. Far more accessible, 2014 Oscar Documentary Winner 20 Feet From Stardom (cert 12A; 91 mins) explores the hitherto largely ignored role of backing singers in the US music industry.

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