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Reviews

Film round up

Jeremy Clarke

Hail, Caesar! (cert 12a; 106 mins) sees the Coen Brothers lampoon Hollywood, Biblical Epics and more. Risen (cert 12a; 108 mins) is a surprisingly effective police (or rather Roman officer) procedural reworking of the Gospel narratives from Jesus' death onwards. Religion underscores Song of Summer in Ken Russell: The Great Composers (BD/DVD combi, cert PG; 3-disc set) as a Yorkshire Catholic helps Delius work while his faculties fade. Ken Russell: The Great Passions (BD/DVD combi, cert 12; 3-disc set) comprises 3 further, worthwhile BBC arts documentaries.

The powerful Desert Dancer (cert 15; 98 mins) is set in Iran where dancing is illegal. Experimental Czech outing Something Different (DVD, cert PG; 81 mins) contrasts a motivated dancer with a bored housewife. Single take wonder Victoria (cert 15; 138 mins) follows its heroine through a night hanging out in Berlin towards a cathartic resolution. Sheba, Baby (BD/DVD combi, cert 15; 91 mins) is a likeable Pam Grier blaxploitation vehicle. Extraordinary Israeli drama Next to Her (cert 15; 90 mins)i concerns a woman caring for her mentally disabled sister. Hirakazu Kore-eda's Our Little Sister (cert PG; 128 mins) compellingly posits some young women getting to know their half-sister.

The intriguing Couple in a Hole (cert 12a; 105 mins) has a man and woman living in woodlands. Welsh slow burner The Passing (cert 15; 89 mins) employs a similarly isolated environment. Jacques Audiard's gripping Dheepan (cert 15; 115 mins) has three unrelated refugees pose as a family to access French citizenship. Unnerving thriller Disorder (cert 15; 98 mins) probes the effects of military service on ex-soldiers. Character study Mojave (cert 15; 93 mins) cleverly plays cat and mouse. Jeff Nichols' superlative Midnight Special (cert 12a; 114 mins) is a supernatural chase thriller.

The quietly hilarious Black Mountain Poets (cert 15; 85 mins) holes up two criminals as Welsh poetry festival celebs. Eddie the Eagle (cert PG; 106 mins) entertainingly recreates the Winter Olympics contender who made up for lack of skills with sheer enthusiasm. Engaging indie Nasty Baby (cert 15; 101 mins) has a gay couple attempt to father a child. Enjoyable British silent Shooting Stars (BD/DVD combi, cert PG; 101 mins) exposes the fledgling movie business.

Marc Cousins' I Am Belfast (cert 15; 84 mins) lovingly documents his home town. Nic Roeg's masterpiece Eureka (BD/DVD combi, cert 18; 130 mins) has Gene Hackman, having achieved his life goal, struggle with wealth and boredom. Miguel Gomes' difficult yet rewarding three volume Arabian Nights (cert tbc; 125+131+125 mins) looks at present day Portugal through that popular narrative's framework. Japanese romance turned horror thriller Audition (BD/DVD combi, cert 18; 115 mins) has a tough to watch finale. Son of Saul (cert 15; 107 mins) brilliantly carries us inside the Holocaust as slave labour disposes of the bodies. Finally, sixties BBC efforts Culloden/The War Game (BD/DVD combi, cert 12; 69+46) are two anti-war films; a terrifying chronicling of nuclear war which needs to be widely seen.

Jeremy Clarke

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