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Reviews

Film round up

Jeremy Clarke

Spectre (cert 12a; 150 mins), although thoroughly enjoyable, is distinctly average Bond. Newcastle shot, sixties heist movie Payroll (BD, DVD, cert PG; 106 mins) memorably casts young Billie Whitelaw. Gripping fifties London crime flick The Yellow Balloon (DVD, cert PG; 77 mins) has a crook lead astray a Sunday school-attending boy after seeing him accidentally cause a playmate's death. A gang of crooks in delicious, late Ealing Comedy The Ladykillers (BD, DVD, cert PG tbc; 87 mins) plan a bank robbery in a little old lady's boarding house; numerous extras include a King's Cross locations piece. Terrific film noir Thieves Highway (BD/DVD combi, cert 12; 94 mins) pits California truck drivers against unscrupulous food market buyers.

The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 2 (cert 12a tbc; 137 mins) should satisfy those who enjoyed the franchise's prior episodes. Unsettling 1966 fantasy Seconds (BD/DVD combi, cert 12; 111 mins) posits a man's life rebooted into a new start. Engaging indie My Skinny Sister (cert 15; 95 mins) examines children and eating disorders. Terence Davies' austere Scots drama Sunset Song (cert 15; 135 mins) spans love, farming and WW1's legacy. Africa's first feature Black Girl (BD/ DVD combi, cert 15; 60 mins) deftly shows a black woman living as a housebound servant to South of France whites. The Fireman's Ball (BD/DVD combi, cert PG; 73 mins) astutely observes a Czech village to comic effect. Extras on superlative Irish animation Song of the Sea (VoD, BD, DVD, cert PG; 88 mins) include its Gaelic (with subtitles) as well as its English soundtrack.

Serious landscape graces two documentaries: in Unbranded (cert tbc; 105 mins) cowboy youths travel from Mexico to Canada on mustangs (wild horses) while in Star*Men (cert PG; 85 mins) ageing Brit astronomers return to the US for a reunion tour of observatories. Circus performers' meditation Grazing the Sky (cert U; 87 mins) showcases incredible footage. Lambert and Stamp (DVD, cert 15, 112 mins) compellingly chronicles two would-be film directors who found, moulded and promoted seminal band The Who. Devastating documentary My Nazi Legacy - What our Fathers Did (cert PG; 92 mins) has a human rights lawyer help grownup children of high ranking Nazi officials grapple with their family histories.

Gaspar NoƩ's Love (cert 18; 135 mins) deploys explicit, actual (not simulated) sex to searingly portray a man stuck in a past, intense relationship. 1973 serial killer study Tenderness of the Wolves (BD/DVD combi, cert 18; 106 mins) disturbingly depicts post- WW2 Germany as everyone profiting by turning a blind eye. The Black Cat / Your Vice is a Locked Room (BD/DVD combi, cert 18; 96 + 91 mins) are two stylish Italian horror outings inspired by E. A. Poe. Classic Hong Kong swordplay epic Dragon Inn (BD/DVD combi, cert 15; 107 mins) is hugely entertaining. Finally, Hong Kong curio Gangster Payday (DVD, cert 15, 97 mins) bookends sweet romance with violent mayhem.

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