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Reviews

Film round up

Jeremy Clarke

Ken Russell's Valentino (BD/DVD combi, cert 18; 128 mins) is fascinating rather than great, though the disc is packed with worthwhile extras. Alain Resnais' lyrical Hiroshima Mon Amour (BD, DVD, cert 12; 90 mins) stands the test of time well, as does seminal martial arts epic A Touch of Zen (BD/DVD combi, cert 12; 200 mins). Inspired by Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo, Escape From the Liberty Cinema (DVD, cert 15; 88) is an affecting Polish tale of a censor. Underground (BD, DVD, cert 15; 163, 315 mins), an extravagant epic dealing with forty years up to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, also contains the longer TV version clarifying numerous plot details.

Sam Fuller's Fixed Bayonets (BD/DVD combi, cert PG; 92 mins) compellingly portrays a rear guard action in the Korean War. McCarthy-era drama Trumbo (cert 15; 124 mins) effectively casts Bryan Cranston as the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter. Spotlight (cert 15; 128 mins) is a terrific thriller about Boston investigative journalists cracking open the Catholic priests child abuse scandal. Truth (cert 15; 125 mins) boasts a bravura Cate Blanchett as a US broadcast journalist whose reporting comes under media scrutiny. The Finest Hours (cert 12a; 117 mins) grippingly recounts a famous US coastguard rescue with solid script and astonishing special effects.

Paul Bettany's Shelter (DVD, cert 18; 103 mins) is a searing New York romance between two homeless people. Equally strong, 1941 British drama Love on the Dole (BD/DVD combi, cert PG; 99 mins) similarly addresses the plight of a social underclass. Chronic (cert 15; 92 mins) is an unsettling character study of a care worker played by Tim Roth. Thought-provoking Swedish drama The Here After (cert 15; 102 mins) deals with a local community unable to forgive the crime of a youth released from prison.

Robert Mitchum vehicle The Friends of Eddie Coyle (BD/DVD combi, cert 15; 102 mins) examines ageing criminals. Brash Australian thriller The Smuggler (VoD, DVD, cert 15; 98 mins) has an innocent arrested for trafficking heroin held in a hotel for seven days trying not to poo it out. Original, low budget crime thriller Orthodox (cert 18; 98 mins) is set in a Jewish community, while John Hillcoat's sprawling Triple 9 (cert 15; 116 mins) casts Kate Winslet as a ruthless, Russian Israeli gangster's wife. The Ones Below (cert 15; 86 mins) is a clever, couples' pregnancy paranoia thriller. Finally, slow burner The Survivalist (cert 18; 101 mins) explores power games when a mother and daughter arrive at a man's isolated shack in the woods.

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