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Film Round-Up November 2011

Jeremy Clarke

George Clooney's compelling political campaigning thriller The Ides Of March (cert 15; 98 mins) takes apart US sexual mores with an excellent performance from Ryan Gosling (Drive). Machine Gun Preacher (cert 15; 129 mins) admirably condemns flock-fleecing US preachers but despite his girlfriend's buying into the whole evangelical package, Gerard Butler fails to grapple with faith issues as he goes to Africa, starts an orphanage and picks up a gun.

RFilmRU.jpgSteven Soderbergh's star-studded, megabudget Contagion (cert 12a; 106 mins) charts the spread of an epidemic. It zips around the globe and numerous characters, without pausing anywhere long enough. Equally difficult to relate to is the novel adaptation We Need To Talk About Kevin (cert 15; 110 mins) despite a bravura performance by Tilda Swinton (pictured) as a murderer's mother. You're better off with More (DVD/Blu-Ray combi, cert 18; 116 mins), Barbet Schroder's searing 1969 morality tale about a young man's fatal search for inner meaning. Pink Floyd's score still sounds terrific. The sixties milieu may have dated, but the story of drug abuse hasn't.

The 1981 British gem Voice Over (DVD/ Blu-Ray combi, cert 15; 108 mins) features an obsessive radio writer/pre-senter (Ian McNeice) whose show falls apart in a personality crisis. Errol Morris's hilarious documentary Tabloid (cert tbc; 88 mins) charts the British gutter press's pursuit of Joyce McKinney, the beauty queen who came to Britain to abduct her estranged Mormon missionary boyfriend, with topics as bizarre as sacred underwear and dog cloning!

In Sawako Decides (DVD, cert 12a; 112 mins), a girl comes home after five years in Tokyo to run her ailing father's clam-packing factory. It tackles big questions about the ordinariness of people's everyday lives.

Andrea (Fish Tank) Arnold's Wuthering Heights (cert 15; 128 mins) sets terrific performances by teen non-actors against a rough, isolated, sodden Yorkshire moors landscape: an excellent adaptation which lingers with the viewer long after the film is over. 

Jeremy Clarke

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