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Film Round Up

Jeremy Clarke

Rfilmroundup.jpgThe CGI cartoon Hotel Transylvania (cert U; 91 mins) has Dracula's century-old teenage daughter (!) fall for a backpacking human. Anti-human prejudice explains to kids that different cultures may not be bad, and there are fantastic visual gags too. Tim Burton's weaker Frankenweenie (cert PG; 86 mins) expands his half-hour live action short into a black and white, stop frame feature as a boy attempts to resurrect his deceased dog using electricity.

The 1950s adaptation On The Road (cert 15; 124 mins) manages to show some pretty racy sex and drugs material without...erm... showing it. Jack Kerouac's characters' self-gratifying beat mores, have been hugely influential in moving our culture away from Christian values. Pusher (cert 18; 88 mins), a stylish but largely pointless English language remake of the classic Danish thriller, makes for a telling comparison with On the Road. The drugs that meant a radical alternative to mainstream society for beatniks have become no more than a lucrative commodity.

With a different angle on the same theme My Brother The Devil (cert 15; 111 mins), an original thriller about drug dealing, also subtly comments on issues of growing up Muslim in contemporary Britain.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild (cert 12a; 91 mins) is a captivating romp through a flooded US rural landscape which plays out as a powerful, dreamlike myth courtesy of a child's mind and imagination. The Seattle comedy Grassroots (cert 15; 98 mins) also looks at ecological concerns. Based on the real story of a maverick music journalist who stood for election, its observations on local US politics prove pretty smart. Jacques Audiard's tough yet rewarding Rust And Bone (cert 15; 122 mins) is an essay in raw emotion, a bittersweet love story between a lone parent bringing up a child and Marion Cotillard's whale trainer who loses her legs in an accident.

Lurching between long conversation scenes and genuinely unsettling existential nightmare, Japan's bizarre Isn't Anyone Alive? (DVD, cert 15; 108 mins) adapts a play where people on a university campus die one by one from an unexplained epidemic. 

Jeremy Clarke