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Reviews

Film round up

Jeremy Clarke

Marilyn Monroe's own and others' words about her life and career are spoken to camera by an ensemble cast of actors in the fascinating documentary Love, Marilyn (12a; 107 mins), which explores her significance as a cultural icon. The music documentary Muscle Shoals (PG; 111 mins) is a fascinating, vox pop-based history of the eponymous Alabama recording studio where The Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd and numerous others recorded. The Dutch drama The Broken Circle Breakdown (15; 111 mins), a little clich├ęd in its failed relationship subject matter, showcases a tremendous bluegrass band.

Joss Whedon's extraordinary, low budget Much Ado About Nothing (DVD/BD; 12; 109 mins) was shot in two weeks in his home: one of the freshest and most vibrant Shakespeare movies you'll ever see. Two gangster films shot back to back in two weeks by the Japanese auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa Eyes Of The Spider/ Serpent's Path (DVD/BD 15; 83/85 mins) likewise exploit minimal resources, serving up two brutal yet compelling examinations of the human condition. Robert Rodriguez' enjoyably silly, ultra-violent Machete Kills (15; 107 mins) eschews depth for a gross-out aesthetic. Paul Greengrass's much more serious and highly effective thriller Captain Phillips (12a; 134 mins) skilfully manages to get under the skin not only of merchant ship captain Tom Hanks but also the small, desperate band of Somali pirates who've imprisoned him in a launched lifeboat.

Full marks to the terrifying documentary Camp 14: Total Control Zone (DVD, 12; 101 mins) which interviews a man born in, and eventually escaped from, a North Korean death camp. Clever use of animation 'footage' of interned life plus interviews with former guards complete the devastating picture. Post- JFK assassination drama Parkland (15; 93 mins) is an ensemble piece trawling the secret service, hospitals, postmortems, Zapruder's cine-film and Vice President Johnson: an uncomfortable chronicling of a nation in catharsis.

The engrossing Chilean drama Gloria (15; 110 mins) concerns a 50 something woman on a voyage of self-discovery. Nicole Holofcener's wry romance Enough Said (12a; 93 mins) has a woman get romantically involved with the ex-husband of one of her massage business clients without knowing it. David Gordon Green's understated slice of life Prince Avalanche (15; 94 mins) builds real magic out of two men employed to paint lines along roads in the middle of nowhere. From Yorkshire, The Selfish Giant (15; 91 mins) features a lad nicking telecom cabling to sell on the black market: a must see indictment of contemporary British mores. In Hirakazu Kore'eda's Like Father Like Son (PG; 121 mins), a couple discover that their six-year old son is actually someone else's owing to a mix up at the hospital. Intelligent, it asks serious questions about father/son relationships.

In animation, Turbo (U; 96 mins) is a likeable adventure about a snail who becomes fast enough to race in the Indianapolis 500. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (U; 95 mins) boasts striking visuals and throws an exhausting, hit and miss, non-stop stream of gags at its audience.

The Italian mystery comedy A Magnificent Haunting (15 tbc; 105 mins) concerns an actor wannabe who moves into a house haunted by an old theatre company in Rome. Gorgeous restorations of the classic silent Weimar vampire horror Nosferatu (PG; 100 mins) and Werner Herzog's masterful 1979 update Nosferatu The Vampyre (12a; 107 mins) are both worth catching in cinemas.

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