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Film Round-Up September 2011

Truth is stranger than fiction. James Marsh's remarkable documentary Project Nim (cert 12a; 99 mins) details a chimp like Rise of the Planet of the Apes's fictional Caesar who is raised by humans and taught sign language, the resultant fall out among his human carers and what happens to him after the funding runs out. It's hugely affecting and a fascinating footnote.

Fright Night (cert 15; 105 mins) is an enjoyable if vaccuous, big budget horror remake of the vampire classic with, for once, decent 3D. Norweigan low budget outing Troll Hunter (cert 15; 90 mins) plays out like Blair Witch with monsters hungry for Christian blood, but fails to answer the question as to whether they also hunger after Muslim blood. Sadly, Christian and Muslim here are little more than pathetic badges of identity.

Better than either - and destined for cult status - is Kill List (cert 18; 95 mins): at once a buddy movie, a relationship drama, a conspiracy thriller and a horror reminiscent of The Wicker Man, it outwits the audience at every turn. Recommended - but not, as they say, for the faint-hearted.

Big budget drama The Devil's Double (cert 18; 108 mins) casts the impressive Dominic Cooper as both hedonistic playboy Uday Hussein and the soldier forced to be his double. It's gripping, but one suspects that the real life story was probably more unpleasant than the cleaned up one that reached the screen.

Deftly balancing two well-worn genres, Cowboys And Aliens (cert 12a; 118 mins) is a treat with nods to The Searchers, Ray Harryhausen monster films and everything in between. Harrison Ford gets his best role for years cast alongside the reliable Daniel Craig.

Finally, the tremendous Japanese crime drama Villain (cert 15; 139 mins) has a man callously strung along by his girlfriend while she pursues another man who turns out as callous as she. The first man loses it and murders her before going on the run with another girl. Yet the fleeing couple seize the film's moral high ground from the social conformists like something out of one of Jesus' upside down parables. 

Jeremy Clarke

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