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Film Guide - February 15, 2013

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A Good Day To Die Hard: A senile John McClane bravely returns to action in Russia without his walking stick. Great action scenes framed by a non-existent plot. ** MV

Quartet: First-time director Dustin Hoffman takes a gentle look at ageing, but with Maggie Smith leading the charge, it’s always one to cherish. Add to that the setting – a retirement home for musicians which presents all kinds of explosions. **** DdB

Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow directs Jessica Chastain in a suspenseful drama about the capture of Osama bin Laden, in a film which unwittingly (or not) supports the idea that torturing prisoners is ok. **** TS

Anna Karenina: Style triumphs over substance in the Joe Wright-directed period drama featuring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen and a host of stars. *** TS

Argo: Understated, well-characterised thriller set in 1979 Iran. Director Ben Affleck keeps the tension high and the action engrossing without beating you over the head with a message. **** TS

Chasing Mavericks: A surfing movie inspired by the life of northern California teen Jay Moriarity, who in 1994 became an overnight celebrity in the surfing world after riding the notorious swells off Half Moon Bay known as Mavericks. *** WP

Dino Time: Animated film about three children who travel back in time to the days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. (Not reviewed)

Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino’s beautifully shot but controversial film about a slave-turned-bounty hunter who is in search of his wife. Starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L Jackson. *** HH

Flight: Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle star in this film about a pilot who gets a rude awakening about sobriety and accountability. **** HH

Jack Reacher: Based on the Lee Child book, One Shot, this action movie has good pacing and sets up Tom Cruise’s unflinching, morally upright character against a by-the-book lawyer played by Rosamund Pike. *** TS

Klein Karoo: Rom-com set in Oudtshoorn, which may follow a clichéd formula, but does give some idiosyncratic characters who will amuse greatly. *** TS

Les Miserables: Tom Hooper directs a stellar cast in the West End musical, except this looks like the real deal with gorgeous outdoor sets, lavish costumes and extreme detail. **** TS

Les Troyens: Berlioz’s epic opera is well realised by the New York Met with stupendous sets, an astounding chorus and well-cast soloists. No weak links; and the entire production exceeds your wildest expectations. ***** PB

Life of Pi: Ang Lee creates a gorgeously rendered 3D world on the high seas as a young boy struggles to survive in the company of only a Bengal tiger. **** TS

Lincoln: Talk-heavy biopic by Steven Spielberg about the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life. Daniel Day-Lewis disappears into the role for an uncanny, Oscar-nominated performance alongside a stellar cast. *** TS

Mama: drawing heavily on producer Guillermo del Toro’s touch with the fantastical, this is a scary horror, even if the storyline is predictable. *** TS

Movie 43: Puerile waste of time. * TS

Parental Guidance: Dull, overacted comedy about grandparents left to babysit bratty crumb-snatchers. Don’t risk watching this even with a parent or guardian present. H WP

Pitch Perfect: Better than Glee, more grown up than High School Musical, this musical comedy about a varsity girl who joins an a cappella group packs a pretty good punch. **** HH

Playing for Keeps: Despite the star-studded line-up, this tale about a jobless former soccer star trying to win back his ex, is nothing more than an incoherent, cringeworthy attempt at a sweeping romance. * DT

Silver Linings Playbook: Director David Russell’s sensitive direction of a talented cast keeps the film on a tricky thematic tightrope which straddles romance and mental illness. **** AP

Searching for Sugarman: Narratively satisfying, Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul’s canny documentary tells the tale of the search for Detroit-born Mexican musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. **** WP

The Gangster Squad: Great ensemble cast in a 1940s gangster movie. ** HR

The Inbetweeners: Film based on the MTV series of the same name, which was cancelled after one series. (Not Reviewed)

The Intouchables: a feel-good movie about a distinctly feel-bad subject, quadriplegia. *** WP

The Words: Bradley Cooper and those gorgeous eyes of his are so mesmerising you’ll forgive the overly complicated plot and under-developed characters.*** TS

Wreck-It Ralph: Stepping into the world of video arcade games, Disney manages to create a sophisticated story about humanity, using cgi characters. **** TS


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