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Now showing at ArtHouse Crouch End 159A,Tottenham Lane,London N8 9BT 020 8245 3099

  • A Most Wanted Man
  • Before I Go To Sleep
  • Hide Your Smiling Faces
  • Olly The Little White Van
  • Pride
  • Secretary
  • Tarzan
  • The Boxtrolls (Parent And Baby Screening)
  • Two Days, One Night

A Most Wanted Man 4 stars

movie title

German intelligence operative Gunther Bachmann hopes to identify and break up terrorist cells by extracting information from the local Muslim community. He believes but cannot prove that philanthropist Dr Abdullah is channelling funds to one such cell. The surveillance operation on Abdullah becomes complicated when Chechen refugee Issa Karpov enters Hamburg illegally and is identified as a terrorist by Russian intelligence.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Thriller
  • CastRachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Bruhl, Nina Hoss, Homayoun Ershadi, Grigory Dobrygin.
  • DirectorAnton Corbijn.
  • WriterAndrew Bovell.
  • CountryUK/US/Ger
  • Duration121 mins
  • Official sitewww.amostwantedmanmovie.com
  • Release12/09/2014

Great actors don't just play a role, they become the role, vanishing beneath the skin of a character so every word and gesture appears organic. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one such rare talent. On stage and screen, his emotional range and versatility were breath-taking including a bravura embodiment of Truman Capote that won him the triple whammy of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Award.

He was heart-breaking as a boom-mike operator in Boogie Nights, whose crush on a porn star ends in humiliating rejection, hilarious as a maverick CIA agent in Charlie Wilson's War and monstrous as a charismatic cult leader in The Master. Each physically and emotionally demanding role fitted him like a glove.

A Most Wanted Man is distinguished by Hoffman's final performance in a leading role and it's a typically understated yet riveting portrayal of a German intelligence agent, who lives on his nerves and occasional swigs of whisky or puffs of a cigarette.

Based on the 2008 novel of the same name by John Le Carre, Anton Corbijn's slow-burning espionage thriller steadily cranks up the tension, building to a nerve-jangling finale that has us holding our breaths.

Chechen refugee Issa Karpov (Grigory Dobrygin) enters Hamburg illegally and seeks refuge with a kind Turkish woman (Derya Alabora) and her son (Tamer Yigit). They put Issa in touch with immigration lawyer Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) and Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe), who is head of the private bank used by Issa's sadistic father to store his ill-gotten coffers.

German intelligence operative Gunther Bachmann (Hoffman) and his team comprising right-hand woman Irna Frey (Nina Hoss) and juniors Maximillian (Daniel Bruhl) and Niki (Vicky Kreps) identify Issa as an escaped militant jihadist.

They choose not to arrest him but use Issa as bait to snag Muslim academic and philanthropist Dr Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), who is suspected of channelling funds to terrorist Islamic organisations. Gunther and his team exert pressure on Richter and Brue to coerce Issa into donating his father's money to Abdullah.

However, the plan doesn't unfold smoothly and Gunther's operation faces intense scrutiny from high-ranking CIA operative Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright), whose view of humanity is summed up when she observes, "Every good man has a little bit of bad, doesn't he?"

Like the 2011 film adaptation of Le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, A Most Wanted Man delights in the minutiae of the spy game. Expertly choreographed scenes of surveillance are punctuated by verbal fireworks and threats of violence.

Corbijn refuses to be rushed - even when he is orchestrating a chase by train and car, which is as close as the film comes to a conventional action sequence. Hoffman's nuanced, world-weary performance is complemented by a uniformly excellent international cast. It's a splendid swansong.

Before I Go To Sleep 4 stars

movie title

Following an accident, 47-year-old wife Christine Lucas suffers from anterograde amnesia. She wakes each morning without any memory or who she is or how she came to be sleeping in a strange bed next to a man she does not know. Consumed by fear, Christine races into the bathroom where a series of photographs on the wall begin to fill in the blanks, letting her know that the man is her husband Ben and they have shared many happy years together.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastColin Firth, Mark Strong, Nicole Kidman, Anne-Marie Duff.
  • DirectorRowan Joffe.
  • WriterRowan Joffe.
  • CountryUS/UK/Fr/S
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official site
  • Release05/09/2014

There has been a rich harvest of taut thrillers in 2014 including the independent American features Blue Ruin and Cold In July and gritty British films Locke and Starred Up. With David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl looming on the horizon, this is undoubtedly a year when audiences will catch themselves returning to filthy habits and furiously biting their nails in the dark of an unbearably tense cinema. Before I Go To Sleep is guaranteed to jangle nerves and drop a few jaws as summer mellows into autumn. Based on SJ Watson's best-selling novel, this ingenious thriller places us in exactly the same hellish predicament as the heroine, who wakes up each morning without any memory of the past, including her own identity. Through the eyes of this terrified wife, we absorb scraps of information from supposedly reliable sources and try to piece together the truth, unsure if writer-director Rowan Joffe is leading us a merry, sadistic dance. Following a car accident, 47-year-old Christine Lucas (Nicole Kidman) is diagnosed with anterograde amnesia. Each morning, she wakes in a strange bed next to a man she does not know and creeps into the adjacent bathroom where a series of photographs on the wall begin to fill in the blanks, letting her know that the man is her husband Ben (Colin Firth) and they have shared many happy years together. "You store up information for a day, wake up, and it's all gone," explains Ben, whose love for his wife holds strong. He leaves for work and Christine continues to learn about her past from information in the house. Then she receives a mysterious telephone call from someone called Dr Nash (Mark Strong), who instructs her to look in the wardrobe. "We've been keeping a video diary. I'm not sure Ben knows," confides the medic. The subsequent footage casts doubt on the facts that underpin Christine's fragile existence. "Don't trust anyone!" whispers Christine to herself in the video diary, tears glistening in her eyes. As Christine reconnects with Claire (Anne-Marie Duff), who is supposedly her best friend, contradictory testimonies drive her to the brink of insanity. Before I Go To Sleep drips-feeds us fragmented flashbacks, clouding our judgement of characters as they orbit Christine, purportedly out of love. Kidman captures the fragility of a woman at the mercy of her condition, who knows she must stare into the abyss before sleep robs her of a day's detective work. Firth and Strong offer sterling support and Joffe cranks up the tension masterfully with each hairpin twist. The guessing game of who to trust is part of the film's diabolical appeal and the script engineers some wonderful bluffs until a gasp-inducing big reveal that should have audiences teetering precariously on the edge of their seats.

Hide Your Smiling Faces 3 stars

movie title

Eric and his younger sibling Tommy play on the railway bridge close to their home, wrestle in fields, swim in a lake and lark about. The summer stretches out before them until the body of one of Tommy's friends is found at the base of the bridge. The reason for the boy's demise is unclear. Tommy struggles to process his sense of loss, but Eric is affected deeply by his grief and he expresses his feelings with occasional outbursts of violence.

  • GenreDrama, Indie
  • CastNathan Varnson, Ryan Jones, Colm O'Leary.
  • DirectorDaniel Patrick Carbone.
  • WriterDaniel Patrick Carbone.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration80 mins
  • Official sitewww.hideyoursmilingfaces.com
  • Release01/08/2014 (selected cinemas)

Daniel Patrick Carbone's impressive debut feature is a sensitive portrait of adolescence, centred on two brothers whose carefree formative years are shattered by tragedy. Eric (Nathan Varnson) looks out for his younger sibling Tommy (Ryan Jones). The lads play on the railway bridge close to their home, wrestle in fields, swim in a lake and lark about. The summer stretches out before them until the body of one of Tommy's friends is found at the base of the bridge. The reason for the boy's demise is unclear. Tommy struggles to process his sense of loss, but Eric is affected deeply by his grief and he expresses his feelings with occasional outbursts of violence. In the midst of this emotional maelstrom, Eric also becomes concerned about one of his friends, who seems to be teetering on the brink of committing suicide.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Monday 22nd September 2014

Olly The Little White Van 3 stars

  • GenreAnimation/Cartoon
  • CountryUK
  • Official site

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 23rd September 2014

Pride 5 stars

movie title

Mark Ashton is the charismatic and outspoken leader of impassioned campaigners, who operate out of the Gay's The Word bookshop in London. Reading news stories about the miner's strike, Mark recognises a cause to champion. "Mining communities are being bullied just like we are," he tells his coterie and they form LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - with the intention of raising funds for a randomly selected Welsh community.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period
  • CastBill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Ben Schnetzer, George MacKay, Jessica Gunning, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton, Joseph Gilgun.
  • DirectorMatthew Warchus.
  • WriterStephen Beresford.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration120 mins
  • Official sitewww.pridemovie.co.uk
  • Release12/09/2014

Theatre director Matthew Warchus, who succeeds Kevin Spacey as artistic director of the Old Vic in London next year, will need to de-clutter his awards-laden mantelpiece. His second feature film is a barnstorming culture-clash comedy drama based on the inspirational true story of a group of gays and lesbians, who supported the miners during the 1984 strike and raised thousands of pounds for beleaguered communities, which dared to stand up to the Thatcher government.

This uplifting story of solidarity in the face of adversity and police intimidation is an absolute joy; an unabashed, irresistible crowd-pleaser in the magnificent mould of The Full Monty and Billy Elliot that rouses the audience to bellowing laughter while choking back a deluge of hot, salty tears.

Pride embraces and subverts stereotypes, deftly weaving together stories of personal triumph and anguish as the spectre of Aids casts a long shadow over the gay community.

Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) is the charismatic and outspoken leader of young, impassioned campaigners, who operate out of the Gay's The Word bookshop in London run by Gethin (Andrew Scott). Reading news stories about the miner's strike, Mark recognises a cause to champion.

"Mining communities are being bullied just like we are," he tells his coterie comprising Mike (Joseph Gilgun), Jonathan (Dominic West), Jeff (Freddie Fox), Steph (Faye Marsay) and closeted new boy, Joe (George MacKay). They form LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - and rattle tins for a randomly selected Welsh community.

Mining representative Dai (Paddy Considine) invites Mark and co to the Dulais Valley where committee members Hefina (Imelda Staunton), Cliff (Bill Nighy) and Sian (Jessica Gunning) embrace the fund-raisers with open arms. However, some of the locals are repulsed.

"We're being backed up by perverts," sneers homophobic mother Maureen (Lisa Palfrey), kindling conflict between some of the neighbours and the LGSM.

Pride is a life-affirming ode to tolerance, acceptance and self-belief that defiantly lives up to its title, waving a flag for stellar home-grown filmmaking.

Performances are exemplary, ignoring a few wobbles with the Welsh accents, including a fiery turn from Schnetzer as a fresh-faced trailblazer and sobs aplenty from Mackay as the catering student, who cannot conceal his sexuality forever.

Scriptwriter Stephen Beresford strikes a perfect balance between hilarity and heartbreak, sharing polished one-liners among the ensemble cast including Menna Trussler as a clucky old dear, who labours under the illusion that all lesbians are vegetarians.

Warchus' film builds to a rousing crescendo that delivers a knock-out emotional wallop and opens the floodgates. As Frankie Goes To Hollywood professed during that turbulent summer of 1984: "When two tribes go to war/A point is all you can score." The characters in Pride score their points with unbridled passion and wit.

Secretary 4 stars

Shy and demure twentysomething Lee Holloway has always lived in the shadow of her domineering mother. By chance, she applies for a job as secretary to low rent lawyer Mr Grey, who reacts to typing errors and poor etiquette with sadomasochistic punishments. Lee enjoys her beatings at Mr Grey's hands and she begins to intentionally make mistakes to incur his wrath.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Romance
  • CastMaggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader, Jeremy Davies.
  • DirectorSteven Shainberg.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration111 mins
  • Official site
  • Release16/05/2003 (selected cinemas)

James Spader is no stranger to films dealing with sexual deviancy and experimentation, having bared all in Steven Soderbergh's award-winning sex, lies and videotape and, more recently, David Cronenberg's controversial Crash. In Steven Shainberg's twisted black comedy, he essays one of his most memorable characters yet, a repressed attorney who is scared to unleash the sexual demons within. Good as Spader undoubtedly is, the film belongs to rising starlet Maggie Gyllenhaal, whose courageous and incendiary lead performance blisters and melts the celluloid. She is a mesmerising screen presence, her heroine blossoming before our eyes from a wide-eyed shrinking violet into a voracious sexual predator. Shy and demure twentysomething Lee Holloway (Gyllenhaal) has always lived in the shadow of her domineering mother Joan (Lesley Ann Warren), and has taken to self-mutilation to ease her woes. By chance, she applies for a job as secretary to low rent, compulsive-obsessive lawyer Mr Grey (Spader), who reacts to typing errors and poor etiquette with sadomasochistic punishments. Lee enjoys her beatings at Mr Grey's hands and she begins to intentionally make mistakes to incur his wrath. When he realises his secretary's ruse, Mr Grey tries to restore their relationship to a purely business arrangement, but a potent cocktail of lust and desire gradually consumes the pair. As Lee's raging passions simmer over, so her relationship with boyfriend Peter (Jeremy Davies) feels the strain. Secretary is a modern day fairy-tale about two lost souls who find happiness together by succumbing to the darker side of their emotions. Screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson beautifully expands the short story by Mary Gaitskill, sidestepping any accusations of misogyny or exploitation by showing Lee as an active and willing participation in the office sex games, ultimately empowering herself by submitting to the will and desires of her boss. Indeed, Lee emerges the stronger of the two characters, embracing her sexual freedom while Mr Grey tries to deny his secret yearnings. As with Shainberg's film, to resist is futile.

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Saturday 20th September 2014

Tarzan 3 stars

John Greystoke, the intrepid CEO of Greystoke Energies, ventures deep into the jungle with his wife Alice and their young son. Their helicopter crashes, killing everyone on board except the young Greystoke heir, who is rescued and raised by apes. As an adult, Tarzan encounters humans once again when beautiful environmentalist Jane Porter arrives in the jungle with William Clayton, the Machiavellian new CEO of Greystoke Energies.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Drama, Family, Family, Romance
  • CastJaime Ray Newman, Robert Capron, Kellan Lutz, Trevor St John, Spencer Locke, Mark Deklin.
  • DirectorReinhard Klooss.
  • WriterReinhard Klooss, Jessica Postigo.
  • CountryGer
  • Duration99 mins
  • Official site
  • Release02/05/2014

Since his debut on the pages of a 1912 magazine, Edgar Rice Burroughs's fictional ape man has swung into the affections of successive generations thanks to re-imaginings on the small and big screens. Former Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller famously portrayed the heroic king of the jungle during the 1930s and 1940s flanked by his plucky chimpanzee sidekick Cheeta.

And most recently, Disney immortalised literary myth as an animation feature, a short-lived Broadway musical, spin-off TV series and video games. Now it falls to German filmmaker Reinhard Klooss to put a distinctly modern spin on Burroughs's source text.

Don't be misled by the colourful visuals of this computer-animated adventure and early scenes of comical monkey business. This adaptation isn't a cutesy caper aimed predominantly at children. Tragedy stalks every frame and a couple of sequences, which result in the demise of pivotal characters, could be too scary for the very young.

To enforce the film's modern sensibilities, a rousing burst of Coldplay's anthem Paradise accompanies Tarzan and Jane's romantic swim, replete with longing glances as the protagonists splash about in the water.

John Greystoke (voiced by Mark Deklin) ventures deep into the jungle with his wife Alice (Jaime Ray Newman) and their young son to search for the impact site of an ancient meteorite, which is rumoured to possess immense power.

By chance, as the Greystokes leave the jungle in their helicopter, they stumble upon the meteorite but magnetic interference propels the craft into the mountainside, killing everyone on board except the young Greystoke heir.

The child is rescued and raised by apes and is rechristened Tarzan. As an adult, Tarzan (now voiced by Kellan Lutz) encounters humans once again when beautiful environmentalist Jane Porter (Spencer Locke) arrives in the jungle with William Clayton (Trevor St John), the Machiavellian new CEO of Greystoke Energies.

He also seeks the elusive meteorite and its limitless power and hopes that Jane's father Jim (Les Bubb) will help him. "That's a very pretty daughter you've got there. We wouldn't want anything to happen to her, would we?" snarls Clayton.

Tarzan is a slick yet unsatisfying reworking that struggles to marry the legend with a perplexing subtext about mankind's unsustainable depletion of the earth's resources. Lutz beats his chest on cue to deliver his hero's iconic cry and stilted dialogue including, "Me Tarzan, you Jane".

Locke essays a spunky heroine but she's poorly served by the flimsy script while St John's pantomime villain encourages the audience to hiss and boo his every underhand move.

The introduction of the mysterious meteorite to the jungle is an unwelcome distraction that draws parallels with the extra-terrestrial mumbo jumbo in the fourth Indiana Jones film. An unhappy marriage of something old, something new - that leaves us feeling blue.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Saturday 20th September 2014
Sunday 21st September 2014

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The Boxtrolls (Parent And Baby Screening) 4 stars

movie title

An orphaned boy named Eggs is raised by gentle subterranean creatures that have been unfairly demonised by the terrified, fromage-fixated residents of Cheesebridge. When pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher and his henchmen begin to exterminate the Boxtrolls, Eggs joins forces with the surviving creatures and a girl called Winnie to protect the beasties from harm.

  • GenreAdaptation, Adventure, Animation/Cartoon, Comedy, Family, Family, Fantasy
  • CastNick Frost, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Sir Ben Kingsley.
  • DirectorGraham Annable, Anthony Stacchi.
  • WriterIrena Brignull, Adam Pava.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration97 mins
  • Official sitewww.theboxtrolls.co.uk
  • Release12/09/2014

Based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls is a rollicking stop-motion animated romp from the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman that proves weird can be truly wonderful. With faint echoes of Raymond Briggs' Fungus The Bogeyman, Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi's quirky fantasy imagines a race of subterranean creatures, who root through bins in search of spare parts for their mechanical creations.

Despite a hearty appetite for slimy bugs, these pungent, green-skinned denizens of the underworld are cute rather than scary, possessing relatable human traits such as a passion for music or a quivering fear of the unknown. They spare troll blushes by wearing empty cardboard boxes and the former contents of these mouldering cartons provide each expressive character with a name such as Fish, Knickers, Sweets, Clocks and Fragile (ho ho!).

The meticulous detail of the movable figures and miniature sets is impressive, and co-directors Annable and Stacchi corral a vast team of animators, who produce thrilling chases and quieter moments of ribald humour.

The well-to-do, Victorian-era city of Cheesebridge is visited under the cloak of darkness by the eponymous beasties. One dark night, a Boxtroll called Fish (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) kidnaps the infant son of a local inventor (Simon Pegg) and spirits away the child to the underground lair.

This shocking act plays into the grubby hands of pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Sir Ben Kingsley). "Prepare to say bye-bye to your brie, cheerio to your cheddar!" cackles Snatcher, striking fear into the heart of Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) and the other fromage-fixated noblemen.

They grant Snatcher a place at the cheese-tasting top table if the exterminator and his henchmen - Mr Trout (Nick Frost), Mr Pickles (Richard Ayoade) and Mr Gristle (Tracy Morgan) - kill every last Boxtroll. Unaware that he is human, abducted boy Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) ventures above ground with the Boxtrolls and encounters Lord Portley-Rind's snooty daughter, Winnie (Elle Fanning).

She initially believes the horror stories about Boxtrolls devouring children - "Eat me. I'm sure I'm delicious!" - but once Winnie learns the truth about Eggs' past, she agrees to help vanquish Snatcher and his snivelling cohorts.

The Boxtrolls is a delight for the young and young at heart, hinging on the notion that families come in all shapes and sizes. Irena Brignull and Adam Pava's script is laden with verbal and visual gags, striking a gently mischievous tone throughout like when Winnie spots Eggs tugging at the crotch of his uncomfortable suit and whispers, "Don't snatch them in public. That's why they are called privates!"

Frost, Ayoade and Morgan provide the majority of the comic relief between action-packed set-pieces. Remain seated during the end credits for a hilarious scene of existential angst, which succinctly reminds us how pain-staking and time-consuming the stop-motion animation process is.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 24th September 2014

Two Days, One Night 3 stars

movie title

Sandra suffers a nervous breakdown and is forced to take time off from her job. In her absence, her colleagues discover they can cover her shifts by working slightly longer hours and management proposes a 1,000 Euro bonus to all staff if they agree to make Sandra redundant. When she returns to work and discovers that her fate rests in the hands of her 16 co-workers, Sandra must visit each of them over the course of a weekend to persuade them to reject the monetary bonus and keep her on instead.

  • GenreDrama, World
  • CastPili Groyne, Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione.
  • DirectorLuc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne.
  • WriterLuc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne.
  • CountryBel/Ita/Fr
  • Duration95 mins
  • Official site
  • Release22/08/2014 (selected cinemas)

Belgian filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne received rave reviews at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for this emotionally wrought drama, which features a tour-de-force lead performance from Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. Sandra (Cotillard) is a wife and mother, who works in a solar panel factory. She suffers a nervous breakdown and is forced to take time off from her job. In her absence, her colleagues discover they can cover her shifts by working slightly longer hours and management proposes a 1,000 Euro bonus to all staff if they agree to make Sandra redundant. When she returns to work and discovers that her fate rests in the hands of her 16 co-workers, Sandra must visit each of them over the course of a weekend to try and persuade at least nine of them to reject the monetary bonus and keep her on instead. Many of these co-workers desperately need the proposed 1,000 Euro sweetener for their own families so Sandra faces an uphill battle to keep her job before the crucial vote on Monday morning.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 21st September 2014

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