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Murder on the Orient Express

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The best thing about this movie is the opening scene. We meet Hercule Poirot and his unique personality, and moustache in the middle of avoiding a religious war at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, and things are off to a great start. The story flows and so does the action, and before we know it, we find ourselves along with Poirot on the Orient Express from Istanbul to London.

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The Party

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Sally Potter has a history of making arty films dating back to her best-known work Orlando (1992), though she made her first super 8 film at the age of just fourteen. The Party is a low budget, black and white affair shot in a fortnight and restricted to just seven characters. The film works because Sally Potter’s script has a keen eye for middle class hypocrisy and pretentiousness, the sharp lines delivered by a classy cast.

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Dunkirk

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Director Christoper Nolan lets us experience ‘Dunkirk’ by means of three storylines: one on land, one in the air, and one on the sea. With dialogue being minimal, it is all about the combination of visuals and Hans Zimmer’s nerve-wracking score to tell the story. And that works very well.

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War for the Planet of the Apes

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What a pleasant surprise. A third instalment in a blockbuster franchise remake that actually holds up to the original. I would even say that of all nine Planet of the Apes movies and remakes (yes, I have seen all of them…), this one ranks as number 2, second only to the 1968 original.

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Miss Sloane

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Elizabeth Sloane is a high-powered Washington political lobbyist at the top of her game, but makes a surprise career move when presented with the chance to take on the gun lobby on a bill to enforce background checks for all on gun buyers. Does she really believe in the cause, or is she simply intrigued by the challenge of “winning big, bigger than I ever have before”, despite the formidable opposition of the well-funded gun lobby…

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

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Do we really need another re-telling of the King Arthur Legend? Apparently the studio was pretty convinced about it, as this version was given a budget of $175m. What do we get for that? Well first of all we don’t really get a re-telling, rather Guy Ritchie’s re-imagining of the story. And we don’t get the whole story – there are ambitions for this to be a new Movie Universe with this first movie being Arthur’s origins story.

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The Duellists

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Ridley Scott’s debut as director is a historical drama, based on a Joseph Conrad story, set in the time of Napoleon. An impetuous hussar lieutenant Feraud (played by Harvey Keitel) stabs the son of an influential mayor in a duel, and another lieutenant d’Hubert (played by Keith Carradine) is sent to arrest him. Keitel’s character, rather than returning to barracks, challenges his arresting officer to a duel instead, though both survive the encounter.

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Their Finest

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Catrin Cole (played by Gemma Arterton) appears married to a handsome but struggling artist/painter Ellis Cole (Jack Huston), and against his wishes decides to get a job in order to shore up the couple’s frail finances. She is hired as a writer to help the established writing team. Catrin is sent to investigate a potentially stirring tale of a pair of twin sisters who take their drink father’s boat to Dunkirk to help in the rescue, and concludes that, despite some serious issues, the material may make a flagship propaganda film.

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Uncanny

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The more a robot looks like a real human, the more empathy most people have for it. If a robot becomes almost ‘real’ in its looks, movements and interactions, many people suddenly experience a huge drop in empathy where it can even flip to extreme dislike – this stage of human replicas being almost truly lifelike, but not quite right, is known is the Uncanny Valley.

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The Accountant

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You can envision the pitch to the studio now: “like Jason Bourne, but with an autistic accountant.” It is tough to make an engaging movie about autism without Dustin Hoffmann, more so about an accountant. So it is fortunate that the main character is a dab hand at martial arts and high calibre weapons as well as being a whiz with figures.

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