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Cargo

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The zombie genre is certainly alive and well these days. So how do you make another movie about the undead that has something new to offer? Actually, a lot of recent zombie movies aren’t about undead raising from the grave – most of them have some kind of disease as the background to people ‘turning’. The same applies to the zombies in Cargo, but it has two elements that do make it stand out: firstly it is a human story rather than a gore fest; and secondly it is set in the Australian outback.

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Revenge

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Richard (Kevin Janssens) is a wealthy investor who has brought his younger mistress Jen (Matilda Lutz) to a luxury hideaway in a desert. His business partners will join him there for their annual hunting trip, but they show up a day early and meet Jen. She proves too tempting for one of them and after things get completely out of hand the three men leave Jen for dead in the desert. Of course, as it turns out she is not quite dead…

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First Reformed

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Reverend Ernst Toller (an excellent Ethan Hawke) heads a dwindling congregation at a small Dutch Protestant church in upstate New York. He drinks, far too much, since his marriage collapsed after his son died. Now, Toller mostly keeps to himself; he regrets an affair with the choir director who now won’t leave him at peace, and he seems to struggle keeping his faith.

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A Quiet Place

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Humanity has been largely erased by an invasion of blind aliens who hunt their prey with their hearing. This means Silence is Survival. We follow a family trying to do just that. Krasinski plays husband Lee, and his real-life wife Emily Blunt plays his wife Evelyn. Their eldest child, Regan, is deaf (played by deaf actress Millicent Simmonds), which means the family can use sign language to stay silent as they communicate. Of course raising a young family in silence will still prove impossible, and they find themselves in the middle of an alien hunting ground…

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Radius

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This Canadian movie comes straight from the Twilight Zone. It has an intriguing concept to kick things off. A man has been in a car accident but he cannot remember anything – not even his name. As he wanders the roads he finds dead and dying people and animals in his path. Wondering why he isn’t affected by what he assumes to be some kind of virus, he soon figures out what causes the deaths…

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Red Sparrow

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A “sparrow” is the term for a Mata Hari style secret agent, trained to seduce men in pursuit of secrets. Ballerina Dominika Egorova (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is inducted into this life by her uncle Vanya (I know, I know; the Chekov references could be subtler), a spymaster, when her ballet career is cut short by a serious injury. Trained at spy school by the cynical Matron (Charlotte Rampling) and directed by General Korchnoi (Jeremy Irons), Dominika is soon thrust into the cut and thrust world of espionage.

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Wind River

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Wind River is no Hollywood crime thriller. The plot has some genuinely unexpected turns and the acting is fine, but the star is really the mountain landscape, which is striking beautiful yet clearly dangerous. As the main character says: “Luck is for those in the city; here you either survive or surrender.”

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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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Baby Driver

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English director Edgar Wright’s latest and most successful film to date is Baby Driver, which plays fairly straight as a heist movie. Ansel Elgort plays the eponymous “Baby”, a youthful, introverted but preternaturally talented getaway driver who works for criminal big-shot “Doc” (a sauve but occasionally menacing Kevin Spacey), who plans assorted bank robberies and recruits a revolving gang of thugs to carry them out, always with Baby as the driver…

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The Mummy

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Whilst Brandon Fraser has all but disappeared from the big screen, his legacy of The Mummy franchise lives on – and now even gets a reboot with none other than Tom Cruise following in his footsteps. The original series is known for its outright silliness, and this update tries to keep some of that whilst at the same time taking a slightly darker approach: suitable at least in name, as it is the first movie in Universal’s so-called ‘Dark Universe’.

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