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  • Megan Leavey

    Megan Leavey

    ★★★

    Its poster promises some gung-ho wartime patriotism but actually this is quite a sensitive character study of a young woman who joins the Marines to escape an unpromising future at home and learns she has skills in animal handling, as the handler of a bomb sniffer dog. It's tear jerking to be sure but it's effective nonetheless, underpinned by a find performance from Kate Mara (and, er, her German shepherd). It probably won't linger long on the mind, or win any awards, but while it plays it's effective.

  • Rough Night

    Rough Night

    ★★½

    I mean, it's great there are now lowest common denominator films about groups of women rather than bros, but that doesn't make this particularly amazing. There are some laughs but mostly there's some heavy handed Learning About Each Other and a really weird tonal balance between terror (at homicidal crime) and humour. McKinnon isn't great as an Australian but there's plenty of comic depth to the acting talent and it just about scrapes by on their likeability.

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  • Arrival

    Arrival

    ★★★

    There's a sort of sweet hopeful belief in the unifying power of language at work here, and Amy Adams is exactly the face for that, but there's also a mind-bending take on temporal awareness that reminds me of the WTF-ness of Interstellar and which I don't really find quite as fulfilling as the film evidently does. It's all very nice, though muted in its colours and uncluttered in mise en scene, and I sort of want to like it more than I did.

  • Baden Baden

    Baden Baden

    ★★★★

    Trading on all those classic elements of the cinema of self-indulgent continental introspection -- a young woman returns home to her ailing grandmother to tidy up shattered plans, creating new messes to tidy, and reopening some fresh wounds -- but it's done with such verve, such control of the medium, and such fine performances in the lead roles that what initially sounds like it might be drab and unengaging is really compelling. Sure, Ana's life may or may not be…