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  • The Limehouse Golem

    The Limehouse Golem

    ★★★★

    Possibly the year's most unexpected treat; a visually gorgeous and hugely imaginative screen version of Peter Ackroyd's novel, "The Limehouse Golem" is only director Juan Carlos Medina's second film and is something of a triumph in all departments, mixing as it does fact with fiction to brilliant effect. Told almost entirely in flashback, it tells two parallel stories as Inspector Kildare, (a superb Bill Nighy), investigates the murders perpetrated by the Jack-the-Ripper like 'Limehouse Golem' while attempting to prove the…

  • Johnny Mad Dog

    Johnny Mad Dog

    ★★★★★

    From its blistering, shocking opening "Johnny Mad Dog" never lets up. The subject is a civil war in an unnamed African country, but more specifically it deals with the boy soldiers fighting on the side of the rebels and it presents us with a terrifying view of humanity, of a world gone mad or maybe simply of evil run riot. Using a cast of non-professionals Jean-Stephane Sauvaire's film is like a documentary on slaughter; it's certainly one of the most…

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  • '71

    '71

    ★★★★★

    In 1971 I was living on the fringes of Derry's Bogside. On several occasions my home was 'collateral damage' in a number of bombings and I remember lying on the floor of my bedroom in case I might fall victim to a stray bullet from one of the gun-battles raging outside. I drank in pubs that would be bombed in time and I was on the march on Bloody Sunday. Things were bad in Derry in 1971 but they were…

  • 12 Years a Slave

    12 Years a Slave

    ★★★★½

    Never before have the horrors of slavery been shown so powerfully, so movingly and so explicitly on screen as they are in Steve McQueen's remarkable film 12 YEARS A SLAVE. This relentlessly grim film is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from Saratoga, New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He is played brilliantly by the British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and he is virtually never off the screen. It's an incredibly physical…