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  • The Butler

    The Butler

    ★★½

    Forrest Gump may have been referring to life and boxes of chocolates when he remarked that “you never know what you’re gonna get”, but he could just have easily been talking about the films of Lee Daniels.

    Following the little-seen crime thriller Shadowboxer (in which Helen Mirren stars as a contract killer – RED doesn’t seem so odd now), Daniels broke out with the rough and tough Precious before going completely off the reservation with 2012′s tawdry slice of American…

  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    ★★★★

    There may be plenty of hunger before we finally get to the games, but it’s more than worth the wait in this bigger, bolder and – yes – better sequel.

    Despite being an international bestseller, nothing was written in stone to suggest Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of young adult sci-fi adventure novels would make a convincing leap to the big screen.

    However, paydirt was well and truly hit with the casting of star-in-waiting Jennifer Lawrence in the central role of Katniss…

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  • Frances Ha

    Frances Ha

    ★★★½

    One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – as Noah Baumbach’s charming tale about arrested development on the too-cool-for-school streets of New York City attests.

    More respected than cherished, Baumbach has made a habit of shining a harsh light on his liberal WASP-ish characters, none more so than in his last three pictures The Squid And The Whale (2005), Margot At The Wedding (2007) and Greenberg (2010), wherein Ben Stiller’s titular misanthrope stumbles along a fine line between amusing…

  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    ★★★★

    A story about people doing anything to survive may not sound like a laugh riot, but David O. Russell’s wild ride through the hair strewn world of 70s era grifters is irresistibly entertaining.

    Russell has a thing for dysfunctional families, from boxer Mickey Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) mouthy clan in The Fighter to the parents of Pat (Bradley Cooper) in Silver Linings Playbook, who are almost as nuts as he is.

    In American Hustle, Russell cranks it up another notch by…