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24 September 2014

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New releases: Friday 13 January

This week's offerings include a war movie without a war, a gore-free slasher flick, and a plush adaptation of a best-selling novel about a lost and peculiar world...

The Big Picture: Memoirs Of A Geisha

Memoirs Of A Geisha by Chicago helmer Rob Marshall is not a complex drama, but neither is Arthur Golden's best-selling novel (writes Stella Papamichael).

Instead, each provides a sumptuous and absorbing portrayal of a lost and peculiar world.

Memoirs Of A Geisha
Plush: Memoirs Of A Geisha

Shimmering silk and velvet shadows suggest a way of life that is as foreboding as it is seductive.

And Ziyi Zhang (House Of Flying Daggers) delivers a typically subtle yet soulful performance as the geisha itching for freedom beneath the binds of her kimono.

But love rightly takes second place to a coming-of-age story that's enjoyably exotic yet strikes a universal chord.

Unlike the geisha, this adaptation does wear its heart on its sleeve, but a fine cast, including the regal Michelle Yeoh, create a picture of composure.

also out:

Jarhead finds Jake Gyllenhaal's smart-aleck sniper spending most of his time hanging around in the desert dying of boredom, as the fighting stubbornly refuses to get started. A wonder to look at and expertly performed, it's nonetheless a difficult movie to like.

Cillian Murphy dresses up like a woman and wanders around swinging London in Breakfast On Pluto, the latest from Neil 'Crying Game' Jordan. Transvestism is used here as a byword for quirky, but the director ventures too far off the beaten track without a compelling story to carry him through.


Set in one of those Dead Poets Society prep schools where even the janitors drive Porsches, Cry Wolf follows a group of students who invent a psychopathic killer for giggles - only to discover that a real murderer with the same MO is on the loose.

Regrets? Frank Sinatra's got a few when he visits Australia in The Night We Called It A Day, a frothy dramatisation of his 70s tour down under. Dennis Hopper slips into the shoes of Ol' Blue Eyes almost without blinking.


Michael Caine in The Ipcress File
Anti-007 classic The Ipcress File

Self-help therapy is extremely unhealthy for some in The Truth, an uneven mix of comedy and thriller.

Kids breakdown in the middle of nowhere only to be consumed by bats in less-than-impressive horror The Roost.

And the name's Caine, Michael Caine. Anti-007 classic The Ipcress File, which dates back to 1965, gets a reissue as part of the NFT's ongoing Michael Caine season.


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