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Now showing at ArtHouse Crouch End 159A,Tottenham Lane,London N8 9BT 020 8245 3099

  • '71
  • Gone Girl
  • Guardian Live: Russell Brand In Conversation
  • Ida
  • NT Live Encore Screening: A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Pride

'71 4 stars

movie title

Gary Hook finishes his training with other squaddies and is immediately dispatched to 1971 Belfast to facilitate a fragile peace in the city. On his first day on the streets, Gary becomes embroiled in a riot and he is separated from the other British soldiers. Chased down alleyways by an army gang of militia who want him dead, Gary is trapped in an alien environment far from the safety of his barracks, unable to distinguish between allies and foes.

  • GenreAction, Drama, Thriller, War
  • CastSam Reid, Jack O'Connell, Sean Harris, Sam Hazeldine.
  • DirectorYann Demange.
  • WriterGregory Burke.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration99 mins
  • Official site
  • Release10/10/2014 (selected cinemas)

A teenage soldier becomes separated from his platoon in the cauldron of violence of 1971 Belfast in Yann Demange's nail-biting survival thriller. Punctuated by kinetic action sequences that relentlessly tighten the knot of tension in our stomachs, '71 is a dazzling debut from the TV director, who made the acclaimed Channel 4 series Top Boy.

Demange puts leading man Jack O'Connell through the physical wringer as he explores the sectarian divide through the eyes of a wet-behind-the-ears recruit, who is marked for death by the provisional IRA and supposed allies.

Juddering handheld camerawork during chase sequences and a nerve-racking game of hide and seek keep us uncomfortably close to the carnage, and only a few hours after the stricken soldier has foolishly assured his kid brother that this first tour of duty will be a breeze: "I'm not leaving the country so you've got nothing to worry about." Home is where the heartbreak is.

Squaddie Gary Hook (O'Connell) completes his gruelling training and is immediately dispatched to the Northern Irish capital to facilitate the fragile peace. Under the command of platoon leader Lieutenant Armitage (Sam Reid), Gary and fellow recruits head to the Catholic west.

At first, hostility amounts to little more than potty-mouthed children throwing water bombs full of urine. However, a house-to-house search spirals out of control and during the subsequent riot, Gary and pal Thommo (Jack Lowden) are left behind.

A small gang of provisional IRA comprising ruthless leader Quinn (Killian Scott), sidekick Haggerty (Martin McCann) and newbie Sean (Barry Keoghan) shoot Thommo at close range but Gary escapes, sprinting down alleyways with the gun-toting assailants in pursuit. Thankfully, Gary finds sanctuary and as night falls, he traces a path back to the barracks under cover of darkness.

A boy called Billy (Corey McKinley) offers assistance but when the tyke's makeshift plan goes horribly wrong, Gary turns to Brigid (Charlie Murphy) and her father, Eamon (Richard Dormer), a former army medic, who has had his fill of the uniform. "You're just a piece of meat to them," Eamon warns Gary.

'71 masterfully sustains tension without getting bogged down in the thorny politics of the era. Nerves are shredded to tatters in the opening half hour and screenwriter Gregory Burke wrings every drop of suspense from his neat set-up.

A detour to a loyalist pub is orchestrated and edited with brio. O'Connell follows up his bruising portrayal of a young offender in Starred Up with another emotionally charged performance, holding his character's fears at bay until that particular dam bursts and sobs rack his aching body.

Lines between allies and adversaries are repeatedly blurred, stacking the odds heavily against Gary as he ducks for cover, and we hunker down with him, brows beaded with sweat and knuckles white with fear.

Gone Girl 4 stars

movie title

On her fifth wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne vanishes without trace. Her husband Nick works with the police to front a high-profile media campaign to secure the safe return of his "amazing Amy". In the glare of the spotlight, fractures appear in the Dunnes' marriage and police and public both question Nick's innocence. With Amy's creepy ex-boyfriend Desi Collings as another suspect, Detectives Rhonda Boney and Jim Gilpin search for answers.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastNeil Patrick Harris, Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Boyd Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, Missi Pyle, Patrick Fugit, Kim Dickens.
  • DirectorDavid Fincher.
  • WriterGillian Flynn.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration149 mins
  • Official sitewww.gonegirlmovie.cok
  • Release02/10/2014

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to Gone Girl. If, like me, you haven't read Gillian Flynn's 2012 psychological thriller and you know nothing of the serpentine twists that propelled the novel to the top of the bestsellers list then jealously guard your cluelessness.

There's an undeniable delight watching Flynn wrong-foot us with this spiky satire on media manipulation and the glossy facade of celebrity marriages. When the central characters promise to love, honour and obey, till death do them part, one of them takes that vow very seriously.

Admittedly, you have to dig deep beneath the surface of David Fincher's polished film to find the jet black humour but it's there, walking hand-in-hand with sadism and torture that propel the narrative towards its unconventional denouement.

The film version of Gone Girl is distinguished by a career-best performance from Rosamund Pike as the pretty wife, who vanishes without trace on her fifth wedding anniversary and is presumed dead at the hands of her handsome husband (Ben Affleck).

Pike has to plumb the depths of human emotion in a demanding and complex role, by turns brittle and steely, terrified and driven. She's almost certain to earn her first Oscar nomination.

In stark contrast, Affleck is solid but little more as the spouse who pleads his ignorance but hides secrets from the people he adores. As battles of the sexes go, it's a resolutely one-sided skirmish.

On the morning of his anniversary, Nick Dunne (Affleck) calls detectives Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) to his home. There are signs of a struggle and his wife Amy (Pike) is missing.

Nick's sister Margo (Carrie Coon), who has never liked Amy, assures her sibling that everything will be fine. "Whoever took her's bound to bring her back," she quips cattily.

Nick and Amy's distraught parents (David Clennon, Lisa Beth) front a high-profile media campaign to secure the safe return of "amazing Amy". In the glare of the spotlight, fractures appear in the Dunnes' marriage and police and public question Nick's innocence.

Gone Girl holds our attention for the majority of the bloated 149-minute running time, with a couple of lulls and a disjointed final act. Pike's mesmerising theatrics light up the screen and there is strong support from Neil Patrick Harris as Amy's creepy old flame.

Fincher's direction is lean, complemented by snappy editing and a discordant score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who won the Oscar for their music to The Social Network.

Once you regain your balance from Flynn pulling the rug from under your feet, this is a slick yet slightly underwhelming whodunit that doesn't quite scale the dizzy heights of shock and suspense previously achieved by Jagged Edge, The Usual Suspects or indeed, Fincher's 2005 film, Se7en.

Guardian Live: Russell Brand In Conversation 3 stars

Live broadcast.

  • GenreSpecial
  • CastRussell Brand.
  • Official site

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 23rd October 2014

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Ida 3 stars

movie title

Eighteen-year-old orphan Anna has been raised in a convent in 1960s Poland and she has devoted her life to the Lord under the watchful gaze of the Mother Superior. As Anna prepares to become a nun, Mother Superior insists that the young woman reconnect with her past by visiting her sole living relative. So Anna abandons the safety of the convent and travels to meet her aunt Wanda, who discloses that Anna's real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation.

  • GenreDrama, Romance, World
  • CastJoanna Kulig, Agata Trzebuchowska, Halina Skoczynska.
  • DirectorPawel Pawlikowski.
  • WriterPawel Pawlikowski, Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
  • CountryPol/Den
  • Duration82 mins
  • Official sitewww.ida-movie.com
  • Release26/09/2014 (selected cinemas)

Polish-born British director Pawel Pawlikowski, who won a BAFTA for My Summer Of Love, films in his homeland for the first time in this emotional 1960s-set drama. Eighteen-year-old orphan Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) has been raised in a convent and she has devoted her life to the Lord under the watchful gaze of the Mother Superior (Halina Skoczynska). As Anna prepares to become a nun, Mother Superior insists that the young woman reconnect with her past by visiting her sole living relative. So Anna abandons the safety of the convent and travels to meet her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), a cynical Communist Party insider, who discloses that Anna's real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation devastates Anna and she embarks on a heart-wrenching journey back to her family's house in the countryside to unlock the secrets of her tragic past.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
Thursday 23rd October 2014

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NT Live Encore Screening: A Streetcar Named Desire 3 stars

Recorded live at the Young Vic in London, Benedict Andrews's critically acclaimed staging casts Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster and Vanessa Kirby in Tennessee Williams's New Orleans-set drama about the fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois and her torment at the hands of her brutish brother-in-law Stanley.

Recorded live at the Young Vic in London, Benedict Andrews's critically acclaimed staging casts Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster and Vanessa Kirby in Tennessee Williams's New Orleans-set drama about the fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois and her torment at the hands of her brutish brother-in-law Stanley.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 22nd October 2014

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Pride 5 stars

movie title

Mark Ashton is the charismatic and outspoken leader of impassioned campaigners, who operate out of the Gay's The Word bookshop in London. Reading news stories about the miner's strike, Mark recognises a cause to champion. "Mining communities are being bullied just like we are," he tells his coterie and they form LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - with the intention of raising funds for a randomly selected Welsh community.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Historical/Period
  • CastBill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Ben Schnetzer, George MacKay, Jessica Gunning, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton, Joseph Gilgun.
  • DirectorMatthew Warchus.
  • WriterStephen Beresford.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration120 mins
  • Official sitewww.pridemovie.co.uk
  • Release12/09/2014

Theatre director Matthew Warchus, who succeeds Kevin Spacey as artistic director of the Old Vic in London next year, will need to de-clutter his awards-laden mantelpiece. His second feature film is a barnstorming culture-clash comedy drama based on the inspirational true story of a group of gays and lesbians, who supported the miners during the 1984 strike and raised thousands of pounds for beleaguered communities, which dared to stand up to the Thatcher government.

This uplifting story of solidarity in the face of adversity and police intimidation is an absolute joy; an unabashed, irresistible crowd-pleaser in the magnificent mould of The Full Monty and Billy Elliot that rouses the audience to bellowing laughter while choking back a deluge of hot, salty tears.

Pride embraces and subverts stereotypes, deftly weaving together stories of personal triumph and anguish as the spectre of Aids casts a long shadow over the gay community.

Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) is the charismatic and outspoken leader of young, impassioned campaigners, who operate out of the Gay's The Word bookshop in London run by Gethin (Andrew Scott). Reading news stories about the miner's strike, Mark recognises a cause to champion.

"Mining communities are being bullied just like we are," he tells his coterie comprising Mike (Joseph Gilgun), Jonathan (Dominic West), Jeff (Freddie Fox), Steph (Faye Marsay) and closeted new boy, Joe (George MacKay). They form LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners - and rattle tins for a randomly selected Welsh community.

Mining representative Dai (Paddy Considine) invites Mark and co to the Dulais Valley where committee members Hefina (Imelda Staunton), Cliff (Bill Nighy) and Sian (Jessica Gunning) embrace the fund-raisers with open arms. However, some of the locals are repulsed.

"We're being backed up by perverts," sneers homophobic mother Maureen (Lisa Palfrey), kindling conflict between some of the neighbours and the LGSM.

Pride is a life-affirming ode to tolerance, acceptance and self-belief that defiantly lives up to its title, waving a flag for stellar home-grown filmmaking.

Performances are exemplary, ignoring a few wobbles with the Welsh accents, including a fiery turn from Schnetzer as a fresh-faced trailblazer and sobs aplenty from Mackay as the catering student, who cannot conceal his sexuality forever.

Scriptwriter Stephen Beresford strikes a perfect balance between hilarity and heartbreak, sharing polished one-liners among the ensemble cast including Menna Trussler as a clucky old dear, who labours under the illusion that all lesbians are vegetarians.

Warchus' film builds to a rousing crescendo that delivers a knock-out emotional wallop and opens the floodgates. As Frankie Goes To Hollywood professed during that turbulent summer of 1984: "When two tribes go to war/A point is all you can score." The characters in Pride score their points with unbridled passion and wit.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
Thursday 23rd October 2014

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