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Now showing at Cineworld Southampton Ocean Village, 4 Ocean Way,Southampton,Hampshire SO14 3TJ 0871 200 2000

  • A Most Wanted Man
  • Pride
  • Sex Tape

A Most Wanted Man 4 stars

movie title

German intelligence operative Gunther Bachmann hopes to identify and break up terrorist cells by extracting information from the local Muslim community. He believes but cannot prove that philanthropist Dr Abdullah is channelling funds to one such cell. The surveillance operation on Abdullah becomes complicated when Chechen refugee Issa Karpov enters Hamburg illegally and is identified as a terrorist by Russian intelligence.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Thriller
  • CastRachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Bruhl, Nina Hoss, Homayoun Ershadi, Grigory Dobrygin.
  • DirectorAnton Corbijn.
  • WriterAndrew Bovell.
  • CountryUK/US/Ger
  • Duration121 mins
  • Official sitewww.amostwantedmanmovie.com
  • Release12/09/2014

Great actors don't just play a role, they become the role, vanishing beneath the skin of a character so every word and gesture appears organic. Philip Seymour Hoffman was one such rare talent. On stage and screen, his emotional range and versatility were breath-taking including a bravura embodiment of Truman Capote that won him the triple whammy of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Award.

He was heart-breaking as a boom-mike operator in Boogie Nights, whose crush on a porn star ends in humiliating rejection, hilarious as a maverick CIA agent in Charlie Wilson's War and monstrous as a charismatic cult leader in The Master. Each physically and emotionally demanding role fitted him like a glove.

A Most Wanted Man is distinguished by Hoffman's final performance in a leading role and it's a typically understated yet riveting portrayal of a German intelligence agent, who lives on his nerves and occasional swigs of whisky or puffs of a cigarette.

Based on the 2008 novel of the same name by John Le Carre, Anton Corbijn's slow-burning espionage thriller steadily cranks up the tension, building to a nerve-jangling finale that has us holding our breaths.

Chechen refugee Issa Karpov (Grigory Dobrygin) enters Hamburg illegally and seeks refuge with a kind Turkish woman (Derya Alabora) and her son (Tamer Yigit). They put Issa in touch with immigration lawyer Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) and Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe), who is head of the private bank used by Issa's sadistic father to store his ill-gotten coffers.

German intelligence operative Gunther Bachmann (Hoffman) and his team comprising right-hand woman Irna Frey (Nina Hoss) and juniors Maximillian (Daniel Bruhl) and Niki (Vicky Kreps) identify Issa as an escaped militant jihadist.

They choose not to arrest him but use Issa as bait to snag Muslim academic and philanthropist Dr Faisal Abdullah (Homayoun Ershadi), who is suspected of channelling funds to terrorist Islamic organisations. Gunther and his team exert pressure on Richter and Brue to coerce Issa into donating his father's money to Abdullah.

However, the plan doesn't unfold smoothly and Gunther's operation faces intense scrutiny from high-ranking CIA operative Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright), whose view of humanity is summed up when she observes, "Every good man has a little bit of bad, doesn't he?"

Like the 2011 film adaptation of Le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, A Most Wanted Man delights in the minutiae of the spy game. Expertly choreographed scenes of surveillance are punctuated by verbal fireworks and threats of violence.

Corbijn refuses to be rushed - even when he is orchestrating a chase by train and car, which is as close as the film comes to a conventional action sequence. Hoffman's nuanced, world-weary performance is complemented by a uniformly excellent international cast. It's a splendid swansong.

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Thursday 18th September 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.

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Thursday 18th September 2014

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Sex Tape 2 stars

movie title

When they first meet, Jay and Annie cannot keep their hands off each other. Two children later, the opportunities for amorous one-on-one time are few and far between, so, on a rare night together, Annie suggests they make a sex tape. Jay and Annie energetically work their way through every position in The Joy Of Sex but the exhausted husband forgets to erase the video file and it uploads to the cloud and syncs to several other iPads, which the couple have given away as presents.

  • GenreComedy, Romance
  • CastCameron Diaz, Ellie Kemper, Rob Corddry, Jason Segel, Rob Lowe.
  • DirectorJake Kasdan.
  • WriterNicholas Stoller, Kate Angelo, Jason Segel.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration94 mins
  • Official sitesextape-movie.tumblr.com
  • Release03/09/2014

All publicity is good publicity and the rise of "leaked" celebrity sex tapes has certainly extended the fame of media darlings far beyond the allotted 15 minutes. Katie Price and Dane Bowers, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, Paris Hilton and Rick Salomon and Tulisa and rapper Justin Edwards all faced a trial by media when their amorous antics suddenly materialised in the public domain. Sometimes, these homemade escapades jeopardized careers. Chart-topping singer R Kelly faced a protracted legal battle in relation to a video featuring an underage girl, and actor Rob Lowe's image was badly tarnished after footage surfaced of a sexual dalliance with young women aged 16 and 22. Lowe subsequently poked fun at himself when he hosted Saturday Night Live and he continues to wedge tongue in cheek with an eye-catching supporting role in Jake Kasdan's potty-mouthed comedy. Sex Tape is the raunchy tale of a happily married couple, who drunkenly agree to perform every position in The Joy Of Sex on camera for their private delectation. When they first meet, Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) cannot keep their hands off each other and enjoy an impressively gymnastic sex life. Two children later, there are few opportunities for amorous one-on-one time. With their cherubic offspring (Sebastian Hedges Thomas, Giselle Eisenberg) safely entrusted to grandma (Nancy Lenehan), Annie and Jay excitedly agree to make a sex tape. Unfortunately, the exhausted husband forgets to erase the video file and it uploads to the cloud and syncs to several iPads, which the couple have given away as presents. Jay and Annie are horrified when they realise their energetic efforts are available to download to friends, family, the postman and Annie's soon-to-be-boss, Hank (Lowe). When pals Tess (Ellie Kemper) and Robby (Rob Corddry) learn about the existence of the recording, they are aghast, especially Robby who cannot believe Jay performed for three hours. "That's the length of the movie Lincoln!" he gasps enviously. Time is of the essence and Tess and Robby join Jay and Annie as they race through the night to delete the incriminating video file from the iPads and spare their blushes. Sex Tape is a tease that fails to arouse belly laughs or a deep emotional connection to the beleaguered characters. Diaz and Segel, who previously locked horns in saucy comedy Bad Teacher, are an attractive pairing but the script shortchanges them both. A protracted sequence at Hank's palatial home outstays its welcome, replete with escalating animal cruelty. Jack Black cameos late in the film as a porn website proprietor and makes the point that Jay and Annie could have resolved the situation with a simple email or telephone call rather than racing around town like lunatics. A truncated, 20-minute version of Kasdan's film has undeniable appeal.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 18th September 2014

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