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Also out in Cinemas: March 2015

My Name Is Salt

Beautifully shot in an unforgiving desert in Gujarat, Farida Pachas narrative-less doc unspools at a meditative pace, following a family of salt harvesters rhythmically raking and trampling the razor-sharp crystals on the baking earth for an eight-month stint (and very little pay), before the monsoons wash the salt fields away and transform the Little Rann of Kutch into sea once more. In this desolate landscape, they may as well be farming on the moon. This is an immersive and determinedly non-preachy portrait of generation-spanning ritual and steadfast dedication. Director: Farida Pacha Theatrical release: 13 March 2015 Ali Catterall

RUN ALL NIGHT

After Unknown and Non-Stop, Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra combine for their third and easily their best film yet. Neeson is at his most grizzled as a boozy New York hitman in a blood feud with one-time friend/mobster Ed Harris after capping his unhinged son to protect his own estranged offspring (RoboCops Joel Kinnaman). With support from Vincent DOnofrio and Nick Nolte, theres a real old-school lets make em like they used to vibe. The appearance of rapper/Oscar-winner Common, as a relentless assassin on Neesons case, jars but otherwise, its a gripping potboiler. Director: Jaume Collet-Serra Starring: Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Common, Ed Harris, Vincent DOnofrio, Nick Nolte Theatrical release: 13 March 2015 James Mottram

WILD CARD

William Goldman re-adapts his own novel (the first time was 86 actioner Heat), with Jason Statham as PI Nick Wild. Rapists, mobsters, bill collectors Wild takes em all on in a mad dash to avenge a friend (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) and score enough loot to retire. Directed by Simon West (Con Air, The Mechanic) with his usual swagger, Wild Card offers solid street fights, some even using silverware as deadly weapons. Sadly it also marinates in hazy neo-noir BS, complete with wince-worthy tough-guy dialogue. Still, Stath fans wont be disappointed he kills a guy with a spoon. Director: Simon West Starring: Jason Statham, Sofia Vergara, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Hope Davis, Milo Ventimiglia Theatrical release: 20 March 2015 Ken McIntyre

CANOPY

Its survival of the silent in debut writer/director Aaron Wilsons take on the Battle of Singapore, which strips World War II down to the small-scale tension of two soldiers, Australian pilot Jim (Khan Chittenden) and injured Singapore-Chinese resistance fighter Seng (Mo Tzu-yi), trying to evade capture under dense forest. Practically dialogue-free thanks to language barrier and stealth, its a film where sound equals death, an omnipresent peril that allows Wilson to twist the tropes of war cinema into something surreal and beautiful. Director: Aaron Wilson Starring: Khan Chittenden, Morning Tzu-Yi Mo, Robert Menzies, Edwina Wren Theatrical release: 20 March 2015 Stephen Kelly

A SECOND CHANCE

Danish policeman Andreas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) lives contentedly with his wife and newborn son, in stark contrast to the appalling parental neglect discovered on his latest case. Yet tragedy sparks an entanglement of the two families. Susanne Biers sadcore drama aims for emotional heft, but fumbles badly. Only Coster-Waldau acts his way out of Anders Thomas Jensens sensationalist screenplay, which prises open Andreas ethical dilemma with blunt force feel-bad twists. Intentionally challenging, but the tastelessness is surely inadvertent. Director: Susanne Bier Starring: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Ulrich Thomsen Theatrical release: 20 March 2015 Simon Kinnear

DARK SUMMER

Daniel (Keir Gilchrist ) is a teenage stalker busted for cyber-peeping on his crush, Mona (Grace Phipps) and sentenced to house arrest for the summer. He is forbidden from using the internet, but naturally does. He hacks his way into a video chat with the put-upon girl who commits suicide onscreen, and then haunts him through Wi-Fi. This is a claustrophobic little thriller that would have been more effective without hokey supernaturalism muddying up the plot. Surely stalking and cyber-hacking are creepy enough without adding bloody-eyed ghosts into the mix? Director: Paul Solet Starring: Peter Stormare, Grace Phipps, Keir Gilchrist Theatrical release: 20 March 2015 Ken McIntyre

MAXINE PEAKE AS HAMLET

A filmed record of the Royal Exchange Manchesters modern-dress interpretation of Shakespeares greatest tragedy, with the seemingly ubiquitous Maxine Peake bringing ferocious commitment to the title role. Her crop-haired, gruff-voiced Dane merges sullen resentment, unmanly grief and nimble fencing in a way Benedict Cumberbatch will do well to match when he plays the part this summer. Valuable as it is to have such a performance on film, the result is a slog to sit through, thanks largely to director Sarah Frankcoms murky half-light production style. Director: Sarah Frankcom, Margaret Williams Starring: Maxine Peake, John Shrapnel, Thomas Arnold Theatrical release: 23 March 2015 Neil Smith

DIOR AND I

Raf Simons has just eight weeks to present his first Haute Couture collection for Christian Dior. Will he triumph? Or will it all unravel? The Belgian minimalist wasnt the obvious choice, after all. Thats the upshot of Frdric Tchengs fascinating fly-on-the-wall documentary, shadowing the fashion houses new artistic director and detailing the expectation on his shoulders. The Apprentice its not. The spirit of the late fashion icon is present, via recitations from his writings, but the seamstresses and tailors the real backbone of the operation leave the lasting impression. Director: Frdric Tcheng Starring: Raf Simons, Anna Wintour, Marion Cotillard Theatrical release: 25 March 2015 Ali Catterall

RIGOR MORTIS

Juno Maks (Dream Home) bizarre horror begins with a failed actor (Chin Siu-ho) moving into a grim Hong Kong apartment block. Missing his family, he hangs himself, but is kung-fu-ed down by a retired vampire hunter (Anthony Chan). The residents are, it transpires, being menaced by a jiangshi (or Chinese hopping vampire), one of many references western audiences will struggle with. Maks direction doesnt help. Exposition sequences are slow and confusing, while the CG-blood-spattered action is positively cartoony. Rigor Mortis? An ironic title for a film that refuses to sit still. Director: Juno Mak Starring: Chin Siu-ho, Anthony Chan, Fat Chung Theatrical release: 25 March 2015 Matt Glasby

THE FACE OF AN ANGEL

Michael Winterbottoms inspired by the Meredith Kercher murder trial drama is not the salacious gawp that epithet suggests. Keeping the ongoing investigation at arms length, it focuses instead on the media reaction, with filmmaker Thomas (Daniel Brhl) struggling to find an angle for the (fictionalised) murder trial in Siena, Italy. The giallo trappings are cranked up, but Brhl and supermodel-du- jour Cara Delevingne keep the human drama grounded. No answers are offered, but conversations will be started by this take on a fascinating true story. Director: Michael Winterbottom Starring: Cara Delevingne, Daniel Brhl Theatrical release: 25 March 2015 Matt Maytum