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Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips - poster, Tom HanksDirector: Paul Greengrass

Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Addirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M Ali, Michael Cherums, Catherine Keener

Cert: 12A

Running Time: 134 mins

Year: 2013

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The lowdown: Batten down the hatches for this nail-biting biopic, boasting an Oscar-baiting return to form from everyone’s favourite everyman Tom Hanks. Recreating the five days in April 2009 when Somali pirates boarded US container ship Maesk Alabama and took its Captain Richard Phillips hostage. United 93 director Paul Greengrass once again crafts a taut thriller around a real-life crisis without sacrificing authenticity or humanity.

Captain Phillips - Tom Hanks, Somalian pirates, gunpoint930353 - Captain Phillips

The verdict: Anyone expecting an Uncle Sam vs. The Savages set-up will be disappointed. Tub-thumping political agendas are resisted...

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Elysium

Elysium - quad posterDirector: Neill Blomkamp

Cast: Matt Damon, Alice Braga, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura

Cert: 15

Running time: 109 mins

Year: 2012

The lowdown: Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 used a benign alien invasion for a barbed allegory on apartheid and racism, lacing the film with stunning action sequences.  His follow-up feature finds him in similar allegorical mood.  A class divide epic between the 1% enjoying paradise on orbiting space station Elysium and everyone else surviving on an abandoned, polluted, impoverished Earth, it retains District 9’s hard-edged grit, but lacks that film’s originality, wit and heart.  Efficient and enjoyable, but not up there with the director’s Oscar nominated debut.

Elysium - Matt DamonElysium - Braga

The full verdict: Elysium looks great...

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