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Now showing at Chapter Market Road,Canton,Cardiff,South Glamorgan CF5 1QE 029 2030 4400

  • Adventure Film Festival: Programme 3
  • Birdman
  • Enemy
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Circle

Adventure Film Festival: Programme 3 3 stars

The final instalment of the 2015 festival showcases Greg Laut's pioneering documentary about rock-climbing, Valley Uprising.

  • GenreAdventure, Documentary, Shorts
  • DirectorVarious.
  • CountryS Afrtica/
  • Duration127 mins
  • Official site

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Thursday 29th January 2015

Birdman 5 stars

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Riggan Thomson rose to fame playing a superhero called Birdman in three blockbuster films in the 1990s. Twenty years later, his career is stagnant and he is determined to establish himself as a serious artist by directing, writing and starring in a Broadway staging of Raymond Carver's short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. As opening night approaches, petty squabbles between Riggan and his cast - including Broadway star Mike Shiner - threaten to derail the vanity project.

  • GenreComedy, Drama, Indie, Romance
  • CastMichael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough.
  • DirectorAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
  • WriterAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration119 mins
  • Official sitewww.birdmanthemovie.com
  • Release26/12/2014 (selected London cinemas); 01/01/2015 (nationwide)

According to Konstantin Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg, two founding fathers of method acting, the best performers possess the rare ability to channel deeply personal recollections and emotions through their characters. These actors don't just play a role as written, they share every breath and straining sinew with their alter ego.

In Birdman, Michael Keaton inhabits the role of a middle-aged Hollywood star, whose glory days as a big screen superhero are long behind him. It's the role of a lifetime for Keaton - the role of his lifetime, no less, nodding and winking to his two stints behind Batman's cowl under director Tim Burton in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Art and real life playfully blur in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's technically dazzling comedy, which was shot on location in New York. In one of the film's bravura handheld sequences, Keaton strides purposefully through crowded, neon-lit Times Square in just his underpants as tourists clamour with their mobile devices. Literally and figuratively, he bares his soul.

Inarritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who deservedly won an Oscar for sci-fi thriller Gravity, meticulously splice together each interlude to resemble a single, unbroken 119-minute shot.

If you look closely, you can see the joins but, as a feat of split-second timing, balletic choreography and directorial brio, Birdman is jaw-dropping - right down to the moment the camera casually pans to a drummer on the street playing the same beats and rolls of Antonio Sanchez's improvised jazz score.

Riggan Thomson (Keaton) rose to fame playing a superhero called Birdman in three blockbuster films. Twenty years later, he masterminds a comeback with nervy producer Jake (Zach Galifianakis) by directing, writing and starring in a Broadway production of Raymond Carver's short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

As opening night approaches and revered critics including Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan) prepare to deliver their waspish verdict, petty squabbles between Riggan and his cast - popular Broadway star Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), leading lady Lesley (Naomi Watts) and current squeeze Laura (Andrea Riseborough) - threaten to derail the vanity project.

The leading man struggles to keep personal demons at bay, exacerbated by fractious exchanges with his spirited daughter Sam (Emma Stone).

Accompanied by a rambling voiceover from Riggan that reflects the character's mental unravelling, Birdman is a wickedly funny satire of a world of overinflated egos and barely concealed vices.

Performances are uniformly excellent, from Keaton's career-revitalising turn to Stone's fearless portrayal of a recovering drug addict and Norton's hilarious embodiment of an artist, who believes that, "popularity is just the slutty little cousin of prestige".

Peppered with affectionate verbal barbs aimed at Hollywood's current glitterati, Inarritu's picture is crammed to bursting with self-referential treats that demand a second and third viewing. Birdman is the post-Christmas gift that keep on giving.

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Wednesday 28th January 2015

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Enemy 3 stars

movie title

Bookish college professor Adam Bell watches a film on the recommendation of a friend and is startled to glimpse an actor called Daniel St Claire, who is his physical doppelganger. Further investigation reveals the actor's real name is Anthony Claire and Adam tracks down his double, spying on Anthony and his pregnant wife Helen. Anthony and Adam eventually meet and they are startled by the physical similarity down to a scar on their abdomens.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastMelanie Laurent, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Peace.
  • DirectorDenis Villeneuve.
  • WriterJavier Gullon.
  • CountryCan/Sp
  • Duration90 mins
  • Official sitewww.enemy-movie.com
  • Release02/01/2015 (selected cinemas)

Jake Gyllenhaal plays dual roles in Denis Villeneuve's psychological thriller, loosely based on Jose Saramago's 2002 novel The Double. Bookish college professor Adam Bell (Gyllenhaal) watches a film on the recommendation of a friend and is startled to glimpse an actor called Daniel St Claire, who is his physical doppelganger. Further investigation reveals the actor's real name is Anthony Claire (Gyllenhaal again) and Adam tracks down his double, spying on Anthony and his pregnant wife Helen (Sarah Gadon). Anthony and Adam eventually meet and they are startled by the physical similarity down to a scar on their abdomens. Personality wise, they couldn't be more different: while Adam is shy, reserved and pensive, Anthony is impulsive, passionate and intensely sexual. The doppelgangers infiltrate each other's lives, creating surprising reactions from Helen and Adam's girlfriend Mary (Melanie Laurent).

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Wednesday 28th January 2015
Thursday 29th January 2015

Foxcatcher 4 stars

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Philanthropist John du Pont is desperate to win the love and respect of his mother, Jean, a well respected horse trainer. So he establishes a wrestling facility at his Foxcatcher Farm and recruits Olympic champion Mark Schultz to spearhead his stable of talented athletes. At first, the relationship between du Pont and Schultz is strong, like a surrogate father and son, but when fissures eventually appear, the millionaire hires Schultz's brother, fellow Olympic champion Dave to restore the Foxcatcher name.

  • GenreBiography, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastSteve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Michael Hall, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave.
  • DirectorBennett Miller.
  • WriterDan Futterman, E Max Frye.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration134 mins
  • Official sitewww.sonyclassics.com/foxcatcher
  • Release09/01/2015

Vast wealth can buy you freedom from the shackles of debt, luxury goods, an aura of power, begrudging respect and thinly veiled jealousy from the people around you. However, it cannot buy you undying love, unerring loyalty or mastery of Lady Luck and your mortality.

In the 1980s, philanthropist John Eleuthere du Pont attempted to buy sporting glory for America by using his vast fortune to establish a world class wrestling facility at his sprawling Foxcatcher Farm on the outskirts of Philadelphia. He recruited Olympic champion David Schultz to his stable, which included David's younger brother and fellow Olympic gold medallist Mark, who lived on the estate to ensure the focus was always on the wrestling.

Team Foxcatcher won numerous competitions. On January 26, 1996, du Pont shot and killed David and was subsequently convicted of third degree murder. He died behind bars, 14 years into his sentence.

Bennett Miller, who was deservedly Oscar nominated for Capote, directs this dramatisation of du Pont's fraught relationship with the Schultz brothers and his steady descent into murderous madness. The film is distinguished by a superb ensemble cast including a creepily dramatic performance from Steve Carell, replete with facial prosthetics, as the eccentric millionaire who lost everything with the pull of a trigger.

He's heavily tipped for an Oscar nomination as Best Actor because this marks such a striking departure from lovable, goofball roles in Anchorman, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Evan Almighty.

Wrestling enthusiast John du Pont (Carell) is desperate to win the love and respect of his elderly mother, Jean (Vanessa Redgrave), a successful horse trainer. So he establishes the training facility and recruits Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) to spearhead his stable of talented athletes.

At first, the relationship between du Pont and Schultz is strong, like a surrogate father and son, but fissures eventually appear. "You ungrateful ape!" barks du Pont to his brooding protege. The millionaire hires Schultz's brother, fellow Olympic champion Dave (Mark Ruffalo), to restore the lustre of the Foxcatcher brand.

Dave moves onto the estate with his wife Nancy (Sienna Miller) and family. Jealousy, paranoia and sibling rivalry poison personal ties, culminating in a senseless act of violence.

Foxcatcher is a dark and unsettling character study, in which the American dream turns rancid and a mentally unstable man with money becomes a wrecking ball in the lives of unsuspecting bystanders. Carell is impressive but arguably the more compelling performances come from Tatum and Ruffalo as the siblings corrupted by a millionaire's insidious influence.

The homoerotic undertow of Du Pont's fascination with Mark is subtly addressed in a script that doesn't quite make sense of the complex emotions churning beneath the surface. Too much is left unsaid and with a running time of 134 minutes, Bennett leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 28th January 2015
Thursday 29th January 2015

This film is also showing at:

The Circle 4 stars

movie title

Docudrama about the titular gay magazine and men's club in 1940s and 1950s Zurich. At the time, homosexuality was illegal in neighbouring Germany but in Switzerland, gay men met behind closed doors and were covertly connected by a trilingual magazine full of entertaining editorial and drawings of the naked male form. The intrigue surrounding the magazine's publication provides a vibrant backdrop to the real-life romance of school teacher Ernst Ostertag and drag performer Robi Rapp.

  • GenreDocumentary, Drama, Gay, Romance, War, World
  • CastMartin Hug, Babett Arens, Aaron Hitz, Matthias Hungerbuhler, Sven Schelker.
  • DirectorStefan Haupt.
  • WriterChristian Felix, Stefan Haupt, Ivan Madeo, Urs Frey.
  • CountrySwitz
  • Duration102 mins
  • Official sitewww.thecircle-movie.com
  • Release12/12/2014 (selected cinemas)

Selected as Switzerland's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film statuette at next year's Academy Awards, The Circle is a fascinating docudrama about the titular gay magazine and men's club in 1940s and 1950s Zurich. At the time, homosexuality was illegal in neighbouring Germany but in Switzerland, gay men met behind closed doors and were covertly connected by a trilingual magazine full of entertaining editorial and drawings of the naked male form. The intrigue surrounding the magazine's publication and several brutal murders in the gay community provides a vibrant backdrop to the real-life romance of school teacher Ernst Ostertag and drag performer Robi Rapp, who met at a costume ball in 1956 and became the first Swiss same-sex couple to register as partners. Their love story is dramatised by actors Matthias Hungerbuehler and Sven Schelker, intercut with moving interviews with Ostertag and Rapp.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 28th January 2015
Thursday 29th January 2015
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