Captain America: Civil War (Anthony Russo/Joe Russo, 2016)

One of the most frequent complaints to be thrown at Marvel Studios’ franchise (released under Disney) concerns their entries’ tendency towards homogeneity. Another is their too-frequent focus on the ongoing ‘cinematic universe’ brand, rather than making cohesive, satisfying individual films in their own right. Well, Captain America: Civil War feels like something of a turning point, for several reasons. It manages to be a sprawling clash of the titans that incorporates key superhero players from other movies (with their own individual personal conflicts and quirks) while also debuting entertaining new ones (Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and Tom Holland as some kid called Peter Parker); it largely keeps its teases for future entries concerned with emotional fallout instead of plot McGuffins; and it tells a cohesive, compelling story with genuinely interesting ramifications…

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Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2015)

Based on manga Umimachi DiaryOur Little Sister sees three upwardly mobile adult sisters attend the funeral of the father who left their family years ago for another woman. At the ceremony they meet, for the first time, their teenage half-sister Suzu (Hirose), who’s unhappily living with her self-absorbed mother. On a whim, oldest sibling Sachi (Ayase), the de facto head of the family unit, invites the teen to come live with the trio in the ancestral home they inherited from their grandmother, in which they’ve fostered the cheerful atmosphere of a sorority house…

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Hardcore Henry (Ilya Naishuller, 2015)

Comparing films to video games doesn’t necessarily carry the stigma it once did, mainly due to the steady infiltration of game textures and language into genre cinema – Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow, for one, fully embraced the game logic of resets and trial-and-error puzzles.

In the case of Hardcore Henry, an action movie told entirely through first-person visuals, the intent seems to be to mimic the video game aesthetic more than any film before, specifically the first-person shooter genre. In form and content, it’s all there: a mute protagonist that’s effectively the viewer, racing to various checkpoints, constant instructions from supporting characters, shaky-cam spasms as Henry gets hit, and numerous weapons to collect along a killing rampage to save a damsel in distress…

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Hirokazu Kore-eda on ‘Our Little Sister’

When we meet at the London Film Festival, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda expresses an admiration for The Skinny’s iPhone case, which has a design based on the No-Face character from Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. After this, though, he admits via an interpreter that he hasn’t actually seen that hugely successful animation, which is something of a surprise – not just because Spirited Away was such a massive hit in Japan, as well as around the world, but also because Kore-eda has in his own way been just as significant a force in Japanese film over the last few decades as Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, albeit in the realm of live-action and in a much quieter fashion…

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Ratter (Branden Kramer, 2015)

With Levan Gabriadze’s Unfriended and Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows, tech-bound terror has become an increasingly popular source of inspiration for directors looking to thrill, while also keeping an eye firmly on the more problematic elements of society’s ever-developing relationship with the Internet. Joining this small but growing genre is writer-director Branden Kramer’s feature debut, Ratter

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