Movie studios love a spot of counter-programming. And that’s why, as large swathes of the country queue up to immerse themselves for a second weekend in the noisy smash-em-up antics of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, those with little interest in Lycra-clad megastars will be able to opt for the stately, swoonsome romance of Thomas Hardy adaptation ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ (pictured above). Carey Mulligan plays headstrong heroine Bathsheba Everdeen, caught between three suitors or varying worthiness: Matthias Schoenaerts’s horny-handed shepherd, Michael Sheen’s remote landowner and Tom Sturridge’s moustache-twirling proto-hipster soldier.
Otherwise, it’s a mixed bag. At the classier end of the spectrum, Orson Welles’s masterful 1965 Shakespeare adaptation ‘Chimes at Midnight’ makes a welcome return while arty doc ‘Argerich’ offers a compelling portrait of the Argentinian pianist. Those looking for something a bit more lowbrow (hey, we’re not judging) might want to check out effective cyber-shocker ‘Unfriended’, or try their luck with decidedly patchy sci-fi sequel ‘Monsters: Dark Continent’.
Far From the Madding Crowd – ★★★★☆
Unfriended – ★★★☆☆
Chimes at Midnight – ★★★★★
Monsters: Dark Continent – ★★☆☆☆
Argerich – ★★★★☆
Two by Two – ★★★☆☆
Samba – ★★★☆☆
Anti-Social – ★★☆☆☆
We Are Monster –★☆☆☆☆