SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (12)
THE sleuthing is elementary in the action-packed sequel to Guy Ritchie’s 2009 reinvention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) has cut a swathe through the criminal fraternity in late 19th century London, aided by his trusty sidekick Watson (Jude Law), who is poised to marry his sweetheart.
However, one brilliant mind is about to meet another as the diabolical Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) hatches a cunning and elaborate plan that could change the course of history.
The mystery begins when Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) asks Sherlock to validate his theory about the suicide of the Crown Prince of Austria.
Holmes deduces that the untimely death was in fact the result of foul play and as the eccentric sleuth travels the globe with Watson, he encounters Gypsy fortune teller Sim (Noomi Rapace), who is the killer’s next intended victim.
As Holmes attempts to save Sim from an early grave, he begins to piece together the clues and discovers the intricacies of Moriarty’s devious scheme. Stephen Fry co-stars as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft.
STAR RATING: ***
DICTYNNA Hood writes and directs this low-budget British drama, which is blessed with strong performances from an impressive ensemble cast.
Dawn (Claire Foy) and her husband David (Benedict Cumberbatch) move away from the hubbub of the city to the close-knit village where he grew up.
It takes Dawn time to adjust to her new surroundings but she gradually warms to the slower pace of life in the countryside by rearing hens and renovating the house.
As thoughts turn to raising a family, David’s brother Nick (Shaun Evans), a soldier on leave who suffers from dark mood swings, arrives in the village and has a profound effect on Dawn.
She is drawn to his vulnerability and as the wife spends increasing amounts of time with her emotionally damaged and volatile brother-in-law, she learns secrets from his family history which paint David in a very different and unflattering light.
STAR RATING: **
DREAMS OF A LIFE (12A)
IN 2006, residents of Wood Green in north London were shocked to learn that the skeletal remains of a woman had been found in a self-contained bedsit above a shopping centre.
An inquest determined that the resident, Joyce Vincent, had died in 2003, most probably of natural causes, sitting on her sofa surrounded by unopened Christmas presents.
In the subsequent three years that she lay dead in her bedsit, which was used as a refuge for victims of domestic abuse, her neighbours and family did not raise the alarm.
Ms Vincent was only discovered when bailiffs entered the residence to collect overdue rent.
Film-maker Carol Morley attempts to make sense of this desperately sad story in a film fusing documentary and drama, which imagines the relationship between the young Joyce (Alix Luka-Cain) and her parents (Cornell John, Neelam Bakshi) in 1980s London and also Joyce in her later years (now played by Zawe Ashton), when she tragically faded into the background of the bustling metropolis.
STAR RATING: ***
MAGIC TO WIN (PG)
UNIVERSITY students are blessed with magical powers in this lively fantasy directed by Wilson Yip.
Unknown to most of mankind, wizards walk among us, blessed with abilities that allow them to manipulate one of the five elements: earth, fire, gold, water and wood.
Professor Kang (Raymond Wong), who is one such wizard, is struck by a bolt of lightning during a storm and his powers transfer to student Macy Cheng (Karena Ng), a clumsy member of the university volleyball team.
She uses these new found strengths to ensure the team defeats a rival school on the volleyball court and then hires out her powers to classmates and friends to ensure glory at other sporting events.
STAR RATING: ***