Current Top 5 Rentals (and what you could be watching instead):

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

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Hi-light: Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar-winning portrayal of a young widow struggling to get her life together in the face of sexual prejudice.

Lawrence Alternatives: Lawrence’s far more weighty performance as Ree in Winter’s Bone (2010). Also, Lawrence fans should check out The Burning Plain (2008) – good little drama co-starring Charlize Theron as a woman whose mysterious past won’t leave her alone.

Thematic Alternatives: Two Lovers (2010) starring Joaquin Phoenix about a young man with Bipolar Disorder and the two women who simultaneously enter his life. Story of Adele H (1975) and Camille Claudel (1988) – two slightly bleaker portrayals of historical characters who suffered from ‘mental health issues’, both about supremely talented women who, nevertheless, have historically remained in the shadow of the more famous men in their lives. Adele H was the daughter of Victor Hugo. Camille Claudel, the lover of Auguste Rodin. Both films star Isabelle Adjani.

SIGHTSEERS

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Hi-lights: The giant pencil. The killing of the Daily Mail reader. Poppy.

Ben Wheatley Alternatives: Check out the director’s previous films, all with a touch of the macabre about them: the horror, Kill List (2011) about a couple of contract killers, one of whom has a disturbing past that resurfaces sending things spiraling out of control. And Down Terrace (2009) in which a crime family endeavors to unmask the identity of the police informer nestled in their midst.

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS

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Hi-lights: Not sure there are any.

Martin McDonagh Alternatives: Check out the director’s previous (and superior) film, In Bruges, a dark comedy about a couple of hitmen awaiting the consequences of a job gone wrong (also starring Colin Farrell) – and his short film, Six Shooter, which you can find in the Cinema 16 European collection.

THE HUNT

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Hi-Light: Mads Mikkelsen’s performance as the uncompromising accused.

Mikkelsen Alternative: This year’s Oscar-nominated Royal Affair, in which Mads plays the physician who becomes embroiled in a passionate affair with the young Queen of Denmark – an affair which changes the country forever.

Thematic Alternatives (just in case you’re interested – for whatever reason – in this sort of thing): Thomas Vinterberg’s much-celebrated previous film, Festen (1998), deals with a similar theme, this time the issue in question coming to light during a family get-together. And, for its witch-hunt storyline, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (1996) with Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.

UNTOUCHABLE

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French Comedy Alternatives: “If you enjoyed this, you’ll probably also like:” My Best Friend (2006) directed by Patrice Leconte, in which a business man, challenged by colleagues to produce his ‘best friend’, realises that he doesn’t have any friends, leading to a desperate attempt to find/make some. The Closet (2001) in which a man, in fear of losing his job, claims to be gay thereby falling into the ‘minorities’ category which he feels will offer job protection. And The Concert (2009) – former conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra, disgraced 30 years ago for employing Jewish and Gypsy musicians and now relegated to the position of Bolshoi janitor, travels to France with his old group of musicians to play in a prestigious concert hall, under the guise of being the Bolshoi Orchestra. Heartwarming.

by Dixie Turner

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