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It’s easy to laugh at age­ing movie stars. Crumbs, when they make films like The Expendables they act­ively encour­age us to make jokes about creak­ing joints and dicky hips. But let us pause for a moment and salute the longev­ity of one of the greatest movie stars there ever was, someone who was head­lining box office smash hits when Arnold was still just pump­ing iron and Bruce was still at High School.

Robert Redford – the “Sundance Kid” – is 76 years old and in his new film, The Company You Keep, he does quite a bit of run­ning around even though you can see he has the slightly uncer­tain gait of someone whose bal­ance isn’t what it was. He rations out that mil­lion dol­lar smile pretty care­fully too, as this is anoth­er of his ser­i­ous politically-aware dra­mas – couched in the form of a thriller.

Redford – who also dir­ects – plays pro­gress­ive small town law­yer Jim Grant, a wid­ower with a spark­ling twelve-year-old daugh­ter (Jacqueline Evancho). When he turns down the chance to rep­res­ent Susan Sarandon’s former domest­ic ter­ror­ist, who is cap­tured nearby, loc­al report­er Shia LaBeouf starts dig­ging into his back­ground and finds some dan­ger­ous sur­prises. Grant is forced to go on the run with LaBeouf (and the FBI) chas­ing him and oth­er pen­sion­ers like Julie Christie and Nick Nolte all around the Midwest.

So far, so enga­ging. The scen­ario is inspired by the real life Weather Underground, a left-wing mili­tia that either blew up or set fire to, vari­ous Government tar­gets to protest the Vietnam War. Another fanci­ful ver­sion of their sup­posed lives on the run, Running on Empty, starred River Phoenix in 1988.

I wish I had enjoyed The Company You Keep more as it is the kind of mater­i­al that is usu­ally right up my alley. The prob­lem here is of the fish/fowl vari­ety – not enough polit­ics for the polit­ics junkies and the thrill­er nev­er rises above tep­id. This is an imper­fect ana­logy, so for­give me, but it’s as if (late peri­od) Woody Allen tried to dir­ect a Bourne movie.

Returning from the very strong French Film Festival, we have two dra­mas that are a study in con­trasts – Canadian co-production Rebelle (akaWar Witch) by Kim Nguyen and Christian Vincent’s Haute Cuisine (aka Les saveurs du Palais, the lit­er­al trans­la­tion of which is The Flavours of the Palace which is much bet­ter than the hor­rible cliché that actu­ally got attached to it).

War Witch is a remark­able magic­al real­ist por­tray­al of the tragedy of child sol­dier­ing in one of Africa’s many civil wars. The phe­nom­en­al Rachel Mwanza plays Komona, kid­napped from her vil­lage by the rebel army and forced to murder her own par­ents. She is the only one to sur­vive the new com­pany’s first action and super­sti­tious com­mand­ers start to believe that she is a lucky charm, hence “War Witch”.

Hypnotic, beau­ti­ful, upset­ting – War Witch is an extraordin­ary achieve­ment, totally deserving of an Academy Award nom­in­a­tion against Amour and No earli­er this year. By any defin­i­tion, this isn’t going to be every­one’s cup of tea but I’m going to highly recom­mend it anyway.

In the slender Haute Cuisine, Catherine Frot plays Hortense Laborie, plucked from rur­al obscur­ity to run the private kit­chen for President François Mitterand while he was President of the French Republic. He wants to eat nos­tal­gic­ally and her authen­t­ic recipes and fine fresh ingredi­ents fit the bill. As food movies go, this gets the present­a­tion of the actu­al cuisine very right. Every dish looks like it has been plucked straight from the oven, and even though this review­er may not have been won over by cab­bage stuffed with sal­mon, you can see the care and atten­tion that has gone into every dish.

I just wish I could say the same for the story, which lacks drama – a fun­da­ment­al flaw you might think – and uses a rather redund­ant fram­ing device of Mme Laborie cook­ing in Antarctica to emphas­ise the sub­text of a ded­ic­ated, middle aged, career woman pro­fes­sion­ally going about her craft while mis­un­der­stood but not unappreciated.

With Antiviral, Brandon (son-of-the more-famous-David) Cronenberg has made an object les­son in intel­li­gent low budget hor­ror. In the near future, our obses­sion with celebrity will have become so grot­esque that fans will be inject­ing them­selves with vir­uses har­ves­ted from their favour­ite screen stars, in order to get even closer to them. A licensed mar­ket for these wee bugs is being under­mined by pir­acy and coun­ter­feit­ing and thus Antiviral man­ages to bring the entire zeit­geist rather nicely to the boil. Although the film drifts a little in the final third, the premise – and the clev­er con­struc­tion of a future world out of today’s every­day items – makes the film a worth­while watch and Cronenberg a name to keep an eye on.

Last year the Embassy played a one-off screen­ing of Jurassic Park on DCP and they are now play­ing the 3D ver­sion. For reas­ons of sci­ence, then, I sat myself in the very same seat as last year so I could com­pare the two formats and help guide you on wheth­er the extra D is worth it. The answer, I can report, is a firm “maybe”. After all, the ori­gin­al made $350m in 1993 so I think it’s fair to say that no one was hold­ing out, hop­ing for a 3D ver­sion at the time.

The con­ver­sion is per­fectly fine – though not to the level of Cameron’s Titanic last year – and 3D gives Spielberg’s eleg­ant dir­ec­tion a help­ing hand with some of the more thrill­ing dino­saur moments. If you haven’t seen this film on the big screen since it was first released, I can recom­mend you check it out this time, though I can­’t ima­gine the 3D ver­sion will end up as the defin­it­ive way to see it.