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I can’t believe we’re a month into the year already. Doesn’t time fly when everyone’s having fun watching America go to war with the world and itself. And that’s before we get onto the latest Brexit shenanigans. For a bit of respite this week we have a campaign against an interracial marriage ban, German comedy, Matthew McConaughey – gold prospector, and Mark Wahlberg – oilman.

Loving arrives from America with a stirring story of love overcoming hate. This tale of Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple who challenge a ban on their marriage right up to the Supreme Court, has received a string of decent reviews. Jeff Nichols (of Mud, Midnight Special and Take Shelter fame) continues his impressive career to date while Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton have drawn plaudits as the couple forced apart by the law. Negga in particular has impressed just about everyone. If you don’t believe me, ask the Academy who recently nominated her for Best Actress.

A near three hour German comedy isn’t normally the kind of thing that gets people excited, but Toni Erdmann seems to be an exception. After wowing everyone at Cannes last year, and having now notched up an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Feature, it arrives in the UK with a devoted critical following. The story revolves around a practical joker of a father creating a crazy alter-ego to reconnect with his daughter. It might be long, but it’s also odd and very funny, and the perfect antidote to empty awards season fare.

Remember when Matthew McConaughey used to appear only in rubbish films? Well it looks like he might be back to his old tricks, chasing his award winning success of recent years in a series of dramatic misfires. Gold adds to the pile. Dressed up as a comedy, McConaughey plays a businessman off to find precious metal in Indonesia. It was supposed to make a big splash during this Oscar season, but it’s raised barely a ripple.

Over in the world of home releases we have Deepwater Horizon, the story of the infamous BP drilling platform and the disaster caused when it went wrong. Catastrophic environmental damage followed back in 2010 when the platform came apart, destroying livelihoods and ending lives. Casting Mark Wahlberg suggested we might be in over-the-top American hero territory, but Peter Berg’s astutely controlled film avoids nearly all such moments, barring a slip near the end. Otherwise, this is a tense and terrifying experience that deserves re-watching.

That’s enough for now so here is where I leave you. Come back next week as a Lego shaped Batman swoops into town.

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