This week’s new cinema releases

Chiwetel Ejiofor in  12 Years A Slave, out now.

Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave, out now.

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For his third feature as a director, Steve McQueen considers the slave trade from the perspective of a free black man, who was kidnapped in 1841 and suffered 12 years of abuse on the plantations of Louisiana before he was reunited with his loving family.

Based on the autobiography of the same name by Solomon Northup and adapted for the screen by John Ridley, ‘12 Years A Slave’ is a masterpiece that sears into the retina with every artfully composed frame.

12 Years A Slave is the deserved frontrunner for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars and it would be impossible to deny McQueen’s film an entire mantelpiece of gold statuettes.

In ‘The Railway Man’ ghosts of the past haunt a former British Army officer in Jonathan Teplitzky’s respectful and polished drama.

Based on the bestselling autobiography of Eric Lomax, The Railway Man uses a patchwork of flashbacks to recount the writer’s treatment at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army after the fall of Singapore.

Finally we have the latest installment in the ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise with ‘The Marked Ones’.

This bridging chapter of the story centres on teenager Jesse in June 2012 as he graduates from high school. Eventually, the 18-year-old learns he has been chosen to fulfil a grim destiny that tips the balance of power in favour of the forces of evil.

Scares are largely recycled and, as with previous films, characters abandon common sense at crucial junctures to place themselves in harm’s way.

Watch out for more new releases next week.