This week's movie releases

The Artist is a modern-day silent film about Hollywood's silent era. There's no 3D, no widescreen, no color and no explosions. It's also one of the movies of the year.

L.A., 1927: George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a matinee idol premiering his latest adventure, when he's captivated by fan and movie extra Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). As the sound era dawns, we follow their twin destinies as her star rapidly rises as his tragically falls.

One of the most striking things about French director Michel Hazanavicius' sublime pastiche is simply how joyful it is. When did performers get so po-faced? Visually, it's also glorious, re-embracing the long lost art of letting inventive, individual images do the talking. It all adds up to a dazzling argument for valuing what we leave behind as we rush headlong into a high-tech future.

For all its gadgets, gunfire and leaping about, it's also old-fashioned storytelling that makes Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol such a rollicking fourth entry in producer-star Tom Cruise's spy series.

It's not in the main plot - which sees IMF (that's Impossible Missions Force, not the Monetary Fund) shut down after it's blamed for a blast at the Kremlin - but in the string of action setpieces for which it provides the excuse as Cruise and crew (Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner) go rogue to clear their names. Scenes such as Cruise scaling Dubai's vertiginous Burj Khalifa tower may be over-the-top but Ratatouille director Brad Bird, in his live-action debut, makes each a suspense-filled, lightning-paced mini-narrative.

Cats and dogs

Your tolerance for kook will decide whether you love or hate The Future, from writer-director Miranda July, which features a thirtysomething couple (July and Hamish Linklater) who adopt a narrating cat who radically changes their outlooks.

A remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 thriller, Straw Dogs, meanwhile, stars James Marsden in the Dustin Hoffman role (now a writer, not a mathematician) and Kate Bosworth as his wife, terrorized by a gang of locals in her Mississippi hometown.

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS