Alan Dee’s movie preview: Hugh Jackman is a desperate dad in tense thriller Prisoners

Hugh Jackman in Prisoners
Hugh Jackman in Prisoners
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Hugh Jackman steps up into Taken territory in Prisoners, a rough tough thriller about a dad who takes the law into his own hands when his daughter disappears.

But this isn’t a comic book adventure of the ‘I will find you, and I will kill you’ school.

Our Hugh is more the ordinary Joe driven to desperate measures when his little girl and a friend vanish and the cops are forced to release their prime suspect for lack of evidence.

Although the police, led by Jake Gyllenhaal, are still very much on the case, he decides to sidestep the system and kidnap the suspect to force him to reveal where the two youngsters are.

With blockbuster hits Les Miserables and The Wolverine in his immediate back catalogue, this is more of man in the street role for the Aussie star, under the direction of highly-regarded French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve.

It’s a story that takes its time, so prepare for two hours and then some, but it’s a gripping and intense story well told.

After the all-round explosion of awards and critical acclaim that accompanied last year’s Argo, it’s back to the day job for Ben Affleck.

In Runner Runner he’s cast as the smooth bad buy opposite Justin Timberlake’s sharp but shafted student.

Justin needs to raise cash to pay his fees so he turns to online poker, as you do.

It’s all going very well until his pile of winnings suddenly vanishes, and he becomes convinced that he’s been cheated by a crooked gambling tycoon.

He sets off to Costa Rica to confront the card sharp, who is impressed enough by his chutzpah and his proven poker skills to offer him a lucrative job.

But it never pays to get into bed with a crook, and our Justin soon realises that he is in over his head – and when he is tapped up by the FBI to help bring Ben down, the stakes get even higher.

Gemma Arterton, who could use a hit after the risible Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, takes the female lead in this slick ‘who will double cross who most successfully?’ thriller from Brad Furman, whose biggest hit so far has been Matthew McConaughey vehicle The Lincoln Lawyer.

After years of plugging away pumping out films that nobody really wanted to see, Woody Allen is hot again.

That means his latest, Blue Jasmine, could well creep into a multiplex near you.

Cate Blanchett is the star of this story about a socialite left high and dry when her husband turns out to be a swindler.

Penniless and popping too many prescription pills for her own good, she heads to San Francisco to rebuild her life at her sister’s place. It’s not laugh out loud, but there is some acute character comedy to be enjoyed.