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This week's movie releases

Christopher Nolan's latest Batman installment vies with the messy complexity of ‘Margaret’

Christian Bale as Batman in a poster for the movie.

For many people, there's only one movie out this week -- The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman series. His previous Batman Begins and The Dark Knight reinvigorated the superhero genre with their grown-up approach, and this latest entry continues in the same vein as Christian Bale reprises his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman, who has been keeping a low profile for the last eight years in a relatively crime-free Gotham City. But he is forced out of exile when mysterious thief Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and brutal terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy) arrive to wreak havoc. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman all return, joined by newcomers Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

But that's not to say there aren't other quality movies out this week, too. Also highly anticipated -- if not quite in such huge film fan circles -- is Margaret, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan's second feature after 2000's gem You Can Count On Me. Filmed in 2005, the movie has been the subject of acrimonious legal battles over its running time that saw the lawsuits fly and Martin Scorsese parachuted in to try to rescue the situation. The released result clocks in at two and half hours -- Lonergan's original cut stretched to three -- and stars a scintillating Anna Paquin as Lisa, a self-absorbed, flirtatious New York teenager who witnesses a horrific bus accident caused by driver Mark Ruffalo for which she is also partly responsible. In sprawling, superbly staged style, it explores the impact of the crash on her and her relationships with the likes of teachers Matt Damon and Matthew Broderick and actress mom J. Smith-Cameron, as well as her attempts to put things right. Presenting its characters in all their messy complexity, it's at once baggy and pin-point precise and may just be a modern masterpiece.

More used to playing slick CIA officers in movies such as Green Zone and Safe House, Brendan Gleeson stars as an unconventional Garda police officer on the remote west coast of Ireland in comedy thriller The Guard. Not above dropping confiscated acid and cavorting with prostitutes, he lives in a happy-go-lucky world, which is disrupted by the arrival of FBI agent Don Cheadle, on the trail of some nasty drug smugglers (Liam Cunningham and Mark Strong). Directed by John Michael McDonagh, brother of In Bruges director, Martin McDonagh, the film has had tremendous success in its native Ireland and is frequently very, very funny, even if the overly quirky tone detracts from the thriller element.