Adoration posterIt’s a busy week at the Paramount: exclusive seasons of Atom (The Sweet Hereafter) Egoyan’s new drama Adoration and the documentary The Spirit of the Marathon started today along with a shared season of Al Pacino Shakespearean vehicle The Merchant of Venice. Pacino plays Shylock, and fans of his Richard III doco Looking for Richard will already know Pacino’s facility and enthusiasm for Shakespeare’s greatest characters. Merchant is also playing at the Lighthouse in Petone.

Tony Gilroy’s debut feature Michael Clayton was a stand-out last year and he’s constructed a new (although lighter) corporate thriller in Duplicity. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts star as spies teaming up to sting two rival companies. I enjoyed it a lot but remember almost nothing. Regent-on-Manners, Readings, Sky City Queensgate.

{The rest of this week’s new releases after the jump]

Last of the commercial releases, Notorious is the story of famed rapper Biggie Smalls. Fans will be pleased to see all of the subsidiary characters in Smalls’ larger-than-life all-too-brief career represented including Sean "Puffy " Combs, Lil Kim, Tupac Shakur. Embassy and Sky City Queensgate.

There’s a mini-Japanese film festival on at the Archive – we’ve already missed Umizaru 2: Test of Trust and Lupin the ? the Castle of Cagliostro but tonight’s screening of thriller Death Note should be worth a look. Also at the Film Archive, on Saturday a screening of rare footage of WWI introduced by war historian Chris Pugsley, with live piano accompaniment. It’s called Secrets from the War.

And the annual Documentary Film Festival continues at the Regent.

Monday’s Film Society screening is another in the fascinating Lech Majewski series: Angelus, winner of the Golden Grapes Award at the 2002 Lagow Film Festival. (I’m sorry, that sounded snide and I don’t mean to be, but I am really tickled by that prize). Update: Even better, it won the Silver Frog at the 2001 Camerimage Film Festival. Bill Gosden and the Wellington Film Festival are really missing out on some fun by not giving out prizes.

Notorious is reviewed in this week’s Capital Times (online at Funerals & Snakes on Saturday) and reviews of the others will appear in print next Wednesday.