Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 157 mins (15)
We Bought a Zoo, Cameron Crowe, 123 mins (PG)
21 Jump Street, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, 110 mins (15)

Sale: An unbelievable property - really - with attached zoo and unattached beauties

When you hear about a two-and-half-hour Turkish film, even one that's bagged the Grand Prix at Cannes, you may get the pre-dentist feeling that it's probably going to be good for you but you're not going to enjoy it. Try to suppress that feeling. It's true that Once Upon a Time in Anatolia doesn't have any car chases, love scenes or anything you could call a dramatic climax, but Nuri Bilge Ceylan's rural crime drama is so engrossing, and proceeds with such a powerful sense of purpose, that there isn't a shot or a line in it that you wouldn't want to be there.

For much of the running time, three carloads of men are driving through scrubby countryside by night. Two are prisoners who have confessed to a murder. The rest are police and other officials. There's an exasperated police chief (Yilmaz Erdogan), a complacent prosecutor (Tenar Birsel), and a confident young doctor (Muhammet Azner). The suspects have promised to lead them to a field where they've buried a corpse, but that's not easy in an almost featureless landscape at night.

The men's odyssey through the moonlit hills doesn't take them far from the nearest town – 37km, confirms a comically pedantic sergeant – but as the wind blows and the thunder rolls, it feels as if they've crossed over to another world, perhaps even a hell where they're condemned to keep driving forever. They certainly seem to be searching for something far more elusive and profound than one dead body.

But as dream-like and mythical as the film becomes, Ceylan keeps a wry eye on the practicalities: the problem of closing a car boot, and how often the convoy has to stop so that the prosecutor can have a pee. And while the men's sleep-deprived conversations drift into philosophical reverie, they also share some very earthbound fears and regrets.

With its Western plotting, its epic scope, its deadpan comedy, and its air of weirdness, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is like nothing you will have seen before, but its closest cousins are the films of the Coen brothers. The difference is that while the Coens often leave you with the suspicion that the whole thing's a joke, and that the audience is the butt of it, you never doubt Bilge Ceylan's compassion for his weary heroes. After two and a half hours, you're ready to watch his film again.

Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo is based on a true story – not that you can spot much truth beneath all the sugary sentiment. Transplanting events from England to California, the film features Matt Damon as a hunky journalist whose perfect wife died of cancer six months earlier. His lisping moppet of a daughter isn't affected in the slightest by the bereavement, but his teenage son likes to draw sketches of zombies, which, as we all know, signifies severe psychological damage. Damon has no option but to move his children away from friends and relatives, and into a rundown safari park which he can somehow afford to buy.

The price not only gets him a stunning mansion overlooked by wooded mountains, plus a quaint pub, but also a huge number of exotic animals (though we barely glimpse most of them), and a staff of loyal eccentrics. It even comes with two unattached beauties – one for Damon and one for his son – including Scarlett Johansson, who's head zookeeper. Damon, meanwhile, brings nothing to his new job except magical good luck, but that appears to be enough. The minute he's short of cash, a cheque for $84,000 drops from the heavens. Shameless.

21 Jump Street is a raucous action-comedy starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as two policemen who pretend to be teenagers in order to infiltrate a high-school drugs ring. It's as undisciplined as today's semi-improvised, post-Judd Apatow comedies always are, but it does have a few smart jokes. Having left school all of seven years ago, Tatum is bewildered to find that today's most popular youngsters are fans of superhero comics, environmentalism and tolerance. "I blame Glee," he growls.

Arts and Entertainment

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Metallica are heading for the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals next summer

Music

Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain's daughter Frances Bean Cobain is making a new documentary about his life

Music

Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp

TV Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp

Arts and Entertainment
TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tvThe two new contestants will join the 'I'm A Celebrity' camp after Gemma Collins' surprise exit
News
The late Jimmy Ruffin, pictured in 1974
people
News
Northern Uproar, pictured in 1996
people

Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the new Paddington bear review

Review: Paddingtonfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Tony stares at the 'Daddy Big Ears' drawing his abducted son Oliver drew for him in The Missing
tvReview: But we're no closer to the truth in 'The Missing'
Arts and Entertainment
Henry Marsh said he was rather 'pleased' at the nomination
booksHenry Marsh's 'Do No Harm' takes doctors off their pedestal
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in new biopic The Imitation Game

'At times I thought he was me'

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
One Direction go Fourth: The boys pose on the cover of their new album Four

Review: One Direction, Four

music
Arts and Entertainment
'Game of Thrones' writer George RR Martin

Review: The World of Ice and Fire

books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Bean will play 'extraordinary hero' Inspector John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles
tvHow long before he gets killed off?
Arts and Entertainment
Some like it hot: Blaise Bellville

music
Arts and Entertainment
A costume worn by model Kate Moss for the 2013 photograph

art
Arts and Entertainment

music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital