DVD

DVD review: Manchester by the Sea

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Casey Affleck has quietly avoided the mainstream throughout most of his career, but has consistently delivered excellent yet underrated turns that seem to slip under the radar. This is set to change thanks to family drama Manchester by the Sea, the latest feature from writer and director Kenneth Lonergan. Taking its name from the small scenic Massachusetts town in which it is set, the story follows lowly and lonely janitor Lee Chandler (Affleck) who is forced to return to his roots when his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) passes away. As the legal guardian of nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), he offers his help and support whilst he wrestles with personal demons from his past that come back to haunt him.

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DVD

DVD review: War on Everyone

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In his third directorial feature, Irish filmmaker John Michael McDonagh leaves his homeland and takes his brand of dark comedy to America. Set in ‘breaking bad’ country Albuquerque, buddy movie War on Everyone stars Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña as police officers who regularly find themselves on the wrong side of the law. When the corrupt antics of Terry Monroe (Skarsgård) and Bob Bolaño (Peña) go too far, they cross paths with vicious Brit-gangster Lord James Mangan (Theo James) and things take a turn for the worse for the carefree detectives.

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DVD

DVD review: Lion

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  In his directorial debut, Australian filmmaker Garth Davis brings an amazing true story to the cinematic stage with Lion, a stranger-than-fiction tale of a lost boy in India. The screenplay adapts the memoir entitled A Long Way Home written by Saroo Brierley, who is portrayed by Sunny Pawar initially and then Dev Patel as the story develops. At the age of five, caring Saroo wants to help his mother by providing in any way he can and after persuading his older brother Guddu (Abhisek Bharate) to let him accompany him to work, he falls asleep at a train station. When he awakens alone in the middle of the night, he searches for Guddu but drifts off again, this time on a train which takes him on a two day journey to Calcutta, almost a thousand miles from home. Twenty five years later, having been adopted by Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John (David Wenham), Saroo tries to track down his biological family, using Google Earth as his map.

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DVD

DVD review: T2 Trainspotting

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Sequels to much loved movies often come with a degree of pressure, but none more so than T2 Trainspotting which picks up the stories of the iconic heroin addicts two decades after the cult classic original. Both the anticipation and trepidation around the release have been rife as Danny Boyle returns to the director’s chair for the project, which is loosely adapted from Irvine Welsh’s novel Porno. The plot sees Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) return to Edinburgh after betraying his friends all those years ago. Reuniting with Danny ‘Spud’ Murphy (Ewen Bremner) and Simon ‘Sick Boy’ Williamson (Jonny Lee Miller), he tries to move forward with his life. Meanwhile sociopathic Francis Begbie (Robert Carlyle) is out of prison and when he hears that Mark is back, he is bloodthirsty for revenge.

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DVD

DVD review: The Girl on the Train

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  Since Paula Hawkins’ thriller novel The Girl on the Train reached the top of the best-selling list last year, the anticipation surrounding the inevitable cinematic adaptation has been rife. The film version is directed by Tate Taylor, and moves the story from London across the Atlantic to a New York setting. Emily Blunt takes the role of Rachel, the titular ‘girl’ on the train who commutes daily past her former marital home where ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) lives happily with his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and their young daughter. Whilst struggling with an alcohol problem, she begins to take an unhealthy interest in Tom and Anna’s idyllic next door neighbours Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans), who appear to have the perfect life from the outside looking in. However, when Megan goes missing, Rachel finds herself embroiled in the investigation.

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DVD

DVD review: La La Land

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  Writer and director Damien Chazelle sweeps us up in classic Hollywood homage with his latest feature La La Land, a musical romance set in modern-day Los Angeles. The story follows aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) who is at the end of her tether after a run of bad auditions. At a particular low point, she spots Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a down-trodden jazz pianist who performs at a restaurant where nobody cares about him or the music he plays. They are contemporary starving artists pursuing old-fashioned dreams, and when fate strikes they bond over their shared passion and ambitions to get a break in the ‘city of stars’. Seb shrugs off his failure to succeed, saying ‘I’m letting life hit me until it gets tired’, but can the pair hit back at life or are they destined for never-ending rejection?

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DVD

DVD review: Silence

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Religion has played a huge part in the illustrious career of Martin Scorsese, and his latest historical epic is the last piece in what is being referred to as his religious triptych. Co-writing the screenplay with past collaborator Jay Cocks, Silence is adapted from Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel of the same name, and focuses on two Portuguese Jesuit priests that aim to spread Christianity through Japan in the 17th century. When Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) hear a rumour that their mentor Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has committed apostasy after being tortured, they refuse to believe that the missionary would abandon his faith, and embark on a dangerous mission to track him down.

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