cinema · DVD & Digital

Film review: Flashback

Back in 2014, actress Maika Monroe emerged as the ‘next big thing’ after brilliant performances in back-to-back indie hits It Follows and The Guest. Strangely, aside from the odd supporting role here and there, she has all but vanished into cinematic anonymity. We witness art imitating life to some degree in the latest feature from writer and director Christopher MacBride. Previously titled The Education of Fredrick Fitzell, the plot sees Fred (Dylan O’Brien) revisits his youth to explore the disappearance of Cindy (Monroe), whom he remembers as the coolest girl at school. With the help of old pals Sebastian (Emory Cohen) and Andre (Keir Gilchrist), he must unravel the mystery of his past.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Here Are The Young Men

 Based upon Rob Doyle’s novel of the same name, model turned actor and filmmaker Eoin Macken writes and directs coming-of-age drama Here Are the Young Men. Set during the Celtic Tiger period of Ireland’s economic boom, the story treads the well-worn territory of a group of teenage friends having their last hurrah summer before entering the real world. Matthew (Dean Charles-Chapman) is the naïve and impressionable protagonist, led astray by Rez (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) and Kearney (Finn Cole) who have an insatiable appetite for drug-fuelled rebellion. As his relationship with Jen (Anya Taylor-Joy) begins to blossom, Matthew is forced to reckon with his increasingly reckless behaviour.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: Silk Road

Director Tiller Russell is well versed in documentary filmmaking but for his latest feature, he has crafted an amazing true story into crime thriller Silk Road. Based on David Kushner’s Rolling Stone article Dead End on Silk Road: Internet Crime Kingpin Ross Ulbricht’s Big Fall, the story centres around the conception of the notorious website that gives the film its name. Seemingly disillusioned by the stranglehold the US government has on their citizens, philosophical whiz-kid Ross (Nick Robinson) has a bold vision to create what he calls an ‘Amazon for drugs’. Before long, the site is an underground success and soon attracts the attentions of Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke), a wizened DEA agent who is struggling to adapt to the modern methods of policing.

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DVD & Digital · GFF21

Film review: The Mauritanian

The US government’s forceful methods are called into question in Kevin Macdonald’s legal drama The Mauritanian, which tells the incredible true story of a suspected terrorist’s detainment at Guantanamo Bay. Based on the protagonist’s bestselling book, we see Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Tahar Rahim) imprisoned due to information suggesting his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Still protesting his innocence three years after his arrest, he is represented by defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri (Shailene Woodley), while the military lawyer Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) heads up the prosecution.

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DVD & Digital · GFF21

DVD review: Minari

Writer and director Lee Isaac Chung revisits his childhood in semi-autobiographical drama Minari. The narrative follows Korean-American couple Jacob (Steven Yeun) and Monica (Han Ye-ri) and their children Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and David (Alan Kim), who move to rural Arkansas to build a new life on a farm. With a lot to learn about the agricultural business, the challenges they face begin to put financial and emotional strain on their close-knit family.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Ammonite

 Following on from the critical success of his groundbreaking debut God’s Own Country, writer and director Francis Lee revisits the theme of repressed homosexual romance with his semi-biographical drama Ammonite. Set on the blustery shores of Lyme Regis in the 1840s, the plot is loosely inspired by palaeontologist Mary Anning. On his European tour, a wealthy fossil enthusiast arrives in town to visit Mary (Kate Winslet) to discuss her geological findings. His young wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) is suffering from severe melancholia and he decides that the sea air will aid her recovery, so he carries on without her, leaving her in Mary’s care. Despite their stark financial and cultural differences, the pair strike up an endearing friendship, leading to a forbidden love that would impact upon their lives forever.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Possessor

Following in the footsteps of his father, the iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg, writer and director Brandon Cronenberg dabbles in the ‘body horror’ sub-genre that his old man pioneered for his grisly sophomore feature Possessor. Revered hitwoman Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is at the centre of the sci-fi thriller, working for an organisation that uses brain-implant technology to allow assassins to carry out hits whilst inhabiting someone else’s body. For her latest assignment, she must ‘possess’ Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) to take out his boss John Parse (Sean Bean), the filthy rich head of a data mining corporate empire.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Shirley

Based on the novel of the same name by Susan Scarf Merrell, the latest drama from director Josephine Decker stars Elisabeth Moss as reclusive horror writer Shirley Jackson. As the eponymous author and her professor husband Stanley (Michael Stuhlbarg) invite newlyweds Fred (Logan Lerman), a fresh-faced teaching assistant, and his wife Rose (Odessa Young) into their marital home, the plot explores the complex dynamics of their relationships. In the beginning, the young and impressionable couple are keen to gain wisdom from their talented elders, but as the situation takes a perverse turn, their marriage is put to the test.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: Mangrove

Steve McQueen’s work was lauded with much critical acclaim when he directed historical saga 12 Years a Slave. For his latest effort, he tells another important true story of racial prejudice, but this time it’s much closer to home. The first episode of the Small Axe mini-series, Mangrove follows modest restaurateur Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes) as he opens a West Indian eatery in the Notting Hill district of West London. His place becomes a lively neighbourhood hub for the black community and after continuous harassment from the local authorities, he is encouraged by Black Panther Movement leader Altheia Jones-Lecointe (Letitia Wright) to make a stand. Their peaceful protest soon descends into chaos, leading to an emotionally-charged trial.

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