cinema · DVD & Digital

Film review: Settlers

Writer and director Wyatt Rockefeller boldly embarks onto the Martian frontier for his feature debut Settlers, a dystopian sci-fi western. The plot centres around parents Reza (Jonny Lee Miller) and Ilsa (Sofia Boutella) as they seek refuge whilst striving to build a prosperous life for their young daughter Remmy (Brooklynn Prince). When their home is threatened by the mysterious Jerry (Ismael Cruz Cordova), the family face a desperate battle for survival.

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DVD & Digital · Interviews

Settlers Interview: Wyatt Rockefeller – ‘Film is an emotional medium. Audiences don’t see something unless they feel it’.

Set on an evolving Martian frontier in an unknown future, sci-fi drama Settlers centres around a family’s battle for survival. As parents Reza (Jonny Lee Miller) and Ilsa (Sofia Boutella) try to build a life for their daughter Remmy (Brooklynn Prince), their home is threatened by mysterious stranger Jerry (Ismael Cruz Cordova) who is looking for answers. I took the opportunity to sit down with the writer and director Wyatt Rockefeller to chat about his striking debut…

You’ve had quite the journey to finally making your first feature, after lots of shorts, commercials, and docs and a break for politics too. What was it about Settlers that made you take the plunge?

 Well, when I first had the idea for Settlers, I was actually working on another feature to come off the heels of one of my shorts. I had the spark of an idea and then it all came really quickly. It hit me at a gut level which is a good sign! I mentioned it to a few producers including my wife who’s actually one of the producers on this, and the story really told itself. Within 15 minutes, I had the plot in my head right up until Jerry puts the gun on the table.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: The Birthday Cake

An amazing ensemble cast has come together for gangster drama The Birthday Cake, the directorial debut of Jimmy Giannopoulos. The contained ‘day in the life’ plot centres around Gio (Shiloh Fernandez), the youngest footsoldier of an Italian American organised crime family who, as a tradition, continue to celebrate the birthday of their late patriarch. To mark the tenth anniversary of his passing, an extra special gathering is arranged, and Gio’s mother Sofia (Lorraine Bracco) assigns him the task of delivering the cake. He arrives to a warm reception from Angelo (Val Kilmer), Joey (John Magaro), Vito (Vincent Pastore), Ricardo (William Fichtner), and more. However, when it transpires that Leo (Emory Cohen) is missing, a chain of events is set in motion that reveal a dark secret from his past.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: Giddy Stratospheres

We’re transported back to the indie era of one-pound pints, sweaty walls, and those coloured framed sunglasses that everyone wore to nightclubs for Giddy Stratospheres, the debut of musician, model, and actress turned filmmaker Laura Jean Marsh. As well as writing and directing the piece, Marsh plays the lead role of Lara; an art-school scenester whose party lifestyle begins to catch up with her. Reeling after a boozy night out with her best pal Daniel (Jamal Franklin), she is called away to a family funeral where she is forced to face up to her mounting problems.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Nobody

Indie musician turned filmmaker Ilya Naishuller debuted as a director with Hardcore Henry in 2015, an inventive sci-fi film which riffed off of first-person videogames. His sophomore effort Nobody is more traditionally conceived in style, yet surprising in its casting, pitting seasoned comedy actor Bob Odenkirk at the centre of an action thriller. The preposterous plot centres around mild-mannered family man Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk) who works at his father-in-law’s business. When his home is broken into in the middle of the night, a chain of events is set off which reignites his penchant for violence and results in a rivalry with Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksei Serebryakov), a dangerous mob boss.

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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: Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In

 In 2018, legendary football manager Sir Alex Ferguson suffered a brain haemorrhage which left him fearing that he would lose his memory. Whilst in recovery, he began telling stories of his past to prove to himself and his family that he could. His son, Jason Ferguson, used this as an opportunity to craft documentary film Never Give In, which charts the illustrious life and times of his father.

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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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