DVD & Digital

DVD review: Dune

Others have tried and failed at successfully adapting Frank Herbert’s acclaimed science fiction novel for the big screen, most notably in 1984 when surrealist filmmaker David Lynch released a version to an almost universally poor reception. However, with impressive genre credits such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 to his name already, writer and director Denis Villeneuve has stepped up to the challenge of Dune.

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DVD & Digital · LFF21

DVD review: Spencer

Departing from making movies in his native tongue, Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín directed his English-language debut five years ago with a Jackie Kennedy biopic, zoning in on the mournful days following the assassination of her husband, JFK. His latest feature Spencer follows another woman married into a hugely powerful family, with the beloved Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) taking centre stage during a festive break with the Royals. Arriving at Sandringham Estate on Christmas Eve to a frosty reception from eagle-eyed equerry Alistair Gray (Timothy Spall) but greeted with warmth by her dresser and confidante Maggie (Sally Hawkins), she must face up to her failing marriage whilst struggling with an eating disorder.

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DVD & Digital · LFF21

Film review: Boiling Point

It’s no coincidence that the latest feature from actor-turned-director Philip Barantini shares its name with a documentary mini-series fronted by potty mouthed cook Gordon Ramsay. Developed from a short version from a couple of years ago, Boiling Point unfolds across an incredibly hectic evening at a high-end London eatery, centring around head chef Andy (Stephen Graham) who’s taken his desperate personal problems into the workplace. Between an inspection from food hygiene jobsworth Mr Lovejoy (Thomas Coombes), a surprise visit from pompous former employer Alastair (Jason Flemyng), and other unexpected challenges, the increasing stress of the occasion begins to weigh down on him.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: No Time to Die

After a switch in director, a script revamp, and a global pandemic which thrust its release into jeopardy, No Time to Die has finally landed in cinemas. It’s directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and marks the fifth and final outing for Daniel Craig as the iconic secret agent James Bond.

Picking up from where 2015’s Spectre left off, Bond is enjoying retirement in Italy with Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) when he is ambushed by a gang of assassins, which leads him to fear that he’s been betrayed by his girlfriend. We’re then taken five years later to London, where an MI6 laboratory is targeted in an attack, and scientist Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) is kidnapped. He is forced to co-operate with terrorist Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek) to help create a new bioweapon which, in the wrong hands, could be used to spread a deadly virus across the world.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: The Green Knight

With visionary tales of western love, animated dragons, and supernatural presences to his name, the eclecticism of writer and director David Lowery’s work reflects the expansive nature of his imagination. His latest feature is medieval fantasy epic The Green Knight, adapted from a 14th century poem of chivalric romance, and it could be his most imaginative to date.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: The Many Saints of Newark

Before iconic mobster drama The Sopranos altered the landscape of television forever, the writer David Chase, whilst waiting for the show to be picked up, actually considered developing the pilot into a feature to pursue his dream of becoming a film director. Thankfully, HBO eventually greenlit the series and the rest is history. Over twenty years later, the show creator has revisited the New Jersey mob for prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark. Directed by Alan Taylor, who worked regularly on the series, the plot follows gangster Dickie Moltisanti, a soldier of ‘Johnny Boy’ Soprano (Jon Bernthal) within the DiMeo crime family. Set against the backdrop of the 1967 race riots, tensions are running high between Dickie and his former street enforcer Harold (Leslie Odom Jr.), leading to a brutal feud that would divide the communities in the city.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: The Nest

Writer and director Sean Durkin made an impact with his acclaimed cult thriller debut Martha Marcy May Marlene, and remarkably, a decade has gone by since. His long overdue sophomore effort is psychological relationship drama The Nest, which explores the gradual decline of a middle-class marriage.

Rory O’Hara (Jude Law) is a smooth-talking trader who has left his lowly London roots behind, now living the American dream in New York with wife Allison (Carrie Coon) and their children. Eager to grasp his next big opportunity at the height of Thatcherism, he convinces his family to move with him across the pond to an English countryside manor, but his motivations soon become unclear.

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DVD & Digital · EIFF21

DVD review: Annette

The artistic style of French critic turned director Leos Carax has divided audiences for a while, the most notable example being his 2012 fantasy effort Holy Motors which was hailed a masterpiece by some but left others bewildered by the acclaim. His latest piece is romantic musical drama Annette, marking his English-language debut and with a screenplay penned by musicians Ron and Russell Mael, the idiosyncratic brothers behind the band Sparks. The bizarre plot follows comedian Henry (Adam Driver) and opera singer Ann (Marion Cotillard) as they begin a very public courtship. However, when they marry and have their daughter, the eponymous Annette, their relationship soon hits the rocks.

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DVD & Digital · EIFF21

Film review: The Night House

Of all the genres of cinema, horror arguably contains the most trademarks and tropes, whether it’s basement-based jump scares or a hapless prey running from an attacker in the woods, only to inevitably trip and fall. In his latest effort, director David Bruckner subverts the expectations of the haunted house movie whilst playfully pandering to cliché. 

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Censor

Writer and director Prano Bailey-Bond plunges into the wacky world of video nasties for her feature debut Censor. Penned with her regular co-writer Anthony Fletcher, the psychological horror centres around Enid (Niamh Algar), a reticent film censor who spots something in a movie which triggers dark memories from her childhood. The shocking discovery prompts her to dig deeper into the works of controversial filmmaker Frederick North (Adrian Schiller) and his creepy producer Doug (Michael Smiley) as she becomes increasingly obsessed with the mystery surrounding her younger sister’s strange disappearance.

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