DVD & Digital

DVD review: The King of Staten Island

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Judd Apatow’s movies have been the gateway drug to cinema for the likes of Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, and Amy Schumer, and his latest effort The King of Staten Island introduces another new face. Plucked from the Saturday Night Live breeding ground of talent, Pete Davidson stars as Scott Carlin, a twentysomething layabout that spends his days tattooing himself or anyone that’ll let him near enough with a needle. When his younger sister flees the family nest for college and his mum Margie (Marisa Tomei) gets a new boyfriend, he is forced to finally grow up, and part of this process is the coming to terms with the loss of his firefighter father.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: A Rainy Day in New York

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After a film career that has spanned around half a century so far, veteran writer and director Woody Allen gets nostalgic about reckless youth in his latest comedy A Rainy Day in New York. The plot follows a student couple whose impromptu getaway to Manhattan inadvertently splits into two separate adventures. Rich kid Gatsby Welles (Timothée Chalamet) runs into old friend Chan (Selena Gomez) as he dodges a reunion with his family, whilst his aspiring journalist girlfriend Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) gets more than she bargained for when interviewing a hotshot filmmaker for the school paper.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Resistance

Resistance

Venezuelan writer and director Jonathan Jakubowicz presents an untold WWII story through the lens of a biopic with Resistance. The plot centres around aspiring mime artist Marcel (Jesse Eisenberg) who joins his brother Alain (Félix Moati) and friend Emma (Clémence Poésy) in the French Resistance. With sadistic Gestapo agent Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighöfer) hunting them down, they attempt to escort a group of orphans from Nazi-occupied France across the border to safety.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Fanny Lye Deliver’d

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British filmmaker Thomas Clay made an impression on the scene back in the noughties with two controversial films that had began to establish him as a rising star to pay attention to. After strangely going off the radar ever since, he’s returned to the director’s chair with period drama Fanny Lye Deliver’d. Set on an isolated Shropshire farm shortly after the English Civil War, the plot centres around the bleak lives of Fanny (Maxine Peake), her abusive husband John (Charles Dance) and their son Arthur. When young couple Thomas (Freddie Fox) and Rebecca (Tanya Reynolds) arrive unannounced to seek shelter in their barn one night, the Lye’s strict puritan lifestyle is challenge by radical new ideas.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Enemy Lines

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World War II drama Enemy Lines is the English-language debut from Swedish director Anders Banke who learned his filmmaking trade in Moscow. Set against the glacial backdrop of Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943, the plot follows US soldier Major Kaminski (Ed Westwick) as he embarks on a dangerous assignment. Under the command of Colonel Preston (John Hannah), a plan is hatched for a commando squad to infiltrate enemy lines to free rocket scientist Dr. Fabien (Pawel Delag) from the control of the German army.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Ema

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After a foray into English-language cinema with historical drama Jackie a few years ago, acclaimed Chilean director Pablo Larraín returns to his mother-tongue to tell an intimate story set in his hometown. The plot follows dancer Ema (Mariana Di Girólamo) in the aftermath of a tragedy that ended her marriage with choreographer Gastón (Gael García Bernal). When their adopted son Polo started a housefire which had dire consequences for the family, he was subsequently taken away from the couple. Reeling with grief and frustration, we see Ema react in unpredictable, volatile ways.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: The Assistant

Documentary filmmaker Kitty Green transitions from fact to fiction for her fourth feature The Assistant. Inspired by the Me Too movement, the drama tells a day in the life tale of Jane (Julia Garner), a fresh-faced assistant to an influential figure in the film industry. Feeling isolated and under pressure in a male-dominated environment, she naively turns to Wilcock (Matthew Macfadyen) in the HR department when she suspects untoward behaviour from the powers that be.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: Rocks

 With a largely non-professional cast and an improvised script, high school drama Rocks is a daring, some might say risky, third feature from director Sarah Gavron. The London-based plot centres around Shola (Bukky Bakray), a fun-loving teenager whose nickname gives the film its title. On what first appears to be like any other school morning, she wakes up to discover that her mother has absconded, leaving behind only a letter of apology and some cash in an envelope. Fending for herself and her little brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu), she is forced to grow up fast and puts on a brave face whilst trying to make ends meet and avoid unwanted attention from the local authorities.

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DVD & Digital

Film review: Calm With Horses

 Glanbeigh is a fictional small-town on the west coast of Ireland which serves as the bleak yet breath-taking backdrop for a series of short stories called Young Skins by author Colin Barrett. Crime novella Calm With Horses is the bruising centrepiece of the collection and has been adapted for the screen by newcomer director Nick Rowland and screenwriter Joseph Murtagh. The plot centres around ex-boxer turned muscle Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong (Cosmo Jarvis) who does the dirty work of Dympna (Barry Keoghan) for the drug-pedalling Devers family. When he discovers that his ex-girlfriend Ursula (Niamh Algar) is moving to Cork with their young son Jack, he is forced to confront his conflicting loyalties head on.

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DVD & Digital

DVD review: Eternal Beauty

It’s been a decade since Welsh actor Craig Roberts’ breakthrough performance in Richard Ayoade’s critically acclaimed indie film Submarine. Sally Hawkins played the part of his mother back then, and now she takes up the leading role in comedy drama Eternal Beauty, his second feature as writer and director. The plot centres around Jane (Hawkins) who suffered a psychological breakdown years earlier after being jilted at the altar. Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, we see how she interacts with her sisters Nicola (Billie Piper) and Alice (Alice Lowe), her mother Vivian (Penelope Witton) and her madcap love interest Mike (David Thewlis) who has mental health issues of his own.

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