DVD · LFF20

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

DVD review: Tenet

Christopher Nolan continues to push the envelope of storytelling through his mind-bending plots and special effects. His latest effort, Tenet, might be his highest concept yet; an action thriller where a CIA agent played by John David Washington, credited only as The Protagonist, tries to save the world from a very peculiar threat. He teams up with Neil (Robert Pattinson) to investigate an organisation operating in the future where technology is being used to make objects move in reverse. This leads them to Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) and his wife Kat (Elizabeth Debicki), and when they discover the magnitude of the danger, they must manipulate time to overcome the odds.

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DVD

DVD review: Babyteeth

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Australian actress Eliza Scanlen transitioned from soap to the big screen as sickly sister Beth March in the recent critically acclaimed adaptation of classic novel Little Women. She portrays another tragic teen in coming-of-age drama Babyteeth, the directorial debut of Shannon Murphy. Based upon Rita Kalnejais’s stage play of the same name, the plot follows high schooler Milla (Scanlen) who, whilst battling cancer, falls for Moses (Toby Wallace), a low-level drug dealer with bad tattoos and a rattail haircut. The blossoming romance is met with much disdain by her protective parents Anna (Essie Davis) and Henry (Ben Mendelsohn), who are both struggling to deal with their daughter’s diagnosis.

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DVD

DVD review: Arkansas

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Comedy actor Clarke Duke heads to his home state of Arkansas for his directorial debut, a film which sees him behind and in front of the camera. Based on the novel of the same name by John Brandon, the crime plot follows amateurish drug runners Kyle (Liam Hemsworth) and Swin (Clarke Duke) as they’re paired together on a job. When their deal goes horribly wrong, they find themselves on the run from kingpin Frog (Vince Vaughn) who wants to make them pay for their mistakes.

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DVD · EIFF20

DVD review: A White, White Day (Hvítur, Hvítur Dagur)

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Visual artist turned filmmaker Hlynur Pálmason has focused his directorial lens on a remote Icelandic town for his second feature A White, White Day. The drama centres around off-duty police chief Ingimundur (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) who is struggling to cope with the loss of his wife to a horrific road accident. As a coping mechanism, he takes fishing trips with his granddaughter Salka (Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir), and spends his days renovating a house for his daughter’s family. By chance, he makes a discovery which leads him to believe that his wife had been having an affair, and before long, his suppressed grief and a simmering anger rise to the surface.

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DVD

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

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

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 · EIFF20 · LFF19

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

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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