DVD · LFF19

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 · GFF20

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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DVD review: Richard Jewell

Still working at the age of 89, legendary actor turned director Clint Eastwood’s latest piece is Richard Jewell, a true crime drama that revisits one of his recurring themes; the American hero. Set during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, the plot centres around the bomb attack on Centennial Park. Whilst working as a security guard at the event, do-gooder Richard (Paul Walter Hauser) spots the suspicious package and alerts the authorities, saving hundreds of lives from the explosion. After the tragedy, sleazy FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) fronts the investigation into finding the perpetrator and ruthless reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) will stop at nothing for a front-page exclusive. When the finger of blame starts to turn towards Richard, he calls upon his lawyer friend Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) to clear his name.

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DVD

DVD review: Queen & Slim

 American filmmaker Melina Matsoukas has been a decorated name in the music video industry for a while and has worked with the biggest popstars in the business. In recent years, she’s transitioned into television and has now made her directorial debut in film with romantic crime drama Queen & Slim. The story begins as defence attorney Angela (Jodie Turner-Smith) goes on a Tinder date with Earnest (Daniel Kaluuya) at a grubby local diner. On the drive home, they are pulled over by the police and an altercation with a white male cop rapidly escalates. Impulsively, they decide to run from the law, and a nationwide manhunt for ‘cop killers’ quickly ensues.

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DVD

DVD review: The Gentlemen

 In the late 1990s, writer and director Guy Ritchie swaggered onto the scene with his sweary yet stylised brand of black comedy. He married the world’s biggest popstar and managed to carry the Britpop movement forward into movies. Since the turn of the century, his work has been somewhat hit-or-miss but his latest feature The Gentlemen sees him go back to the genre that made him famous.

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DVD

DVD review: Little Women

Since Louisa May Alcott’s seminal coming-of-age novel Little Women was published in 1868, there have been countless adaptations of the material. The latest version is written for the screen and directed by Greta Gerwig, who has recently transitioned from indie actress to award-nominated filmmaker. The plot follows the struggles of the March family during the American Civil War as four sisters near the end of childhood; Jo (Saoirse Ronan) is a budding writer, Meg (Emma Watson) has traditional aspirations, Amy (Florence Pugh) longs for a taste of the finer things in life, while Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is a highly talented pianist but is reluctant to share her music. Together and apart, we see the women contend with love, death, and marriage as they fight for independence in a society dominated by men.

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DVD

DVD review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

As the third film of the third trilogy of the adored space-opera saga, the pressure and anticipation for Rise of Skywalker was incredibly high. After pulling the strings in The Force Awakens back in 2015, J.J. Abrams takes hold of the directorial reins once again to finish the story he started. Reeling from the loss of her mentor, Rey (Daisy Ridley) continues her Jedi training under General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) while Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) sends her dark signals through the Force bond they share. When a mysterious threat is received from Emperor Palpatine, the Resistance must come together for another battle with The First Order.

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DVD

DVD review: Le Mans '66

 Matt Damon and Christian Bale have been household names in Hollywood for years, and biographical sports drama Le Mans ’66 by director James Mangold sees them come together on the big screen for the very first time. Marketed across the pond as Ford v Ferrari, the plot centres around the feud between the two mammoth manufacturers as they go head-to-head in a 24-hour Grand Prix race.

 After an unsuccessful attempt to buy their Italian competitor’s racing program, Ford recruit automotive engineer Carroll Shelby (Damon) to build their latest vehicle. Shelby asks charismatic driver Ken Miles (Bale) to get behind the wheel of the newly designed car, and the friends must get past personal and corporate hurdles before they’re even at the starting line.

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