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Win Best (George Best: All By Himself) on DVD

Best

Preview by Jack Foley

BAFTA®-nominated director Daniel Gordon (Hillsborough) turns his camera spotlight on football legend George Best in a new documentary feature.

Best (George Best: All By Himself) explores the beloved football rock and roll star in a way you have never seen him before, celebrating his prowess on the pitch, revealing his flaws, and his tragic final years.

The film includes footage of his stunning debut with Manchester United through his football glory years, as well as uncovering his off-pitch talents that seduced so many women around the world.

Described by The Irish Football Association as the “greatest player to ever pull on the green shirt of Northern Ireland”, George Best was the charismatic, Belfast boy who could thrill the crowds with every turn of the ball.

But with such extraordinary fame came a fatal temptation towards drink and depression. Jointly presented by ESPN Films, the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen, the revealing 30 for 30 documentary delivers fascinating, new insights into the rise and fall of one of football’s greatest players, featuring never-before-seen interviews with his close family including Angie Best and Ani Rinchen Khandro, as well as former footballers and friends Bobby McAlinde, Bill McMurdo and Harry Gregg.

Best (George Best: All By Himself) is available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from May 30, 2017.

Win Best (George Best: All By Himself) on DVD

To celebrate the release of Best (George Best: All By Himself) on DVD on Monday, May 30, 2017, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win a copy. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Best?

Simply send the answer to Best competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Win The Resident on DVD

The Resident

Preview by Jack Foley

FROM the rapidly rising, critically acclaimed production company Black Fawn Films, the producers of Bite, comes the critically acclaimed The Resident (aka The Sublet), ‘One of the most effective psychological horror films of the decade’ (horrorgeeklife.com), which makes its UK DVD debut and available on-demand and to download on May 22, 2017, courtesy of Second Sight.

Alone with a baby and feeling isolated, Joanna feels a growing sense of unease in her new apartment. Are the sinister noises, banging on the walls and whispering voices real, or is she losing her mind?

Gradually uncovering the chilling history of her new home, she desperately clings to her sanity, while fearing the horrific events of the past have left a very real and malevolent presence.

Prepare to be disturbed as you spend some time with The Resident.

Win The Resident on DVD

To celebrate the release of The Resident on DVD on Monday, May 22, 2017, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. What other name is Resident also known as?

Simply send the answer to The Resident competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Sing - DVD Review

Sing

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

GIVEN the enduring popularity of reality TV shows such as The X Factor and American Idol it was only a matter of time before someone seized upon the idea of building a film around that conceit.

Yet as hideous as that idea sounds, new animated family film Sing actually hits all the right notes.

A new work from the studio behind Minions (Illumination), the film is as funny as it is emotionally compelling, as well as populated by a top-notch vocal cast.

The story focuses on luckless koala bear Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey), a theatre impresario facing the loss of his dream theatre, who hits upon the idea of staging a singing competition in a bid to wipe out of all his debt.

Initially offering $1,000, the show soon becomes the hottest talent contest in town following an administrative typo (that adds a few zeroes to the prize money), with a host of aspiring singers (all animals) vying for the prize that could also transform their lives.

These include a gorilla (Taron Egerton) desperate to escape his family of criminals, a Rat Pack-like mouse (Seth MacFarlane) with an over-sized ego, an elephant (Tori Kelly) with a big voice but crippling stage fright, a mother pig (Reese Witherspoon) desperate to break away from her under-appreciated day-to-day routine of suburban housewife, and a rocker porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) who is being held back by her domineering partner.

If the idea behind Sing smacks of pandering to popular trends, then the execution is what makes it so special. The film is a blast, making a mockery of an apparently tired idea by serving up something that kids of all ages can enjoy.

The visual gags are great, the songs sometimes inspired – and that’s despite sometimes going for the obvious pop culture choices – Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Katy Perry et al – and the characters impossible to dislike.

Indeed, a key component to Sing‘s winning charm is the way in which every character somehow resonates, even though – at first glance – there seems to be far too many of them.

McConaughey’s Buster Moon is a wildly endearing central character, whose repeated attempts to escape from rock bottom only ever seem to make him plummet lower, while the likes of Kelly, MacFarlane and Witherspoon also touch the heart in some way.

Egerton, meanwhile, invests tremendous heart and soul into his gorilla (his belated Elton John number one of a couple of potentially tear-jerking bittersweet moments), while John C Reilly impresses as one of Moon’s long-suffering friends.

And while’s it’s true that some (if not most) of the stories are hopelessly contrived, they’re played out so well that you’ll be having too much of a good time to care – especially given the laugh out loud nature of some of the gags and sight jokes (a car wash sequence is particularly inspired).

Hence, while Sing certainly borrows from plenty of elements – everything from The Muppet Show to Glee via Zootropolis is in there – it still feels fresh and uplifting. It’s a feel-good extravaganza that will leave you singing its praises to anyone willing to listen.

Certificate: U
Running time: 1hr 50mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: May 22, 2017

Live By Night - DVD Review

Live By Night

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

BEN Affleck launched his directorial career with a brilliantly realised adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel Gone Baby Gone. He returns to the author for his fourth film, the ambitious Prohibition-era gangster drama Live By Night with mixed results.

Impressive to look at and boasting some fine set pieces, the film nevertheless struggles to engage on an emotional level, with the sprawling story appearing too episodic to allow key characters to register the sort of human connection that Affleck was doubtless seeking.

Disillusioned by his experiences of fighting in World War I, cop’s son Joe Coughlin (played by Affleck) decides to live by his own rules and operates as a small-time hood in Boston.

But after falling foul of Irish gangster Albert White (Robert Glenister), following an ill-advised affair with his Irish moll Emma Gould (Sienna Miller), he ends up working for the Mafia in Tampa, Florida, driven by revenge and an ambition to set up a legalised gambling establishment.

As he rises, so too do the challenges he faces, whether in the form of the Ku Klux Klan, Christian fanatics, corrupt police chiefs or his own bosses and former enemies.

With so much to cram into the movie, it’s perhaps not a surprise that Affleck struggles to make everything count. Hence, potentially interesting plot turns are all too quickly resolved, while characters that warrant greater screen time are too quickly discarded.

This rings particularly true – early on – for Brendan Gleeson’s police chief (and Affleck’s father), whose scenes are terrific. The Irish actor conveys so much in such a short time that the film feels genuinely weakened by his departure.

But the same can be said for Chris Messina’s right-hand man, who engages only briefly; Chris Cooper’s complex lawman (who is painted in too broad strokes), Matthew Maher’s Klan heavy (who shakes things up all too briefly) and even Zoe Saldana’s love interest, whose story arc and resolution is under-served by the lack of screen presence she is afforded.

That’s not to say that Live By Night is a disaster, nor anywhere near as bad as its lacklustre box office suggests. There are some impressive sequences, including an early car chase involving Model T Fords and a climactic shoot-out. Nods to other genre movies are also well judged, with everything from The Godfather to Scarface and Road To Perdition referenced (in keeping with Affleck’s desire to pay homage to the gangster films of old).

It’s just that Live By Night feels much, much less than the sum of its parts. For Affleck, it’s his least successful movie, following the far better crime drama The Town and his Oscar-winning Argo. While Lehane’s other literary works have also delivered screen classics such as Mystic River and Shutter Island.

Live By Night struggles to get anywhere close to that kind of status and ends up feeling like a missed opportunity. It’s a solid genre piece when it could have rated so much higher.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 2hrs 13mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: May 22, 2017

Win The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead on DVD

The Damned

Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the release of The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead – available on Digital Download on May 22 and Blu-ray/DVD on May 29 – we are giving away a DVD courtesy of Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.

A rip-roaring, hell-raising account of one of the first and greatest punk bands, The Damned, who ripped up the 70s music scene, fell apart in chaos, reformed and are still touring today 40 years strong! This joins Lemmy, The Filth and the Fury and Anvil as a gleefully riotous, must watch rock-doc!

From Wes Orshoski, the co-director of Lemmy, The Damned features contributions from Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jones, Lemmy, and members of Pink Floyd, Black Flag, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Sex Pistols, Fugazi, Blondie, The Buzzcocks and many more!

Pre-order today

Synopsis

The story of the long-ignored pioneers of punk: The Damned.

The long-ignored pioneers of punk, The Damned started out as trailblazers on London’s 70s punk rock scene, being the first British punk band to release a single, the immortal New Rose in 1976. They were the first of their band s genre to release an album, and the first to tour the United States, performing to sellout crowds, where they left a lasting musical legacy.

However, the critical adoration lavished on contemporaries like The Clash and Sex Pistols always eluded them.

Shot around the globe over three years, the film charts the band’s complex history and infighting. It captures the band on a world tour and follows its estranged former members striking out on their own anniversary tour.

Win The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead on DVD

To celebrate the release of The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead on DVD on Monday, May 29, 2017, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 copy. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead ?

Simply send the answer to The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Win Short Poppies on DVD

Short Poppies

Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the release of Short Poppies – on DVD and Digital Download on May 29, 2017 – we are giving away a copy courtesy of Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment.

Flight of the Conchords star Rhys Darby plays a host of hilarious characters in a laugh out loud look at small town life in New Zealand, featuring cameo appearances from Stephen Merchant, Karl Urban, Sam Neill and Bear Grylls, in this side-splitting cross between The Office and Parks and Recreation.

Pre-order today

Synopsis

David Farrier is a journalist given an assignment to find the ‘Short Poppies’, the real people who are what New Zealand is really all about.

He heads to a small town where he meets a cross section of the local community, including incompetent lifeguards, UFO-spotters, town gossips and deranged park rangers.

When the seven characters are invited to the wrap party to celebrate the series, all hell breaks loose when they see how theyʼve been portrayed on the show…

Win Short Poppies on DVD

To celebrate the release of Short Poppies on DVD on Monday, May 29, 2017, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 copy. Simply answer the following question…

Q. In which country is Short Poppies set?

Simply send the answer to Short Poppies competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Win Live By Night on Blu-ray™!

Live By Night

Preview by Jack Foley

OSCAR winner Ben Affleck directs and stars in Live By Night, the action-packed crime thriller, set in the Roaring 20s amidst an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies.

Live By Night is out now on Digital Download and is available to own on Blu-ray™ and DVD from Monday (May 22, 2017). To celebrate this exciting Home Entertainment release we are giving away three Live By Night Blu-rays™ to three lucky winners.

Live By Night features an all-star cast, including Ben Affleck (Argo), Elle Fanning (Maleficent), Brendan Gleeson (In the Heart of the Sea, the ‘Harry Potter’ films), Chris Messina (Argo, The Mindy Project), Sienna Miller (American Sniper, Foxcatcher), Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar) and Oscar winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation, The Town).

What you put out into this world will always come back to you, but it never comes back how you predict. Taking fatherly advice is not in Joe Coughlin’s nature. Instead, the WWI vet is a self-proclaimed anti-establishment outlaw, despite being the son of the Boston Police Deputy Superintendent. Joe’s not all bad, though; in fact, he’s not really bad enough for the life he’s chosen.

Unlike the gangsters he refuses to work for, he has a sense of justice and an open heart, and both work against him, leaving him vulnerable time and again – in business and in love. Driven by a need to right the wrongs committed against him and those close to him, Joe heads down a risky path that goes against his upbringing and his own moral code.

Leaving the cold Boston winter behind, he and his reckless crew turn up the heat in Tampa. And while revenge may taste sweeter than the molasses that infuses every drop of illegal rum he runs, Joe will learn that it comes at a price.

Read our review

To be in with a chance of winning this prize, all you need to do is answer the question below…

Q. Which era is LIVE BY NIGHT set in?

A) 1920s
B) 1930s
C) 1940s

Simply send the answer to Live By Night competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Live By Night is out on Digital Download now and is available to own on Blu-ray™ and DVD from May 22.

To get your copy on Digital Download visit:
iTunes
Sky Store

For further information on Live By Night visit the Live By Night Facebook page

© 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Terms & Conditions

• Competition will close on May 31, 2017 and entries sent after the closing date will not be considered.

• Open to UK residents only.

• Entrants must be aged 15 or over.

• IndieLondon is the competition promoter.

• Prize for each of the 3 (three) winners is: x1 (one) Live By Night Blu-ray™ each only.

• The winners will be picked at random and will be contacted via email.

• The name, email address, address and contact number of the winners will be requested for prize fulfilment and may be passed to a third party for prize fulfilment.

• If any item listed above is unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute with an alternative item of similar value.

• The winners may be required to take part in reasonable post-competition publicity for Warner and may be filmed, photographed or otherwise recorded by Warner or other third parties for publicity and he/she consents to the use of his/her personal data for such purposes.

• The winners may be required to sign a Prize Acceptance Form before the Prize is awarded. If a Prize winner is under the age of 18 years, a parent or guardian may be required to sign a Prize Acceptance Form before the Prize is awarded

• There is no cash alternative to Prizes, which are subject to availability, non-transferable, non-negotiable and non-refundable. Prizes may not be sold, offered for sale or used in connection with any other competition or promotion by the prize Winners.

• Prize details are correct at the date of this Agreement. Events may occur that render the Media Promotion itself or the awarding of Prizes impossible due to unforeseen circumstances or reasons beyond the control of Warner. In this situation, Warner may at its discretion vary or amend Prizes so as to provide reasonable alternative prizes and prize winners agree that no liability shall attach to Warner or parties connected to Warner as a result.

• The prize will be delivered to the winners within 28 days of confirmation of delivery address.

• Failure to reply to notification within 2 weeks renders the competition void and the editor will have the option to pick another winner from the pool of entrants.

• The Editor’s decision is final and binding on the entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.

La La Land - DVD Review

La La Land

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

THE critical fanfare surrounding La La Land has been ringing in people’s ears since the film debuted in Venice in August last year. There is even a chance that, for some, it could be deafening (can it really be that good?), while for others with a healthy disdain of musicals, to which this pays shameless homage, it continues to be a hard sell.

Yet Damien Chazelle’s film is so much more than just a throwback to a golden age of filmmaking. It’s a movie that extols the virtues of the past while keeping an eye on the future. It feels fresh and of its time while tipping its hat to everything from Fred and Ginger to Rebel Without A Cause.

And while several moments do sweep you along on a tidal wave of feel-good romanticism, there’s a bittersweet poignancy underpinning the story that could just as easily leave you wiping a tear away come the closing credits.

For those reasons, and more, Chazelle’s movie is a must-see experience and an instant classic, entirely worthy of the adulation and awards that have come its way.

The story follows struggling wannabe actress Mia (Emma Stone) and passionate but luckless jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as they look for the opportunity that will help them to realise their dreams. When they eventually meet each other and start a relationship, it’s their enthusiasm for each other’s ambitions that provide each with something of a catalyst for change.

But as their dreams look like becoming a reality, the couple soon realise that there’s a price that may been to be paid.

In the lead roles, Gosling and Stone are note perfect. Stone, in particular, embodies the heartbreak of a woman whose dreams are shattered on an almost weekly – if not daily – basis; the cruelty of the audition process exposed for all to see. And yet, whenever a smile is coaxed, it illuminates the room and your heart.

Gosling, for his part, drifts between the coolness we’ve long come to expect from him with a moodiness that’s befitting a classic style of romantic leading man. He’s steadfast in his determination to stay true to the rules he holds dear, which is romantic in itself. But he’s a dashing gentleman when he needs to be, a playful fool at other moments, and a man who is just as likely to have his dreams trampled upon as realised in compromised ways.

But therein lies the heart of Chazelle’s story too. Dreams are difficult to chase and involve certain sacrifices. Their realisation may well give rise to other sacrifices. And there’s a boldness to a film that is daring enough to offer shading, which doesn’t compromise on its own values, and which strives for a reality amid the magic.

In doing that, La La Land also successfully tap dances that line between recapturing the spirit of the type of films that its young writer-director was inspired by, while surprising you to boot. And in an age where everyone seems to be sprinting towards change and keeping up with innovation, often at the expense of the past, it sounds a timely cautionary note for anyone willing to pay attention: there is much to cherish by holding onto certain values and traditions.

Hence, watching Gosling and Stone emulate the likes of Fred and Ginger has a nostalgic charm that’s utterly endearing, while even the big dance numbers – such as the freeway sequence that sets things in motion – succeed in putting a smile on your face. There’s an energy, at times, that’s invigorating.

Yet if such moments capture the brazen bombast of Chazelle’s last movie, “Whiplash”: (without the vitriol), then La La Land also dazzles in the quieter, subtler moments in between: the spaces in which Chazelle allows his characters the time to grow, to make you fall in love with them, to ride the dream with them and – ultimately – tip your head respectfully, and smile appreciatively, at the bittersweet ironies that come to define their relationship.

La La Land is – without doubt – a modern masterpiece that has plenty to say beyond the glamour and glitz of its promotional campaign. It is a film that everyone and anyone can enjoy and somehow relate to: it resonates as much as it exhilarates.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2hrs 8mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: May 15, 2017

Manchester By The Sea - DVD Review

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

KENNETH Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea may offer a sombre reflection on grief but far from being the kind of misery-fest that suggests, it’s a richly rewarding and highly absorbing character study anchored by a superb, Oscar-winning performance from Casey Affleck.

Affleck stars as Lee, an ill-tempered loner living in Boston, who works as a janitor. When he is called back to his hometown following the death of his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), he must contend with the emotions his return stirs, stemming from a tragedy in his past, as well as the surprise news that he is now legal guardian of Joe’s teenage son.

Affleck is quietly brilliant at channelling the conflicted emotions of Lee, while Lonergan slowly peels away the layers of the story to offer a heart-rending tale of grief born from tremendous tragedy.

Without giving anything away, the reasons behind Joe’s self-imposed exile are as heart-breaking as they are horrific, permanently scarring the lives of those affected by it. And yet life goes on. It must. For Lee, it’s about dealing with repressed anger and stifled emotions. For those around him, including his estranged wife Randi (Michelle Williams), it’s about attempting to move on – and perhaps feeling guilty for doing so.

For Joe’s son, Patrick (played equally brilliantly as a kid by Ben O’Brien and as a troubled teen by Lucas Hedges), it’s about making the best of a bad deal… a cruel life that has seen his mother disappear and his father robbed at a crucial age.

The scenes between Affleck and Hedges really do resonate. Yet they’re not just about bonding or managing each other’s grief (however that manifests itself); they can be quietly humourous too. Lonergan has a way of making some of the frustrating absurdities of life seem amusingly familiar.

Indeed, it’s that sense of reality that helps Manchester By The Sea resonate so deeply. It’s a film about real emotions and real people, even if some of the plot devices can feel contrived. There’s a quiet simplicity to it that’s disarming, lending the key scenes so much power.

A scene between Affleck and Williams, in which the latter lays open her heart, really does blow you away, as does Affleck’s work in the immediate aftermath of what causes him so much grief. It’s a powerhouse performance from Affleck; one that arguably plays to some of the actor’s strengths (his general sense of quietness), but which also stretches him in numerous ways.

Yet while Affleck is certainly centre-stage, Lonergan also makes sure to give everyone their moment in the spotlight. Hedges is a revelation, too, perfectly conveying the torment, anger and confusion of a teenager on the edge; Williams is terrific in a few short scenes, while Chandler is the calming influence at the centre of it all, whose compassion – in flashback – enables his loss to be felt so deeply. Somebody needs to give Chandler a leading [film] role of worth soon given the way he continually excels in small but pivotal roles (see also The Wolf of Wall Street, Carol and Super 8).

Lonergan, for his part, deserves high praise indeed for the way in which he manages to combine complicated emotional journeys with deft, everyday humour, as well as characters who are worth spending time with and caring for in spite of their flaws.

Manchester By The Sea is a thoughtful, intelligent human drama that tugs at the heart-strings in all the right ways. It is fully deserving of the critical adulation and awards recognition it has received thus far.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 137mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: May 15, 2017

Win Away on DVD

Away

Preview by Jack Foley

101 Films is pleased to announce the UK release of Away, available Digitally on May 8, 2017 and on DVD from May 15, 2017. Pre-order on DVD now from Amazon. To celebrate we’re giving away 2x DVD copies!

Directed by BAFTA winner David Blair, Away stars multiple BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall, BAFTA winner Juno Temple and, fresh from her 2017 BAFTA nomination for I, Daniel Blake, Hayley Squires.

Joseph (Timothy Spall) and Ria (Juno Temple) are kindred spirits, both looking for a way out. When circumstances throw them together an unlikely friendship blossoms – one that gives them both a glimpse of something more, but one that is destined to end in the most extreme circumstances if either are to escape the confines of their lives and get away for good.

This is a story of love, of loss and of hope played out against the magical backdrop of Blackpool.

To be in with the chance of winning, just answer this question…

Q. What film was Hayley Squires nominated for a BAFTA for?

A) I, Daniel Blake
B) A Royal Night Out
C) Away

Simply send the answer to Away competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Away is out in cinemas from May 12, 2017 and available digitally from May 8, 2017 and on DVD from May 15, 2017.