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Nine Lives - Preview

Nine Lives

Preview by Jack Foley

Merry Cat-mas!! Join furry fiend Mr Fuzzypants (aka Kevin Spacey) for this season’s most hilarious feline caper, Nine Lives, which arrives on EST from December 10 and yours to own on Blu-ray & DVD from December 12, 2016, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey), billionaire businessman and soon-to-be owner of the tallest skyscraper in the northern hemisphere, is a workaholic whose lifestyle has disconnected him from his family, particularly his beautiful wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and his adoring daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman).

When Tom forgets to buy Rebecca a present for her 11th birthday he rushes out in a panic and finds himself in a mystical pet store brimming with odd and exotic cats.

Fortunately, the store’s eccentric owner, Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken), has the perfect pet for him: Fluffy feline, Mr Fuzzypants.

However, Mr Fuzzypants proves to be both a blessing and a curse… En route to his daughter’s party, Tom has a terrible accident. When he regains consciousness he discovers that he has become trapped inside the body of the cat…!

Despite being a self-professed cat hater, after a serious of hilarious scrapes Tom realises that occupying the body of a fluffy moggy can have its benefits – namely, spending more time with his family.

Boasting an all-star supporting cast including Christopher Walken, Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell and newcomer Malina Weissman, Nine Lives is a funny, heart-warming tale about the importance of family – and pets! The purrrrfect Christmas gift to get your paws on this December.

Win Nine Lives on Blu-ray

To celebrate the release of Nine Lives on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, December 12, 2016, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies on Blu-ray. Simply answer the following question…

Q. What is the name of Christopher Walken’s character in Nine Lives?

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

Swallows and Amazons - DVD Preview

Swallows and Amazons

Preview by Jack Foley

SET sail and join an epic adventure in the breath-taking British countryside when the enchanting family adventure film Swallows and Amazons lands on Blu-ray, DVD & digital download from December 12, 2016, courtesy of STUDIOCANAL.

Adapted from the classic children’s tale by Arthur Ransome, Swallows And Amazons tells the story of the Walker children, along with their mother (Kelly Macdonald – Brave, Anna Karenina), who embark on a summer trip to the beautiful Lake District.

Desperate to escape the tedium of the holiday they sail out on their own for the first time aboard the marvellous Swallow. On their explorations they land ashore a seemingly deserted island and claim it as their own.

However they soon realise that they are not alone, with two other children who captain their own vessel; Amazon, claiming the island to be theirs, leading to a battle of wits to determine who will triumph and take the island as their own!

While searching the island’s waters, the ‘Swallows’ also become intrigued by a mysterious man (Rafe Spall – The BFG, Life of Pi) who lives on a house boat and seems to be hiding a dark secret… With Britain on the brink of war, the children find themselves in the midst of an adventure quite different from what they had planned.

Featuring a fantastic British cast including Andrew Scott (Spectre, Sherlock), Jessica Hynes (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Son of Rambow) and Harry Enfield (Scottish Mussel, The Bad Education Movie), Swallows and Amazons brings to life the wonderful children’s novel from 1930, staying true to the classic novel with a sprinkling of silver screen magic.

Introducing this classic tale to a new generation and featuring stunning locations, Swallows and Amazons is a heart-warming adventure for all the family to enjoy this Christmas.

Win Swallows and Amazons on Blu-ray

To celebrate the release of Swallows and Amazong on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, December 12, 2016, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies on Blu-ray. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who wrote the book upon which Swallows and Amazons is based?

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

Win Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods on DVD

Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods

Preview by Jack Foley

KALEIDOSCOPE Home Entertainment is pleased to announce that the hugely popular Asterix franchise returns with its first ever feature length 3D adventure!

Available just in time for Christmas, the whole family can enjoy Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods when it releases digitally and on DVD and 3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray from December 12, 2016. To celebrate, we’re giving away 2x DVD copies!

Featuring an all-star voice cast that includes Jack Whitehall as Asterix and Nick Frost as Obelix, the feature also stars Greg Davies, Matt Berry, Catherine Tate, Harry Enfield, Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood (aka Dick & Dom) and Jim Broadbent.

The year is 50 BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely… One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. Julius Caesar (Jim Broadbent), exasperated by the situation, decides to change tactics.

Since his armies are unable to prevail through force, Roman civilisation itself will charm the barbaric Gauls. And so he has a luxurious housing complex built near the village for Roman families, called ‘The Mansions of the Gods’.

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

Q. Which famous British actor plays the voice of Julius Caesar?

A) Jim Broadbent
B) Jack Whitehall
C) Greg Davies

Simply send the answer to Asterix The Mansions of the Gods competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods will be available to digitally and on DVD, 3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray from December 12, 2016.

Suicide Squad - DVD Review

Suicide Squad

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

THE DC cinematic universe looked set to get the shot in the arm it so badly needed when the first trailers for Suicide Squad landed. But far from being the mean-spirited but subversive delight hinted at, the finished product turns out to be another colossal waste of time and talent. Worse, it’s a complete mess.

David Ayer’s film sets up a number of intriguing possibilities, especially in terms of its colourful characters, but it squanders each and every one of them and ends up feeling symptomatic of the bad choices that have bedevilled each and every DC movie from Man of Steel to Batman V Superman.

Namely, it favours pummelling its audience with dimly-lit, uninspired action sequences populated by thinly sketched superheroes and even more poorly conceived super-villains.

And by doing so, it fails to learn any of the lessons being taught by rival studio Marvel, which has taken the time to build a world in which almost every character realises his or her potential [and continues to grow], while also putting forward credible action scenarios with strong emotional investment.

Here, the latter element is barely even bothered with. The plot finds a group of the world’s worst super-villains being banded together, Dirty Dozen style, to form a kick-ass brigade capable of combating any new ‘terrorist’ threat posed by enhanced, Superman-style villains. Or in this case, faceless bullet-fodder gun-men who are being controlled by a shape-shifting witch and her brother with world-ending powers. All of this takes place in Superman’s absence.

But rather than taking the time to really get to know this rag-tag team of misfits before the action begins, Ayer opts to plunge them almost straight into the climactic scenario. Hence, the good work hinted at in Margot Robbie’s depiction of the playfully psychotic Harley Quinn or Jared Leto’s Joker (sparingly used to the point of frustration) never get the time to breathe and grow that they clearly deserve.

Similarly, Will Smith’s conflicted Deadshot warrants more screen-time to fully tap into the resentment he so clearly feels, while Jay Hernandez’s fire-throwing El Diablo has an interesting back-story that could have fuelled more moral complexity. Even Viola Davis as a hard-as-nails government spook ends up feeling spectacularly one dimensional, when a little more back-story and scheming wouldn’t have gone amiss.

The frustration surrounding all of this becomes even greater when you consider that Ayer has previously penned the script for Training Day and written and directed the likes of Harsh Times and End of Watch. Yet the execution here feels rushed and even schizophrenic. For every good idea, there’s an absolutely terrible one to trample over it. In that regard, Suicide Squad shares more in common with Ayers’ Sabotage, which similarly wasted a decent premise to risible effect.

It’s also clearly hamstrung by its place among Zack Snyder’s DC universe, with nods to the events of Batman V Superman merely serving as unwanted reminders of how wayward [and wasteful] this franchise has become.

If anything, some of the film’s more unsavoury elements become more glaring. The dubious sexuality and abuse surrounding the Quinn character feels particularly uneasy, while the decision to refer to the film’s supernatural/alien threat as a ‘terrorist’ one feels ill-advised and insulting when placed against the context of the pain and suffering caused by recent headline attacks.

Ayer maintains Suicide Squad is a film for comic book fans that is designed to offer some fun. But it’s a violence-driven, brain-dead kind of ‘fun’ that leaves a bad after-taste. And that’s not even considering that the film struggles to adhere to the basic rules of storytelling: ie, delivering a coherent and compelling story.

Here, the emphasis on action lays waste to all before it, whether it’s the discarding of useful ideas or the fact that plot beats repeat themselves over and over again amid soulless carnage that is poorly directed. In essence, Suicide Squad is an interminable end sequence without a fully realised beginning or an engaging middle section.

As a result, it’s time to stop giving this kind of thing a pass based on what loosely works for a few seconds. Filmmakers and interfering studios need to do better – if only to treat their audiences with more respect.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 2hr 3mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: December 5, 2016

Pete's Dragon (2016) - DVD Review

Pete's Dragon

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

JUST as he beguiled with his debut feature Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, so David Lowery now enchants with his take on Disney’s Pete’s Dragon.

A remake of the part animated 1977 film of the same name, this completely live action version re-imagines the story and emerges as a film capable of captivating both children and adults alike.

There’s a playfulness that’s infectious as well as an emotional connection that’s as uplifting as it can be heart-breaking.

The story picks up as young two-year-old Pete (Oakes Fegley) is orphaned in a car crash with his parents and left alone in the woods, where he immediately befriends a dragon he names Elliott.

Six years later, Pete is found by kindly park ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) and taken into her family, leaving Elliott to search for his friend while evading the attention of some loggers led by Grace’s husband’s brother (Karl Urban).

But as Pete begins to adjust to life without Elliott, matters come to a head once the dragon becomes captured.

Just as he did with the aforementioned Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Lowery uses Pete’s Dragon to explore themes of loss, distance and faith. Yet while his first film adopted something of an early Terrence Malick approach, this combines traces of that with Disney sensibilities.

Hence, while some of the script can be heavy-handed in terms of underlining the importance of family and belief, Lowery coaxes such fine performances from his cast that you’ll feel your emotions are earned rather than manipulated.

And there are several scenes that truly resonate – not least those between Pete and Elliott, but also a bonding session between Pete and Grace, as well as a couple of the scenes between Grace and her dad (played by Robert Redford).

Fegley is particularly memorable in the lead role of Pete, combining a fierce resolve with an inquisitive nature, as well as an inner vulnerability to offset the outward bravery. He is another child star to watch.

Howard also excels as the sensitive Grace, while Redford oozes charm and a bittersweet sense of nostalgia as her dad. The effects surrounding Elliott are also first-rate, imbuing the dragon with a lot of heart and – when needed – power. He’s an easy dragon to fall in love with.

If Urban’s token villain is a little under-written and Wes Bentley’s brother is given next to nothing to do, such shortcomings can be overlooked given the overall strength of the material.

In short, Pete’s Dragon offers enough magic to keep the kids enthralled as well as a humanity to appeal to us all. It’s a fantastically engaging film.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 2hrs
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: December 5, 2016

The Shallows (Blake Lively) - DVD Review

The Shallows

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

WHAT it lacks in emotional depth, The Shallows more than makes up for with bite, as well as a knowing sense of its own absurdity.

As tense as it can be beautifully exhilarating, Jeune Collet-Sera’s film is a white knuckle ride offering premium quality popcorn entertainment.

Blake Lively stars as Nancy Adams, a med student attempting to cope with the death of her mother, who travels out to a remote yet picturesque beach, to both honour her mum’s memory and give herself some time to think.

But her dream escape quickly turns into a nightmare when she is attacked by a great White shark while surfing and left stranded on a rock with the hungry predator still circling.

If the scenario for The Shallows recalls every survival thriller from Open Water to 127 Hours, Collet-Sera’s direction enables it to stand out. Some sequences are stunning.

Early on, the director captures the natural beauty of his location (and leading lady) in spellbinding style, while the surfing footage is stunning too (capturing both the beauty and excitement of the sport).

But once the shark appears the film reverts to a feel of sustained tension and dread. The shark attacks are swift and brutal, captured in pulse-pounding fashion.

But there’s also that pervading sense of the unknown as Nancy must decide if or when to swim for it, especially since nature’s tidal system places her on a clock.

Lively, for her part, invests her character with a notable determination but is also afforded one or two moments to channel despair and desperation, making her fallible and her survival by no means a given. She’s a worthwhile heroine to be around.

But other characters are less vividly drawn and feel more like shark bait. Their inevitable deaths, while occasionally inventive, don’t carry much meaning.

And just as Collet-Sera did with Non-Stop, so every genre cliche is thrown in, which has a tendency to stretch plausibility, while proving eyebrow raising.

There are times when a major, major suspension of disbelief is required, which is when the film’s winking nods to its own preposterous elements help (as exemplified by Nancy’s relationship with a seagull).

But if you can cast aside its obvious flaws, The Shallows is a frequently thrilling – and sometimes even Jaws-dropping – big screen experience.

View photos from The Shallows

Certificate: 15
Running time: 85mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: December 5, 2016

Win a DVD copy of Nerve

Nerve

Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the Home Entertainment release of the electrifying thriller Nerve, we have a DVD copy to giveaway.

From Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the acclaimed creators of smash-hit documentary Catfish, Nerve stars Hollywood’s hottest young actors, Emma Roberts (We’re The Millers, Scream Queens) and Dave Franco (Bad Neighbours, Now You See Me).

Pressured by friends to join the popular online game Nerve, Vee (Emma Roberts) decides to sign up for just one dare in what seems like harmless fun, but when she is partnered with a mysterious stranger (Dave Franco) she finds herself caught in the thrill of adrenaline-fuelled competition.

When the game takes a sinister turn, with increasingly dangerous acts, Vee is lead into a high stakes finale that will determine her entire future.

Nerve also stars Academy Award nominated Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers) and introduces a host of fresh upcoming stars; Emily Meade (Money Monster), Machine Gun Kelly (Beyond The Lights), Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is The New Black) and Samira Wiley (Orange Is The New Black).

Bursting with adrenaline-charged action sequences, neon lights and an energizing soundtrack featuring music from MØ, Basenji, Crystal Stilts and BØRNS, Nerve is the must-have film to own this Christmas.

Nerve is available to own on Digital Download on December 4, and DVD and Blu-ray on December 5, 2016.

To be in with a chance of winning simply answer the following question…

Q. What does Nerve focus on?

A) Online technology
B) Architecture
C) Illegal downloads

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

Watch the trailer

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Mo Farah: No Easy Mile - Preview & trailer

Mo Farah: No Easy Mile

Preview by Jack Foley

ONE of the UK’s greatest ever Olympians offers an unprecedented insight into his life in Mo Farah: No Easy Mile, the incredible life story of a man who has become not only the most successful track athlete in modern Olympic Games history, but also a British hero.

Mo Farah: No Easy Mile follows Mo’s remarkable personal journey from Somalia to four-time Olympic champion, revealing a uniquely personal look at his life off the track and a side to him we have never witnessed before.

Mo opens the doors to his home and is joined by his family and his team in the build up to and throughout the Rio Olympic Games whilst looking back over his spectacular career.

In his own words, Mo reflects on the most memorable, emotional and impactful moments of his life with contributions from his closest family, friends and sporting peers including Usain Bolt, Thierry Henry, Lord Coe, Haile Gebreselassie, Alberto Salazar and Tania Farah.

Mo Farah: No Easy Mile is produced by Fulwell 73, the creators of acclaimed documentaries Class of ‘92 and In The Hands of the Gods, and directed by Joe Pearlman.

With never-before-seen content and extraordinary access, Mo Farah: No Easy Mile is essential viewing on DVD and Digital Download from December 5, 2016.

Win Mo Farah: No Easy Mile on DVD

To celebrate the release of Mo Farah: No Easy Mile on DVD on Monday, December 5, 2016, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Mo Farah: No Easy Mile?

Simply send the answer to Mo Farah: No Easy Mile competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Watch the trailer

Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism - Preview

Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism

Preview by Jack Foley

PREPARE to be amazed at what a small girl with a big imagination can achieve as Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism sparkles its way into cinemas and onto digital platforms from December 2, 2016, and onto DVD from December 5, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Molly Moon (Raffey Cassidy – Snow White & The Huntsman, Tomorrowland) is no ordinary orphan. When she finds a mysterious old book on hypnotism, she discovers she can make people do whatever she wants.

Perhaps hypnotism can do more for Molly than she ever thought possible! But, a sinister stranger is watching her every move and he’ll stop at nothing to steal her hypnotic secret…

Based on the hugely popular series of books by Georgia Byng, Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism is this year’s must-see family adventure.

With an all-star cast that includes Dominic Monaghan (The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy), Anne-Marie Duff (Suffragette), Lesley Manville (Maleficent), Emily Watson (War Horse), Celia Imrie (Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie), Ben Miller (What We Did On Our Holiday), Sadie Frost (Love, Honour & Obey), Gary Kemp (The Bodyguard) and Joan Collins (TV’s Benidorm), and a captivating central performance from rising star Raffey Cassidy, there’s no better way to countdown to Christmas than with an adventure positively twinkling with family fun!

Win Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism on DVD

To celebrate the release of Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism on DVD on Monday, December 5, 2016, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who wrote the books upon which Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism is based?

Simply send the answer to Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Jason Bourne - DVD Review

Jason Bourne

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT may have taken nine years to lure Matt Damon back to the iconic role of Jason Bourne but the wait proves more than worth it with his belated return to the superior action series.

Jason Bourne, which reunites the A-team of Damon and director Paul Greengrass, effortlessly succeeds in recapturing the intensity and exhilaration of the first three films in the saga.

Admittedly, there are elements that feel overly familiar. The plot sometimes feels like a re-tread (with Bourne once more forced to go on the run from his CIA oppressors), while there are only so many times before the idea of sending a hopelessly ill-equipped team to try to deal with Bourne doesn’t seem old.

But given the mind-boggling nature of the action and the quality of the performances, this once again delivers the kind of thrills we have come to expect and love.

The story picks up as Bourne attempts to stay off the grid in Greece while wrestling with his past demons by indulging in bare knuckle brawling (a la Rambo III). He’s lured back into the game, however, when former sympathiser/collaborator Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) hacks into the CIA and uncovers some alarming home truths about his past, prompting the CIA to renew their efforts to take him down.

Hence, Bourne must once again dust off his old skills to both elude a new assassin (Vincent Cassel) with a very personal agenda, shadowy CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and ambitious analyst and potential new ally Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander).

As ever, Greengrass ensures that this latest Bourne film moves at a cracking pace, globe-trotting between Europe and America and orchestrating some breathlessly complicated action sequences. In doing so, he also works hard to ensure the film retains a contemporary edge, with nods to Snowden and the threat posed by cyber terrorism particularly to the fore, as well as even more personal stakes than before.

As a result, he also provides plenty for his talented ensemble cast to work with. Damon looks older but is suitably muscular as the world-weary, angry Bourne (tapping into a more haunted demeanour of someone unable to escape the past he has fought so hard to remember), while Cassel is an excellent adversary – cold, ruthless and totally uncompromising (yet equally driven by events from the past).

Jones, meanwhile, is clearly having fun with his portrayal of the sinister Dewey, often conveying so much manipulation or intent with just a simple smile, while Vikander is an enigmatic presence as Lee, whose real agenda is fun to try and work out. You can see why the script appealed to this Oscar-winning actress.

And as previously mentioned, the action is exemplary. An opening chase in the midst of a Greek riot serves as a potent reminder of just how well Greengrass can orchestrate a complex set piece, offering tension and white knuckle excitement; while the climax in Las Vegas brings about the sort of carnage that is designed to make jaws drop via another stunning car chase, albeit one that strains the boundaries of credibility more than in any previous Bourne outing.

If you’re looking to be ultra critical, then it is worth noting that Jason Bourne does trade on the known without really taking the series into any new directions, thereby recalling the same ‘reboot’ ethic as both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Creed. But like those films, it does things so darn well that you should be too wrapped up in the action to care.

Simply put, it’s great to have this franchise back and firing on all cylinders.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2hrs
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: November 28, 2016