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Mindscape - Preview & trailer

Mindscape

Preview by Jack Foley

MARK Strong, in his first leading role in a feature film, plays John, a mind detective paid to enter people’s memories and uncover the reality behind their alleged crimes.

But what will he make of his new assignment, the brilliant but troubled teenager Anna? Played with effortless panache by one of America’s best upcoming talents – American Horror Story‘s Taissa Farmiga.

As John enters her mind and becomes more involved in her sometimes brutal memories, he must decide if she is indeed the victim of unspeakable trauma or a very clever and manipulative sociopath.

Produced by Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unkown, Non-Stop), Mindscape is a suspenseful horror with a fantastic twist…

The British cast also includes Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity) and Luther‘s Indira Varma and Saskia Reeves.

Mindscape is released on DVD on Monday, August 25, 2014.

Win Mindscape on DVD

To celebrate the release of Mindscape on DVD on Monday, August 18, 2014, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who produces Mindscape?

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

Watch the trailer:

Locke (Tom Hardy) - DVD Review

Locke

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

CINEMA is littered with scenarios in which a single character is the sole focus as their life unravels before them because of a set of exceptional circumstances. Just recently, we’ve had Robert Redford alone at sea in All Is Lost, while Tom Hanks was adrift in Castaway and Ryan Reynolds endured a torrid time confined to a coffin in Buried.

Compared to those, Tom Hardy’s predicament in Locke, which sees him confined to being behind the wheel of his luxury BMW, is almost comfortable. But then Hardy is on a journey that could well destroy him in different ways.

The actor plays Ivan Locke, a dedicated structural engineer from Wales who is on the eve of a career defining achievement.

Instead of going through his usual meticulous final preparation, or even spending time with his family watching the football with his favourite German beer, wife and two sons, he is headed to London on the motorway to do the right thing and take the first steps towards correcting his one big mistake.

We won’t reveal any further details of what’s involved other than to say that over the course of his night-time drive Locke must juggle increasingly anxious calls from angry work colleagues with personal calls from the people whose lives his mistake has impacted, including his hitherto unaware wife.

Writer-director Steven Knight’s subsequent film delights in slowly turning the screw against it’s central character, showing how his controlled life gradually unravels even as he tries to hold each piece together.
Hardy, for his part, combines steely determination with a slow realisation that things are slipping away, as well as a deep-rooted anger that he may be about to repeat the sins of his own father. It’s an utterly engaging stand-alone performance that continually keeps things compelling.

And while Locke’s stubborn refusal to engage with the emotional complexity and hurt of his actions makes him a bit of an idiot, there remains something worth rooting for in him. Hardy conveys a lot from very little and is never allowed to leave the car for the entire journey.

Knight’s film may not have as high stakes as some of the earlier films I mentioned but he still manages to keep things taut throughout, while even making you sympathise and root for some of the people at the other end of Locke’s phone line.

And he ensures the film retains a cinematic feel with some stylish cinematography – his neon journey evocative of Michael Mann at times.

Hence, while Locke won’t be to every taste and isn’t without flaws (there are lulls, while some will find it difficult to warm to Hardy at all), Locke remains a confident and consistently engaging experience that’s a triumph for both star and creator.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 85mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: August 25, 2014

The Informant - Preview

The Informant

Preview by Jack Foley

THE Informant – a gripping crime thriller by Julien Leclercq’s that is inspired by real events – will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from August 25, 2014 and to celebrate, we have 3 DVDs to give away!

In order to free his family from financial worries, Marc Duval (Gilles Lellouche – Mesrine: Killer Instinct, Little White Lies, Tell No One), a Frenchman expatriated to Gibraltar, becomes a spy for French customs. From petty trafficking to shady cargo, he progressively wins the trust of Claudio Lanfredi (Riccardo Scamarcio – Loose Cannons), a powerful cocaine importer tied to the dangerous Columbian cartels.

This in-depth immersion in the world of drug trafficking forces Marc to take increasing risks. But, as he rises in the cartel hierarchy, he also discovers easy money, temptation and a luxury lifestyle.

Permanently living on a knife edge, only his lies keep him alive. When the English customs join the game to arrest Lanfredi, it becomes even more dangerous and Marc’s family risks paying the price.

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

Q. What is the name of the person who directed The Informant?

A) Martin Scorsese
B) Steven Spielberg
C) Julien Leclercq

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

The Informant will be available on DVD & Blu-ray on August 25, 2014.

Win Calvary on Blu-ray

Calvary

Calvary is a wickedly dark comedy-drama starring some of Ireland’s most exceptional actors including Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Gillen and Dylan Moran.

A good man intent on making the world a better place, Father James (Gleeson) is continually shocked and saddened by the spiteful and confrontational inhabitants of his small country town.

One day his life is threatened during confession. He shrugs off the altercation and continues to perform his pastoral duties, trying as best he can to help his parishioners.

Soon, however, the sinister and troubling undercurrents he has tried to ignore start to make their presence felt more keenly, and as the forces of darkness close in around him he begins to wonder if he will have the courage to face his own personal Calvary.

Calvary is easily one of the best films of 2014 with a great cast, dark wit and a story that combines a murder mystery with characters layered with emotional gravitas.

Calvary is released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, August 11, 2014.

Buy it

To celebrate the release of Calvary on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, August 11, 2014, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 copy on Blu-ray. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who wrote and directed Calvary (Clue, the answer is in our our 5-star review)?

A) John Michael McDonagh
B) Martin McDonagh
C) Kevin McDonagh

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

Win The Best In Horror on DVD & Blu-ray!

Ultimate horror collection

Preview by Jack Foley

IN celebration of this year’s Film4 FrightFest, we are giving away the best in horror to prepare one lucky winner for the imminent chills, thrills and scares!

From the icons of fright, right through to the classic scenes that always leave a chill down your spine, we are giving away the terrifying horrors that everybody knows and loves, both old and new, that take suspense to that all-time teeth-chattering high, so high in fact that you need to experience it time and time again!

This ultimate horror package includes The Shining Blu-ray, The Conjuring Blu-ray, The Exorcist Blu-ray, Poltergeist Blu-ray, A Nightmare On Elm Street 1-7 Blu-ray and Critters Collection DVD!

Are you brave enough to experience the best in horror? Zavvi are offering an extra 10% off Warner Home Video’s extensive range of Horror DVD & Blu-ray throughout August. Browse the offers today

The Shining extended edition is also screening at this year’s Film4 FrightFest on Sunday, August 24, 2014, at 6:10pm.

Frightfesters are being treated to a rare UK appearance from Kubrick’s former producer and brother-in-law Jan Harlan who will giving an invaluable insight into the mind of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. You cannot miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Tickets are available to book now

Win The Best In Horror on DVD & Blu-ray!

IN celebration of this year’s Film4 FrightFest, we are giving away the best in horror to prepare one lucky winner for the imminent chills, thrills and scare (see above for contents of Blu-ray bundle). Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs The Shining?

Simply send the answer to Best In Horror DVD & Blu-ray competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Terms & conditions:

Prize for 1x winner is a DVD and Blu-ray horror bundle.

- There is no cash or other alternative to the prize stated and the prize is not transferable and no part or parts of the prize may be substituted for other benefits, items or additions.

- The winner will be picked at random. The prize will be delivered to the winner within 28 days of confirmation of delivery address.

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

- The promoter of this competition is Fetch Dynamic Ltd.

Prisoner of War - Preview

Prisoner of War

Preview by Jack Foley

FROM the producers of Traffic and Blood Diamond, Prisoner of War is a shocking and compelling war film based on true events at Abu Ghraib that shocked the world in 2004.

To support the release of Prisoner of War out on DVD and for download this week, we have a DVD copy to give away!

Synopsis

This dramatic war thriller follows soldier Jack Farmer (Luke Moran, who also directs) from small town America to Iraq’s most infamous prison, Abu Ghraib, where he’s tasked with guarding the Army’s highest priority detainees.

Pressured by his superior (Sean Astin) into using harsh techniques on a seemingly innocent detainee (Omid Abtahi, Argo), the seductive allure of war quickly turns to a haunting reality that threatens to break him.

Also stars Sarah Paxton (Aquamarine), Michael Welch (Twilight Saga ) and John Heard (Home Alone).

Download now

Win Prisoner of War on DVD

To celebrate the release of Prisoner of War on DVD, VOD and for download on Monday, August 18, 2014, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 copy. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Prisoner of War?

Simply send the answer to Prisoner of War competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - DVD Review

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IF THE first Captain America entry is generally considered to be one of the weaker entries in the Marvel body of work, then its sequel The Winter Soldier could well be one of the best.

Co-directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, this unfolds in the present day, adopts a thriller-style approach that combines elements of the ’70s with more modern Bourne-style grit, and has plenty to say about real-world concerns.

The only real reservations stem from the superhero backdrop, which renders the third act slightly more generic and conformist and which sometimes sits uncomfortably alongside those real world concerns, especially when placed against the context of the post-Avengers world.

Nevertheless, this is a great blockbuster and one that delivers on many fronts.

The story finds Steve Rogers – aka Captain America (and again played by Chris Evans) – struggling to embrace his role in the modern world as a new terrorist threat emerges in the form of a mysterious assassin known as The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

In pursuing this new foe, however, Rogers comes to question the role of SHIELD in policing the world and regularly clashes with his boss Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and his superior Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), while beginning to suspect that the threat could also be coming from within his own organisation.

Helping him to uncover the possible conspiracy are Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and sympathetic veteran Sam Wilson (aka, The Falcon and played by Anthony Mackie).

One of the most instantly striking things about The Winter Soldier is just how good the action sequences are – and there’s plenty of them. The Russos clearly have a penchant for keeping things grounded in the real and allow many of the stunts to unfold in old fashioned, crash, bang, wallop fashion (thereby keeping the effects to a minimum) with editing that clearly has been inspired by Bourne.

This lends the film a real world quality that was missing in the disappointing Thor: The Dark World and plays better to the directors’ attempts to give the film its gritty ’70s feel (a part of which also includes the casting of Redford, whose Three Days of the Condor and All The Presidents Men remain genre benchmarks).

The story, too, allows room to explore issues of police states and the repercussions of the war on terror and feels more involving than the alien-invasion premise of Thor and even Avengers. It also gives his strong cast plenty to play with in between the bouts of action.

Redford is a welcome – if surprising – addition to the Marvel universe and enjoys some nice scenes with Jackson, who himself enjoys a beefed up and more complex role as Fury; Evans is much more interesting (and conflicted) as Rogers, juggling his own demons and disillusionments with his old-school loyalties; Johansson is kick-ass and suitably enigmatic as Black Widow, and there’s excellent support from Stan as The Winter Soldier, Mackie as The Falcon and Frank Grillo as Crossbones.

Of the remaining criticisms, they’re of the churlish variety. The Winter Soldier is excellent while on-screen but could have used more of a Joker-style presence, the inevitable big showdown climax underwhelms just as so many superhero smack-downs now do (and needed a surprise element), and given the infrastructure of the Marvel universe, you might find yourself wondering why a quick call to Iron Man or The Hulk isn’t made to help out the heroes when they really have their backs against the wall (another point that adds to the unevenness of the real versus the fantasy).

But put those to one side and you’re left with a cracking sequel that really does deliver on a lot of fronts: it’s spectacular, it’s exciting, it’s not afraid to throw the odd curveball en route to that generic finale and it has the brains to match its wit and brawn.

The Winter Soldier is a very welcome addition to the Marvel universe.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 136mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: August 18, 2014

Tracks (Mia Wasikowska) - DVD Review

Tracks

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE true story behind Robyn Davidson’s decision to cross the Outback desert in 1977 with just four camels for company remains something of a mystery even to the woman who did it. “Why not?” continues to be her answer along with a continued feeling that the question may have been asked differently – if at all – is she was a man.

Nevertheless, the undertaking of the quest remains a risky thing to do no matter what gender or age. As one character correctly notes, “you don’t have to be unlucky to die out there”.

Given the continued reticence surrounding her motivation, it’s a tribute to both director John Curran and Mia Wasikowska, the actress playing her, that the film of her story is such a fully developed and emotionally compelling affair.

Tracks, based on Davidson’s book of the same name, is as visually inspiring as you would hope for a film shot in the Outback but it also takes you on a fascinating personal journey that’s both spiritual and cultural.

For although Davidson sought nothing more simple than to wallow in the isolation she craves, her subsequent 1,700-mile, 9-month trek saw her come of age. Head-strong and naive at the outset, she became a mature, more socially aware – if still not people friendly – person by journey’s end. And, in particular, she found herself spiritually connected to the land and it’s indigenous people, the Aboriginals, without whose support – even at a time of great political unease – she may not have survived.

Wasikowska captures all of this in majestic fashion. Already a brilliant actress, she now looks certain to become a screen great. There’s a grace to her performance that feels effortless; a fragility that endears and a stubbornness and resolve to get stuck in (especially when bonding with her camels) that’s inspiring. She is both amusing and heartbreaking and this is especially impressive given she has to carry most of the film on her own.

There is support. Her four camels and beloved dog, Diggity, bring their own personality to the mix, ensuring you care equally for them, while Adam Driver is good value as Davidson’s official photographer, who drifts in and out of proceedings to offer all kinds of support no matter how much his presence irritates her. It’s a nuanced performance that is, by turns, comedic, well-meaning and observant.

Special mention must also go to Aboriginal actor Roly Mintuma, whose Eddie also brings a dignified, wholly endearing presence to a key part of the journey.

Curran’s direction, meanwhile, is beautiful to look at and nicely restrained, opting to mostly stay true to Davidson’s book than go for obvious big movie embellishments (which many previous directors have tried to do with the material).

With Wasikowska’s help, he ensures that the film remains grounded in reality – and is both as respectful and celebratory of the human spirit as it is the natural world, while acknowledging the flaws and dangers inherent in both.

Read our interview with Robyn Davidson

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 112mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: August 18, 2014

A New York Winter's Tale - DVD Review

A New York Winter's Tale

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

AKIVA Goldsman’s directorial debut arrives with high hopes given that it has been adapted by Goldsman himself from a popular novel and boasts a starry cast.

But sadly this century spanning romantic tale of magic, miracles and demons in a mythical New York is so badly done that, while laughable in places, it’s mostly just plain derisory.

Mark Helprin’s source book contains many of the same elements, of course, but was critically acclaimed for his intelligent philosophical leanings and broad emotional sweep.

But Goldsman, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for A Beautiful Mind (but who has also since penned I Am Legend, The Da Vinci Code and I, Robot), abandons the higher brow stuff in favour of schmaltzy romance (not helped by Hans Zimmer’s overly slushy score) and incomprehensible twaddle about good versus evil.

Hence, the story picks up in 1916 as a charismatic thief (Colin Farrell) meets and falls for the dying daughter (Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay) of a publishing tycoon (William Hurt) and believes his love will be strong enough to save her.

Aiming to prevent this ‘miracle’ from happening, however, is a demonic gangland boss (Russell Crowe, complete with monstrous Oirish accent) who seems to be acting on behalf of an underground dwelling Lucifer (Will Smith).

To be fair, Farrell works ridiculously hard to keep things watchable and strikes up a believable relationship with Findlay but the likes of Crowe and Smith seem miscast, misplaced and tend to treat things way too seriously.

Viewers themselves – and especially those unfamiliar with the book – may find themselves hooked very early on while trying to work out what’s going on (winged horse and all). But once they have the measure of the absurdity of the material, they may struggle to care and A New York Winter’s Tale becomes a long and increasingly silly plod to the finishing line.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 118mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: August 18, 2014

Warrior King 2 - Preview

Warrior King 2

Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the release of Warrior King 2 – the triumphant, breathtaking and action-packed return of modern martial arts star Tony Jaa in the high-octane sequel to the hugely successful Warrior King (out on DVD on September 1, 2014) – we have a copy to giveaway!

Directed by Pratcha Pinkaew, co-creator of Ong-Bak and Warrior King, and featuring an all-star cast including Wu Tang Clan’s RZA and JeeJa Yanin, this is a must-watch for those who love their punches fast and their kicks even faster.

Warrior King 2 is best described as an adrenaline-fuelled spectacle for fans of The Raid!

Order your copy today on Amazon

Synopsis

When notorious local gangster Boss Suchart is brutally murdered all evidence quickly points to Kham (Tony Jaa) who was the last man to see him alive. With Suchart’s equally infamous nieces vowing revenge, Kham decides to flee seeking refuge in an underground fighting ring run by ruthless crime lord LC (RZA) in order to find the real culprit and clear his name.

However, when LC enlists Kham to his elite squad of world-class fighters for a secret mission he soon discovers that clearing his name might be more difficult than he once thought…

Win Warrior King 2 on DVD

To celebrate the release of Tony Jaa’s Warrior King 2 on DVD on Monday, September 1, 2014, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 copy. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Tony Jaa in Warrior King 2?

Simply send the answer to Warrior King 2 competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email