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Win 211 on DVD

211

Preview by Jack Foley

STARRING Nicolas Cage (Gone In 60 Seconds, Face/Off) and inspired by one of the longest and bloodiest real-life events in police history… 211 – which is police code for ‘robbery in progress’ – is a high-octane action-thriller that chronicles what it means to be in the middle of an unfolding crisis situation.

Mike Chandler (Cage) is a life-long veteran police officer ready to finally enjoy his retirement and a well-deserved pension.

With his partner and son-in-law, rookie Steve at his side, and Kenny, a 15-year-old court-appointed ride-along reluctantly in tow, they set out on a routine patrol of the city’s streets.

The two officers and their young civilian passenger soon find themselves underprepared and outgunned when fate puts them squarely into the crosshairs of a daring bank heist in progress by a fearless team of highly trained and heavily armed men.

An exciting expose of police work at its most dangerous 211 also stars Dwayne Cameron (McLaren), Michael Rainey Jr. (TV’s Orange is the New Black), and Sophie Skelton (TV’s Outlander).

211 is available to buy on DVD on Monday, July 23, 2018.

Win 211 on DVD

To celebrate the release of 211 on DVD on Monday, July 23, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. What is the name of Nicolas Cage’s character in 211?

Simply send the answer to 211 competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Watch the trailer

Midnight Sun - DVD Preview

Midnight Sun

Preview by Jack Foley

STUDIOCANAL is pleased to announce that the romantic tearjerker Midnight Sun – a heart-breaking tale of love and dreams lost and realised – will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download from July 23, 2018. It is available to pre-order now.

Starring actor and singer Bella Thorne (The DUFF, The Babysitter, Disney’s Shake It Up) and Patrick Schwarzenegger (Grown Ups 2), the film is based on the Japanese film Song to the Sun and is directed by Scott Speer (Step Up Revolution).

Midnight Sun tells the life-affirming story of 17-year-old Katie Price, sheltered since childhood with a rare disease that makes even the smallest amount of sunlight deadly.

During the day she is housebound, but it is after nightfall that Katie’s world opens up, in the dark, when she ventures out to the local train station to play her guitar for travellers.

One night, fate intervenes when she meets Charlie, an ex-high school all-star athlete, whom she has secretly admired for years. She hides her condition from him as the two embark on a uniquely powerful romance over one nearly perfect summer.

Win A Wrinkle in Time on DVD

A Wrinkle in Time

Preview by Jack Foley

JUST in time for summer break, Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, from acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, comes home on Digital Download, 4K Ultra HD and on DVD and On-Demand July 30, 2018.

The stunning story of an ordinary girl’s extraordinary adventure through time and space offers exhilarating entertainment and positive messages for the whole family – encouraging self-confidence, inclusion and pushing imagination to the next level.

To celebrate the release, we are offering one lucky winner the chance to win a copy on DVD!

Families who bring home A Wrinkle in Time will go behind-the-scenes to meet the talented crafts persons, actors and filmmakers who brought to life every spectacular detail of this triumphant tale.

Bonus material includes an extended featurette providing inside access to the A-list cast and crew; deleted scenes; bloopers; and music video “Warrior” written and performed by sister duo and musical sensations Chloe x Halle.

More than 50 years after Madeleine L’Engle’s young adult novel A Wrinkle in Time was awarded the prestigious Newbery Medal, the big-screen retelling of this timeless classic takes audiences on a transformative journey, exquisitely illustrated through jaw-dropping visual effects, a stirring musical score and diverse, star-studded cast.

Three celestial guides, Mrs. Which (two-time Academy Award® nominee Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Oscar®, Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Emmy nominee Mindy Kaling), come to Earth to share their wisdom and love with struggling eighth-grader Meg Murry (Storm Reid) as she journeys across dimensions with classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) and younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) in search of her father (Chris Pine), a world-renowned physicist who mysteriously disappeared four years ago.

As fantastical as the film’s premise and imagery may seem, A Wrinkle in Time centers on a universal human need that feels particularly relevant and relatable today.

“This is a story about belonging,” says DuVernay. “It’s about a girl who just doesn’t feel strong in her mind, body and spirit. But through this epic journey, she finds her strength and learns that the center of the universe starts inside her. It’s about Meg feeling like she belongs in the universe and has a mighty part to play… as do we all.”

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

Q. Which actress plays Mrs. Who in A Wrinkle in Time?

A) Reese Witherspoon
B) Mindy Kaling
C) Oprah

Simply send the answer to A Wrinkle in Time competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

A Wrinkle in Time releases on Digital Download, 4K Ultra HD and on DVD and On-Demand July 30, 2018.

© 2018 Disney

Win Gringo on DVD

Gringo

Preview by Jack Foley

An exhilarating mix of dark comedy, white-knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, Gringo joyrides into Mexico, where mild-mannered businessman Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo, Selma, A United Kingdom) finds himself at the mercy of his cutthroat bosses Richard (Joel Edgerton, Red Sparrow, Black Mass) and Elaine (Charlize Theron, Atomic Blond, Mad Max: Fury Road), local drug lords and a morally conflicted black-ops mercenary.

Crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal, Harold battles to survive his increasingly dangerous situation in ways that raise the question: Is he out of his depth – or two steps ahead?

Directed by Nash Edgerton, Gringo also stars Thandie Newton and Sharlto Copley.

Gringo is available to Download and Keep on July 2 and on DVD and Blu-ray from July 16, 2018.

Read our review of Gringo

Win Gringo on DVD

To celebrate the release of Gringo on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday, July 16, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 2 copies on DVD. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who directs Gringo?

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

Gringo (David Oyelowo/Charlize Theron) - DVD Review

Gringo

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

STAR power and the occasional good twist elevate black comedy thriller Gringo above the mundane – but only just.

Nash Edgerton’s film is otherwise a frustratingly inconsistent effort; the type of offering that shows flashes of genuine quality, only to undermine them with some baffling creative choices. David Oyelowo heads a star studded ensemble as Nigerian-American businessman Harold Soyinka, a decent guy trying to live life by the rules, only to find himself screwed over at every turn.

His boss and so-called friend, Richard Rusk (Nash’s brother, Joel), is not only having an affair with his wife (Thandie Newton) but is also conspiring to sell him down the river with his business. When Harold begins to suspect foul play while on his latest business trip to Mexico, he hatches a plan to put himself ahead of the game for a change.

But his plan quickly goes awry and it’s not long before a Mexican cartel boss, Rusk’s unscrupulous [and promiscuous] partner (Charlize Theron) and a former mercenary turned aid worker (Sharlto Copley) are on his trail.

Edgerton’s film strives for the kind of dark comedy that is a staple of the Coens with a little Midnight Run almost thrown in. But while there are moments that impress and amuse, Gringo never quite manages to sustain its momentum.

Some of this is down to lethargic pacing, some down to inconsistency of tone. But the writing also falls short on too many occasions. The film sometimes strives too hard for the quirky outrageousness it aspires to, while also shying away from the political points it so obviously wants to make.

The tone, meanwhile, veers unevenly from non-PC comedy to emotional drama via the odd, occasional abhorrent act of violence, which feels unnecessary.

If that weren’t enough, Gringo is also straddled with at least two too many characters, with a sub-plot involving two tourists – played by Amanda Seyfried and Harry Treadaway – completely superfluous.

That it works at all is largely down to the leads, who work overtime. Hence, as despicable as Edgerton and Theron are, they give it their all in playing it so. Theron, especially, relishes the opportunity to play a completely manipulative Uber bitch.

Oyelowo, meanwhile, acquits himself well as the hapless hero, displaying some nice comedic chops and the odd moment of personal pain, meaning that you do root for him. While Copley enlivens the film whenever he is on-screen and works really well off Oyelowo. Gringo could have benefited from more scenes between the two of them.

Edgerton, for his part, tosses in a few well executed set pieces (befitting his background as a stuntman) and even manages a couple of surprises. But his film never leaves the lasting impression you feel it should given the quality of everyone involved. Gringo therefore rates as a missed opportunity, albeit one that does still entertain.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 1hr 50mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: July 16, 2018

Win The Piano: 25th Anniversary Edition on DVD

The Piano: 25th Anniversary Edition

Preview by Jack Foley

TO mark the 25th anniversary of its original theatrical release and ground-breaking 1993 Palme D’Or win at Cannes, STUDIOCANAL is delighted to announce that Jane Campion’s multi Oscar® winning classic, The Piano, will be rereleased on 2-disc DVD and Blu-Ray and via digital download on Monday, July 16, 2018.

Complete with a brand new and exclusive extra, The Piano at 25, which includes interviews with Jane Campion and the film’s producer, Jan Chapman (filmed at Karekare beach in New Zealand: the iconic location made famous by the film).

The Blu-Ray release also comes complete with essay booklet, alternative artwork poster as well as a copy of the soundtrack. To celebrate, we’re giving away 3xDVD copies!

Starring Holly Hunter in a majestic silent performance as Ada McGrath, the mute Scotswoman and talented pianist who arrives with her strong-willed young daughter Flora (Paquin) in the New Zealand wilderness.

She is to marry frontiersman Alistair Stewart (Sam Neill), having been sold him by her father, but takes an immediate dislike to him after he refuses to carry her beloved piano home with them, instead selling it to his overseer George Baines (Harvey Keitel).

Attracted to Ada, Baines agrees to return the piano in exchange for lessons that gradually become a series of erotically charged sexual encounters. As the story unfolds like a Greek tragedy, complete with a chorus of Maori tribes, all of the characters’ long suppressed emotions come to the fore, as if elicited by the wildness of the natural world around them.

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

Q. How old was Anna Paquin when she won an Academy Award for her role in The Piano?

A) 13
B) 8
C) 11

Simply send the answer to Piano 25 competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

The Piano will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD from July 16, 2018. Order now

Win Doom Asylum on Blu-ray

Doom Asylum

Preview by Jack Foley

To celebrate the release of Doom Asylum – available on Blu-ray on July 16, 2018, from Arrow Video – we have a copy to giveaway!

Horror-comedies are somewhat ten-a-penny but they so often get the balance completely wrong. They either go too funny and nullify the scares, or too scary so the laughs seem misplaced. Doom Asylum, hailing from 1987, however, gets the balance spot-on with lots of gross-out splatter combined with hilarious wise-cracks from serial killer, the Coroner.

Doom Asylum, as all good 1980s horrors should, also has perfect trash casting (in the best possible sense, of course)! As well as marking Kristin Davis’s movie debut a good 11 years before Sex & The City first premiered, the film also stars Penthouse Pet of the Year 1988, Patty Mullen, and Playboy centrefold, Ruth Collins. Now, just try to imagine Charlotte’s face if she were to hear about this…

For those who’ve only ever seen Doom Asylum on a grainy VHS, this Arrow Video release is a real treat. It includes a brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, two brand new audio commentaries, plus a selection of new and archival interviews. First pressings also come with a brand new, fully-illustrated collector’s booklet.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy some good old 80s splatter like never before.

Synopsis

When a group of horny teens wind up on the grounds of a creepy abandoned asylum, they think they’ve found the perfect place to party. Little do they know that inside the building’s crumbling walls lurks a freakishly deformed maniac, driven to madness by the tragic loss of his fiancée in a car accident.

With an array of grisly surgical tools at his disposal, it’s only a matter of time before the youngsters begin meeting various splattery ends at the hands of the ghoulish Coroner.

Order today

Win Doom Asylum on Blu-ray

To celebrate the release of Doom Asylum on Blu-ray on Monday, July 16, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win a copy. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Which Playboy centrefold co-stars in Doom Asylum?

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

Red Sparrow (Jennifer Lawrence) - DVD Review

Red Sparrow

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

ARRIVING in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the push for stronger roles and representation of women in Hollywood, espionage thriller Red Sparrow is a genuinely intriguing piece of work – and one that poses many questions beyond the confines of its genre.

On the one hand, it’s a bleak and brutal spy thriller that keeps you guessing as a woman rises through the ranks of the world she has been violently thrust into and turns the tables on many of her male oppressors. Yet, there is also a nagging sense that it also flirts with exploitation at times, especially in the way that it depicts the sexual degradation of several characters.

The story follows prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence), whose promising career in modern-day Moscow is brought to an abrupt end following an on-stage injury. Desperate to maintain payments for her ailing mother’s health care, Dominika reluctantly agrees to a deal proposed by her uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts) – to attend a school that will train her in the skills necessary to become a ‘sparrow’… a super-spy who will use anything at her disposal to extract information from enemy sources.

The brutal training regime, headed by Charlotte Rampling, exposes Dominika to the way in which sex is used as a power-play. Hence, cadets are often forced to strip, to practice the ‘art’ of seduction or, more commonly, to give men what they want, no matter how demeaning.

Dominika refuses some of the more humiliating tasks and, by virtue of her connection to her influential uncle, is given an early mission: to befriend an American spy (Joel Edgerton), who has recently returned to Eastern Europe to coax a Russian mole out of hiding and bring them back to the US. It is up to Dominika to uncover the identity of the mole or face execution herself.

Directed by Francis Lawrence, with whom Lawrence worked on The Hunger Games, Red Sparrow is notable for the complexity it brings to the spy genre (this is more psychological than action-driven) and the way that it goes about things in an adult manner. The 15 certificate is, quite frankly, way too lenient and may even attract an instant 18 if the BBFC proceeds with proposals to get tougher on screen depictions of sexual violence.

Yet while there is no doubting that women [and men] can be subjected to horrifying acts of physical and sexual abuse in all walks of life, the depiction of it in films continues to be a grey area. Lawrence, for his part, doesn’t want to titillate or eroticise the sexual violence here. But the fact that he finds it necessary to show so much nudity is, in a sense, degrading in its own way.

It begs the wider question of why movie stars have to show so much nowadays. Should Hollywood not be seeking a different way of depicting violence and, in particular, sexual violence, especially when they have high calibre actors of Lawrence’s quality who would be more than capable of conveying the psychological effects?

A lot of what happens in Red Sparrow is unpleasant to watch – as it should be. But when does the line between grimy reality and exploitation become blurred?

It’s a shame given that there is also so much to recommend the film. The plotting is tight, the tension nicely maintained and there are one or two really stylish set pieces, including a violent knife fight that feels raw. But, again, the fact that one torture scene involving skin peeling has been deemed fit for a 15 certificate asks further questions of how much we’re exposing young minds to nowadays. How far have audiences [and censors] become desensitized?

Again, Red Sparrow never feels like the type of film that intends to exhilarate in the way that a Jason Bourne or even Atomic Blonde (another film that does provoke questions of taste) seek to. It is a bleak, uncompromising watch that tackles difficult – and relevant – subject matter in a commendably adult fashion, both in terms of script and performance.

And while it’s still recommended for fans of the genre for those reasons, it does provoke wider questions that linger far longer than the final movie itself.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 2hrs 20mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: July 9, 2018

Sweet Country - DVD Preview

Sweet Country

Preview by Jack Foley

THE acclaimed Australian drama directed by Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah) is a sweeping historical epic set against the brutal backdrop of a stunning landscape.

1920s outback Australia, Northern Territory. When Sam (Morris), an Aboriginal farmhand who works for the local preacher (Sam Neill, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) is sent to help new neighbour and bitter war veteran Harry (Ewan Leslie, The Railway Man), their relationship quickly deteriorates, ending in a violent and fatal shootout.

Sam is forced to flee with his wife, pursued by lawman Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown, The Light Between Oceans), but as the truth starts to surface, the community begins to question whether justice is really being served.

Directed by Warwick Thornton (Samson & Delilah), Sweet Country has so far been the recipient of multiple accolades, including the Special Jury Prize in Venice and Best Film in the Platform Competition at Toronto.

Bonus features include: Cast and crew interviews; Big World (from The Turning) directed by Warwick Thornton; Behind the scenes and trailers.

Win Sweet Country on DVD

To celebrate the release of Sweet Country on Blu-ray and DVD from July 9, 2018, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies on DVD. Simply answer the following question…

Q. Who wrote and directed Sweet Country?

A) Warwick Thornton
B) Warwick Thompson
C) Warwick Thatcher

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

Lady Bird - DVD Review

Lady Bird

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

GRETA Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird has rightly been lauded as one of the best coming-of-age films in recent memory.

It’s witty, moving, intelligent and beautifully acted, as well as semi-autobiographical in nature. Gerwig, who has long been tipped for great things within the movie industry, wrote the screenplay as a tribute [or thank you] to her own mother, as well as a love letter to her home-town of Sacramento. Perhaps that’s why it feels so authentic.

Yes, the film follows a tried and tested coming of age path. There’s sexual awakening, misunderstood ‘outsider’-style teens and parental conflict. But the nuances here are what makes the film so great. There is emotional complexity at play. Characters don’t always do what’s expected. A happy ‘feel-good’ ending isn’t guaranteed. Characters on both sides of the age spectrum can be fallible: by turns loveable, yet cruel.

Gerwig has long been an actress more commonly associated with indie filmmaking. She’s worked extensively with the likes of Noah (The Squid & The Whale) Baumbach, Rebecca Miller and Whit Stillman and some of that influence has rubbed off. As too, perhaps, has the likes of the Jason Reitman/Diablo Cody pairing or even Richard Linklater.

But there’s also something more feminist. She places the difficult relationship between mother and daughter as the main focal point of the film.

Hence, the story begins as Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (played by the ever-reliable Saoirse Ronan) is beginning to contemplate life away from home… possibly in New York where she can pursue her passion for the arts (or maths).

Her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), finds Lady Bird irritating and ungrateful. A nurse working hard to keep her family going, since her husband (Tracy Letts) has been laid off, she is all too aware of the cost [and financial strain] such a move would place on her family. But she loves her daughter and is always there for thrift shopping trips or to offer emotional support and/or counselling.

Lady Bird, for her part, is also exploring her own relationships, whether with best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein), who has weight issues, or with boys: whether in the form of the school’s musical theatre leading man Danny (Lucas Hedges), or roguish band member Kyle (Timothée Chalamet), who offers a more rugged, but cool, possible alternative.

Each of these characters is vividly drawn, thanks to both the quality of the performers and the richness of Gerwig’s script. Feldstein, in particular, emerges as the breakout star, imbuing her Julie with a tremendous amount of sympathy as she attempts to make sense of her own insecurities and jealousies.

But it’s the main three that leave the biggest lasting impression. Letts, as ever, excels, his sympathetic father offering the type of role model that any ‘misunderstood’ teen would love to call their own (whilst simultaneously clearly wrestling with his own issues of self-esteem).

But Ronan and Metcalf are stunning. The former is as smart as she can be insecure; quick-witted, charming yet capable of selfishness and unthoughtful outbursts. She is the kind of teen we can all relate to.

Metcalf, meanwhile, is a powerhouse as Marion, her pained expressions frequently providing insights into the confusion, anger and resentment she sometimes feels, as well as the love, compassion and bravery she regularly exhibits. The scenes between mum and daughter are frequently among the best in the movie, while the final few moments – as they bid their farewells and come to belated realisations – are genuinely bittersweet and tear-jerkingly poignant.

Lady Bird is a masterclass in filmmaking. It’s a pleasure to watch throughout; yet it’s also a film that resonates beautifully and deeply.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 95mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: July 2, 2018