Shola Amoo’s terrific film was one of the highlights at the recent London Sundance Film Festival. He tells the semi-autobiographical story of Femi (Taj Golding), a boy of Nigerian heritage growing up in a rural home in Lincolnshire with Mary (Denise Black), his English foster mother whom he adores.
Femi also enjoys the freedom of the countryside until his real mother (Gbemisola Ikumedo) arrives one day out of the blue and takes him almost by force to live with her in London. Femi is at first totally lost, like a fish out of water, in this strange urban environment and later on as a teenager (now played by Sam Adewunmi) Femi still feels alienated both at home and at school…
It is a compelling coming of age story superbly photographed and directed. This is clearly a labour of love for Amoo, who choreographs the action with style and great sensitivity. His choice of actors is also excellent – Golding conveys beautifully the innocence of youth, a happy boy torn between the love for his foster and birth mother. Adewumni is also a striking presence as a vulnerable teenager desperate to find his own true identity.
Even though this is only Amoo’s second feature (I had the pleasure of working with him in THE PRAYER, one of his student film) he demonstrates here great maturity and unique visual style.

Adapting a popular best seller for the screen usually raises controversy and sometimes even before people actually get a chance to see the film.
The adaptation of Donna Tartt’s novel has already raised such debate – personally I haven’t read the book and found the story of Theo Decker utterly fascinating. At the age of 13 Theo (Oakes Fegley) loses his mother during a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Theo survives the explosion but always blames himself for her death even when he grows up (now played by Ansel Elgort). However, his passion for art leads him to become a successful antique dealer but still struggling to exorcise the demons of his past…
There is plenty to enjoy here – the performances are spot on under John Crowley’s efficient direction but finally it is Roger Deakins’ superb cinematography and careful production designs that give this intriguing project class and style despite the fact that it loses some of its momentum towards the end.

Get Ready for this year’s best horror/comedy which arrives direct from its London premiere at Frightfest.
Grace (Samara Weaving) is a young bride delighted to marry Daniel (Adam Brody) and join his filthy rich family at their country mansion. But her wedding night which starts as an innocent game of hide and seek turns into a nightmare of epic proportions…
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet combine their cleverly constructed script with exciting set pieces full of thrills and laughs. The attractive and highly watchable cast also includes Andie MacDowell as the eccentric matriarch of Le Domus family determined to keep old traditions going at all costs.
Hugely entertaining!

Greek Australian writer/director Anthony Maras brings to the screen the powerful true story of the siege of the Taj Hotel attacked by a group of terrorists in Mumbai, India in 2008.
Like most decent disaster movies Maras spends enough time to explore and develop his characters before tragedy hits upon them. Maras manages to build up the tension and suspense most effectively enabled by an impressive cast which includes Dev Patel as Atjun, one of the hotel’s waiters who along with many of his colleagues puts his life in danger in order to protect their guests.
The story is told with clarity and vision and is very much worth seeing despite the occasional lapses into sentimentality.

An intriguing premise for this exciting thriller that works well thanks to David Oyelowo’s committed performance as Jack Radcliff, a Los Angeles’ cop who has a special relationship with his smart teenage niece Ashley (Storm Reid). But when her family is brutally murdered Jack receives a phone call from one of the dead…
Writer/director Jacob Estes delivers the goods aplenty and keeps the suspense going till the final credits. Oyelowo is as reliable as ever but the real revelation here is rising star Storm Reid.

Jamie Bell plays Bryon Widner, the skinhead white supremacist covered all over with racist tattoos. He lives a life of utter destruction and violence as a member of a deeply racist movement until he meets Julie (Danielle McDonald) and her three daughters from previous relationships…
Guy Nattiv’s daring film is based on true events and benefits tremendously from Bell’s almost unrecognisable presence. He easily conveys the brutality of Widner as well as his soft side after he begins to have second thoughts about his gang when Lisa becomes pregnant with his child.
Not an easy watch but worth it!

This excellent documentary brings to light the dreadful reality that in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez the vaquita, the world’s smallest whale is facing extinction caused by the Mexican cartels and the Chinese Mafia in their attempt to fish out the totoala for their precious swim bladder. They are smuggling this “cocaine of the sea” to China where its prize is astronomical on the black market while a group of scientists and activists along with a group of investigative journalists try hard to put an end to their activities and expose their illegal actions.
It plays like a sequel to Andy Heathcote’s OF FISH AND FOE where the Sea Shepherd activists are at it again – this time they move from the coast of Scotland to Mexico.

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