Writer/director Sean Durkin made a remarkable feature film debut back in 2011 with MARTHA MACY MAY MARLENE, the film that first introduced Elizabeth Olsen to the screen and with Sarah Paulson as her sister. Since then, he has directed Jude Law in THE NEST before this ambitious wrestling drama which is based on a true story.
The action takes place in the early 1980’s and follows the story of the Von Erich brothers (Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Harris Dickinson), who under their father’s (Holt McCallany) strict coaching and supervision, they enter the world of professional wrestling. They all in turn experience success in the ring before tragedy hits…
Durkin has assembled a great cast led by Efron as Kevin, the eldest of the brothers and the first to triumph in the arena, before White’s Jeremy and Dickinson’s David follow closely behind their brother’s footsteps. McCallany is suitably merciless in his determination to see his sons fulfil his own dreams – a bit like KING RICHARD, the father (Will Smith) of Serena and Venus Williams. The best acting comes from Maura Tierney as Doris, the boys’ long-suffering mother.
The premise is fascinating, and the wrestling sequences are superbly choreographed, but finally it is a touch too long and takes itself far too seriously. And unlike the recent and hugely enjoyable CASSANDRO starring Gael Garcia Bennal, it also lacks thrills.


I first saw Felipe Galvez’s remarkable debut at last October’s London Film Festival and on a second recent viewing, I found his powerful film even more brutal and compelling.
The action takes place in Chile at the turn of the 20th century and follows three horsemen as they embark on an expedition across the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. They work for a wealthy landowner and orders are to secure the vast land from any natives…
It is superbly photographed against a stunning mountain landscape with strong performances from Alfredo Castro as the ruthless landowner and Mark Stanley as the English Lieutenant Alexander MacLennan. Galvez is a new voice in Chilean cinema and delivers an essential message against the brutality of colonialism.

George Amponsah’s crime thriller is set-in modern-day London and follows the story of a group of young men in a moped gang, who have turned to petty theft. Amongst them is Ash (Stephen Odubola), a 20-year-old man struggling to support his teenage sister and send his mother to rehab…
An overfamiliar setting, especially at the beginning, where the harshness of the characters and uninspired dialogue makes it difficult to care much about their plight. However, it is directed with flair and imagination and as the story develops, Odubola’s assured performance wins one’s sympathy over.


Steve McQueen’ ambitious documentary is inspired by Bianca Stigter’s book “Atlas of an Occupied City: Amsterdam 1940-1945.” McQueen photographs a deserted Amsterdam during the pandemic, while the narration describes the horrors of war during the Nazi occupation. Every street corner, every building has a story to tell, whether it is a tale of betrayal or one of Jewish persecution.
It is a powerful film, despite its long running time (266 mins including 15 mins intermission) and demands attention for its perfectly framed images and strong message. Its Brechtian kind of execution attempts to alienate its audience especially with Melanie Hyams’ monotonous delivery of the narration which threatens to sink the ship. It is a shame because the film and its audience deserve a stronger, more involving voice. Still, worth discovering!


Jeanie Finlay’s excellent documentary follows Aubrey Gordon, an American writer and activist whose career started as an anonymous blogger to NYTimes before her first book “What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat” became a huge best seller. Subsequently, her podcast “Maintenance Phase” and second book” You Just Need to Lose Weight” continued her popularity. The strength of this film relies on Gordon’s ability to talk with honesty and humour about fatness and other people’s prejudices about her predicament. She talks about her life as a child and her parents’ understanding about the daily obstacles she had to confront – going to see a play or travel by bus or booking a flight is always a constant challenge she must endure.
Finlay’s warm-hearted film allows Gordon’s sparkling personality to shine.


This terrific documentary from Australia about Fungi is a feast for the senses. Directors Joseph Nizeti and Gisela Kaufmann make great use of the splendid IMAX screen with striking images.
The film is presented by British biologist and writer Merlin Sheldrake and is narrated by the distinct dulcet tones of Bjork. It takes you on a journey to explore not only the beauty of mushrooms but also examine the plethora of benefits they offer to humanity and to the planet. They are delicious to eat, they can take you on a magic trip and they also have the power to break down plastic waste. The list of their benefits is endless, but above all, fungi shape the weather and support life on land.
Give your family a treat and see it on the giant BFI IMAX screen in glorious 3D!

Marc Isaacs’s lively drama documentary takes place in the village of Thaxted in Essex and follows Lory, a young Chinese filmmaker in search of a story for her forthcoming project. Lori learns a lot about the history of the place and encounters many eccentric characters, who are eager to share their stories in front of her camera…
Isaacs has chosen a fascinating group of eccentric characters for his enjoyable film. There is a whiff of amateurism about the production even though the non-professional cast do their best.


It has been a tremendous year for Sandra Huller. Following last week’s THE ZONE OF INTEREST, Huller delivers another spellbinding performance in Justine Triet’s intelligent court room drama. She plays Sandra, a German writer living in France with her French husband (Samuel Theis) and 11-year-old son Daniel. When Samuel is mysteriously found dead outside their snow bound house Sandra becomes the prime suspect…
Huller is a frontrunner for Best Actress in this year’s Academy Awards and she easily gets my vote. Her performance in court is unlike anything you’ve seen – she gives evidence in French before she effortlessly switches between German or English.
A magnetic, gripping film that will keep you hooked until the end!

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