Sunday, 30 April 2017

A five star DVD round-up

The Night Manager (15)

Six episode mini-series based on John le Carre's book, this gripping espionage thriller about a hotel worker who gets caught up in the world of an international arms dealer is both stylish and sophisticated. An all-star cast features Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Debicki, Tom Hollander and David Harewood. Directed by Susanne Bier. Five out of five stars

*****

Straight Outta Compton  (18)

A gritty and hard-hitting biography of the early life and emergence of the Los Angeles band N.W.A. and the influence of their music on Hip Hop culture and the wider American consciousness in the 1980's. O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr. and Aldis Hodge star as the band members. Directed by F. Gary Gray. Five out of five stars

******

Arrival (12A)

Beautifully filmed with a dreamlike quality this absorbing science fiction story deals with a linguist drafted in to try and communicate with aliens while dealing with a trauma in her own life. The two threads of narrative weave together to produce an unexpected and moving denouement in this left-field film.  Amy Adams ably carries the movie with Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker also starring. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Five out of five stars

*****

The Big Short (15)

Another biographical movie, this time examining the financial crisis of 2008 and the American housing bubble that triggered it. It follows three teams of traders who predict the collapse of sub-prime mortgage market and look to short the market and make millions. Both humorous and horrific this snapshot of the capriciousness of the 'American Dream' is stuffed full of cameos and quirky narratives. An all-star cast includes Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt. Directed by Adam McKay.  Five our of five stars

*****