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7 Day Film Diet #27

7 Day Film Diet #27

QUAD Cinema Programmer Adam Marsh returns with another batch of suggestions of films to stream at home during lockdown.

As the snow falls on Derby and thoughts turn to making snowmen, snow angels and pelting teenagers with snowballs, it is good to know that we can always curl up in front of the fire and enjoy a good film….it is the Return of the 7 Day Cinema Diet! 

Day 1  - All 4 

Another Year

Mike Leigh writes and directs this observational comedy drama depicting a year in the life of a contented middle-aged London couple. Medical counsellor Gerri (Ruth Sheen) is happily married to Tom (Jim Broadbent). The film follows Gerri over the course of the year as she opens her home and heart to her emotionally needy colleague Mary (Lesley Manville), counsels a chronic insomniac (Imelda Staunton), spends time on her allotment with Tom and plays host to their 30-year-old lawyer son Joe (Oliver Maltman) and his wife and baby. With scenes shot in Derby!! 

Slumdog Millionaire

This Mumbai-set, rags-to-possible riches tale, co-directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, was the winner of eight Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Director. Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is an 18-year-old street kid from the slums of Mumbai. So what is he doing appearing on the Indian version of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' How can a young man from his background of poverty have acquired the knowledge to be only one correct answer away from winning 20 million rupees? With only one more question to be asked, however, the dream turns to nightmare. As the hooter sounds to signal the end of the show, Jamal is arrested and accused of cheating. No-one can believe that he could really know all of the answers he has given. As Jamal tells the story of his life to the police, the reasons for his success begin to appear. Will Jamal be freed to hear the final question and, if so, will he know the answer? 

A Most Wanted Man

Espionage thriller directed by Anton Corbijn and starring Daniel Bruhl, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Willem Dafoe. A tortured half-Chechen Muslim arrives in Hamburg and attracts the attention of both German and American security agents as he tracks down his father's illegally gained fortune. But with the details of his father's background and his own personal history coming into the open, he'll have to fight to prove his innocence and convince the authorities that he is not the religious extremist they suspect he is. Based on the novel by the late John Le Carre. 

Dog Soldiers

Neil Marshall’s (The Descent) tale of a bunch of squaddies caught in the countryside fighting against a lupine enemy. A darkly comic and gory werewolf horror that is still a riot from start to finish nearly 20 years on. Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham star. 

Day 2 – BBC iPlayer 

Yellow Canary

Wartime thriller set aboard a ship bound for Canada from Britain, in which an undercover agent is approached by a Nazi spy with a scheme to sabotage a British convoy in Nova Scotia. 

Whisky Galore

Classic Ealing comedy about a whisky-laden ship that runs aground off the coast of the Outer Hebrides during the Second World War. The local islanders have depleted their supply of the amber nectar and are overjoyed at the thought of stocking up again. But it is Sunday, and the teetotallers object to making free with the unexpected cargo. 

99 Homes

Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon star in this drama directed and co-written by Ramin Bahrani. Single father Dennis Nash (Garfield) is struggling to make ends meet and take care of his mother Lynn (Laura Dern) and son Connor (Noah Lomax). When they are kicked out of their home by crooked real estate broker Rick Carver (Shannon) their life is thrown into disarray. In an effort to reclaim his house Dennis accepts a job offer from Carver to evict others from their homes. But Dennis ends up going on a downward spiral, living a double life and caught between earning big money and his guilty conscience. 

The White Crow

Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in this biopic of Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (Oleg Ivenko). After falling in love with dance as a child, Nureyev begins training under the tutelage of Alexander Pushkin (Fiennes) at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in Saint Petersburg. Despite beginning his training at the relatively late age of 17, Nureyev trains tirelessly to improve and impress and eventually becomes a star in his native Soviet Union performing with the Mariinsky Ballet. When the company embarks on a tour to Paris in 1961, Nureyev's ego and rebellious nature cause problems for the company's management and the KGB agents watching his every move, leading to his dramatic defection to the West. 

Day 3 – All 4 

Flight Of The Navigator

80s family adventure following the fortunes of a 12-year-old boy who is abducted by aliens. When David Freeman (Joey Cramer) returns to Earth after eight years he has not visibly aged at all and he has also acquired excellent navigational powers and the ability to fly his spacecraft wherever he wishes. However, his newly acquired skills soon attract the interests of top-secret government agents who view him as a threat.  

Mary And The Witch’s Flower

Japanese animated feature co-written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Based on the novel by Mary Stewart, the film follows Mary Smith, a young girl who moves to the country estate owned by her Great-Aunt Charlotte. Bored and longing for an adventure, Mary follows a strange cat into a nearby forest and finds a magic broomstick which transports her to Endor College, a school for magic run by Madam Mumblechook and Doctor Dee. However, things soon go wrong when a lie lands Mary in trouble. 

Benjamin

British comedy drama written and directed by Simon Amstell. Benjamin (Colin Morgan – Merlin) is a promising filmmaker who is filled with angst about the upcoming premiere of his second feature and how it will be received. At the premiere he is introduced to charismatic French singer Noah (Phenix Brossard) and a flourishing romance develops between the pair. 

Trespass Against Us

Brendan Gleeson and Michael Fassbender star in this British crime drama directed by Adam Smith. The film follows Chad Cutler (Fassbender), a petty criminal looking to break free of the outlaw life he shares with his father Colby (Gleeson) and the rest of his extended family. Living in a trailer in the English countryside, Chad is torn between wanting a better life for his two young children and loyalty to his father, whose latest scheme involves the robbery of a nearby mansion. When the job goes wrong and with the police closing in, Chad finds his hopes of a fresh start slipping even further away. 

Day 4 – BBC iPlayer 

A Hard Day’s Night 

The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) head for London to appear on television, accompanied by their manager and Paul's grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell). Grandad gets into some trouble at a casino and then convinces Ringo to strike out on his own, but the boys find him just in time to play the big concert. Richard Lester's freewheeling directorial style set the tone for the Swinging Sixties. 

All The President’s Men

Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford star in this political thriller about the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon. Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein (Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Redford) aided by the White House mole Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook), thwart Nixon's attempted cover-up after his agents are caught breaking in to the Watergate complex in 1972. The film won four Academy Awards including Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jason Robards) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based On Material from Another Medium and was nominated for another four including Best Picture and Best Director. 

For more info on All The President’s Men and the other 1976 Oscar nominations, check out the new Cine-Lit podcast available here - https://shows.acast.com/cine-lit/episodes/oscar-rewind-the-year-1976 

Foxcatcher

Academy Award-nominated psychological drama directed by Bennett Miller and starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum. The film tells the story of how Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Tatum) was invited by his multi-millionaire mentor John du Pont (Carell) to live on his estate while he trained for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. However, du Pont's mental instability quickly became apparent, and as he sought more and more to tighten his hold over Mark and have an active role in not only his training but also his personal life, the dynamic between the pair turned sour - an event which would have dire consequences for Mark and his family... The supporting cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Michael Hall, Sienna Miller and Vanessa Redgrave. 

Interview With The Vampire

In 1790 the evil Lestat (Tom Cruise), a 200-year-old vampire, decides he wants a buddy and chooses Louis (Brad Pitt). However, despite Louis' desire for death after his young wife's demise, Lestat hasn't banked on Louis being so guilt-ridden when it comes to sucking blood from humans. So, whilst Lestat continues to feast upon human flesh, Louis sticks to rats and chickens. That is, until he meets the young Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Two hundred years later, Louis tells his story to a young reporter (Christian Slater). 

Day 5 – All 4 

The Straight Story

David Lynch directs this drama which tells the tale of Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), a 73-year-old Midwesterner who sets out on an unusual personal odyssey. Alvin lives with his intellectually disabled daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek) and is struggling with his failing health. When he hears that his estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke, he realises that now is the time to heal the rift between them. However, lacking a car of his own, Alvin opts to make the three-hundred-mile journey from Iowa to Wisconsin on his lawnmower. 

The Scouting Book For Boys

British director Tom Harper's debut feature is a coming-of-age drama/thriller. Teenagers David (Thomas Turgoose) and Emily (Holly Grainger) have grown up together in a caravan park on the windswept Norfolk coast. When it emerges, that Emily is to be sent away against her will to live with her father, David agrees to help her hide out in a remote cave on the beach. But as fears grow that Emily has been kidnapped and a large-scale police search gets underway, David finds himself swept up in a situation out of his control and resorts to drastic measures to protect his friend. Steven Mackintosh and Rafe Spall co-star. 

Kaleidoscope

Toby Jones and Anne Reid star in this British psychological thriller written and directed by Rupert Jones. The film follows Carl (Jones), a middle-aged gardener trying to get his life back on track after his release from prison. Things begin to look up for Carl when he goes on a date with Abby (Sinead Matthews) and the pair return to his flat. However, when he wakes up to find Abby dead in his bathroom, Carl is forced to try and cover up the crime while attempting to evade enquiries from the police, Abby's boyfriend and his overbearing mother Aileen (Reid). The cast also includes Deborah Findlay and Karl Johnson. 

Under The Skin

Scarlett Johansson stars in this sci-fi thriller adapted from Michel Faber's novel by director and co-writer Jonathan Glazer. Disguised as a human, extraterrestrial Laura (Johansson) comes from her home planet in search of earthly beings to send back to her employer. Arriving in Scotland she seeks out lonely hitchhikers to seduce, but can she keep her true identity hidden forever? The film also stars Paul Brannigan and Antonia Campbell-Hughes. 

Day 6 – BBC iPlayer 

Mr Holmes

Ian McKellen stars as the famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes in this crime drama adaptation directed by Bill Condon. Set in 1947, the long-retired detective, now aged 93, lives in exile and spends his days tending to his bees and completing his memoirs. As Holmes examines the numerous achievements of his life, he finds himself continually troubled by his last ever case involving a beautiful woman (Hattie Morahan) which still remains unsolved. With his health failing, and his mind not as sharp as it once was, Holmes uses his fragmented memories of the case to try and piece the mystery together. 

Mrs Brown

Judi Dench and Billy Connolly star in this 1990s drama directed by John Madden. In mourning for her late husband Prince Albert, Queen Victoria (Dench) has abandoned all public duties and appearances, retiring to her Isle of Wight home, Osborne House. When Albert's Scottish servant, John Brown (Connolly), arrives in service to the Queen, he manages to coax her out of her depression. As the pair grow increasingly familiar, a warm friendship develops, much to the consternation of the other members of the Queen's court. 

Mississippi Grind

Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn star as gamblers in this American drama co-written and co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Captain Marvel). Facing financial ruin, divorced 44-year-old gambling addict Gerry (Mendelsohn) bonds with younger risk-taker Curtis (Reynolds) over their shared love of cards, racetracks and casino tables during a game of poker. After swapping stories of their past, the pair set off on a road trip around the South, gambling their way along the Mississippi River to try and win back enough money to pay off hefty debts before entering a high-stakes poker game in New Orleans where they hope their luck will finally change. 

Night Of The Living Dead

Judith O'Dea and Duane Jones star in this classic horror by George A. Romero. When brother and sister Johnny and Barbra (Russ Streiner and O'Dea) go to visit their father's grave, Barbra is terrified for her life when Johnny is killed by a flesh-eating zombie. As she escapes to a nearby farmhouse Barbra discovers other desperate individuals who are preparing to do battle with the undead. Ground-breaking filmmaking that changed the world of horror, and filmmaking.  

Day 7 – All 4 

Pili

BAFTA winning Swahili drama. Farm worker Pili (Bello Rashid), who lives in rural Tanzania with her two kids, is struggling in the wake of her HIV diagnosis. Her husband left her after he found out and she has not shared the news with anyone else since. However, Pili dreams of escaping her troubles when a small kiosk in her village becomes available to rent. Harbouring dreams of opening up her own beauty stall, Pili desperately tries to secure enough funding for a suitable deposit. But with time running out and her health failing, Pili is forced to make some difficult decisions about her future. 

Sweet Sixteen

Ken Loach directs this raw and gritty coming-of-age drama set in Greenock, Scotland, where unemployment is high and drugs are rife. Liam (Martin Compston) is a young, restless teenager, who hangs around the streets with best mate Pinball (William Ruane) and waits for the release from jail of his mother, Jean (Michelle Coulter), who is serving time for a crime actually committed by her drug dealer boyfriend, Stan (Gary McCormack). When Liam refuses to help Stan out with his latest consignment of drugs, he ends up being kicked out of his own house, and moves in with his older sister, single mum Chantelle (Annmarie Fulton). He decides to find a way out of Stan's violent clutches for himself and his mother when she is released, and he comes up with a plan to steal Stan's stash and sell it to local junkies. As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Liam ironically finds himself ending up embroiled in the very life of crime he had struggled to avoid. 

Embrace Of The Serpent

Ciro Guerra directs this action adventure based on the diary by Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evan Schultes. Set in the Colombian Amazon, the story follows shaman Karamakate (Nilbio Torres/Antonio Bolivar) who helps German scientist Theo (Jan Bijvoet) in 1909 and, 30 years later, American scientist Evan (Brionne Davis), in their search for the yakruna, a rare and sacred healing plant. Their journeys take them through the mysterious and wild rainforest, where they encounter the destruction of indigenous culture by settlers and industrialists. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 

Attack The Block

Joe Cornish writes and directs this British sci-fi comedy action adventure starring John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who), Luke Treadaway and Nick Frost. While being robbed by a gang of thugs outside the South London tower block where she lives, trainee nurse Sam (Whittaker)'s hooded attackers suddenly break off their assault when a meteorite hits a nearby carpark. As Sam flees the scene, the gang members fend off an attack from a small alien being that has emerged from the crash-site, killing it in the process, and carrying off their prize to their rooftop lair. But now, as Sam and the police search for the gang, a new wave of meteorites fall. With the gang emboldened by their latest victory, they prepare to face their new-found enemy, only to be confronted with an army of much larger, savagely vicious alien monsters, hellbent on finding their comrade.