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7 Day Film Diet #30

The Deer Hunter original US release poster

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

Once again, I have been hunting for interesting films to see for free on the various streaming platforms out there in the online world. This week, I have pulled from the ever excellent BBC iPlayer, All4, a rare appearance from the ITV HUB, Rakuten TV and the free section of the BFI Player. 

Day One – BBC iPlayer 

Anne Of Green Gables

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Adaptation of LM Montgomery's Canadian classic following the adventures of determined imaginative optimist Anne Shirley. Middle-aged brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert want some help on the farm, so they decide to adopt a boy. However, the orphanage sends them a girl by mistake. 

Anne Of Windy Poplars 

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Sentimental drama about an ambitious young teacher who arrives in a small town to take the job of vice-principal. Based on one of L M Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables sequels. 

Beautiful Boy 

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Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet star in this American biographical drama based on the memoirs of David and Nic Sheff (Carell and Chalamet/Jack Dylan Grazer/Zachary Rifkin/Kue Lawrence). The film follows David as he tries to save his son Nic from a crippling drug addiction that threatens to destroy his life. When he first realises Nic has been using drugs David sends him to a rehab facility for immediate treatment, beginning a long cycle of relapse and rehabilitation, while David relentlessly searches for solutions to save his son and realises his attempts are ultimately doomed to fail. 

Lady Macbeth 

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William Oldroyd directs this British drama adapted from Nikolai Leskov's novel. Set in the remote English countryside, the story follows teenage bride Katherine (Florence Pugh) as she is forced to marry shady mining boss Alexander (Paul Hilton). Deeply unhappy with her new situation, Katherine soon finds an escape in the form of servant Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis) and the pair begin having an affair. However, when Alexander learns of her betrayal and reacts violently, Katherine and Sebastian are forced to take matters into their own hands in an attempt to get some retribution of their own. The cast also includes Bill Fellows, Christopher Fairbank and Fleur Houdijk. 

Day Two – BBC iPlayer 

Primrose Path 

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Teenager Ellie May lives on the wrong side of the tracks with her family, and when she meets handsome beach cafe owner Ed, they quickly fall in love and get married. Ellie May tries to keep Ed from learning of her background and when he finally meets her family it causes a major strain on the relationship. Ginger sans Fred as Ginger Rogers stars alongside Joel McCrea. 

Ivanhoe 

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Swashbuckling spectacular based on the novel by Sir Walter Scott. Ivanhoe (Robert Taylor) the knight fights for the honour of King Richard, kidnapped in Austria, and saves a wealthy merchant who agrees to help raise the Lionheart's ransom. With Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine and George Sanders. 

The Bling Ring 

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Sofia Coppola directs this drama, based on real events, about a group of celebrity-obsessed teens who rob the homes of their idols in order to emulate their lifestyles. Bored of living a life of relative obscurity in L.A., high school friends Nicki (Emma Watson), Marc (Israel Broussard), Rebecca (Katie Chang), Chloe (Claire Julien) and Sam (Taissa Farmiga) decide to grab their own slice of the high life by breaking into the homes of the rich and famous. But as the group become flushed with success after amassing ever more sizeable hauls, their continuing hunger for designer labels, coupled with feelings of invincibility, inevitably sets them on a collision course with the authorities. 

The Angel’s Share  

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Ken Loach directs this Glasgow-set drama about a young juvenile delinquent who is given one last chance to stay out of jail and carve out a future for himself. Small-time criminal and new father Robbie (Paul Brannigan) narrowly escapes a prison sentence after his most recent foray into the world of crime. With the help of a team of supportive community service workers, he makes a last-ditch attempt to get back onto the straight and narrow and to set up a small whisky distillery business. 

Day Three – BBC iPlayer 

Restless Natives  

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Ronnie and Will are two free-wheeling lads living on a housing estate in Edinburgh. Broke and bored, the two decide to politely rob coach-loads of tourists travelling through the Highlands for a bit of cash. Donning a wolf and a clown mask and armed with a puffer gun shooting out curry powder, the duo soon become a hit with the tourists and the public alike. As the two follow in the great tradition of Robin Hood and Rob Roy, their exploits make them a tourist attraction bigger than the Loch Ness Monster. Featuring an infectious soundtrack by Big Country and stunning Highlands scenery, this much-loved film is a thoroughly enjoyable gem. 

Breathe 

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Andy Serkis directs this British drama centred on polio sufferer Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield). After leaving the army and becoming a tea broker, Robin's life is abruptly changed forever when he contracts polio in Kenya aged 28. Paralysed from the neck down, he is given just months to live and returns to London for treatment but, against professional advice, leaves the hospital after only a year. With the loyal support of his wife Diana (Claire Foy), Robin continues to defy doctors' expectations and devotes himself to transforming the lives of disabled people across the world. The cast also includes Hugh Bonneville, Diana Rigg and Miranda Raison. 

Sliding Doors 

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Having been fired from her job at a PR company, Helen (Paltrow) runs to catch an underground train. Two storylines then unfold: in the first, Helen catches her train, meeting the charming James (John Hannah). Upon arriving home, Helen discovers her boyfriend Gerry (John Lynch) having an affair. She leaves Gerry and begins seeing James. Their relationship is placed in jeopardy, however, when Helen realises that she is pregnant. In the second storyline, having missed her train Helen does not meet James and arrives home too late to catch Gerry. Gerry continues his affair with former girlfriend Lydia (Jeanne Tripplehorn), even when Helen becomes pregnant with his child. 

Nightcrawler 

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Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a desperate man living in Los Angeles who resorts to theft in order to support himself. One night Lou chances upon a terrible traffic accident while on his way home and meets freelance reporter Chris (Bill Paxton), who sells his video footage to local news stations. Seeing a chance to make it rich, Lou then trades in an expensive bike for a police scanner and a video recorder and begins hunting down the city's crime scenes as they happen. Hiring Rick (Riz Ahmed), a homeless man, as his assistant, Lou takes a journey into LA's crime-ridden underbelly searching for footage to sell to Nina (Rene Russo), a particularly twisted and ratings-driven news producer... 

Day Four – ALL4 

The Little Stranger 

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Drama directed by Lenny Arahamson (Room) based on the novel by Sarah Waters in which a highly respected doctor questions his science-based beliefs when a family are torn apart by their haunted past. When Dr Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) is called out to tend to a patient dwelling in the vast and decaying Hundreds Hall, a country manor which stood as a landmark of his childhood, he is shocked to find the state of disrepair that the once grand building is now enduring. Called out to treat a former soldier returned from WWII who is suffering from mental deterioration, his behaviour is diagnosed as war shock. As strange events begin to take hold of the Ayres family and their home, however, Dr Faraday must find a rational explanation for the goings-on or risk losing his sanity also. 

Brakes 

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Julian Barratt, Julia Davis and Noel Fielding star in this dark comedy from debut writer and director Mercedes Grower. The film follows the lives of nine couples in London as they confront the end of their respective relationships. Amongst the failing couples is a middle-aged actress auditioning for her boyfriend's play and a gay couple who have a one-night stand in Barcelona. The cast also includes Kelly Campbell, Seb Cardinal and Juliet Cowan. 

American Fable 

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In 1982, eleven-year-old Gitty (Peyton Kennedy) is afraid her dad Abe (Kip Pardue) will lose the family farm and they'll be forced to move out of their long-time home in rural Wisconsin. But events take a strange turn when Gitty discovers an old man living in the locked and unused silo her dad warned her not to go near. While bringing him food to eat and books to read, Gitty strikes up a friendship with the man called Jonathan (Richard Schiff) and learns he's a wealthy real estate developer buying up farms in the area. Torn between helping her new friend and potentially damaging her family, Gitty finds herself gradually drawn into a strange, fantasy world. 

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants 

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Heart surgeon Juha has lived life at an unengaged distance since his wife tragically drowned some years ago. And although it is often debilitating, his grief also throws up some rather surprising sexual urges. A birthday trip with his daughter leads to an unexpected but thrilling encounter with Mona, a dominatrix whose modus operandi brings a whole new meaning to the notion of suffocating relationships. Might submission and pain provide a pathway out of grief? Director J-P Valkeapää teases out a twisted but sweet vein of comedy from this kinky set-up. Empathetic and resolutely sex positive, this is a fun and joyful film. 

Day Five – BBC iPlayer  

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas 

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Eight-year-old Bruno (Asa Butterfield), whose father (David Thewlis) is the commandant at a Nazi concentration camp, has just moved with his family into a new house in the countryside, and feels imprisoned by his mother (Vera Farmiga)'s persistent warnings never to venture beyond the garden's high walls. From what he can make of the view from his bedroom window, he thinks he must be living on a strange sort of farm where the workers seem to get straight out of bed and go to work on the fields. When his curiosity leads him through an open door and up to a vast electric fence, he meets a boy there of exactly his own age - but with a very different story to tell. 

Sunset Song 

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Terence Davies writes and directs this adaptation of the novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. Set on a small farm in rural Aberdeenshire in the early 1900s, the story follows the life of young farm girl Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn) as she fights for her independence from her tyrannical father (Peter Mullan). After witnessing the brutal flogging of her brother at the hands of her father, Chris meets Ewan (Kevin Guthrie), a handsome young farmer who falls for her unabashedly and promises her a better life. Can Chris ever truly escape her painful past and be completely happy? 

The Lost City of Z 

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Charlie Hunnam stars as British Colonel Percy Fawcett, an explorer who ventures deep into the Amazon jungle in search of a lost city thought to be the home of an ancient civilisation. Accompanied by his close friend and fellow army officer Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson), Fawcett leaves behind his wife Nina (Sienna Miller) and embarks on an ambitious expedition to an uncharted area of the Brazilian jungle. After his first trip ends in disappointment and the outbreak of World War One holds up further plans to explore, an ageing Fawcett finally returns to the jungle in the early 1920s with his 20-year-old son Jack (Tom Holland) to continue his search. However, despite being warned that the area they are entering is inhabited by hostile warring tribes, the pair put their lives on the line and press on into the wilderness in one final bid to find the mysterious settlement. 

The Homesman 

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Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), lives a solitary existence in a God-fearing mid-western town. She is designated by members of her church to take back East three women who have lost their minds. On the way from Nebraska to Iowa, where those women will at last find refuge, Mary Bee saves the life of Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones), a claim-jumper and outlaw. He agrees to help in her mission through snowstorms and perilous encounters with settlers, Indians and the harshness of the Frontier territory. 

Day Six 

Chicken Run – ITV Hub 

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As it is half term!!! Why not relax from the endless homeschooling with this delightful retread of The Great Escape through the eyes of the animators at Aardman Animation. When Rocky (Mel Gibson) – the famous flying rooster – crash lands in a farm Ginger (Julia Sawalha) sees the chance to escape. 

The Rise And Fall Of Nellie Brown – BFI Player 

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This free television film is available on the free section on the BFI Player and looks to be an interesting time capsule. An incredibly joyous TV musical about a young woman ‘s search for her long lost cousin. Made in Liverpool in 1964. 

Crocodile Dundee II – ALL4 

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Mick Dundee is back! A few weeks ago we recommended Crocodile Dundee as part of our Oscar week, we figure in for a penny in for a pound as we head to the outback for some more Crocodile Out Of Water comedy from Down Under. Mick is forced to use all his skills when his journalist girlfriend is captured by drug barons.  

Seduced And Abandoned – Rakuten TV 

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Alec Baldwin and director James Toback's documentary examines the intricacies of film financing from the inside as the pair visit the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. Criss-crossing the festival in an attempt to hustle some cash for their version of 'Last Tango in Paris', the pair spend time reflecting on the actual business of movie-making and talking about the industry in general with amongst others, Ryan Gosling, Martin Scorsese, Jessica Chastain, Francis Ford Coppola, and Bernardo Bertolucci. 

Day Seven – BBC iPlayer 

The Windermere Children 

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In the fallout of WWII, a group of children who survived the holocaust are taken to an estate near Lake Windermere. There, they make long-lasting friendships as they begin their long healing journeys and attempt to recover from the trauma they have endured. Starring Iain Glen, Romola Garai and Thomas Kretschmann. 

Hollywood’s Brightest Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story 

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Fleeing to America after escaping her Nazi sympathiser husband, Hedy Lamarr then conquered Hollywood. Executive produced by Susan Sarandon, this is the ultimate portrait of Hollywood wild-child, Hedy Lamarr. Known as 'the most beautiful woman in the world', she was infamous for her marriages and affairs with everyone from Spencer Tracy to JFK. This film rediscovers her, not only as an actress, but as the brilliant mind who co-invented 1940's wireless technology. 

The Deer Hunter  

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Robert De Niro, John Savage and Christopher Walken star in this Michael Cimino war drama. As Michael (De Niro), Steven (Savage) and Nick (Walken) volunteer to serve in Vietnam, they fail to foresee the horrors that will encapsulate their future lives. When the men are captured by the Vietcong and forced to play Russian roulette for their entertainment, Michael and Steven manage to escape leaving Nick to fight off the enemy. As Steven is shipped home, severely disabled and damaged by the whole experience, he discovers that Nick has sent him money to help him get back into society. When the news of the fall of Saigon reaches home, Michael vows to return to Vietnam to bring home his friend. 

Wonder Boys

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Michael Douglas is Grady Tripp, a college professor and award-winning novelist whose latest book is seven years overdue. Among his current crop of students is James Leer (Tobey Maguire), a highly-talented young writer who, at a party held during the college's annual literary festival, accidentally manages to kill the Head of Department's dog. Grady helps James dispose of the beast, but one thing leads to another, and the pair soon find themselves on a strange odyssey involving drugs, bar fights, lost manuscripts, and stolen Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, with Grady reeling from the announcement that his mistress (Frances McDormand) is pregnant, and literary agent Terry Crabtree (Robert Downey Jr) doing his best to get James into bed.