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7 Day Film Diet #37

7 Day Film Diet #37

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

The debut of The Mauritanian on Amazon Prime has meant we have turned a day of the diet over to Amazon with a mix of other new films and some classics (a 30 day free trial is available). We also checked back in on MUBI (who offer a 7 day free trial) to see what has been added to their player over the past month. Otherwise we are hitting the free channels hard with classics like The Vikings, some half-term kids films with Bumblebee and Ferdinand and the unmissable modern classic Four Lions among the many films this week. 

Day One – BBC iPlayer 

Easter Parade 

See the film here

Fred Astaire came out of retirement to star in this musical, playing one half of a dance team who is ditched by his partner. Deciding he can make a star out of anyone he wants, he chooses a lowly chorus girl (Judy Garland) as his new partner. Songs include A Couple of Swells, Stepping Out With My Baby and Shaking the Blues Away. Also starring Ann Miller and Peter Lawford, with an appearance by a 2-year-old Liza Minnelli. 

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind 

See the film here

William Kamkwamba is a 13-year-old living with his family in rural Malawi. As growing industrialisation of the land and then famine threaten to destroy his family and his community, William is thrown out of the school he loves when his parents can no longer afford the fees. William sets his exceptional mind to come up with a solution, and sneaking back into the school library, he finds a way. First, though, he must convince his father Trywell to allow him to use the bones of his bicycle to build a windmill to irrigate the land. A passion project for Director and star Chiwetel Ejiofor.  

A Late Quartet 

See the film here

Music-based drama directed by Yaron Zilberman in which a world-renowned string quartet from New York must come to grips with the thought of losing one of their members. After being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, Peter (Christopher Walken), the eldest of the group, expresses his wish to leave. As his departure threatens the future of the quartet, so does the breakdown of Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Juliette (Catherine Keener)'s marriage. Tensions increase further when Robert becomes dissatisfied with his position as second violinist, while first violinist Daniel (Mark Ivanir) becomes involved with Alexandra (Imogen Poots), Robert and Juliette's much younger daughter. 

The Damned United 

See the film here

The Damned United is based on the incredible true story of Brian Clough, one of England’s greatest soccer managers and his 44 controversial days at the helm of reigning champs Leeds United. Michael Sheen (Frost/NixonStaged) triumphs as Clough starring alongside a winning ensemble cast that includes Timothy Spall (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Colm Meaney (Layer Cake) and Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). This inspiring and humorous sports drama is about the power of friendship in the face of adversity and the stubborn will of one man to play by his own rules. 

Day Two – All 4 

Ferdinand 

See the film here

Animation in which a gentle, friendly pet bull named Ferdinand (voice of John Cena) is torn from his family home and taken to an arena to be trained as a matador-fighting spectacle. Ferdinand struggles to adapt to his new home and feels out of his depth when he is encouraged to be violent for the purposes of entertainment. To escape his situation and return to his human family, he enlists the help of some animal friends to embark on an exciting adventure. 

Bumblebee 

See the film here

Surprisingly good instalment of the Transformers franchise. While the main series aimed to blow audiences away with ridiculous plots and over-reliance on special effects, Bumblebee take more of an 80’s style coming of age story. Bumblebee is battle-scarred and hiding disguised as a Volkswagen Beetle. Teenager Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) discovers him and repairs him. All the while a secret US agency and the dreaded Decepticons loom large over the pair of unlikely allies.  

Border 

See the film here

Swedish fantasy drama based on the short story by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let The Right One In). Tina (Eva Melander) works for the Swedish Customs Services, where she uses her unique ability to smell guilt and shame to apprehend criminals crossing the border. After she is recruited to use her special talent on a police investigation, Tina meets Vore (Eero Milonoff) a mysterious, similarly disfigured man who illuminates her life and forces her to question her past. 

Four Lions 

See the film here

Riz Ahmed (Oscar nominated this year for The Sound Of Metal) plays Omar, a devout British-based Muslim who forms a small terrorist group. Omar is an unconvincing leader and his team of fellow terrorists are just as unimpressive. Among them are dim-witted Waj (Kayvan Novak), shy and quiet Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) and recently-converted white Muslim, Barry (Nigel Lindsay), whose passion far outweighs his knowledge. Omar and his comrades come up with several destructive plans, including using birds as explosives and bombing mosques in an attempt to provoke non-violent Muslims. But do this rag-tag team of terrorists really pose a genuine threat to Britain? 

Day Three – Rakuten TV 

The Quake 

See the film here

Kristoffer Joner and Ane Dahl Torp reprise their roles in the sequel to 2015 disaster drama The Wave. When a former colleague is killed due to a collapsed tunnel experienced geologist Kristian (Joner) investigates the circumstances of his death. His findings make him conclude that Oslo could be set for a deadly earthquake and he tries to warn his family to leave the city. However, his estranged wife Idun (Torp) believes that he is still suffering trauma from the tsunami he survived three years earlier. Once the first tremors are felt Kristian does all he can to find his family and bring them to safety. 

The Tailor Of Panama 

See the film here

In this seductive spy thriller based on the best-selling novel by John Le Carre, Academy Award-winner Geoffrey Rush delivers a dazzling performance as Harry Pendel, an ex-con turned tailor to the rich and infamous and married to smart and sexy Louisa (Jamie Lee Curtis). Directed by Academy Award -nominee John Boorman and set in steamy Panama, where nothing is what it seems, Andrew Osnard (Pierce Brosnan), a suave and ruthless British spy, entices Harry to eavesdropping on the powerful politicians he clothes. But Harry's talent for storytelling compels him to weave an elaborate tale that's not only taken as truth but sets off a chain of events that threatens to destroy everything he treasures most in life. 

Copycat 

See the film here

Psychologist Helen Hudson (Sigourney Weaver) and detective M.J. Monahan (Holly Hunter) team up to track down a serial killer who is imitating famous murderers, one by one. Hunter's boss is not keen on her working with Weaver, who is herself confined to her apartment by agoraphobia. When the killer becomes aware that the pair are on his trail, he places them at the top of his hit list. 

The Transfiguration 

See the film here

Eric Ruffin and Chloe Levine star in this horror written and directed by Michael O'Shea. The film follows New York teenager Milo (Ruffin), a vampire living in a run-down housing project in Queens. Harassed by local gang members who take exception to his distant and reserved manner, Milo spends his days watching vampire films and his nights silently roaming the streets looking to satisfy his lust for blood. However, when troubled teen Sophia (Levine) moves into his apartment building, Milo does his best to suppress his desire to feed as he begins to develop an unlikely relationship with his new neighbour. The cast also includes Aaron Clifton Moten, Lloyd Kaufman and Larry Fessenden. 

Day Four – BBC iPlayer 

The Vikings 

See the film here

One of the most spectacular and action-packed epics of the fifties, Richard Fleischer’s The Vikings wowed audiences worldwide with its stunning visuals, brutal action and star-studded cast. Prince Einar (Kirk Douglas) is the son and heir of a savage Viking chieftain (Ernest Borgnine). Prince Eric (Tony Curtis) is his unknowing half-brother, the bastard offspring of Einar’s father and an English queen. When the Vikings kidnap the princess Morgana (Janet Leigh), her beauty inflames the desires of both men, forcing a bloody duel that decides their fate… and the future of the English throne. 

The Fall Of The Roman Empire  

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Anthony Mann (El Cid, The Glenn Miller Story) directs a star-studded cast in this Hollywood epic re-telling the last days of the Roman Empire. Emperor Aurelius (Alec Guinness) is poisoned by his son Commodus (Christopher Plummer) who succeeds him, only to bring the once mighty Empire to its knees through pestilence and war with the Barbarians. With Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, James Mason, Anthony Quayle, Mel Ferrer and Omar Sharif. The set of the forum is said to be the largest ever built for a film, and Dimitri Tiomkin was nominated for an Oscar for his score. 

Bobby 

See the film here

Documentary about England's world cup-winning captain Bobby Moore. The film charts the highs and lows of Moore's career both on and off the pitch. Told through interviews with his two wives, admirers including Pele, Sir Geoff Hurst and Harry Redknapp, in addition to archive footage, the documentary follows his highly-successful playing career and his life after football in which he managed Southend before being denied the opportunity of a role with the FA and experiencing marital and monetary difficulties in the later years of his life. 

Colette 

See the film here

When country girl Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) marries a charismatic egomaniac named Willy (Dominic West), he unlocks the door to the tantalising artistic world of the Paris literacy scene. With her creative appetite sparked, Willy has Colette write novels under his name. The phenomenal success of her Claudine series makes Willy famous and elevates them both to the high life. Although she is now the toast of the town, the lack of recognition begins to gnaw at Colette. In turn, their marriage starts to internally combust, fuelled by Willy's infidelities and Colette's growing interest in women, and the gender defying Missy (Denise Gough). On a downward spiral, Willy resorts to increasingly desperate measures to pay his debts and sabotage his wife, but Colette is developing resources of her own. 

Day Five – MUBI 

Donnie Darko 

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Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank who predicts the imminent end of the world. Before then, Donnie will navigate teenage life in suburbia while following Frank’s maladjusted instructions. Richard Kelly’s remarkable debut is a seamless hybrid: part teen comedy, part horror flick, and part sci-fi thriller yet wholly original. Though initially ignored, this irresistibly strange and sinister mystery has already become a classic. 

Malmkrog 

See the film here

Among the guests who come to the mansion of aristocratic landowner Nikolai over Christmas are a politician, a young countess, and a general with his wife. They dine and discuss topics such as progress and morality. As the debate becomes more heated, cultural differences become increasingly apparent. Grand themes and heated discussions are served at a 19th century Christmas Eve dinner party in this major, Berlinale-winning work from Cristi Puiu. Formally elegant yet wryly punctuated, Malmkrog tightens its dialectical screws with one eye on the present, the other on droll, Buñuelian ironies. 

The Legend Of The Stardust Brothers 

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A shady music mogul brings together two wannabe stars—punk rock rebel Kan and new-wave crooner Shingo—and transforms them into the Stardust Brothers, a girl-friendly, silver-jumpsuited, synth-pop sensation. Along with their #1 fan, who herself dreams of a music career, the duo rockets to stardom. If Hausu had a cousin who worked at MTV in 1985, they might look a little like this irresistible music industry satire. Charged with delivering a film to accompany a soundtrack by Haruo Chicada, Macoto Tezuka went to town on a musical extravaganza as heady with cult appeal as it is synth-pop beats. 

Gushing Prayer 

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High-school students Yasuko, Yôichi, Kôichi and Bill indulge in group sex to liberate themselves from a corrupt adult society. Yasuko is driven by the encouragement of her peers to feel what it is like to be a prostitute: she sets out an odyssey of self-exploration in search of complete satiation. A tantalising countercultural exploration of youthful sexuality that seeks to break apart all taboos in one fell swoop, Gushing Prayer is an act of pure cinematic resistance. Bold, modernist erotica crafted by the fascinating Masao Adachi: a radical filmmaker and soldier in the Japanese Red Army. 

Day Six – Amazon Prime 

The Mauritanian 

See the film here

Justice seems an impossible dream in The Mauritanian, a powerful adaptation of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s bestselling memoir. Snatched by the USA Government in 2001, Slahi (Tahar Rahim) spent years in Guantanamo Bay proclaiming his innocence. Lawyer Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) agrees to represent him and force a trial. Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) heads a prosecution hell-bent on conviction. Contrasting the legal battle with scenes of the torture and humiliation that Slahi experienced, director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, Touching The Void) has created a heart-rending true-life drama. 

The Dissident 

See the film here

The murder of Saudi Arabia-born Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 shocked the world. The latest documentary from Oscar-winning director Bryan Fogel (Icarus) explores the case in forensic detail. Fogel’s enthralling examination offers a greater understanding of Khashoggi’s life and work, covers the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and reveals how political activist Omar Abdulaziz risks his life to challenge the Saudi Arabian government. All roads lead to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Turkey, and Khashoggi’s gruesome death, in a film with all the pace and intensity of a political thriller. 

Unforgiven 

See the film here

In 1880s Kansas, ageing gunslinger-turned-farmer William Munny (Clint Eastwood) reluctantly agrees to come out of retirement to help old friend Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) collect the bounty on two wanted cowboys. The men in question attacked a prostitute in a lawless town in Wyoming lorded over by the corrupt Sheriff Daggett (Gene Hackman), and if Munny and Logan want to catch them they are going to have to deal with Daggett first. The film won four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Hackman). 

Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula 

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Four years after South Korea's total decimation in Train To Busan, the zombie outbreak thriller that captivated audiences worldwide, acclaimed director Yeon Sang-ho brings us Peninsula, the next nail-biting chapter in his post-apocalyptic world. Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won), a soldier who previously escaped the diseased wasteland, relives the horror when assigned to a covert operation on the quarantined peninsula with two simple objectives: retrieve and survive. When his team unexpectedly stumbles upon survivors, their lives will depend on whether the best-or worst-of human nature prevails in the direst of circumstances 

Day Seven – BBC iPlayer 

The Accountant 

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Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organisations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise. 

Brighton Rock 

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Rowan Joffe writes and directs this adaptation of Graham Greene's novel. Updating the story from its original 1930s setting to the mid-1960s world of mods and rockers, the film stars Sam Riley as Pinkie Brown, a teenage gangster who seduces and marries young waitress Rose (Andrea Riseborough) after she stumbles upon evidence of a revenge killing carried out by him and his gang. Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Pete Postlethwaite co-star. 

Red Joan 

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Based on real events, the film begins with the arrest of Joan Stanley (Judi Dench), an octogenarian living in London accused of treason. After being brought in for questioning, Joan's secret life as a KGB spy is exposed. While studying physics at Cambridge in the late-1930s, Joan falls in love with Jewish refugee Leo Galich (Tom Hughes) and finds herself drawn into his communist activism. When the Second World War begins, Joan is hired to assist Professor Max Davies (Stephen Campbell Moore) on a top-secret government project but finds her loyalties severely tested. 

The Men Who Stare At Goats 

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This war spoof is based on the non-fiction book by Jon Ronson. With a freshly-failed marriage behind him, rookie reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) decides to lose himself in the romance of war by travelling to Iraq to report from the front line. Bob gets more than he bargains for when he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a 'psychic' special forces agent who reveals the existence of a secret, New Age-influenced military unit whose goal is to put an end to war by using mind control techniques, peace and love as taught in Vietnam in the early 1970s by 'New Earth Army' founder Bill Django (Jeff Bridges). When Bob and Lyn set out together across the Kuwait border into Iraq, they get kidnapped and end up in a secret desert training camp run by Django's treacherous former student Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), who is running a lab of bizarre paranormal experiments aided by his former mentor, now a spaced-out alcoholic.