QUAD Cinema Programmer Adam Marsh returns with another batch of suggestions of films to stream at home during lockdown.
As the calendar pages flick away like in a 1930s gangster movie, we are counting down until the 17th May when QUAD re-opens it’s doors. Until that time here is the 7 Day Cinema Diet to keep those ‘little grey cells’ engaged until we hit the big screen again. This week there are strong offerings from BBC iPlayer and All 4, as well as some nice arthouse classics available from BFI Player and Arrow Player. Also if you wish to support QUAD, we feature four of the films that are available to rent on the QUAD Player.
Day One – BBC iPlayer
The Eyes Of Orson Welles
British documentary centred on the life and career of the American actor, director, writer, producer and artist Orson Welles, famed for his first film Citizen Kane (1941) and his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds in 1938. Mark Cousins explores Welles' work by examining his art and revealing a previously unknown interpretation of his life.
Eleven-year-old tomboy Toni (a showstopping Royalty Hightower) is bewitched by the tight-knit dance team she sees practicing in the same Cincinnati gymnasium where she boxes. Enamoured by the power and confidence of the strong community of girls, Toni spends less and less time boxing with her older brother, and instead eagerly absorbs the dance routines and masters drills from a distance, and even pierces her own ears in an effort to fit in. But when a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, Toni's desire for acceptance becomes more complicated. Gorgeously shot and with a mesmerising score, The Fits is a transformative experience and a marvellous portrait of adolescence.
End Of Watch
Two LAPD cops find themselves on a drug cartel's death list in this gritty action drama from writer/director David Ayer. Patrolling the mean streets of south central Los Angeles, cops Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Peña) intercept a car, confiscating money and guns belonging to a local cartel. But when their investigations draw them ever deeper into the gang's operations, the two find themselves top of the cartel's hit list, forcing them to take the fight to their opponents.
Cold In July
Noir thriller directed by Jim Mickle and starring Michael C. Hall and Sam Shepard. Texan small-business owner Richard Dane (Hall) has been hailed as the town hero since he protected his wife (Vinessa Shaw) and child by fatally shooting a would-be burglar inside their home. Residual guilt from the encounter is quickly dissipated by the police who assure Richard that he was acting in self-defence and therefore cannot be held accountable for the murder. However, when the burglar's recently-paroled father, Ben (Shepard), arrives in town and begins making explicit threats towards Richard and his family, Richard is forced to step up once again to protect them from harm...
Day Two – QUAD Player (Pay Per View)
The guests who come to the mansion of aristocratic landowner and man of the world Nikolai over the Christmas holidays are hand-picked. Among them is a politician, a young countess and a general with his wife. They converse and dine – what a wonderful, much-missed way of life – indulge in parlour games and discuss the right form of authority in the face of political impotence as well as progress and morality, death and the Antichrist. As the debate becomes more heated, cultural differences become increasingly apparent and the mood grows tense.
Malmkrog writer/director Cristi Puiu (The Death Of Mr Lazarescu), was the recipient of the Best Director award at the Encounters section at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival, and also won Best Screenplay and a Golden Giraldillo for Best Film at the Seville European Film Festival in 2020.
Mouthpiece is a powerful, funny and highly original look into the conflicted psyche of a fiercely independent millennial woman, played by two actresses simultaneously – Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken
Cass (Norah Sadava & Amy Nostbakken) is a single writer who lives by her own rules. She’s also a bit of a disaster. Following the sudden death of her mother, Elaine (Maev Beaty), she finds herself in crisis, unable to think straight with a debate raging inside her head. Mouthpiece makes that invisible conflict visible: Cassandra battles it out while figuring out what to say at her mother’s funeral. What unfolds is a wild careening through grief, anger, sex and self-sabotage in an exploration of the messy lives of women from both generations. Raucous jokes, musical numbers and heart- breaking memories add up to a deeply moving and political portrait of a mother and a daughter as seen through the eyes of one conflicted young woman.
Leon Must Die
A nerdy, terminally ill genius falls for an assassin from the future, but the only problem is she was sent to kill him. Official Selection at Derby Film Festival in 2018.
Obsessive Filmmakers is the filmmaking equivalent of a punk band. Director Lars Henriks, Producer / Editor / Actress Nisan Arikan and DoP Christian Grundey define the New Hamburg School - Germany's first and only truly independent film movement. The Hamburg scene says:
"In Munich, they make films about senior citizens. In Berlin, they make films about themselves. In Hamburg, we make films about death, dressed as a clown from outer space, telling the saddest jokes about cosmic dread you’ve ever heard.“
Seven female criminals do community service in a haunted forest. Official selection at Paracinema Film Festival in 2019 from Obsessive Filmmakers in Hamburg (Leon Must Die).
Day Three – BBC iPlayer
When eleven-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is forced to relocate to San Francisco after her dad gets a new job she has trouble adjusting to her new surroundings. Her emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) - that reside in Headquarters, the control centre of her mind, try to help her navigate her way through the big change. However, after a slight mishap at Headquarters the situation gets out of hand, causing Riley's emotional state to worsen. Will the five emotions be able to restore order and make Riley feel better about her new life?
A successful aerospace engineer finds her world turned upside down in this thriller from first-time director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz. While leading a well-ordered, focused life designing military drones for her Bristol-based employer, 40-something engineer Frankie (the late Helen McCrory) meets and falls for the charms of French-Algerian student Kahil (Najib Oudghiri), who is 20 years her junior. For all that she is blissfully swept up in her new romance, Frankie's foundations are shaken when she finds herself detained by the security services, who have taken an interest in Kahil. Torn between her feelings for Kahil and the doubts beginning to surface in her mind, Frankie sets out to discover the truth about her lover's motives.
Seeking refuge from a violent crime in Glasgow, single mother Iona (Ruth Negga) takes her teenage son Bull (Ben Gallagher) back to the Scottish island where she was raised and also named after. Back in the Christian community where his mother was raised, Bull encounters the gentler way of life of the Scottish Inner Hebrides while Iona catches up with familiar faces from her teenage years, including her adopted sister Elizabeth (Michelle Duncan) and her husband Matthew (Tom Brooke).
City Of Tiny Lights
Pete Travis directs this British crime drama adapted from Patrick Neate's novel. The film follows Tommy Akhtar (Riz Ahmed), a private detective investigating the disappearance of a Russian sex worker in the seedy backstreets of London. Following the trail to a cheap hotel, Tommy discovers the body of a local businessman with links to a number of corrupt property deals involving his childhood friend and now successful entrepreneur Haafiz (James Floyd). As he continues to delve deeper, Tommy's investigation soon leads him to cross paths with a number of notorious characters from the London underworld, putting both himself and his family in grave danger in the process.
Day Four – ALL 4
Director Danny Boyle's action adventure traces the true story of trapped hiker Aron Ralston's fight for survival. Setting out alone and telling no-one where he's going, Ralston (James Franco) begins a hiking expedition in the mountains of Utah. Young, and with a zest for life, he takes rock-climbing in his stride, fearing nothing, and with a permanent smile on his face. Soon after crossing paths with fellow hikers Kristi (Kate Mara) and Megan (Amber Tamblyn), however, Ralston becomes trapped in a remote canyon when a falling boulder crushes his arm. Over the following days, and with no-one to hear his calls, Ralston undergoes a gruelling fight for survival that tests his spirit to the limits, and ultimately decides whether he lives or dies.
Ray & Liz
Richard Billingham writes and directs this British drama centred on a couple who live on a Dudley council estate. The film begins in 2016 with alcoholic Ray (Justin Salinger/Patrick Romer) looking back on his failed marriage to chain-smoker Liz (Ella Smith/Deirdre Kelly) and reflecting on the tough times they experienced trying to raise their two sons, Jason (Callum Slater/Joshua Millard-Lloyd) and Richard (Jacob Tuton/Sam Plant), in the 1980s.
One For The Road
This dark comedy, the debut feature for British writer/director Chris Cooke, follows four men who meet on a rehabilitation course for drink-drivers: ambitious young entrepreneur Jimmy (Gregory Chisholm), former Salesman of the Year Paul (Rupert Procter), retired millionaire property tycoon Richard (Hywel Bennett) and philosophical, spliff-smoking cabbie Mark (Mark Devenport). Through the workshops and role-playing activities of the course, the men form unexpected and life-changing bonds - but shadows are lurking beneath the surface of their token efforts to kick the demon drink...
Horror about a young group of female friends who go on a climbing expedition and find a lot more than they bargained for. Lost in a cave, off the maps, they encounter a race of barely human cannibalistic subterraneans who are very, very hungry. An excellent tense British horror but not for those viewers with claustrophobia!!
Day Five – BFI Player (with Free Trial)
At the beginning of summer, 10-year-old Laure (Zoé Héran) and her family move to a new home in Paris. While exploring her new neighbourhood, Laure befriends a local girl who assumes that Laure is a boy. Laure doesn’t correct her and embarks on a summer-long reinvention as ‘Mickäel’. Sciamma’s coming-of-age portrait of a child navigating their identity and place is intimate, empathetic and timelessly relevant.
The Passion Of Joan Of Arc
Carl Dreyer's deeply moving biopic features one of the most desperate, brilliant performances ever captured in cinema’s history. Actress Renée Falconetti, as the 19 year old Joan condemned to death, was brutally forced by Dreyer to kneel on stone to show the pain on her face. Few ﬁlms since have used close-ups as intensely and overwhelmingly.
The Passion of Joan of Arc remains an unassailable giant of early cinema, a transcendental film comprising tears, fire and madness that relies on extreme close-ups of the human face. Renée Falconetti was 35 when she played the role of Joan (a teenager when condemned to death in 1431). Dreyer brutally extracted a desperate, brilliant performance from the actress, forcing her to kneel on stone to show the pain on her face and insisting that they shot in silence. In the 2012 Sight and Sound poll, Joan had risen to no. 9. But in 2010 it was designated the most influential film of all time in the Toronto International Film Festival’s ‘Essential 100’ list, where Jonathan Rosenbaum described it as “the pinnacle of silent cinema – and perhaps of the cinema itself”.
Army Of Shadows
A faithful adaptation of Joseph Kessel’s celebrated novel about the French Resistance, this is also Melville’s most profoundly personal film. Though its tale of trust, suspicion and betrayal calls to mind his great crime classics, the film is more rooted in factual research and private reminiscence; accordingly, it’s all the more affecting as it deals with agonising dilemmas, troubled soul-searching and tragic sacrifice.
After stellar ‘Lockdown’ performances in BBC TV’s The Serpent and Amazon Prime’s The Mauritanian, head back to the film that put Tahar Rahim on the map. Blending brutality and tenderness, realism and poetry, Jacques Audiard’s drama chronicles the experiences of a young French Arab striving to survive murderous power struggles in a prison dominated by Corsicans and Arabs. Tahar Rahim excels as the canny protagonist, but it is the deft depiction of the cruel social and psychological realities of prison life that brings depth to a gripping yarn.
Day Six - BBC iPlayer
The Man With The Iron Heart
Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike and Derby’s Jack O'Connell star in this WWII drama co-written and directed by Cedric Jimenez. Based on the novel by Laurent Binet, the film follows Reinhard Heydrich (Clarke) as he rises to the top of the Nazi party with the help of his wife Lina (Pike), becoming a high-ranking SS general by 1942. Meanwhile, Czech resistance fighters Jan Kubis (O'Connell) and Jozef Gabcik (Jack Reynor) prepare to parachute into German-occupied territory and embark on an ambitious mission to assassinate Heydrich and fight back against the Nazi's brutal rule in their homeland.
In 17th-century Amsterdam, wealthy merchant Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz) purchases the marriage of poor orphan Sophia (Alicia Vikander) and rescues her from her to convent to conceive his heir. However, when young artist Jan van Loos (Dane DeHaan) is hired to paint a portrait of the couple he and Sophia fall in love and Jan plots to save her from her unhappy marriage by making his fortune in the country's burgeoning tulip market. The cast also includes Derby’s Jack O'Connell, Holliday Grainger, Judi Dench and Zach Galifianakis.
When Harry Met Sally
Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan star in this classic romantic comedy directed by Rob Reiner. When Harry (Crystal) and Sally (Ryan) first meet as students, they decide to share a drive they both need to make from Chicago to New York. After the disagreeable journey, they part ways with Harry declaring that men and women can never be just friends. Over the course of the next ten years they bump into each other at various intervals, which generally seem to coincide with one of them going through a bad break-up. Will their platonic relationship ever turn into something more or are they destined to be alone? The cast also includes Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby and Steven Ford.
Clint Eastwood directs this drama based on the autobiography of Chelsey Sullenberger. Tom Hanks stars as pilot Chelsey 'Sully' Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart as his co-pilot Jeff Skiles, who were at the helm of Flight 1549 in 2009 when, shortly after take-off, the plane hit a large flock of birds which disabled both engines. In the face of immediate danger, Sully took the decision to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River and successfully managed to save the lives of everyone on board. Laura Linney also stars as Sully's wife Lorraine.
Day Seven – Arrow Player (with Free Trial)
Alfred Hitchcock turned to the work of Daphne Du Maurier a number of times throughout his career. When he made the move to Hollywood, he adapted her novel Rebecca, the end results securing the Academy Award for Best Picture. When he needed to follow up the groundbreaking horror of Psycho, he adapted her short story The Birds and created another milestone of the genre. But before these came Jamaica Inn, based on Du Maurier’s classic tale of wreckers in 19th century Cornwall.
Recently orphaned Mary Yellan (Maureen O’Hara in her first major film role) arrives at Jamaica Inn from Ireland to live with her aunt. Unaware that it serves as the headquarters for a murderous gang responsible for shipwrecks along the Cornish coast, she soon finds herself embroiled in backstabbing, conspiracy and villainy presided over by the local squire, Sir Humphrey Pengallan (Charles Laughton).
Toto The Hero
The acclaimed debut film from Jaco Van Dormael (Mr Nobody) is a funny and magical journey in the spirit of Cinema Paradiso and My Life as a Dog. Thomas is obsessed with the idea he was swapped at birth with his neighbour Alfred during a hospital fire. Believing the wealthy and privileged Alfred has lived the life he should have had Thomas is heart broken by the loss of his sister and plots his revenge, imagining himself to be the secret agent, Toto the Hero.
The Green Ray
It's July, and Delphine has nowhere to go for the summer. When her travelling companion cancels two weeks before her holiday, Delphine is at a loose end - bored, 'empty, and no one to travel with. Feeling unable to meet new people Delphine accidentally meets someone who seems to be totally made for her and a summer begins looking inside herself, and outside - for love. A Rohmer classic.
Over The Edge
Inspired by real-life incidents, Over The Edge is an incendiary ode to teen rebellion that quickly became a Gen X/punk-rock touchstone, and a key influence on filmmakers such as Richard Linklater and musicians like Kurt Cobain (who often cited it as his favourite film). New Granada is a brand new ‘planned community’, miles from the noise and crime of the big city and a perfect place to raise a family. The only problem is they forgot to build anything for the kids to do. Bored out of their minds and stuck in the middle of nowhere, the teens in the town, led by Carl (Michael Kramer) and Richie (an effortlessly charismatic Matt Dillon in his first film role), do pretty much anything to fill the time, quickly escalating from drugs and sex to petty crime. A rash action by an overzealous local police officer (Harry Northup, Taxi Driver) sets in motion a face-off between the frustrated kids and their clueless parents that will lead to explosive, destructive consequences... Armed with a classic ‘70s rock soundtrack (including Cheap Trick, Ramones and Van Halen), energetic direction by Jonathan Kaplan (White Line Fever) and an intelligent script by Tim Hunter (River’s Edge) and Charlie Haas (Matinee), Over The Edge still packs a righteously powerful punch today