What we're watching and playing this week
The Aftermath (15)
Keira Knightley has made a career out of playing variously intriguing leading ladies in stylish period dramas. In this latest of her ever-lengthening line of turns in classy productions she smoulders even more strongly than the ashes among which The Aftermath is set.
James Kent’s flick has all the hallmarks of another classic, yet despite Ms Knightley and her co-stars Alexander Skarsgård and Jason Clarke’s best efforts, it falls a little flat somehow.
The action (if you can call it that) takes place in post-WWII Hamburg where we find Rachael Morgan (Knightley) being reuinited with British Army husband Lewis (Clarke), who has been put in charge of lifting the city out of the rubble and dealing with dissenters.
Having commandeered the gorgeous home of the widower Stefan Lubert (Skarsgård), Lewis makes what he sees as a noble gesture by letting the owner stick around in the attic.
Soon, however, this proves to be his undoing as his lonely wife is drawn to the handsome architect Stefan, who has designs on starting anew with this alluring English rose. The Morgans’ marriage was already teetering on the brink long before (their awkward ‘embrace’ at Hamburg station when Rachael arrives says it all), but even the passion she finds for Stefan seems a little forced.
With Ridley Scott on board as a producer and Anna Waterhouse and the aptly named Joe Shrapnel on writing duties, we had hoped for a little more substance to go with the undoubted style.
In cinemas April 11
Captive State (18)
Alien invasion movies might be ten a penny but at least Captive State tries to put a different slant on the genre, pitching you into a world where the spider-like Legislators have been (mostly) accepted as our overlords. Gabriel Drummond (Ashton Sanders) has designs on resisting them, though, much to the chagrin of his father’s former cop partner William Mulligan (John Goodman). The action is gritty, if a little rushed.
In cinemas April 11
There’s been much discussion about whether Jenny Gage’s After glorifies unhealthy relationships but there can be no doubting that it will appeal greatly to fans of Anna Todd’s novel of the same name. Hero Fiennes-Tiffin stars as the British bad boy Hardin Scott (based on One Direction’s Harry Styles) who turns Josephine Langford’s prim Tessa Young’s world upside down. We have a feeling this is going to get nasty.
In cinemas April 12
Dangerous Driving (PEGI 7)
Excitement levels of fans of the Burnout series are at full throttle as this natural successor comes crashing onto our screens this week. From the previews it seems Dangerous Driving is very much in the same vein as the orginal, with high-octane, road recklessness the order of the day. The graphics are super slick, just don’t try and recreate the action on SZR.
Out on Xbox One and PS4
from April 9
Miller’s tales with a twist
If anyone has paid their creative dues it’s Tim Miller. Those who’ve followed his career since he and Jeff Fowler were nominated for the Best Animated Short at the 2005 Oscars for Gopher Broke will know his success certainly hasn’t been an overnight one.
However, thanks to the critical acclaim afforded to the brilliant Deadpool, the talented director now has a certain gravitas in filmmaking circles. So much so that Netflix readily bought into his and creative cohort David Fincher’s idea for a boundary-pushing animated anthology series.
And so Love, Death & Robots was born. This hugely clever and at times deliberately disturbing series of 18 animated shorts taps into both Miller and Fincher’s unique visions, as well as those of an international band of highly skilled filmmakers, writers, and animators, none of whom are afraid to be provocative.
Despite the bite-sized nature of the films (the longest run to just over 17 minutes) it would be hugely unwise to simply binge your way through the anthology in one sitting. Doing so would surely detract from the impact each film would have (we’re glad we resisted such an urge).
Although Netflix has only provided a suggested order of viewing, you could do worse than by kicking off with the quartet of shorts animated by Miller’s own Blur Studio.
Sonnie’s Edge offers a taste of some of the goriness to come with its violent tale of one woman’s quest to avenge those who violated her every sense in a brutal gang attack. Suits, meanwhile, throws us into the struggle of a farming community fighting off cockroach-like aliens on a planet in outer space. Then you have Shape-Shifters, which follows the travails of werewolf US Marines Decker and Sobieski as they are shunned by their fellow troops despite them being their biggest hope of survival in the Afghan desert. Miller only directs one of the series’ himself but in Ice Age, you can see some of the fine artistic and comedic touches he is known for as Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Topher Grace move into a new flat only to find a miniature civilisation in their freezer compartment.
By crossing so many genres, Love, Death & Robots has no doubt expanded its appeal. But we especially love the humour of films such as When The Yogurt Took Over, Alternate Histories and Three Robots. If only cats with opposable thumbs did actually rule the world...
Available now on Netflix
It’s hard to say whether there would ever be a right time for Malin Persson Giolito’s bestselling crime novel to be brought to TV given the seemingly constant stream of mass murders occuring across the world. In Quicksand, we’re plunged into a Swedish school massacre, with the well-to-do teen Maja Norberg (Hanna Ardéhn) facing trial for murder. Delving deep into her life with a tearaway boyfriend is key to what happened that fateful day.
Available now on Netflix