Divine was a screen actor, comedian, recording artist and gay icon and director Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary I Am Divine charts the career and life of Divine aka Harris Glen Milstead. Perhaps best known internationally from his performance in John Waters’ Pink Flamingos (1972) as “The Filthiest Person Alive” and from his long term friendship and collaborations with Waters, Divine’s story is fascinating.
In India and in Mumbai in particular, there exists an intriguing food delivery service. A dabbawala collects a homemade lunch in a dabba or tiffin tin and with a remarkable amount of statistical precision, thousands, if not millions, of individual lunches are delivered from home to an office worker’s desk and then the empty lunch boxes returned, every single working day. Amongst the seeming chaos of the teeming streets of Mumbai, this pinpoint precision service is what writer/director Ritesh Batra frames his feature film debut The Lunchbox (original title Dabba).
Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t argue that Walter Hill has had a huge influence on genre cinema. He’s certainly made some of my favourite cult films: like The Warriors and the bizarre genre-crossing Streets of Fire. Perhaps his most influential film of all is The Driver, which clearly influenced a more recent cult favourite of many film fans.
In Bloom is the heart-wrenching coming-of-age tale of two 14-year-old best friends growing up in Tbilisi, Georgia, during the turbulent period of civil war in the early 1990s. As the setting suggests, war is at the heart of this film, though it is the war within families, between friends, and within oneself that are given the focus, rather than the grand conflicts between cities and nations.
Kate Beckinsale stars as Cate McCall, a lawyer struggling with alcoholism which threatens her high flying legal career and custody of her five year old daughter.
Following on the 2010 success of How to Train Your Dragon, director Dean DeBlois returns with the sequel in which dragons are now firm friends or household companions to the Vikings of Berk.
Restless is a TV movie/mini-series following the story of Eva Delectorskaya a Russian woman with flawless English, recruited to work for the British Secret Service during World War II. The young Eva is played by Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The First Avenger, 2011) while Charlotte Rampling plays the older Eva, now known as Sally Gilmartin who tells her History PhD daughter Ruth (Michelle Dockery) the truth about her real identity when Sally becomes suspicious that she has been discovered and someone will soon make an attempt on her life.
Lizzie (Radha Mitchell) is intent on having a baby with her husband Peter (Jon Dore), but after numerous IVF treatments she is faced with the possibility that she will not conceive.
Goal of the Dead puts an interesting - and World Cup year well timed - spin on the zombie genre. When premier league Parisian football side come to play in the team captain Sam’s (Alban Lenoir) rural home town, the major inferiority complex the locals have harboured against him for nearly 20 years results in a 28 Days Later outbreak of speedy zombie rage that takes over not only the game but the whole town.
When long term underworld figures Marc (Michel Piccoli) and Hans (Hans Meyer) find themselves in debt and under pressure by the criminal boss known as The American Woman (Carroll Brooks), they recruit the son of their recently deceased colleague Alex (Denis Lavant) reputed to have quick hands, to take part in a heist in which they will steal the antidote of a new virus affecting lovers who become ill when they don’t share real love during sex.
The debut feature film of French director Leos Carax (Holy Motors, 2012) follows a young man, Alex (Denis Lavant) as his lover has left him and he meets the suicidal Mireille (Mireille Perrier) at a party.
Finally to Blu-ray comes a new release of one of 70s Brit-horror’s finest, if obscure entries. The Complete Dr. Phibes Collection comprises The Abominable Dr. Phibes and the sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again. Starring Vincent Price and various British film stars, the movies feature Dr. Phibes revenging himself against those who have done him wrong in various Biblical and Egyptian ways. A masterpiece of odd writing, strange Art Deco set design and maudlin humour - imagine The Phantom Of The Opera recast as a supervillain and you’re getting there.
As shown in his 2005 film The Constant Gardener, director Diego Quemada-Díez is adept at depicting both the beauty and the tragedy of people and their surrounding landscape. In his Spanish language film The Golden Dream (original title La Jaula de Oro) Quemada-Díez’s co-written script follows along these lines. We follow a small group of Guatemalan teenagers as they embrace the ‘golden dream’ of making a new, better life for themselves in the United States.