Filth (Early Digital Release)
James McAvoy stars as a violent, misanthropic and Machiavellian police detective in this adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel. He’s a genuinely nasty piece of work who doesn’t think twice about bullying mates, sleeping with married women and sabotaging the careers of his colleagues. Tasked with investigating a well-publicised murder, his constant drug-induced hallucinations start to get in the way of any real police work. The poster might make this film look like a bit of light fun, but it’s often pretty grim: a black-hearted film with a thick streak of dark, dark humour running through its core. We’d still recommend it, with the proviso that you’re not expecting to see that nice boy from Atonement.
Rush (New to Rent)
One of motor-racing’s greatest rivalries gets the big screen treatment this week courtesy of the people who brought you Frost/Nixon. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl play James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Formula One champions who couldn’t be more different. Hunt, the English playboy, is bold and reckless while his Austrian counterpart is intelligent and calculated in his risks. Director Ron Howard does a great job creating some of the best motorsports action we’ve ever seen; while writer Peter Morgan elevates it above the usual sports biography fare by showing us two sides of the same coin. It’s a great human drama wrapped in a high-octane action film.
The Mortal Instruments (New to Rent)
The latest in a long line of new young adult franchises, The Mortal Instruments stars Lily Collins (Phil’s daughter) as a normal teenage girl who discovers she comes from a long line of ‘Shadowhunters’: demon-smashing half-angels with the ability to see the hidden world that lives in tandem with ours. Like in most great teen fantasies these days, City of Bones has its fair share of peril and self-discovery as well as a love triangle between her best friend and a handsome bad boy (a fellow Shadowhunter played by Jamie Campbell-Bower)!
The Call (New to Rent)
Halle Berry is an emergency services operator left traumatised by the death of a young woman she tried to help. Removed from active duty, she’s pulled back in to the ‘hive’ when a serial killer appears on the scene and kidnaps Abigail Breslin (from Little Miss Sunshine). It’s up to her to put together the clues over the phone and stop the killer before it’s too late. A solid film that knows how to pile on the suspense, The Call will appeal to fans of thrillers like Silence of the Lambs and Along Came a Spider.
The Selfish Giant
Director Clio Barnard channels the spirit of Ken Loach’s Kes with her gritty Northern fable about a young scrap-scavenger in Bradford. Excluded from school along with his best friend, they end up wondering the streets with a horse and cart, stealing copper piping and selling it to their local dodgy dealer. Yes, there is a large element of it being grim up North, but the honest performances from the two young leads helps to make this one of the best British films of 2013.
Thanks for Sharing (New to Rent from Wednesday)
Known in the tabloids as ‘that sex movie with Gwyneth Paltrow’, Thank You for Sharing centres around three characters (played by Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Josh Gad) who are struggling with their addiction to sex. As a romantic comedy, you can safely assume it isn’t a grim Shame-type affair, but rather an uplifting story of redemption. The central trio are charming as is Paltrow as Ruffalo’s love interest, a woman beset by her own demons.
Nikita Season 3
Maggie Q is back as the titular assassin for a third season of the TV show based on the TV show based on the movie of the same name. With Division now back under the control of the US government, Nikita and her colleagues are tasked with tracking down the ‘Dirty Thirty’, a group of rogue agents who aren’t so keen on working for Uncle Sam. There are loads of fights, mysteries a-plenty and an on-going will they/won’t they relationship: pretty much everything you want from a great action show.
The Client List Season 1
These austere times have produced more than a few shows about middle class parents who do what it takes to get by. Played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, Riley is an abandoned single mother who starts working as a masseuse to make ends meet. After a while, she discovers a way to pad her pay packet: by offering her clients ‘extra services’. As it would turn out, one of these extra services is to help them work through their personal problems! In effect, this is like a case-of-the-week police show but instead of being a cop, she’s a sex worker. Check it out!
Witches of East End Season 1
Those of you expecting a supernatural spin-off of BBC’s beloved soap opera will be deeply disappointed. But those in the market for a comic-drama about a family of witches living in a wealthy suburb will be nothing short of delighted. Based on a popular young adult novel of the same name, Witches of East End boasts a wonderful cast that includes 90s sweetheart Julia Ormond (as the matriarch of the Beauchamp clan) and Twin Peaks’ Mädchen Amick as her sister.
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