A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN

Reviewed by GREG KING Director: Jean-Stephane Sauvaire Stars: Joe Cole, Pornchanok Mabklang. This intense brutal prison drama is like Kickboxer meets Midnight Express. This unflinching, hard hitting and gritty and harrowing true story is set inside Thailand’s notorious Bang Kwang Central prison, better known as the infamous Bangkok Hilton. Like Midnight Express, which depicted Billy Hayes’ ordeal after being arrested and imprisoned for smuggling drugs in Turkey, A Prayer Before Dawn is based on the 2014 memoir written by expat Brit Billy Moore (played by Joe Cole, Continue reading

TONI ERDMANN

Reviewed by GREG KING Director: Maren Ade Stars: Peter Simonischek, Sandra Huller, Michael Wittenborn. This offbeat and decidedly oddball absurdist German comedy about the dysfunctional relationship between a father and his workaholic daughter has been a hit on the festival circuit and is a clear favourite to collect an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Winifried Conradi (veteran Austrian actor Peter Simonischek) is a dishevelled, divorced, sixty something former music teacher with a generous nature, a big heart and a love for practical jokes. But his Continue reading

TANGERINES

Reviewed by GREG KING Director: Zaza Urushadze Stars: Lembit Ulfsak, Elmo Nuganen, Girgi Nakashide, Misha Meskhi. From acclaimed Estonian filmmaker Zaza Urushadze (Three Houses, etc) comes this Oscar nominated anti-war drama, set in the disputed territory of Abhazia during the war between Georgia and Chechen rebels in the early 1990s. Tangerines is a strong and provocative but very human look at the horrors of war, but it also looks at the futility of war, and the high toll conflict takes. While the rest of his village flees to find safe refuge elsewhere, Ivo Continue reading

MARSHLAND

Director: Alberto Rodriguez Stars: Javier Gutierrez, Raul Arevalo, Nerea Barros, Jesus Castro, Maria Varod, Perico Cervantes, Alberto Gonzalez, Manuel Sala, Antonio de le Torre. The multi-award winning Marshland was one of the highlights of the recent Spanish Film Festival. This is a rather grim and dark police thriller set in a rural area of Andalucia in the south of Spain. It takes place in 1980, which was a time of great transition for Spain as it moved from the brutal dictatorship of the Franco era to a more democratic government. Not everyone enthusiastically Continue reading

TRASH

Reviewed by GREG KING Director: Stephen Daldry Stars: Martin Sheen, Rooney Mara, Selton Mello, Wagner Moura, Rickson Tevez, Gabriel Weinstein, Eduardo Luis. Set against the backdrop of the impoverished slums of Rio de Janeiro, where the street people and urchins daily scavenge through the local rubbish tip looking for detritus that will make their lives just a little more bearable, Trash serves up a strong mix of action, suspense, thrills and social commentary. It is also something of a coming of age tale about the loss of innocence in a world full of greed and Continue reading