5 to See: This Weekend

5 to See: This Weekend

ASFF selects five films released this week on demand. From documentary to drama, these movies also span the genre gamut – from horror to action to high drama to quirky indie – as they touch on subjects ranging from dementia to grief to coming-of-age.  

Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)

Kornél Mundruczó and his screenwriter wife Kata Wéber, who were behind 2014 cult hit White God, make their English-language debut with this drama about overcoming grief. British actress Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf play a Boston couple who lose their baby after a traumatic birth. Ellen Burstyn, Sarah Snook and Benny Safdie co-star in a raw and troubling film that is nevertheless superbly acted. A tough film to watch, but a rewarding one.

Ham on Rye (MUBI)

After gathering critical acclaim at the Locarno Film Festival in 2019, Tyler Taormina’s fever-dreamy US indie comes to MUBI. A debut feature from the California-raised Taormina, it’s a rites-of-passage tale that follows a group of girls as the end of high school arrives and the confusion and craziness of adulthood beckons. Haley Bodell stars as Haley, a suburbanite who heads with her friends to a local deli, Monty’s, for a strange and surreal town-wide tradition.

Robin’s Wish (Vertical Entertainment)

American comic legend Robin Williams’ final few months are documented in this painful but worthwhile documentary from Tylor Norwood. Exploring the undiagnosed condition Williams ensured – Lewy Body dementia – before he took his own life in 2014, Norwood talks to everyone from Williams’ widow Susan Schneider Williams to Night of the Museum director Shawn Levy, whom the actor worked with shortly before his death. A stirring tribute to a generous and hugely talented soul.

Vanguard (Trinity)

The legendary Jackie Chan – now at the grand old age of 66 – is back in this action tale that starts off in London during Chinese New Year (cue touristy shots of Tower Bridge). He plays Tang, the boss of a security agency who gets involved in a globe-trotting terrorist plot that also whisks us off to Africa. Directed by Stanley Tong, a veteran of the genre and regular collaborator with Chan, it’s at it’s best when its star is doing what he does best: dispatching bad guys.

Paradise Z ((Yet) Another Distribution Company)

Blending bikini clad women with the undead sounds like an odd concept, but that’s where you’re at with Wych Kaosayananda’s horror, as two women sun themselves in a tropical resort hideaway in the knowledge that zombies and the ‘inflected’ are out there. Starring Milena Gorum and Alice Tantayanon, it’s a low-budget effort, but one that relies on tension rather than lashings of gory effects. The Thai-born Kaosayananda more than knows how to pull an action scene together too.

All films released by 8 January.

James Mottram