5 to See: This Weekend

ASFF selects five films for release this week available on demand. Two documentaries and three features, these films span the globe – from Malaysia to Suffolk. Exploring realms both temporal and historical, these are movies that examine addiction, creativity, corruption and discovery.

Synchronic (Signature Entertainment)

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, the inventive directors behind Spring and The Endless, are back with this sophisticated sci-fi-drama, starring Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie as two paramedics who discover a new designer drug with temporal side-effects. A clever narrative melded with excellent visual effects lends this low-budget indie an impressive sheen, and a new spin on a well-worn genre. Good to see Mackie taking a leading role too.

The Capote Tapes (Altitude)

A documentary about Truman Capote, the New York socialite and wit who penned the novella that inspired Breakfast at Tiffany’s and wrote the true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood. Directed by Ebs Burnough, this doc stems from a collection of audio interviews and deals largely with Capote’s unfinished novel Answered Prayers. Among those interviewed: novelist Norman Mailer and actress Lauren Bacall. If nothing else, you’ll marvel at the social circles Capote moved in.

The Dig (Netflix)

Simon Stone’s drama tells of the little-known story behind the discovery of the famous sixth century burial mound at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. Set in the summer of 1939, just weeks before the outbreak of World War II, the excellent Ralph Fiennes stars as Basil Brown, the working-class archeologist who, for a time at least, led the dig. Carey Mulligan is the wealthy Edith Pretty upon whose land the discovery was made, while there are roles for Lily James, Ben Chaplin and Johnny Flynn.

Assassins (Dogwoof)

An intriguing and unusual documentary from Ryan White, this looks at Kim Jong-nam—the half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un – who was assassinated in 2017 in the departures hall of Malaysia’s international airport. White, who previously made Apple TV+’s LGBTQ doc Visible: Out on Television, goes behind the story as the two women arrested for the murder claimed they were set up and hired to pull a prank that led to his death. Fascinating.

Wrong Turn: The Foundation (Signature Entertainment)

A reboot of sorts from the 2003 movie Wrong Turn, this effort from director Mike P. Nelson stars Stranger Things’ Mathew Modine in a story about a group of friends on the Appalachian trail who run into an urban legend – The Foundation. A hellish survival tale ensues with plenty of grisly deaths. Amid the B-movie schlock, there are some fine performers, including Bill Sage, once a Hal Hartley regular in films like Trust and Simple Men.

All films released on 29 January.

Words: James Mottram