5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five films that promise to transport you to different worlds past, present and future. Themes of vengeance, love and the rise of technology loom large in stories that span from 1950s Poland to 1970s Jamaica to 1990s Britain to contemporary and future America.

Upgrade (Universal Pictures)

After working on both the Saw and Insidious franchises, Leigh Whannell has become one of genre cinema’s most industrious and inventive writer-directors. Produced by the equally successful Blumhouse, his latest film Upgrade is a future-set tale of a mechanic (Logan Marshall-Green) who is paralyzed and given a special implant by a tech innovator (Harrison Gilbertson) to help restore his body’s motor functions. Like David Cronenberg meets Death Wish.

Searching (Sony Pictures) 

From Unfriended to Profile, there has been a spate of films recently entirely set on a computer. In other words, the camera never leaves the confines of the screen, as characters communicate with others through Facebook, Skype and so on. Directed by Aneesh Chaganty, this tense thriller is one of the better examples, as John Cho plays a father desperately searching for his missing daughter as he combs through her laptop looking for clues.

Cold War (Curzon Artificial Eye)

Pawel Pawlikowski won Best Director in Cannes for this first film since his 2013 Oscar-winning monochrome masterpiece Ida. Similarly black-and-white, this tells the story of two warring lovers (Tomasz Kot, Joanna Kulig) across fifteen years, stretching from post-war Poland to 1960s Paris. Recreating these eras with a microscopic attention to detail, Pawlikowski confirms that he is one of European cinemas most accomplished talents working right now.

The Man From Mo’Wax (Trafalgar Releasing)

One of British music’s recent pioneers, James Lavelle went from founding the influential Mo’Wax record label to being the driving force behind musical collective UNKLE to DJing at Fabric and producing soundtracks from the likes of Danny Boyle and Jonathan Glazer. Mixing lively interviews, archive footage and music to die for, director Matt Jones charts his turbulent journey in this exhilarating look at a Nineties cultural scene that was far cooler than BritPop.

Yardie (Studiocanal)

Actor Idris Elba makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of Victor Headley’s cult novel about a young Jamaican named Dennis (Aml Ameen) who mixes with the wrong crowd and arrives in East London in the early Eighties to cause mayhem. Thumping with reggae beats – and Stephen Graham off the chain as a white Jamaican – it’s not short on atmosphere, as Elba crafts a credible first feature.

Find out more here: https://www.yardiefilm.co.uk/

All films released on 31 August.

James Mottram

1. Still from Yardie.
2. Still from Upgrade.
3. Still from Searching.
4. Still from Cold War.
5. Still fromThe Man from Mo’ Wax.
6. Still fromYardie.