ASFF selects five films set for release in UK cinemas this Friday. With films coming from Britain, Ireland, America and Brazil, these stories embrace comedy, horror, satire and true-life, as the directors explore a variety of themes. Among the issues under the microscope: feminism, political and social divisions and blood loyalties.
Philippa Lowthorpe’s crowd-pleasing true-life comedy-drama tells of a feminist group who banded together to stop the 1970 Miss World competition – their actions making headlines around the world. Among those out to make their voices heard are Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley, while Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Suki Waterhouse play two of the contestants. Greg Kinnear also pitches up as Hollywood icon Bob Hope, who had been recruited that year to host the beauty pageant.
Nick Rowland’s debut is an Irish crime film that showcases a staggeringly good performance from Cosmo Jarvis, the British actor from Lady Macbeth who goes full method here to play ex-boxer Douglas ‘Arm’ Armstrong, an enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family. Adapted from Colin Barrett’s short story of the same name from his 2014 collection Young Skins, the result is a hugely atmospheric tale of that bubbles and broods until the painful final act.
A hallucinatory mix of western, sci-fi and satire that feels like a sun-kissed Black Mirror episode, it follows strange goings on in a remote village, which loses its water supply and even disappears from GPS readings, as a posse of American tourists – led by Udo Kier – arrives to hunt the locals for sport. Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho (Aquarius) and his sometime production designer Juliano Dornelles, it’s an utterly unusual take on the fragility of human life.
Like a contemporary update of Kindergarten Cop, My Spy stars Dave Bautista as a muscular CIA operative who gets his cover blown by a 9 year-old girl (Chloe Coleman), whose family he’s got under surveillance. Directed by veteran Peter Segal, whose work includes Get Smart and Anger Management, the result is a charming riff on the spy genre. The two leads also make for a cute combination, with Guardians of the Galaxy star Bautista finding his comedy chops once more.
The Hunt (Universal)
Craig Zobel’s exploitation thriller was pulled last year after the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings in America, and now finds its way into cinemas. A tale of survival in a Trump-era landscape, it begins as a dozen strangers wake up in the middle of nowhere after being drugged and kidnapped. Soon these “deplorables” become the target for some armed and bloodthirsty liberal elites, who are looking to take down these rivals any way they can. The satire, sadly, is largely blunted.
All films released by 13 March.