This week’s DVD picks: Downsizing and a spoof of royal weddings with The Windsors: Royal Wedding Special

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The Lost Viking

(15) Out May 28

 The Lost Viking is bookended with stunning action sequences and sword fights The Lost Viking is bookended with stunning action sequences and sword fights

This thriller revolves around a young Viking called Vitharr (Dean Ridge, Dunkirk) who arrives in Wales with his family in 852AD.

Within hours of landing, his clan are ambushed, with Vitharr the only one to make it out alive.

As he flees he kills a soldier – little knowing it’s the son of savage local leader Wyman (Ross O’Hennessy, the Lord of Bones in Game Of Thrones) – sparking a furious blood feud.

Living by his wits, Vitharr is captured and forced to fight increasingly fearsome opponents to the death, Gladiator-style.

But in this violent and gloomy land all is not as it seems.

The film itself is bookended with stunning action sequences and sword fights but sometimes struggles to maintain that intensity, and too often the great action is lost in soft-focus flashbacks and hallucinations.

Among a stellar crop of British performers, Ridge’s portrayal of the journey from desolate and scared boy to fearsome Viking warrior stands out as excellent.

A must-see for fans of the genre.

★★★★★

Ben Endley

The Lost Viking trailer

 

 

Innocent

(12) Out now

 The whole cast of Innocent are more than capable and hammer home the trail of destruction left in the wake of a killing The whole cast of Innocent are more than capable and hammer home the trail of destruction left in the wake of a killing

ITV has a chequered history of late with these sort of modern whodunit dramas.

Think of Liar or the latter series of Broadchurch, where, in a coastal town amid rugged coastal landscapes shot in a washed-out colour palette, everyone ends scenes staring off moodily into the distance, with ‘I have a dark secret’ practically tattooed on their forehead.

Innocent follows much the same path, except it isn’t lazily written or annoying, and doesn’t let virtue-signalling snowflakery dictate its plot.

It’s a smart set-up – Lee Ingleby (who played Thandie Newton’s hubby in Line Of Duty) is accused of murdering his wife and has just seen a third jury fail to reach a verdict, largely on a technicality.

He’s freed but has spent seven years of his life on remand in jail, has lost his job, all his friends and his two kids, and everyone still thinks he did it.

So did he?

Cold Feet’s Hermione Norris is the other big name here, as the dead wife’s sister – but the whole cast are more than capable and hammer home the trail of destruction left in the wake of a killing.

Even The Sun newspaper makes an appearance – although the front page they use at the end of one episode is all kinds of wrong from a journalist’s viewpoint.

Terrible design, completely the wrong story angle etc etc – next time, ITV, come to me and I’ll do you a proper one!

But that nitpick aside this is a really good four-part drama that will keep you engrossed throughout.

★★★★☆

Jayme Bryla

Innocent trailer

 

 

Downsizing

(15) Out May 28

 Downsizing is an enjoyable and thought-provoking film that keeps heading off in wholly unexpected directions Downsizing is an enjoyable and thought-provoking film that keeps heading off in wholly unexpected directions

Scientists find a solution to over-population and dwindling resources – shrinking people to just five inches.

Whole communities of tiny people spring up, offering all-comers an enviable, idyllic lifestyle.

Hard-up Paul (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) are eager to leave their stressed life behind for one of leisure and luxury.

But Paul soon sees major problems in this seemingly perfect micro world. He meets shady neighbour Dusan and punished dissident Ngoc Lan Tran (superbly played by Christoph Waltz and Hong Chau) and questions his own role in this new society.

The movie has some big messages about the dangers of consumerism and environmentalism, so at times can be a bit preachy.

Despite that, it’s an enjoyable and thought-provoking film that keeps heading off in wholly unexpected directions.

★★★.5☆☆

John Maskey

 

Matt Damon​ stars in ​new comedy trailer for ‘Downsizing​’​

Early Man

(PG) Out May 28

 There's a wealth of British talent lending their voices to jolly proceedings along in Early Man, including Mark Williams, Timothy Spall, Johnny Vegas, Richard Ayoade and Rob Brydon There’s a wealth of British talent lending their voices to jolly proceedings along in Early Man, including Mark Williams, Timothy Spall, Johnny Vegas, Richard Ayoade and Rob Brydon

From the creators of Wallace And Gromit comes Early Man, a stop-motion animation with a rather different take on the Stone Age’s evolution into the Bronze Age.

The film follows unlikely hero Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne), as he battles to save his fellow cavemen and their valley from the clutches of the metal-obsessed Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston).

Banished to the Badlands, he has his work cut out as he has to teach them the beautiful game – with a little help from Bronze age stowaway Goona (Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams).

Will they overcome Real Bronzio and reclaim their way of life?

There’s a wealth of British talent lending their voices to jolly proceedings along, including Mark Williams, Timothy Spall, Johnny Vegas, Richard Ayoade and Rob Brydon.

While this Aardman offering isn’t quite on a par with their previous offerings, it’s a good, solid family film to while away a bank holiday.

★★★☆☆

Freya Walker

The first look at new Nick Park film Early Man

My Generation

(12) Out May 28

 Whether you are a Londoner who marvels at how little and yet how much the city has physically changed, or whether you're an outsider, you'll love My Generation Whether you are a Londoner who marvels at how little and yet how much the city has physically changed, or whether you’re an outsider, you’ll love My Generation

Michael Caine takes us on a journey through the London of the Swinging Sixties in this kaleidoscopic adventure.

While there are nods to wider trends, this is less a documentary about the era as a whole and more a celebration of Sir Michael and his in-crowd.

Sir Paul McCartney, Twiggy, Marianne Faithfull, David Bailey, Vidal Sassoon, Mary Quant and Roger Daltrey are among the big names who narrate over archive footage of the decade.

It’s interesting and fun at first: a retrospective of Sir Michael’s career is interspersed with clips of the cultural revolution – and the harrumphing establishment figures who opposed it.

There’s something for everyone to take from this: whether this reawakens memories or merely brings an era before your time more vividly to life.

Whether you are a Londoner who marvels at how little and yet how much the city has physically changed, or whether you’re an outsider just enjoying the spectacle.

There’s little focus or narrative here though, which is intoxicating at first but frustrates the longer the film goes on.

And by the end it becomes a frenetic mess, cutting between unrelated clips so quickly it feels potentially seizure-inducing and certainly headache-inducing.

In many ways, then, it’s the perfect metaphor for the period it seeks to capture.

★★★☆☆

Jayme Bryla

Trailer for My Generation starring and narrated by Michael Cain

The Windsors: Royal Wedding Special

(15) Out May 28

 The royals are lampooned mercilessly with Harry Enfield, Ellie White and W1A's Hugh Skinner The royals are lampooned mercilessly with Harry Enfield, Ellie White and W1A’s Hugh Skinner

Remember how Meghan’s dad walked her down the aisle, Pippa tried to seduce Harry and Charles had a row with Jeremy Corbyn?

No?

Well here’s your chance to “refresh your memory” with this special episode of Channel 4’s hit spoof.

Harry Enfield, Ellie White and W1A’s Hugh Skinner excel as vain Charles, vacant vacationer Beatrice and wimpy William, as the royals are lampooned mercilessly.

At 45 minutes long it doesn’t outstay its welcome so if you know someone who’s recovering from royal wedding fever – maybe even the happy couple themselves – this gift will be a welcome relapse.

★★★☆☆

Jayme Bryla

The Windsors: Royal Wedding Special trailer




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