Night Of The Eagle
Mystery Road (2013), We Are One online festival until June 13
Anton Bitel writes: The road sign reads 'Massacre Creek', pointing simultaneously towards genre and Australia's colonial history. In a storm drain beneath the sign, Teenager Julie Mason - an Aboriginal Laura Palmer - has been found with her throat slit and her arm bitten by dogs. As local Aboriginal detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pederson) investigates, the murder will expose criminal secrets and racial tensions in a small Queensland town which is also a microcosm of broader Australian injustices. Shot wide to maximise our perspective as it hit its many targets from a distance, Mystery Road plays out like an Aussie oater (with nods to horror), but is also a national allegory. Polyhyphenate indigenous filmmaker Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds, Toomelah) made a sequel, Goldstone, in 2016. Read our full review here and watch the film here
Mary And Max, my5.tv
We're sticking with Australia for this stop-motion animation which, though it may put you in mind of Wallace And Gromit is aimed at adults rather than a family audience. Directed by Adam Elliot, it charts an epistolary relationship between and eight-year-old Aussie and a 44-year-old New Yorker with Asperger's and is based, loosely, on Elliot's own exerience. Emotions hold the key to this film - from loneliness and depression through to joy at simple pleasures and shared friendship. If that all sounds a bit of a worthy downer, it's worth noting that it's also very funny - with the unfortunate demise of a mime artist a stand-out moment. There's also good news for fans of Elliot's work, his latest feature Memoir Of A Snail - "the bittersweet remembrance of a melancholic woman addicted to sausage-rolls and romance novels" - is in the pipeline, with the director posting on his Facebook in April that his storyboarding had begun. Read our full review here.
Dolemite is My Name, Netflix
Jennie Kermode writes: One of the most common complaints about film critics is that we spend so much time focused on highbrow art that we get out of touch with what most people enjoy. Rudy Ray Moore was a man who appreciated the lowbrow, and the character who made him a successful comedian (following a career as a preacher and a succession of low wage jobs) did so still more. With a gift for rhyme that contributed much to the nascent rap genre, an abiding love of innuendo and truly incomparable dress sense, he became a legend when Moore gambled everything on making one of history's cheesiest and best loved blaxploitation movies. Who better to play Moore, then, than Eddie Murphy, a man whose own roles in popular comedies have concealed his considerable talent as an actor. He gets great support here in Craig Brewer's tribute to African American survival in a white-focused industry, and to cinema at its most joyous. Read our full review here.
The Imposter, 4 on Demand until June 26
Bart Layton's BAFTA winning documentary is one of those fact is stranger than fiction affairs that proves to be magnetic viewing. Shot more like a thriller than a common or garden doc, it relates the extraordinary tale of the disappearance of blond, blue-eyed 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay and 23-year-old French-Algerian who turned up in Spain more than three years later, claiming to be the lost boy. Featuring extensive interviews with Frédéric Bourdin and Barclay's family, the film not only provides a gripping account of what happened next but asks tricky questions about how this man, who looking nothing like Barclay, was welcomed quite so willingly by the family. Read the full review here.
Real Steel, Friday, June 12, 7.30pm
Featuring family-friendly action and lot of fighting robots, Shawn Levy's film about a hustling dad and estranged son packs plenty of (slightly) futuristic fun. Hugh Jackman is the deadbeat dad in question - he could have been a contender, you get the picture - who finds he has more to worry about than his robot fighting slump, when his son Max (Dakota Goyo) turns up. The story of reconnection maybe familiar - particularly to older viewers - but kids will enjoy the way Levy keeps Max's feelings and story front and centre, not to mention fighting robot Atom, which may be an older generation but can still pack a punch. Read our full review here.
Night Of The Eagle, Talking Pictures TV, Saturday, June 13, 12.30am
This genuinely creepy black and white horror had the more lurid alternative title Burn, Witch, Burn in the US - which feels all wrong for the understated chills offered up by Sidney Hayers' film. The story centres on a sceptic academic (Peter Wyngarde, making a big impression in his first leading role on the big screen), who discovers his wife (Janet Blair) is a practising witch. His career has been going swimmingly, but when he takes her to task for her spells and protections, trouble that starts to brew - with Hayers retaining an impressive ambiguity as to whether the rational or the supernatural holds the upper hand. The suburban setting adds to the oppressive atmosphere, and this and its scrutiny of gender politics may well put you in mind of later horror hits like Rosemary's Baby and Stepford Wives. With sharp chiaroscuro and use of a reel-to-reel recorder in the unsettling sound design, this is the perfect movie to enjoy just past midnight. Read our full review here.
The Hurt Locker, BBC iPlayer until early July
It seems incredible that in 2020, Kathryn Bigelow remains the only woman to have won the Best Director Oscar. But here we are and, in fact, only one woman - Greta Gerwig - has been nominated since. Fortunately, there's no tokenism involved in Bigelow's triumph, which also deservingly won the Oscar for Best Picture. Her film charts the struggles of an elite bomb disposal squad in Iraq and drips with tension from the start. It also features three heavy-weight performances at its heart - from Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty and, particularly, Jeremy Renner as a risk-taking sergeant who is addicted to adrenaline. Beyond the well-executed action, Bigelow confronts us with the horrors of war, showing the terror and dehumanisation it can cause alongside its impact on everyone it touches. Read our full review.
We're going back to animation to finish this week's recommendations with award-winning South African animation The Tale Of How a surreal and intricately detailed slice of sea creature action that sees the existence of a group of birds threatened by a giant octopus.