DAMON Smith reviews the latest download, streaming and DVD releases including Beast, Avengers: Infinity War, Tully, The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society and In The Fade.



Beast (Cert 15, 102 mins, Altitude Film Distribution, Thriller/Romance, available from August 20 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from August 20 on DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99)

Starring: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Geraldine James, Trystan Gravelle, Tim Woodward, Shannon Tarbet.

Haunted by a shocking incident in her past, flame-haired shrinking violet Moll (Jessie Buckley) submits to a joyless life under the thumb of her domineering mother, Hilary (Geraldine James).

When she is not singing meekly in the local choir, Moll takes care of her father (Tim Woodward) and blushingly accepts romantic overtures from a local police officer (Trystan Gravelle).

Moll's birthday party in the back garden of the family home turns into an opportunity for her favoured sister Polly (Shannon Tarbet) to announce she is pregnant.

The birthday girl slips away unnoticed and relinquishes herself to alcohol-induced oblivion at a local nightclub.

The following morning, Moll encounters poacher and handyman Pascal (Johnny Flynn), whose wilful disregard for etiquette is a thrilling antidote to the starchy formality practised by her mother.

The misfits fall head over heels in lust, then Pascal is arrested for the murders of young women on the island.

Shot partly on location in Jersey, Beast is a brooding adult fairy tale of female empowerment and sexual awakening that might have tumbled from the pen of Angela Carter.

Writer-director Michael Pearce's impressive debut jangles nerves like a persistent itch you can't quite reach.

Buckley and Flynn are an electrifying pairing and James sends shivers down the spine with each withering glance and whispered threat.

"Maybe I have been too soft on you," she tells her daughter.

Jim Williams's disquieting orchestral score offsets the rugged beauty of island locales, captured in suffocating close-up by cinematographer Benjamin Kracun, who is finely attuned to the paranoia that drips from every line of Pearce's lean script.

Rating: ****


Avengers: Infinity War (Cert 12, 150 mins, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Comedy/Romance, available from August 20 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from September 3 on DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £21.99/3D Blu-ray £25.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £36.99)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin, Chadwick Boseman, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch.

It has been two years since Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans) went toe to toe with billionaire inventor Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr).

"The Avengers broke up, we're toast," Stark informs Bruce Banner, aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). "Like the Beatles?" responds the scientist.

Hulking supervillain Thanos (Josh Brolin) exploits these divisions to hunt the missing Infinity Stones including the Mind Stone embedded in Vision (Paul Bettany), the Time Stone concealed within an amulet worn by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the Space Stone inside the Tesseract stolen by Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

To defeat Thanos, Stark and Rogers must put their ideological differences aside and pool resources with Wakandan king T'Challa, aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and his wise-cracking posse.

Avengers: Infinity War is a blockbuster battle royale choreographed at dizzying speed by directors Joe and Anthony Russo to unite characters from across the sprawling and sinewy Marvel Comics franchises.

A small army of special effects wizards conjure some truly jaw-dropping set pieces, razing New York, Edinburgh and otherworldly realms in the process.

Brolin's arch-nemesis could be truly formidable if he weren't fashioned almost entirely in computer hard drives.

The character's lack of raw emotion in close-up diminishes the film's most memorable and shocking sequence.

Scriptwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely bolt together the outlandish action sequences with comical interludes peppered with snarky humour, pop culture references and an obligatory Stan Lee cameo.

Their method is crude but largely effective, propelling the linear narrative to a point of (supposed) no return.

Rating: ***

Tully (Cert 15, 95 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Drama/Comedy/Romance, available from August 22 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from August 27 on DVD £19.99)

Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass, Asher Miles Fallica, Lia Frankland, Gameela Wright.

Marlo (Charlize Theron) is poised to give birth and welcome a new life into the cluttered home she shares with her husband Drew (Ron Livingston), son Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica) and eight-year-old daughter Sarah (Lia Frankland).

Her wealthy brother Craig (Mark Duplass) is concerned that Marlo won't cope and he offers to pay for a night nanny, who will take care of the baby after dark, allowing his sister to get a good night's sleep.

Initially, Marlo rejects his kind offer but when the pressure becomes too much, she calls 26-year-old Tully (Mackenzie Davis).

"I'm like Saudi Arabia. I have an energy surplus," grins Tully as she bakes, cleans and nurtures while mere mortals sleep.

Marlo forges a close bond with the enigmatic younger woman and that friendship deepens when it becomes evident that Tully's expertise extends far beyond mewling newborns.

Tully is a beautifully crafted and bittersweet portrait of modern parenthood, which reunites director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, who first collaborated on the Oscar-winning comedy Juno.

Theron is the picture's steady emotional heartbeat and her raw, unself-conscious portrayal nourishes supporting cast including a luminous turn from Davis.

The audacity of the final act will prove divisive but fortune favours the brave and Reitman's picture is quietly assured in its boldness.

Cody's script is carefully embroidered with exquisite lines of pithy dialogue.

She conceals poignant home truths behind her trademark snappy banter and a mistimed sleight of hand that leaves a satisfying lump in the throat.

Rating: ****

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society (Cert 12, 124 mins, StudioCanal, Romance/Drama/War, available from August 20 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from August 27 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Starring: Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Jessica Brown Findlay, Sir Tom Courtenay, Katherine Parkinson, Dame Penelope Wilton, Bronagh Gallagher, Glen Powell.

In the aftermath of the Blitz, author Juliet Ashton (Lily James) receives a letter from a Guernsey farmer called Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman), who shares fascinating details about a literary society established under German occupation.

Intrigued by this inspirational story of defiance in a time of conflict, Juliet travels to the island to meet Dawsey and club members Eben Ramsey (Sir Tom Courtenay), Isola Pribby (Katherine Parkinson) and Amelia Maugery (Dame Penelope Wilton).

Courageous founder Elizabeth McKenna (Jessica Brown Findlay) is curiously absent.

"You won't be meeting her. She's off island at present," cryptically explains Amelia.

Juliet seeks temporary lodgings and the pious landlady (Bronagh Gallagher) intimates a dark secret involving the society.

"There's more to that story than they like to let on," she confides and Juliet turns detective to uncover the truth.

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society is a cumbersome title for a sweeping tale of self-sacrifice, based on the posthumously published novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

Set predominantly on the island during and after the Second World War when Germans invaded and heavily fortified the coast, director Mike Newell's chocolate box romance was filmed in picturesque Devon and is laden with emotional soft centres to guarantee swoons of satisfaction.

James and Huisman are an exceedingly attractive pairing and their on-screen chemistry simmers.

They are the strongest two points of a love triangle involving Glen Powell's dashing American officer back in London, that provides the framework for a grim history lesson threaded with heartache.

Rating: ***

In The Fade (Cert 15, 106 mins, Curzon Artificial Eye, Thriller/Drama/Romance, available from August 20 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from August 20 on DVD £15.99)

Starring: Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Akar, Rafael Santana, Johannes Krisch, Ulrich Brandhoff, Hanna Hilsdorf.

Kurdish drug dealer Nuri Sekerci (Numan Akar) marries sweetheart Katja (Diane Kruger) while he is behind bars.

Upon his release, the jailbird atones for his sins to raise a family.

True to his word, Nuri studies business and opens an office in Hamburg while Katja dotes on their cherubic five-year-old son, Rocco (Rafael Santana).

Late one evening, Katja returns to her husband's office to collect their boy and she is greeted by flashing blue lights.

A nail bomb has been detonated in the street and police sombrely confirm that Nuri and Rocco were killed in the blast.

Eventually, police arrest two members of a far-reaching neo-Nazi network, Andre (Ulrich Brandhoff) and Edda Moller (Hanna Hilsdorf).

Katja prepares to testify in court while her lawyer Danilo Fava (Denis Moschitto) locks horns with the defendants' slippery legal representative (Johannes Krisch).

Bookmarked into three emotionally wrought chapters, In The Fade is a slow-burning German-language thriller of shifting moral certainties set to a powerful score composed by Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.

Kruger rips out her anguished mother's heart as she ricochets between guilt, rage and incomprehension, numbing the pain with drugs scored from her lawyer before she emerges from a suicidal fug to pursue her violent vendetta.

Supporting performances have little room to breathe, not least the two defendants who are sketched in disappointingly broad strokes.

Once the verdict of the court is delivered, tension dissipates and director Fatih Akin relies increasingly on his luminous leading lady to energise a pedestrian final act that tests our patience and sympathy.

Rating: ***

Also released

Heathers (Cert 15, 103 mins, Arrow Films, Comedy/Drama/Romance - see below)

Ideal Home (Cert 15, 88 mins, Signature Entertainment, Comedy/Drama/Romance - see below)

Madame (Cert 15, 88 mins, StudioCanal, Comedy/Drama/Romance - see below)


Instinct - Season 1 (13 episodes, starts streaming from August 23 exclusively on NOW TV, Thriller/Drama)

Based on the best-selling book Murder Games penned by James Patterson and Howard Roughan, Instinct is a 13-part crime drama which screens in the UK on Sky Witness (formerly Sky Living) and streams via NOW TV.

Alan Cumming stars as former CIA agent Dylan Reinhart, who has relinquished his badge to teach psychology and write crime novels, supported by his adoring husband Andy (Daniel Ings).

NYPD detective Lizzie Needham (Bojana Novakovic) enlists Dylan's expertise to crack a case, which bears a spooky similarity to one of his books.

Despite Andy's misgivings, Dylan agrees to return to the fray to solve more mysteries with Lizzie, putting his life in danger when he tangles with some of the city's most dangerous figures.

Disenchantment - Season 1 (10 episodes, streaming and available to download from August 17 exclusively on Netflix, Animation/Comedy/Romance)

Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, channels his subversive humour into this adult-oriented animated fantasy, which is set in the rapidly crumbling medieval kingdom of Dreamland.

Boozy, potty-mouthed princess Bean (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) is poised for marriage but she dreads her big day.

To banish thoughts of walking down the aisle, Bean embarks on a series of madcap misadventures with plucky companion Elfo (Nat Faxon) and her personal demon Luci (Eric Andre), who always encourages Bean to embrace wickedness.

In the process, the misfit trio encounters a dizzying array of trolls, imps, sprites and fairies.

Riverdale - The Complete Second Season (Cert 12, 929 mins, Warner Bros Home Entertainment, available now on Netflix, available from August 20 on DVD £29.99, Drama/Romance)

The glossy youth drama full of romance, heartache and self-discovery, which is loosely based on characters from Archie Comics, arrives on DVD just as a popular new drug called Jingle Jangle is transforming the attractive teenage protagonists into little monsters.

Also this series, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) is haunted by the shooting of his father Fred (Luke Perry) and he vows to protect his family at all costs.

Archie's one-time best mate Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) transfers to Southside High, and Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) attracts the unwanted attentions of a mystery caller.

The four-disc DVD box set includes all 22 episodes plus five behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.

Ideal Home (Cert 15, 88 mins, Signature Entertainment, available from August 20 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from August 20 on DVD £17.99, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

Erasmus Bumble (Steve Coogan) is an eccentric television chef, who travels around the world, offering his unique perspective on global cuisines.

His director Paul (Paul Rudd) is also his long-time partner, although Erasmus keeps his personal affairs off screen in a futile attempt to hide his sexuality from viewers.

After a long day of filming, the couple celebrates with a lavish dinner party for friends and the celebrations are interrupted by the arrival of a 10-year-old boy called Bill (Jack Gore).

The streetwise tyke is Erasmus's estranged grandson, who has nowhere to stay because his father has been arrested by the police.

Erasmus and Paul become temporary guardians for the boy and have to curb their hedonistic ways to impress a social worker called Melissa (Alison Pill), who visits without warning.

While Erasmus struggles to connect to Bill, Paul forges a close bond with the boy and kindles strong paternal instincts he never knew he possessed.

Blindspot - The Complete Third Season (Cert 15, 908 mins, Warner Bros Home Entertainment, available now on Amazon Prime/iTunes and other download and streaming services, available from August 20 on DVD £29.99, Action/Thriller/Drama)

Tattooed amnesiac Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) fakes her own death with the help of Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) in the gripping crime drama created by Martin Gero.

Also this series, bioluminescent tattoos on Jane's skin unravel a new mystery, her adopted brother Roman (Luke Mitchell) blackmails Weller over a devastating episode from Jane's past in Berlin, and Special Agent Edgar Reade (Rob Brown) wrestles with his feelings for colleague Zapata (Audrey Esparza.

The four-disc DVD box set includes all 22 episodes.

Madame (Cert 15, 88 mins, StudioCanal, available from August 20 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from August 20 on DVD £19.99, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

Amanda Sthers directs and co-writes a farce of mistaken identity across the class divide set in present day Paris.

Former golf instructor Anne (Toni Collette) secured her foothold in high society thanks to a marriage to wealthy art collector Bob (Harvey Keitel).

She lives with her husband in the French capital where her days are spent keeping up appearances with the assistance of long-suffering maid Maria (Rossy de Palma).

Anne's meticulous plans for an important dinner party are thrown into disarray when Bob's son Steven (Tom Hughes) arrives unannounced.

Adding him to the table plan means there will be 13 for dinner and superstitious Anne refuses to tempt fate with an odd number of guests.

The hostess persuades maid Maria to pose as a countess and join the party so there is an acceptable even number for the first course.

A harmless deception escalates wildly out of control when a rejuvenated Maria catches the eye of art dealer David (Michael Smiley).

As romance blossoms, Maria hurriedly delves into her mistress' expensive wardrobe to continue the illusion of privilege and aristocracy.

Heathers (Cert 15, 103 mins, Arrow Films, available from August 20 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from September 10 on DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

Before Mean Girls and Clueless, there was Heathers, a delicious black comedy directed by Michael Lehmann and written by Daniel Waters, which relished the tribal warfare between different high school cliques.

To mark the film's 30th anniversary, a sparkling 4K scan of the original print arrives to stream and own on the home formats, introducing a new generation to the titular coterie of bullying harpies.

Heather Chandler (Kim Walker), Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty) and Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk) are the three most popular girls at Westerburg High School in Ohio.

They slink from corridor to classroom, striking fear into the rest of the student body.

Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) is the fourth member of this close-knit posse until she has an altercation with Heather Chandler at a party.

Battle lines are drawn and in the ensuing melee, Veronica and oddball J.D. (Christian Slater) kill Heather Chandler with drain cleaner and stage her demise as a suicide.

The queen bee is transformed into a martyr and Veronica watches in horror as Heather Duke assumes control of the clique wearing the fabled red scrunchie to signify her elevated status.

The DVD and Blu-ray versions include a director commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes and trailers.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (Cert 12, 99 mins, streaming and available to download from August 17 exclusively on Netflix, Comedy/Romance)

Adapted from the best-selling young adult novel by Jenny Han, To All The Boys I've Loved Before is a bittersweet romantic comedy centred on 16-year-old high school student Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor), who feels like she is invisible to her friends, classmates and family.

Whenever Lara Jean has a crush on a boy, she writes a letter to the object of her unspoken desires then files it in a hat box in her bedroom, never to see the light of day.

When the letters are mysteriously mailed to the boys she has adored from afar, including handsome classmate Peter (Noah Centineo), homecoming date Lucas (Trezzo Mahoro) and boy- next-door Josh (Israel Broussard), Lara Jean realises she can't lurk in the shadows any more and must become the lead character in her own love story.