Quick Picks brings you short reviews of movies to rent, buy or stream now. This edition features, Triumph (2021), Batman: The Long Halloween Part One (2021), Dinner in America (2020) and Vicious Fun (2021).
Based on the real-life experiences of screenwriter Michael D Coffey, Triumph carried huge potential in exploring issues of ability over disability. However, it struggles to elevate its story above a set of tried and tested sports movie cliches. And while RJ Mitte and Colton Haynes put in engaging performances, they are ultimately held hostage by lacklustre direction and an irritating over the top score. The resulting film a bland, emotionless family drama that feels lost from the outset. And while full of heart and promise, Triumph unfortunately never manages to create any buzz of excitement, passion or emotion in a story that desperately deserved more.
AVAILABLE TO RENT OR BUY NOW
Batman: The Long Halloween (Part One)
Wrapping us in a world of gang crime, mob politics and murder, The Long Halloween is undoubtedly one of the best known and most loved Batman stories. Therefore, as with previous high profile adaptations, Warner Animation has sensibly split the story into two parts for its on-screen premiere. Despite this, part one of The Long Halloween occasionally lacks space and time in mirroring the complexity of the comic book series. Its jumps in time sharp as it takes us from Halloween to New Year. But, ultimately, this is a minor flaw in an otherwise beautiful and engaging movie. Here, the crime noir of the comic book series is held in place, alongside the fading art-deco beauty of Gotham.
Meanwhile, voice performances once again shine alongside richly detailed characters. The result is another superb animated DC adventure from Warner Bros. One that honours the source material from start to finish while injecting its own unique style.
AVAILABLE TO RENT OR BUY NOW
Dinner in America
What do you get when you mix elements of Welcome to the Dollhouse with Heathers and Napolean Dynamite? The answer is the delightfully sharp, endlessly entertaining and surprisingly tender Dinner in America. Here, director and screenwriter Adam Carter Rehmeier not only dissects the modern American family but explores themes of difference, acceptance and connection. His punk rock drama weaving richly dark humour, coming-of-age themes and transformation into an inspired indie masterpiece. And sitting at the heart of this near-perfect movie are the exquisite performances of Kyle Gallner and Emily Skeggs. So, trust me when I say this is not only one of the best movies to have premiered at Sundance 2020 but also one of the best of the year; the words cult classic written into its very DNA.
WATCH NOW ON ARROW
Canada has a long and illustrious history as the home of some of the best horrors of the past 50 years. After all, it is the country that brought us Scanners, Black Christmas and The Changeling, to name just a few. But Canada is also renowned for bringing us superb and creative horror/comedies. These films challenge the genre and redefine what horror can be, from Turbo Kid to Dead Shack and PG Gorman.
Director Cody Calahan’s Vicious Fun mixes elements of the classic Canadian slasher with a tongue in cheek 80s inspired screenplay. The result is a film that is exactly what it promises to be… Vicious Fun. Here, themes last seen in Shudders underrated Monster Party find a far more humorous voice wrapped neatly in a bloody bow of 80s nostalgia. And while a few jokes fall flat, it more than makes up for them with gore, charm and creativity.