My Brother the Devil (2012), the debut feature from writer-director Sally El Hosaini, has won a host of awards since its release last year – and with good reason. Newcomer El Hosaini has managed to breathe new life into an increasingly clichéd genre with substantial skill and sensitive insight. Focusing upon a Muslim Egyptian family who live on a run-down estate in Hackney, the film follows the divergent journeys of Mo (newcomer Fady Elsayed) and his charismatic older brother Rashid (James Floyd). Mo idolises his elder sibling – a dealer who is part of the local ‘drugs, money and guns’ gang – and is eager to follow in his footsteps.
After last year’s The Awakening, Nick Murphy returns to the London Film Festival for Blood, a moody police thriller based on the TV series Conviction. Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham are Joe and Chrissie Fairburn, brothers and fellow police detectives who are investigating the grisly death of a 12 year old girl. When all the leads point to a convicted sex offender (a suitably disturbing performance from Ben Crompton) Joe thinks he’s got his guy, but the lack of evidence means he may go free. Haunted by a past failure in similar circumstances, Joe is determined not to let events repeat itself, and he and his brother take matters into their own hands. But when the investigation turns up more likely suspects, things spiral out of control as the brothers desperately try to hide the truth from their suspicious colleague Robert Seymour (Mark Strong).
Read the rest of this review at Screen Geek here.
Tim Burton returns to his film-making roots with the new stop motion animated flick Frankenweenie. Opening the 56th BFI London Film Festival, this passionate feature-length adaptation of one of the director’s short films (now a cult classic) is certainly one of the auteur’s better efforts in recent times. Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is obsessed with science and his dog, Sparky. When an unexpected car accident results in Sparky’s demise, a heartbroken Victor – inspired by his science teacher Mr Rzykruski (Martin Landau) – devises an ingenious way to bring his pet back to life. It’s not long until the secret is out, and with the school science fair looming and first prize up for grabs, Victor’s peers seek to imitate his experiment, with mixed results.
Read the rest of this review at Yin & Yang here.
A cursory glance at David Ayer’s filmography will reveal his propensity for cop dramas, with his previous work including such titles as 2001’s Training Day (for which he wrote the screenplay) and 2008’s Street Kings. He’s back on the beat again for his latest flick, End of Watch (2012), a gritty action-thriller set in Los Angeles which owes much to two exceptional central performances. Our protagonists this time around are Officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña), partners and best buds who are duty-bound protect and serve the citizens of the ‘City of Angels’.
Read the rest of this review at CineVue here.