Arts

New on DVD/streaming/downloads: The Photograph, The Inheritance, Hanna season 2, The Baby-Sitters Club, The A Word series 3

Lakeith Stanfield as Michael Block and Issa Rae as Mae Morton in The Photograph
Damon Smith

FILM

THE PHOTOGRAPH (Cert 12, 106 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Romance/Drama, available from July 6 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services)

Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Issa Rae, Y'lan Noel, Chante Adams, Rob Morgan, Lil Rel Howery.

JADED journalist Michael Block (Lakeith Stanfield) prepares to write a feature on photographer Christina Eames (Chante Adams). He travels to Louisiana to interview her friend Isaac Jefferson (Rob Morgan), who barely conceals the depth of his true feelings for Christina and their shared history.

Michael gathers further background detail by meeting Christina's estranged daughter Mae Morton (Issa Rae), who shares her mother's love of art and works as a curator. The writer finds his integrity compromised by a burgeoning attraction to Mae.

As Michael wrestles with his feelings, he becomes personally invested in unravelling the doomed love story between Christina and young Isaac (played by Y'lan Noel).

Elegantly framed by cinematographer Mark Schwartzbard, The Photograph is a swooning romantic drama which unfolds in parallel time frames, juxtaposing Michael and Mae's flirtations with heartbreak in 1980s Louisiana.

Love ripples across the decades in writer-director Stella Meghie's sure-footed script, which contrasts the two romances and the competing desires that threaten to tear each couple apart.

Stanfield and Rae catalyse a smouldering screen chemistry that never threatens to catch fire while Noel and Adams turn up the heat to a boil in their lustrous scenes.

Lil Rel Howery provides gently effervescent comic relief and some welcome energy as Michael's brother, who is never short of choice words of wisdom.

Tears well and heartstrings are plucked with a predictable but nevertheless satisfying emotional pay-off.

RATING: 7/10

:: THE INHERITANCE (Cert 15, 111 mins, Signature Entertainment, Thriller/Romance, available from July 6 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services)

Starring: Lily Collins, Simon Pegg, Connie Nielsen, Chace Crawford, Patrick Warburton, Marque Richardson, Mariyah Francis, Michael Beach.

NEW York District Attorney Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) is poised to lead a high-profile case when her authoritarian banker father Archer (Patrick Warburton) suffers a fatal heart attack behind the wheel of his car.

The funeral unites Lauren's husband Scott (Marque Richardson) and young daughter (Mariyah Francis), her mother Catherine (Connie Nielsen) and younger brother William (Chace Crawford), a congressman embroiled in a hard-fought race for re-election.

Following the reading of Archer's will, family lawyer Harold (Michael Beach) pulls Lauren aside to give her the second part of her inheritance: an envelope containing a key and a USB flash drive.

She discovers a cryptic video message from her father – "The truth must stay buried" – and directions to a subterranean bunker in the woods on the family estate where a dishevelled man named Morgan Warner (Simon Pegg) has been chained in captivity for more than 30 years.

Directed at a trot rather than a canter by Vaughn Stein, Inheritance is a psychological thriller that relies on viewers blindly accepting every twist engineered by screenwriter Matthew Kennedy and never questioning the strained logic.

Collins' privileged heroine is supposedly one of the sharpest legal minds in Manhattan but her inability to sift rigorous fact from flimflam is frustrating and undermines our sympathy for her tortured character in a final 15 minutes of revelations.

Pegg's performance as the enigmatic captive doesn't quite burrow beneath our puckered skin like it should while Nielsen and Crawford are barely served in underwritten supporting roles.

RATING: 5/10

BOX SETS

Esme Creed-Miles as Hanna

:: HANNA: SEASON 2 (8 episodes, streaming from July 3 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Thriller/Action)

LAST year, screenwriter David Farr successfully rebooted the 2011 action-thriller Hanna directed by Joe Wright as an eight-part Amazon Prime original series about a 15-year-old girl who is trained by her father in Poland to evade the clutches of the ruthless CIA agent on their trail.

The first series concluded with Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles) and her father Erik (Joel Kinnaman) storming a covert US government facility, which could put them in the cross hairs of wily CIA operative Marissa Weigler (Mireille Enos).

In these eight instalments, Hanna and new friend Clara (Yasmin Monet Prince) go on the run from assassin programme director John Carmichael (Dermot Mulroney) and his second-in-command, Leo Garner (Anthony Welsh).

As Hanna learns about other young woman with the same elite training and survival skills, she must place her trust in her CIA nemesis to be truly free from the sinister agency that created her.

:: THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB (10 episodes, streaming and available to download from July 3 exclusively on Netflix, Drama/Comedy/Romance)

YOUNG girls from different backgrounds forge enduring friendships at secondary school in a life-affirming drama comedy of female empowerment and entrepreneurship based on the best-selling young adult books penned by Ann M Martin.

Five teenagers, Claudia Kishi (Momona Tamada), Stacey McGill (Shay Rudolph), Dawn Schafer (Xochitl Gomez), Mary-Anne Spier (Malia Baker) and Kristy Thomas (Sophie Grace), set up a baby-sitting business in their Connecticut hometown.

The venture helps the girls to appreciate each other's personalities and opinions, strengthening bonds of sisterhood as they contend with growing pains and deep-rooted insecurities.

Kirsty's single mother Elizabeth (Alicia Silverstone) hopes to guide her daughter over some of these pitfalls but she faces challenges of her own including a burgeoning romance with nice guy Watson Brewer (Mark Feuerstein).

The A Word series three

:: THE A WORD: SERIES 3 (Cert 12, 342 mins, BBC, available now on Amazon Prime Video/BBC iPlayer/iTunes and other download and streaming services, available from July 6 on DVD £19.99, Drama/Romance)

THE third series of the acclaimed drama written by Peter Bowker about a young boy coming to terms with autism arrives smartly on DVD this week shortly after broadcast on BBC One.

Two years have passed since the events of the second series.

Joe Hughes (Max Vento) is now 10 years old and his parents Paul (Lee Ingleby) and Alison (Morven Christie) are divorced and live 100 miles apart.

His half-sister Rebecca (Molly Wright) is poised to embark on her own journey through parenthood.

Thankfully, Joe's plain-speaking grandfather Maurice (Christopher Eccleston) is an unlikely voice of reason and stability, which is just what the boy needs as he processes huge changes in his life with his teacher Heather (Julie Hesmondhalgh).

The DVD includes all six episodes.

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