Arts

New films on DVD/on demand: Goodbye Christopher Robin, Happy Death Day

Margot Robbie, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Tilston in Goodbye Christopher Robin

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (Cert PG, 117 mins, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Drama/Romance, available from February 12 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from February 26 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Will Tilston, Kelly Macdonald, Stephen Campbell Moore.

A A Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) returns to London from the trenches of the First World War, where he witnessed countrymen cut down in their prime.

"Find something to be happy about and stick to that," glibly suggests his wife Daphne (Margot Robbie), who cannot understand her husband's inner turmoil.

Angered by the senseless loss of life, Milne abandons the capital for a quaint house in Ashdown Forest, transplanting Daphne, their young son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston) and the boy's nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald) to the verdant idyll.

Milne hopes to pen a fierce rebuke against the war but he is repeatedly distracted by his son. "I'd really like if you wrote a book for me," says Christopher Robin sweetly.

A walk through the sun-dappled landscape fertilises Milne's imagination and he contemplates a book that magically brings to life his son's menagerie of stuffed toys with illustrations by good friend Ernest Shepard (Stephen Campbell Moore).

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a handsomely crafted drama, which illuminates the sacrifice of one little boy's childhood innocence for the healing of a shell-shocked Britain.

The dark age of celebrity parents monetising cherubic children dawned many years before the scourge of selfies.

Director Simon Curtis delivers an emotionally chilly picture, reflected in Gleeson's restrained performance, which internalises Milne's post-traumatic stress.

Oscar nominee Robbie relishes her flashier role, while Macdonald provides warmth as the nanny, who recognises the damage being wrought on her dimple-cheeked charge.

The elegant script, co-written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Simon Vaughan, gradually exposes the anguish that festered beneath the Hundred Acre Wood.

RATING: ***

HAPPY DEATH DAY (Cert 15, 92 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Horror/Thriller/Romance, available from February 12 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from February 19 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Caleb Spillyards, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton.

Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) wakes bleary-eyed in the dorm room of nerd Carter Davis (Israel Broussard), nursing a pounding headache from the alcohol-sodden night before.

She takes the walk of shame back to her sorority house, offending several students en route including creepy first date Tim (Caleb Spillyards) and Danielle (Rachel Matthews), imperious queen bee of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Tree subsequently enjoys a rendezvous with her married lover (Charles Aitken) and is almost caught in the act by his suspicious wife (Laura Clifton).

As night falls, a masked assailant stabs Tree to death and she wakes in Carter's bed, doomed to repeat her final day, over and over. "I'm not a good person. Maybe this is karma..." she sobs.

Happy Death Day is a waggish and sprightly slasher, which splices uproarious comedy Groundhog Day with self-referential teen horror Scream.

Gore frequently trumps giggles in Christopher Landon's picture but the tantalising dramatic conceit of a distraught heroine stuck in a tragic groove provides screenwriter Scott Lobdell with a rich seam of black humour and female empowerment.

He relishes killing off his central character in myriad grisly scenarios, including a farcical montage of slaughter set to a jaunty pop soundtrack.

Rothe looks luminous as she is throttled and impaled, and the supporting cast portrays a motley crew of potential suspects.

With each knife to the stomach or broken glass to the throat, Tree undergoes a gradual transformation from an unsympathetic, self-absorbed vixen to a painfully self-aware, humbled young woman we can root for.

RATING: ***

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