Arts

Movies: Damon Smith picks his favourite films available on-demand right now

Damon Smith chooses an A to Z of some of his favourite films to enjoy from the comfort of home or on streaming platforms and free-to-air services. This week, A to F...

Bachi Valishvili as Irakli, Levan Gelbakhiani as Merab and Ana Javakhishvili as Mary in And Then We Danced
Damon Smith

AND THEN WE DANCED (15, 113 mins) Drama/Romance. Levan Gelbakhiani, Bachi Valishvili, Giorgi Tsereteli, Ana Javakhishvili. Director: Levan Atkin. Streaming now on Curzon Home Cinema and Vimeo on Demand, available from March 27 on BFI Player

LEVAN Akin's beautifully observed drama, which sparked violent protests in Georgia, barely had a chance to beguile movie fans before Covid-19 closed cinemas.

Thankfully, And Then We Danced is available on various streaming platforms, casting a heady spell with its unflinching yet sensitive depiction of forbidden love between two members of the National Georgian Ensemble.

Real-life dancer Levan Gelbakhiani delivers a haunting lead performance as Merab, who proudly upholds his country's traditions by training alongside childhood partner Mary (Ana Javakhishvili).

Cocksure new arrival Irakli (Bachi Valishvili) immediately impresses the company's director and usurps Merab's role in a physically demanding duet.

Jealousy and resentment light the fuse on a powder keg of raw emotions, which confirm the men's unspoken attraction.

Writer-director Akin choreographs dance rehearsals and tasteful sex scenes with obvious affection for his conflicted and flawed characters.

:: BOOKSMART (15, 102 mins) Comedy/Drama/Romance. Kaitlyn Dever. Beanie Feldstein, Mason Gooding, Jason Sudeikis. Director: Olivia Wilde. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

OLIVIA Wilde's raucous rites-of-passage high school comedy takes a leaf out of Clueless and Mean Girls to deliver life lessons about sisterly solidarity punctuated by a dizzying array of pithy one-liners.

Dream team double-act Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein possess fizzing on-screen chemistry as best friends Amy and Molly, who have studiously forsaken fornication and partying in order to achieve their academic dreams.

Potentially thorny issues of fat-shaming, sexual experimentation and peer pressure are cheerfully navigated by a sorority of four female scriptwriters.

Belly laughs are abundant between some deeply touching moments of self-reflection and realisation, trading in pop culture references and near-the-knuckle humour that never threatens to become crude or mean-spirited.

These girls are sugar and spice and all things naughty but nice.

:: DEADPOOL (15, 108 mins) Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Comedy/Romance. Ryan Reynolds, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano. Director: Tim Miller. Screening on Film4 on Friday March 27 at 9pm

A FINAL opportunity to marvel at Ryan Reynolds in figure-hugging red spandex as the eponymous masked avenger. Relentlessly lurid and unapologetically foul-mouthed, Deadpool is a sinful treat.

Tim Miller's hyperkinetic origin story is like a newborn puppy that has yet to be house-trained: boundlessly energetic and blissfully oblivious to the rules of acceptable conduct.

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick's script is crammed to bursting with zinging one-liners and a miasma of filth and toilet humour.

Some gags narrowly miss their target but the duds are invariably followed up in quick succession by sly digs at comic book conventions.

The relentless barrage of pop culture references and post-modern in-jokes hinges on Reynolds' ability to charm us and he barrels through every frame with a cocksure swagger that is impossible to resist.

:: FORCE MAJEURE (15, 119 mins) Drama/Romance. Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren, Vincent Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju. Director: Ruben Ostlund. Streaming free on All 4 until March 31

Recently remade as the English language comedy Downhill, 2014's Swedish original is far superior. Force Majeure elegantly navigates the shifting balance of power in a close-knit family of four following an uncomfortably close encounter with Mother Nature.

Johannes Bah Kuhnke and Lisa Loven Kongsli are impeccably cast as businessman Tomas and his wife Ebba, who head to a luxury resort in the French Alps with their children Vera (Clara Wettergren) and Harry (Vincent Wettergren).

A controlled avalanche of fast-moving snow hits the family's resort: Ebba instinctively protects the children while Tomas panics and runs for cover. His moment of cowardice, which he vehemently denies to old friend Mats (Kristofer Hivju), sets in motion the emotional devastation of the film's discomfiting second half including a nail-biting set piece that will jangle the nerves of anyone who suffers from vertigo.

Don't look down.

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