Arts

New to download, stream or buy on DVD/Blu-ray

The Final Stand: Artyom Gubin as Sashka Lavrov
Damon Smith

FILM OF THE WEEK

THE FINAL STAND (Cert 15, 142 mins, Signature Entertainment, War/Action/Romance, available from March 8 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from March 8 on DVD £15.99)

Starring: Artyom Gubin, Lubov Konstantinova, Igor Yudin, Evgeniy Dyatlov, Yekaterina Rednikova, Aleksey Bardukov.

IN OCTOBER 1941, invading Nazi forces are 200km from Moscow and continue to advance against the might of the Soviets.

Junior Sergeant Alex Lavrov (Artyom Gubin) and good friend Dmitry Shemyakin (Igor Yudin) are cadets at Podolsk Artillery and Infantry schools located to the south of the capital.

The two young men are training under the watchful eye of Colonel Strelbitsky (Evgeniy Dyatlov) to become the Red Army's next leaders.

Alex and Dmitry are both in love with nurse Masha Grigorieva (Lubov Konstantinova), who is preparing to tend wounds alongside military doctor Nikitina (Yekaterina Rednikova).

The friends forge a pact.

"If she chooses either of us, so be it," Dmitry pledges, sealing the bargain with a handshake.

Their fraternal bond is severely tested when the cadets are despatched to the Ilyinsky Frontier to thwart the German advance.

Meanwhile, doctor Nikitina awaits news of her mild-mannered cadet son Slavik (Gleb Danilov).

Based on true events, The Final Stand recounts a heroic military stand against overwhelming odds, using the Alex, Dmitry and Masha love triangle as a potent dramatic fulcrum.

Director Vadim Shmelyov stages battle sequences with breathless brio on land and in the air, orchestrating pyrotechnics and daredevil stunts on a grand scale to set pulses racing.

Slow-motion overload in opening scenes thankfully surrenders to the patriotic fervour of composer Yuriy Poteenko's bombastic score.

A vast ensemble cast is ruthlessly scythed down by German bullets and bombs, bringing home the overwhelming sense of loss during a battle that lasted almost two long weeks.

Rating: 7/10

ALSO RELEASED

THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY (Cert 15, 98 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Thriller/Romance, available from March 8 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from March 8 on DVD £19.99)

Starring: Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland.

ROGUISH art critic James Figueras (Claes Bang) gallivants around Europe, armed with a well-rehearsed lecture on the power of persuasion.

Following one engagement in Milan, James beds pretty American attendee Berenice Hollis (Elizabeth Debicki) and invites her to accompany him to the sprawling Lake Como estate of art collector Joseph Cassidy (Mick Jagger).

The charismatic host wastes little time offering James a private audience with one of America's greatest living painters, who happens to reside in a guesthouse.

"Think what a splash it would make – the first critic in more than 50 years to interview Jerome Debney!" tantalises Cassidy.

In exchange for this career-revitalising opportunity, Cassidy insists James must procure him a priceless new work signed by Debney (Donald Sutherland).

Adapted from the 1971 novel by Charles Willeford, The Burnt Orange Heresy is a slow-burning thriller, which some viewers might playfully equate to watching paint dry.

Director Giuseppe Capotondi maintains a pedestrian pace that makes the 98-minute running time feel considerably longer.

A hastily contrived finale, dressed stylishly as a noir thriller, underwhelms despite the sweat-drenched desperation portrayed on screen.

The meaning of Scott Smith's script takes almost an hour to come into focus and the rewards for our patience are not particularly bountiful.

Bang and Debicki catalyse gently simmering chemistry as fledgling lovers blinded by first impressions opposite an impish Jagger as a connoisseur of beauty, who chews with delight on the film's meaty one-liners.

"Art can be such a harsh mistress, can't she?" he smirks.

He has far more fun on screen that we do at home watching him.

Rating: 7/10

INTO THE DARKNESS (Cert 15, 152 mins, Vertigo Releasing, available from March 8 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, War/Drama/Romance)

A LABOUR of love 10 years in the making, director Anders Refn's period drama examines conflicts of interest facing Danish people during the Second World War as Nazis march across Europe.

In April 1940, the German occupation of Denmark has forced friends and neighbours to follow their hearts and choose opposing sides.

Successful industrialist Karl Skov (Jesper Christensen) is determined to keep his electronics factory afloat and he collaborates with the Germans, putting profits ahead of his conscience.

His idealistic son Aksel (Mads Reuther) reacts violently to the persecution of Jews by pledging allegiance to his country's underground resistance movement.

The Skov family is torn apart by these deep divisions as bombs continue to fall across the continent.

BOX SETS / SERIES

DOLLFACE (10 episodes, starts streaming from March 5 exclusively on Disney+, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

KAT Dennings headlines a 10-part comedy created by Jordan Weiss, which champions the enduring power of female friendships.

Web designer Jules (Dennings) has sacrificed friendships and other important relationships to focus on her long-time romance with boyfriend Jeremy (Connor Hines).

She is stunned when he dumps her and Jules awkwardly reconnects with her former best friends, publicist Madison (Brenda Song) and free spirit Stella (Shay Mitchell).

In Jules' hour of need, they rally to her side and show the heartbroken web designer how to tentatively navigate a world without a man by her side.

As she prepares to move out of the apartment she used to share with Jeremy, Jules retreats into her vibrant imagination as an unconventional coping mechanism.

DEALER (10 episodes, streaming from March 10 exclusively on Netflix, Thriller)

A FILM director gets far more than he bargained for in the south of France in a gritty found footage thriller.

Emotionally volatile drug gang leader Tony (Abdramane Diakite) wants to break into the rap music scene and music video director Franck (Sebastien Houbani) hopes to be part of that journey.

Franck infiltrates Tony's rough neighbourhood to shoot a guerrilla film that will reveal the grimy face of drug dealing.

Consequently, the interloper is caught in the crossfire of a bloody gang turf war and his camera is scant protection when bullets start flying.

THE GREAT – SEASON ONE (Cert 18, 520 mins, Paramount Home Entertainment, available now on StarzPlay, available from March 8 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

TONY McNamara, Oscar-nominated co-writer of scabrous period comedy The Favourite, fictionalises intrigue, skulduggery and sexual desire in the court of Catherine the Great when the award-winning Hulu comedy drama arrives on DVD this week.

Elle Fanning plays the young, fresh-faced and idealistic Catherine, who arrives in Russia full of giddy romantic dreams for her arranged marriage to Emperor Peter (Nicholas Hoult).

The new arrival quickly discovers she will be presiding over a crucible of depravity and corruption that can only be cured with swift and decisive action: namely, killing her husband and challenging the authority of the church and the military.

As an outsider in this rarefied world, Catherine will have to work tirelessly to achieve her place in history as Russia's longest reigning female ruler.

The four-disc DVD set includes all 10 episodes plus two featurettes and a gag reel.

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