Arts

New to stream or buy on DVD/Blu-ray: Promising Young Woman, Antebellum, The Equalizer and more...

Promising Young Woman: Bo Burnham as Ryan and Carey Mulligan as Cassandra
Damon Smith

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (Cert 15, 113 mins, Warner Bros Home Entertainment/Sky Cinema, Thriller/Romance, available now on NOW TV, available from August 2 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from August 2 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £26.99)

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alfred Molina, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Connie Britton, Chris Lowell.

CASSIE Thomas (Carey Mulligan) abandons dreams of studying medicine at Forrest University when her best friend Nina is raped by classmate Al Monroe (Chris Lowell) and the dean (Connie Britton) chooses to believe his version of events.

Now 30-years-old and still living at home with her parents (Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge), Cassie is haunted by the past, unable to forgive herself for not being at the party to protect Nina.

A chance encounter with university classmate Ryan Cooper (Bo Burnham), now a paediatric doctor, rubs fresh salt into unhealed wounds and sets Cassie on a collision course with Al's conspirators, including his troubled lawyer (Alfred Molina).

Promising Young Woman is a provocative thriller which chooses its polished words with care, burning off extraneous dramatic fat to retain a scorching laser-like focus on Cassie as she boards her runaway train fuelled by guilt.

Oscar-winning writer-director Emerald Fennell's picture strikes a sickening chord, especially when refracted through the prism of recent events, culminating in arguably the most harrowing scene of the year at a boozy bachelor party underscored by a deliciously discordant orchestral arrangement of Britney Spears' Toxic.

Mulligan issues the central character's ferocious, primal screams with unwavering commitment. She performs one stunt that we watch while cresting waves of nausea and slack-jawed despair.

The film's twisted sense of humour is as dark as the war-paint mascara that she etches around her bloodshot eyes. Fennell's assurance behind the camera gives us the courage to stare unflinchingly into the abyss as Cassie makes the perilous descent.

Rating: 4/5

ANTEBELLUM (Cert 15, 126 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd/Sky Cinema, Horror/Thriller/Romance, available now on NOW TV, available from from August 2 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from August 2 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Starring: Janelle Monae, Jack Huston, Tongayi Chirisa, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Kiersey Clemons, Marque Richardson, London Boyce.

EDEN (Janelle Monae) and fellow slave Eli (Tongayi Chirisa) fail to escape from a reformer plantation in Louisiana commandeered by the 9th Infantry of the Confederate Army of the 13 States. They return to cotton fields patrolled on horseback by glowering Captain Jasper (Jack Huston) and his men.

Weeks later, soldiers arrive with more terrified slaves, including a spirited and outspoken young woman (Kiersey Clemons), who the general's daughter (Jena Malone) christens Julia.

Meanwhile, in the present, author Veronica Henley (Monae again) leaves her husband Nick (Marque Richardson) and young daughter Kennedi (London Boyce) in Washington DC to fly to Louisiana on a book tour.

Timelines converge with sickening consequences and Veronica heeds her own written words to emerge from the mind-boggling melee.

Antebellum hinges on a jaw-dropping twist, revealed around the hour mark, that picks at the fresh wounds of the Black Lives Matter movement and revisits horrors endured by generations based on the colour of their skin.

Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz's horror thriller thrums with audacity. Once you recover from the chill down the spine of that narrative sledgehammer blow, which calls to mind one of M Night Shyamalan's more outlandish exercises in fantasy horror, cool-headed close scrutiny poses more troubling questions that Bush and Renz see fit to answer.

Their outlandish construction threatens to collapse, increasing the weight on lead actress Monae's shoulders to deliver two committed performances as women separated by more than 200 years of blood-spattered American history.

Echoes of Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning nightmare Get Out reverberate in a final act that strains credibility.

Rating: 3/5

The Equalizer: Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall

THE EQUALIZER (10 episodes, starts streaming from August 3 exclusively on NOW TV, Thriller/Action)

QUEEN Latifah assumes the role made famous by Edward Woodward in the 1980s in a gender-flipped tale of survival, which shoots to kill on Sky Witness this week and streams exclusively on NOW TV.

Written by Andrew Marlowe and Terri Miller, the new incarnation of The Equalizer centres on divorced single mother Robyn McCall (Latifah), who acts as a guardian angel to weak and defenceless strangers with nowhere else to turn.

Using her extensive skills, Robyn pursues redemption while she raises her 15-year-old daughter Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) with the help of Aunt Vi (Lorraine Toussaint).

Robyn's escapades as a vigilante draw the attention of NYPD Detective Marcus Dante (Tory Kittles), who also seeks justice but within the strict confines of the law.

Black Monday Season 3: Don Cheadle as Mo

BLACK MONDAY – SEASON 3 (10 episodes, starts streaming from August 3 exclusively on NOW TV, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

THE dark comedy created by Jordan Cahan and David Caspe, set against the backdrop of the 1987 stock market crash, hopes to make a killing on Sky Comedy this week and streams exclusively on NOW TV.

In these 10 instalments, veteran stockbroker Maurice Monroe (Don Cheadle) sets up his own record label but the music industry doesn't offer him the same vicarious thrills and spills as a trading floor.

Meanwhile, Dawn Darcy (Regina Hall) is incarcerated after she takes the blame for the financial crash but she refuses to relinquish her lavish lifestyle behind bars.

Also, Blair Pfaff (Andrew Rannells) becomes a small fish in the big political pond of Washington DC and pampered heiress Tiffany Georgina (Casey Wilson) discovers that working for a living is harder than it looks.

Outer Banks Season 2: Madelyn Cline as Sarah Cameron and Chase Stokes as John B

OUTER BANKS – SEASON 2 (10 episodes, streaming from July 30 exclusively on Netflix, Drama/Romance)

THE coming-of-age teen drama created by twin brothers Josh and Jonas Pate and Shannon Burke returns to Netflix this week.

Following a dramatic conclusion to the first series, John B (Chase Stokes) and Sarah (Madelyn Cline) are on the run in the Bahamas, unsure who they can trust now they have been separated from their tight-knit group, the Pogues.

Back home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, JJ (Rudy Pankow), Kiara (Madison Bailey) and Pope (Jonathan Daviss) face fresh challenges until a new secret offers a way to reunite the group.

COOKING WITH PARIS (6 episodes, streaming from August 4 exclusively on Netflix, Documentary)

IN JANUARY 2020, socialite Paris Hilton went viral with a YouTube video entitled Cooking With Paris in which she spent 16 minutes showcasing her recipe for lasagne.

Subsequent videos have expanded her culinary repertoire and this six-part Netflix series intends to shatter preconceptions about what a cooking show should look like.

With the help of celebrity friends and some unconventional appliances, Hilton shops for groceries and then prepares a hearty meal fit to serve to lucky guests.

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