Arts

New to stream or buy on DVD/Blu-ray: The Mauritanian, Freaky, The Guilty, LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales and more...

Damon Smith

The Mauritanian: Shailene Woodley as Teri Duncan and Jodie Foster as Nancy Hollander.

THE MAURITANIAN (Cert 15, 129 mins, STX, Thriller, available now on Amazon Prime Video, available from October 4 on BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services)

Starring: Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley, Denis Menochet.

IN NOVEMBER 2001, the head of Mauritania's intelligence service spirits away Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim) from a wedding for questioning about his cousin and brother-in-law Mahfouz Ould al-Walid, whose ties to al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden are red flags for the Americans.

Three years later, German newspaper Der Spiegel publishes an article claiming Mohamedou is being held at Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of being one of the organisers of the September 11 attacks.

French lawyer Emmanuel Coste (Denis Menochet) brings the case to the attention of no-nonsense criminal defence lawyer Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster).

She arranges access to Mohamedou accompanied by associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley).

Meanwhile, Colonel Bill Seidel (Corey Johnson) approaches Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) to lead the death penalty case against Mohamedou.

Based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi's harrowing memoir written during detention on Cuban soil, The Mauritanian is a slow-burning drama, which ticks off cinematic tropes such as lawyers doggedly sifting through evidence boxes and an affirmation that the guilty have a right to robust legal counsel.

It is captivating albeit conventional storytelling, enlivened by the performances, particularly Foster's rabble rouser.

Scenes of violence and intimidation, including a mock execution at sea shot from the point of view of the hooded prisoner, are grist to director Kevin Macdonald's cinematic mill as he celebrates the enduring power of the human spirit.

French actor Rahim brings a quiet determination and warmth to Slahi, who is held without charge for 14 years and subjected to torture but somehow clings onto his faith and humanity.

Rating: 3/5

Freaky: Kathryn Newton as The Butcher in Millie Kessler's body

FREAKY (Cert 15, 98 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Horror/Comedy/Romance, available now via Premium Video On Demand rental, available from October 4 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from October 4 on DVD £19.99)

Starring: Kathryn Newton, Vince Vaughn, Celeste O'Connor, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton.

AFTER a homecoming football game, mild-mannered Blissfield Valley High School student Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) is attacked by a serial killer dubbed the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn).

He inflicts a non-fatal wound with an Aztecan sacrificial dagger, stolen from one victim's home.

At midnight as storm clouds swirl, Millie and the killer trade bodies.

The Blissfield Butcher is delighted.

He can slay with impunity in the guise of a sweet girl and doles out bloodthirsty justice to Millie's bullying classmates and teacher.

Meanwhile, Millie now has the face of a killer whose sketched likeness is on every TV news channel.

She has just 24 hours to reverse the curse with the help of best friends Nyla (Celeste O'Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich).

Freaky is an entertaining, gender-bending teen slasher, which puts a gleefully ghoulish spin on the beloved children's novel Freaky Friday, by Mary Rodgers.

Jolts are sporadic yet satisfying and the make-up department certainly does not stint on the gloop and entrails as Blissfield's mortuary overflows with eviscerated cast.

Newton and Vaughn enthusiastically embrace the duality of their roles, the latter furiously fluttering eyelids as he captures the inner awkwardness and fragility of a girl recovering from the death of her father.

Almost every knife, chainsaw, hook and spear hits its intended target and the camera seldom flinches from showing freshly hacked limbs and bludgeoned heads.

Macabre humour has a higher miss rate but there is a surprising sweetness to amusingly romantic scenes between a sensitive jock and the heroine while she is trapped inside a middle-aged man's body.

Rating: 3/5

The Guilty: Jake Gyllenhaal as Joe Bayler

THE GUILTY (Cert 15, 89 mins, streaming from October 1 exclusively on Netflix, Thriller)

JAKE Gyllenhaal headlines director Antoine Fuqua's English language re-make of the nail-biting 2018 Danish thriller of the same name.

Sergeant Bill Bayler (Gyllenhaal) has been embroiled in controversy and he is removed from active duty to a desk job that he clearly doesn't enjoy.

Bayler transfers to emergency services, where he is part of a team of controllers who take calls from the public and decide if police or an ambulance should be dispatched.

As the night begins, Bayler coldly passes judgment on some of his callers.

Out of the blue, he connects a call from a distressed woman, who appears unable to talk freely.

Bayler employs his training to ascertain that the woman might be in trouble and he is sucked into her living nightmare.

LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales: Luke Skywalker

LEGO STAR WARS TERRIFYING TALES (Cert PG, 44 mins, streaming from October 1 exclusively on Disney+, Animation/Sci-Fi/Comedy)

A SPECIAL Halloween-themed, computer-animated short film directed by Ken Cunningham continues the adventures of familiar characters in a galaxy far, far away following the events of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker.

Poe Dameron (voiced by Jake Green) and BB-8 must make an emergency landing on the volcanic planet Mustafar.

They encounter Graballa the Hutt (Dana Snyder), who is in the process of refurbishing Darth Vader's castle as the galaxy's first all-inclusive Sith-inspired luxury hotel.

As Poe and BB-8 venture into the bowels of the hotel, Vader's loyal servant Vanee (Tony Hale) shares spooky stories with the visitors, which tease the resurrection of an ancient evil.

Brassic Season 3: Joanna Higson as Sugar, Jude Riordan as Tyler, Bronagh Gallagher as Carol and Michelle Keegan as Erin

BRASSIC – SEASON 3 (6 episodes, streaming from October 6 exclusively on NOW, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

DANNY Brocklehurst and Joe Gilgun's rumbustious comedy drama wreaks havoc in the fictional Lancashire town of Hawley for a third series when Brassic returns to Sky Max this week and streams exclusively on NOW.

The second season concluded with Erin (Michelle Keegan) whispering something into the ear of bipolar bad boy Vinnie (Gilgun) shortly after he declared his feelings for her and was arrested.

These six episodes begin with Vinnie newly released from prison and determined to stay out of trouble with Detective Carl Slater (John Weaver).

Unfortunately, vicious gangster Terence McCann (Ramon Tikaram) continues to exert pressure on Vinnie and his buddies Ash (Aaron Heffernan), Cardy (Tom Hanson), Dylan (Damien Molony), JJ (Parth Thakerar) and Tommo (Ryan Sampson).

It's only a matter of time before the ex-con is back on the wrong side of the law.

Bingo Hell

BINGO HELL (Cert 15, 85 mins, streaming from October 1 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Horror/Thriller)

AMAZON Studios and Blumhouse Television's second salvo of horror thrillers under the Welcome To The Blumhouse banner begins with director Gigi Saul Guerrero's ghoulish yarn set in the quiet barrio of Oak Springs.

For sixty-something activist Lupita (Adriana Barraza) and her friends, the local bingo hall is a community hub where residents can socialise and trade gossip while competing to be the first person to shout "bingo!"

Mysterious businessman Mr Big (Richard Brake) takes over the hall and updates the building into a brightly lit, money-making enterprise.

Soon after, Lupita's long-time neighbours begin to perish in strange and grisly circumstances.

The spunky sexuagenarian realises that gentrification is the least of her concerns because an insidious evil has taken root in Oak Springs and the only way to vanquish the malevolent presence is to fight back, with fury.

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