100 Word Review – Red Army (2014)

The power of sports in politics. 

This brilliantly constructed documentary tells the story of the Red Army hockey team which was the pride of the Soviet Union. Told through the eyes of the players it offers unparalleled insight into the role the team played in the Russian propaganda machine.

Directed by Gabe Polsky, it has already picked up awards at AFI Fest, Chicago and Zurich. It is full of  archive footage as well as interviews with the people involved. It’s a truly compelling piece of history, complete with spies and scandals, that will keep even the least sports-orientated viewer captivated.

100 Word Review – Dear White People (2014)

This should be compulsory viewing.

Set in an Ivy League college in the States, it follows four black students in the run up to an event described in the press as a “race riot”.

Debut feature from writer and director Justin Simien, it tackles racism in modern society as an insidious entity, and the effect of coping with discrimination as the underdog.

Stylishly put together, with a superb cast (Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Tayonah Parris, Brandon P Bell); it’s entertaining, but terrifying when partnered with the knowledge that there are more than kernels of truth in it.

100 Word Review – Patema Inverted (2013)

Winner of the best anime at Edinburgh’s Anime film festival, this film is an absolute delight. 

Patema lives with her family in a series of tunnels deep underground. Exploring deeper and deeper she finds herself in  danger of falling off the world, in a place full of people for whom gravity is inverted.

The visuals in this film are breathtaking and Yasuhiro Yoshiura does a wonderful job of directing what could otherwise be a very confused feature.

Currently only available in Japanese, so not suitable for young children, but it’s definitely a great family film and a beautiful Sci Fi.