Cinema Tour: June 23, 2022

Theo and the Transformer (18)
Directed by Damien O’Doll

★★★

Described as a fictional documentary poem by director Damien Odor, it’s a surreal journey in which a 27-year-old with Down syndrome who lives in the woods tries to rediscover himself.

It is an intimate epic divided into chapters filled with hallucinations and transformations in which the subconscious plays an essential role.

You have to take a leap of faith and go with the flow of Theo as he makes the most of his father’s absence and turns from Theo to Tu.

Narrated in the voiceover throughout, having at its center a very gritty performance by Theo Kermel brings it all together in this compelling dream-like drama with a stream of conscious narration.

It’s a witty and totally honest endeavor that opens a window into the worlds of those with Downs – but to communicate you need an open mind.

In select cinemas today

The Black Phone (15)
Directed by Scott Derrickson

★★★★

SET IN 1978 The Black Phone is simply a dark and engaging horror movie about a serial killer.

Based on the short story by Joe Hill – the son of horror writer Stephen King and apparently part of the ancient block – this terrifying tale is seen through the eyes of 13-year-old Vinnie (impressive newcomer Mason Thames) who is kidnapped by The Snatcher (scary Ethan Hawke). ).

Vinnie wakes up in a soundproofed locked basement (which seems straight out of the Saw franchise) as he starts getting calls on a black, disconnected phone from the killer’s previous victims.

Co-written and directed by Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange and Wicked) this is a fantastic, nerve-wracking, chilling horror set against time as Finney pits his wits against his masked kidnapper.

It was set against the backdrop of a time when children could roam freely on the streets at all times, where parents could hit their children without repercussions and being bullied was a rite of passage.

The Thames gives a distinctive and distinguished performance as the shy Vinnie, who was bullied at school and at home by his angry alcoholic father.

But it is Madeline McGraw who is his clever younger sister, whose wildest dreams seem to come true, who steals the show.

It’s a compelling thriller about the power of a child’s resilience and the love of family.

Now out in cinemas

Phaya Day (12 A)
Directed by Jessica Bashir

★★★

JESSICA BESHIR’s captivating film paints an intriguing picture of the rituals and trade practices – along with the devastating effects – of Ethiopia’s most lucrative khat crop.

According to Ethiopian legend, Sufi imams harvest and chew khat in their search for immortality. It contains the alkaloid cathinone, which is a stimulant, which is said to cause agitation, loss of appetite and euphoria. Khat is an illegal Class C drug in Britain.

Filmed in mysterious black and white, the documentary blends a series of memories and stories about the impact this plant has had on the communities where it has often supplanted traditional coffee production.

Its addictive and uplifting properties – Merkhana – which results in its users changing over time their personalities and having a negative impact on the families of addicts, as recounted by one of the young men in the film.

Bashir’s first feature-length documentary looks like a hypnotic journey with young and old discussing their individual experiences with khat mainly in the voiceover making it hard to tell who he is as the voices blend with each other.

The film shows how khat has become a favorite stimulant for many (16 per cent of the 100 million population) – a painful depiction of life in Ethiopia today.

In cinemas today

Cannonball & Arcade Mission (15)
Directed by Mads Hedegaard

★★★

With his distinctive mullet and relaxed, focused attitude, Danish player Kim Cannon Arm is an unlikely hero as he attempts to make history by playing his favorite 80s arcade video game for 100 hours in one of the most outlandish yet compelling documentaries.

Cannon Arm is one of the greatest Gyruss experts he’s played for over 40 years.

Written and directed by Mads Hedegaard, the film follows Cannon Arm’s meticulous preparations leading up to his attempt to break world records at the Bip Bip bar in Copenhagen with the support of his eclectic gaming friends who all share, in front of the camera, their thoughts and perspectives on his quest.

With exciting visuals and a loud soundtrack to boot, this proves an amazing ride that is at its core all about love, friendship, and camaraderie within a gaming brotherhood.

In cinemas June 24 and digitally June 27

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