Film reviews: All The Wild Horses, The Boy Downstairs and more… | Films | Entertainment

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When film-maker Ivo Marloh was accepted on the race, he took on an additional challenge: to race up and down the field with a video camera to capture the drama for a documentary.

We meet Devan Horn, a fiercely competitive 22-year-old American woman who battles heatstroke and is chased by wolves after taking an early lead.

Irish jockeys Donie Fahy and Richie Killoran take a more pragmatic approach, making a pact to stay together for safety and support until the final stage.

Marloh is too busy racing around the Mongolian steppe to get under the skin of his subjects. However, there are still plenty of twists and turns as the film builds to a nail-biting finish.

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The Boy Downstairs

Rating: 3/5 (Cert 12A, 89mins)

Zosia Mamet, one of the supporting actors from HBO series Girls, gets her first lead role in this pleasant but instantly forgettable romantic comedy.

She plays a budding writer who moves into a new apartment only to find that her ex-boyfriend (Matthew Shear) is renting the room downstairs.

Mamet makes for a likeable enough leading lady but the slight script means this is unlikely to join Manhattan and When Harry Met Sally on a list of the most romantic New York movies.

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Welcome To Curiosity

Rating: 1/5 (Cert 15, 94mins)

Ben Pickering’s thriller serves as a masterclass in how not to make a low-budget film.

If, like the Welsh producer/ director, you have raised £200,000 to shoot a film, then the received wisdom is to use a small, talented cast and a handful of carefully selected locations. Another idea is to write what you know.

Pickering shot this film in 2014 shortly before serving three years for mortgage fraud. He is also a former prospective parliamentary Tory candidate in Swansea West so you would think he has plenty of material to work with. But he decided to plough his own furrow by using a huge cast, intertwining five separate stories and trying to rip off Pulp Fiction.

The setting is the fictional Cornish town of Curiosity where an American detective is hunting a psychopath who has escaped from a “mental institute”. Meanwhile, two armed robbers are having an achingly unfunny conversation about McDonald’s while hiding out from Richard Blackwood’s risible gangster.

The dialogue is awful, the characters are paper-thin, the acting is atrocious and the pacing laborious. The only curious thing about this cheap and utterly cheerless film is that it got a theatrical release.

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McQueen

Rating: 4/5 (Cert 15, 111mins)

The short life of London-born fashion designer Alexander McQueen is recounted in suitably elegant style in this engrossing documentary.

Home videos and archive footage guide us through key personal and professional life events from his apprenticeship with a Savile Row tailor to winning a place at the prestigious art school St Martins College.

Interviews with family, colleagues and McQueen himself provide insight into this talented but deeply troubled man who killed himself at the age of 40.

Directors Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui punctuate the film with beautifully animated versions of the designer’s skull logo, sometimes sprouting flowers, sometimes looking scary, to cleverly chart both the evolution of his style and his deteriorating mental health.

For McQueen, who was known to friends by his real name Lee, his work was deeply personal but the film also places him in the context of 1990s British culture.

We see how his controversial and inherently cinematic early collections Jack The Ripper Stalks His Victims and Highland Rape coincided with the headline-seeking BritArt of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

To the annoyance of his mother Joyce, her well-read son also played on his working-class upbringing to tap into 1990s lad culture. But McQueen committed suicide on the night before Joyce’s funeral.

One colleague recounts how McQueen confessed to being abused by his brother-in-law as a child.

Another describes how the pressures of juggling his own label with high-profile positions at Givenchy and Gucci made him increasingly reliant on cocaine.

The film doesn’t seek easy explanations for his tragic death but it does offer some astonishing examples of his genius.



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