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Great Britain

Check out this week’s top DVD picks from Jonah Hill’s directorial debut to a scare-free addition to the Conjuring franchise

JONAH Hill's directorial debut Mid90s is a brilliantly bittersweet coming-of-age tale that beautifully captures a longing for things lost.

The frustrating but entertaining Under The Silver Lake isn’t nearly as clever as it thinks it is - but is far better than some critics would have you believe. And the wonder is sadly missing from rote animation Wonder Park.

DVD of the week: Mid90s

(15) 82mins, out Monday

JONAH Hill's directorial debut proves the versatile comic actor is also a filmmaker of substance.

Sunny Suljic (The Killing Of A Sacred Deer) is a winningly understated presence as 13-year-old Stevie in this bittersweet coming-of-age drama, sharing the everyday wonders, agonies, triumphs and disasters of adolescence, from first cigarettes to first loves and everything in between.

You probably have to be a certain age to be sent into paroxysms of nostalgic delight by the sight of a scrawny kid in a Streetfighter 2 T-shirt.

But Hill beautifully captures that sense of longing for things lost and the desperation to fit in; the long, hazy afternoons and tiny details a period that in many ways feels a very long time ago.

Yet it is rarely sentimental - and the hard knocks really hurt.

The soundtrack is lovingly curated too, aided by some emotive original music by Brit Atticus Ross (The Social Network) and Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor.

★★★★☆

Jonah Hill portrays adolescence steeped in nostalgia in film deubt Mid90s

Under The Silver Lake

(15) 137mins, out Monday

AGGRESSIVELY quirky hipster neo-noir from It Follows director David Robert Mitchell, which just about hangs together thanks to Andrew Garfield’s typically charming central turn.

It’s a rambling, freewheeling, wilfully shambolic affair, sometimes intriguing, often frustrating and wildly self-indulgent… but not nearly as bad as some critics would have you believe.

The flimsy plot about a disappearing girl-next-door tees up a series of oddball vignettes, which at their best have touches of David Lynch and Gregg Araki, though not all of them land.

Some people will hate it. But there are plenty of laughs, some lovely production design and a couple of jaw-dropping moments.

★★★☆☆

The Curse of La Llarona

(15) 89mins, out Monday

COMPETENTLY executed but scare-free addition to the Conjuring creepy-doll franchise, raiding Mexican folklore for this tale about a woman with a sheet over her head who wants to drown your children.

La Llarona, or “the Weeping Woman”, does the usual appearing over people’s shoulders in mirrors - and, less conventionally, through the plastic of a girl’s miniature umbrella.

What she doesn’t do is deliver a sense of threat or suspense.

The performances are solid enough, with welcome appearances from Raymond Cruz (Breaking Bad’s Tuco Salamanca) and Patricia Velasquez (Gob’s girlfriend in Arrested Development), while Linda Cardellini gives it her all as the social worker whose kids catch the malevolent spirit’s weepy eye.

It’s not as ridiculous as last year’s The Nun but probably less fun because of it. It feels like an overlong episode of The X Files, and not one of the better ones.

★★☆☆☆

Wonder Park

(PG) 85mins, out now

STUNNING animation is where the wonder stops, sadly, in this otherwise lacklustre kids’ flick.

Precocious Cameron, or June to her pals, creates a theme park with her mother, run by her teddies and soft toys.

But her imagination is clipped when Mom falls ill and leaves home for treatment, leaving June heartbroken and uninterested in the park.

That is until she stumbles across a full-size replica of her park in a forest - and must battle alongside her favourite toys to restore it to its former glory.

Youngsters may marvel at the visuals and the plot moves along at a fair clip, but it’s all rather forgettable.

A day after watching this, I would struggle to tell you a single joke, line of dialogue or plot-point.

Desperate attempts to appeal to parents - the odd joke about avocados and existential crises - hopelessly miss the mark.

The core message that dreams can come true is sincere but Wonder Park fails to deliver the lasting emotional punch you get from better films in the genre.

★★☆☆☆

Harry Benbow

Critters: Attack!

(15) 85mins, out Monday

THE surly space-hedgehogs are back in this spirited but limited sci-fi retread. (It barely counts as a reboot, as they appear to be using the exact same puppets as in the 1986 original.)

Lacking the budget for anything more ambitious, this aims for a retro, Stranger Things charm.

It nails the synth score but not much else. The action is lacklustre, the gore half-hearted, the script plodding.

Tremors set a high bar for small-town-under-seige critter-com - and this crawls effortlessly under it.

★★☆☆☆

Killers anonymous

(15) 90mins, out Monday

DIMBULB black comedy about a self-help group for psychopaths, which even Gary Oldman can’t save.

This explores similar territory to the recent Dead In A Week Or Your Money Back and Monster Party but lacks the bleak whimsy of the former and the bonkers savagery of the latter (until the very end, when it’s far too late).

The writing isn’t sharp enough and there are precious few laughs despite the presence of comedy veterans including Tim McInnerny.

Oldman at least seems to be having fun. But it’s jarring to see him in such confused, directionless drek.

Like Dead In A Week, this feels like a short story stretched thin - or the premise for a cracking episode of Inside No9. The bloody denouement is an hour overdue.

★★☆☆☆

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