Film Picks: A Distant Place, The Northman, Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood

Still from the film Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood. PHOTO: NETFLIX

Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood (PG13)

98 minutes, Netflix

4 stars

In this funny, whimsical comedy that weaves fantasy with reality, celebrated American film-maker Richard Linklater imagines a kid's space adventure set in the Houston suburbs where he grew up, a neighbourhood in the shadow of the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) control centre.

This was a time when the US and the Soviet Union were engaged in the space race, with Nasa carrying the hopes of a nation divided by a war in Asia and the growing power of youth counterculture.

In the summer of 1969, days before the history-making Apollo 11 launch, a Texas schoolboy is recruited by Nasa for a dangerous mission. Unfortunately, they make young Stanley (voiced by Milo Coy as a boy and Jack Black as an adult) swear an oath of secrecy.

The Northman (M18)

Still from the film The Northman. PHOTO: © 2022 FOCUS FEATURES LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

137 minutes, now showing

4 stars

In this Viking saga set mainly in Iceland, Prince Amleth (played by Oscar Novak as a child and Alexander Skarsgard as an adult) witnesses the murder of his father, King Aurvandil (Ethan Hawke), at the hands of his uncle Fjolnir (Claes Bang). Fjolnir also kidnaps his mother, Gudrun (Nicole Kidman).

Amleth grows into a warrior, and a witch starts him on his path of vengeance. He also meets priestess Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy).

Director and co-writer Robert Eggers is fascinated by the sounds and textures of the pagan and the primal.

In a screenplay adapted from a legend - one that supposedly inspired Shakespeare's Hamlet - Vikings are superstitious slavers and bloodlust-driven fighters. But they are also settled, relatively wealthy pastoralists and merchants with trade links with the remnants of the Roman empire.

A Distant Place (R21)

Still from the film A Distant Place. PHOTO: THE PROJECTOR

117 minutes, opens on June 11 exclusively at The Projector

4 stars

Writer-director Park Kun-young's heartbreaking, minutely observed second feature is about a man who thinks he can find happiness - or at least avoid tragedy - as long as he maintains a wall of silence.

Jin-woo (Kang Gil-woo) lives a quiet life on a farm with his young daughter, Seol. Everything appears idyllic as he gets on well with the family hosting him and his child.

His friend from college, Hyun-min (Hong Kyung), visits and it becomes apparent to his hosts that the men are more than friends. When Jin-woo's estranged sister Eun-young (Lee Sang-hee) comes calling, truths that he has struggled to submerge come to the surface.

The film is presented by The Projector as part of its Pink Screen festival celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer themes.

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