UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 9th May 2011

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

The King’s Speech (Momentum): Oscar winning drama about the unlikely relationship between King George (Colin Firth) and his unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Directed by Tom Hooper, it wowed festival circuit and went on to win Best Picture, becoming one of the highest grossing British films of all time. [Full review] [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

The Way Back (E1 Entertainment): Drama about a group of prisoners who break out of a Russian gulag in the early 1940s and venture across Asia in their escape. Directed by Peter Weir, it stars Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris and Colin Farrell and Saiorse Ronan. [Full review] [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

I Saw The Devil (Optimum Home Releasing): Dark and violent Korean thriller about a twisted serial killer (Choi Min-sik) and the man who pursues him (Lee Byung-hun). Directed Kim Ji-woon, it has attracted acclaim but also a degree of controversy for its more extreme scenes. [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

Blue Valentine (Optimum Home Releasing): Powerful US indie drama depicting how a couple (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) fall in (and out of) love over the course of several years. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, it reaped critical acclaim and Oscar nominations. [Full review] [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

Upside Down – The Story of Creation Records (Revolver Entertainment): British documentary about influential UK indie label Creation Records and their maeverick founder Alan McGhee, who signed acts such as Ride, Teenage Fanclub, My Bloody Valentine and Oasis. Directed by Danny O’Connor, it features interview with McGee and the bands he signed. [Full review] [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

Client 9 (Dogwoof): Documentary about the rise and fall of disgraced New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who was caught up in a prostitution scandal which triggered his resignation just a few months before the financial crisis in 2008. Directed by Alex Gibney. [Buy it on DVD]

ALSO OUT

Casshern Sins: Part 1 (Manga Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Chico and Rita (Cinema NX Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Civilisation: The Complete Series (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Laputa – Castle in the Sky (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
My Neighbours the Yamadas (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
The Pillow Book (Park Circus) [Blu-ray / DVD]

> UK Cinema Releases for Friday 6th May 2011
> The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010

The Sound of The King’s Speech

Soundworks have posted a lengthy interview with John Midgley on the sound of The King’s Speech.

Sound is obviously crucial to the story of the film and in this 30 minute interview the production sound mixer explains how the soundscape of the film was achieved.

Midgley worked on the first three Harry Potter films, Children of Men (2006) and Hotel Rwanda (2004) and was

The King’s Speech marks his second Oscar nomination and he was previously recognised for his work on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999).

> My LFF review of The King’s Speech
> John Midgely at the IMDb

BAFTA Backstage Interviews

BAFTA have posted a series of backstage interviews from last nights awards, including backstage chats with Colin Firth, Tom Hooper, David Seidler, Aaron Sorkin and Sir Christopher Lee.

N.B. The sound in some of these clips isn’t exactly awards worthy as Edith Bowman’s microphone doesn’t appear to be working properly.

Just click on the following links:

> Full list of BAFTA Nominations
> BAFTA

Rupert Murdoch on The King’s Speech

Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern has revealed that Lionel Logue helped cure Rupert Murdoch’s father of his stutter.

At the end of his most recent column, he writes about a recent conversation with his media mogul boss who asked him what he should see:

“With ‘The King’s Speech’ gaining the Oscar traction it deserves—the latest boost being an expression of approval from Queen Elizabeth—I can’t resist going public with a story that I’ve relished telling to friends, and to the people who made the movie. Several weeks before it opened, I had a conversation with Rupert Murdoch, who popped a question familiar to movie critics: What should he see?

I suggested “The King’s Speech,” and, not wanting to spoil it with too many details, gave a shorthand description: Colin Firth as King George VI, who has a terrible stutter, and Geoffrey Rush as a raffish Australian speech therapist.

Yes, he replied, Lionel Logue.

“So you know the story.”

Not the story of the movie, he said. “Lionel Logue saved my father’s life.”

When I responded with speechlessness, he explained that his father, as a young man, wanted passionately to be a newspaper reporter, but couldn’t interview people because he stuttered. Then he met Lionel Logue, who cured him in less than a year”

This is not the first time Keith Murdoch has been directly connected with a film.

After beginning his career in journalism with The Age in Melbourne he made a name for himself covering the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey, a military fiasco which was brought to the screen as Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981).

His son Rupert was by then a powerful newspaper owner and helped produce the film before going on to buy Twentieth Century Fox in 1985.

> Rupert Murdoch, Keith Murdoch and Lionel Logue at Wikipedia
> Gallipoli at IMDb
> Joe Morgenstern’s piece at the WSJ
> The King’s Speech LFF review

Tom Hooper wins the DGA award

Tom Hooper was the surprise winner of the DGA award last night for The King’s Speech.

Although David Fincher was favoured by many Oscar pundits after The Social Network dominated the season so far, Hooper won the union’s prize for outstanding achievement in feature film at last night’s ceremony in Hollywood.

The nominees were David Fincher (The Social Network), Christopher Nolan (Inception), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and David O. Russell (The Fighter), a line-up which was mirrored in the Oscar nominations, aside from Nolan who missed out there as the Coen Brothers (True Girt) were favoured by the Academy.

The DGA is a key award as only six times in 62 years has the winner not gone on to claim Best Director at the Oscars, with the most recent exception being 2003, when DGA winner Rob Marshall (Chicago) lost out to Roman Polanski (The Pianist).

With a just a month until the Oscars on February 27th, some are now predicting that The King’s Speech is now the favourite to beat The Social Network.

After the film about King George and his speech therapist won at the Producers Guild of America last weekend, it looked like the tide could be turning against Fincher’s film which had dominated the awards season so far.

But it looks like The King’s Speech will now be entering the final stretch as the favourite, although why does a gut feeling tell me that it’s not totally over for The Social Network?

> DGA awards
> Awards season analysis at In Contention, Awards Daily and Hollywood Elsewhere