DVD & Blu-ray releases

DVD Releases: Monday 28th July 2008

The DVD highlights in the UK this week include: Funny Games US, Paris Texas, and The Terence Davies Trilogy and Wings of Desire.

Our picks for DVDs released on Monday 28th July are:

  • Funny Games US (Halcyon): A dark and often brutal shot-for-shot remake of the 1997 original made again by Austrian director Michael Haneke. Tim Roth and Naomi Watts plays a well-to-do couple terrorised at their holiday home by two mysterious young men (Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet). Although parts of it are difficult to endure, it is fascinating to compare it to the original.
  • Paris, Texas (Axiom): One of the iconic art house movies of the 80s gets a re-release and it stars Harry Dean Stanton as a drifter taken in by his brother (Dean Stockwell), trying to put his life back together with his wife Jane (Nastassja Kinski), and son Hunter (Hunter Carson). A fascinating slice of Americana seen through the eyes of German director Wim Wenders, it is notable for the fine performances, beautiful images of the Texan landscape and a truly memorable slide guitar score by Ry Cooder.
  • Wings of Desire (Axiom): Another iconic 80s art house movie by Wim Wenders also gets re-released, the story of a guardian angel (Bruno Ganz) who wants to be human. Made in 1987, before the collapse of the Berlin wall, it is a beautiful meditation on mortality, existence and the German capital. The extras include a feature-length commentary by Wim Wenders and Peter Falk, along with some deleted scenes and a featurette.
  • The Terence Davies Trilogy (BFI): A re-release of the early films of Terence Davies, presented as a trilogy. Children (1976) shows the central character Robert Tucker as a child bullied by his contemporaries, his Catholic schoolteachers, and his father. Madonna and Child (1980) explores Tucker’s middle-age as a  Liverpool office worker struggling with his sexuality and his Catholic faith. Death and Transfiguration (1983) shows Tucker as an old man in hospital, haunted by his troubled life. All have been re-released in one box set by the BFI.

Also out are the following titles:

  • 27 Dresses (Fox): A romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl going to a lot of weddings.
  • American Crude (Sony): A comedy with Rob Schneider, Ron Livingston and Jennifer Esposito about a group of strangers whose lives collide during one ‘crazy’ night.
  • Big Stan (Momentum): Rob Schneider stars in this comedy set inside a prison.
  • Black Five: The Last Days of Steam (BFI): Three films by Paul Barnes that explore the last days of steam trains with footage from the BFI National Archive.
  • Bloodbath at the House of Death (Nucleus Films): 1984 cult horror spoof gets released on DVD for the first time with a long list of UK actors and comedians including Kenny Everett, Pamela Stephenson, Gareth Hunt, Don Warrington, John Fortune and Vincent Price.
  • Death Note (4Digital Media): A live-action version of the hit manga film, directed by Shusuke Kaneko.
  • Death Note Volume 2 (Viz Media/Manga Entertainment): The second volume of the animated manga adaptation about the story of Light Yagami – a school kid who gets the power of life and death in his hands in the form of ‘the Death Note’.
  • Eden Log (Momentum): The debut film by director Franck Vestiel is a sci-fi thriller starring Clovis Cornillac in a tale of a man who wakes up in a dark and mysterious undergound world.
  • Flash Gordon: The Complete Series (Contender): First series of the updated Flash Gordon TV show.
  • Four Minutes (Peccadillo Pictures): A German drama from directed by Chris Kraus about the relationship between a female prisoner and an older piano teacher.
  • Heroes – Season 2 (Universal Playback): The second season of the hit US show about a collection of different people with super powers.
  • Kings of the Road (Axiom): Another Wim Wenders re-release, this is the final film in his road movie trilogy (the first two being Alice in the Cities and Wrong Move).
  • Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (BFI): A musical by French director Jacques Demy (who made The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) with Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac, which is a tribute to the Hollywood musicals and even features an appearance by Gene Kelly. Released in the UK on DVD for the first time by the BFI, this 1996 restoration comes in a 2-disc set that also features a documentary by Agnès Varda.
  • Let’s Get Lost (Metrodome): A documentary by director Bruce Weber about life and music of legendary jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.
  • Reservation Road (Universal): A drama directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) about two fathers as their respective families as they converge after the events of one fateful night. Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly and Mira Sorvinostar.
  • The Gerard Depardieu Collection (Optimum): A box set celebrating the famous French leading man, which includes Buffet Froid, Mon Pere Ce Hero, Le Colonel Chabert and Tous Les Matins du Monde.
  • The Kovak Box (DNC Entertainment): A thriller with Timothy Hutton as a bestselling author caught up in a series of deaths in Majorca.
  • The Long Day Closes (BFI): Another Terence Davies film gets a re-release with this 1992 film focusing on his own memories of growing up in a working-class Catholic family in Liverpool.
  • Under the Bombs (Artificial Eye): Drama exploring the 2006 Lebanese-Israeli conflict about mother’s frantic search for her lost child amongst Lebanon’s bombed out ruins.
  • Uniform (Axiom): Chinese thriller directed by Yinan Diao about the corrupting influence of poverty in contemporary China.

If you have any questions about this week’s DVD releases or any upcoming titles then just email me.

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