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DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 5th September 2011

Including Once Upon a Time in the West, Kind Hearts and Coronets, 13 Assassins, The Panic in Needle Park, Scarface, Das Boot and Boyz N the Hood

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Once Upon A Time in the West (Paramount): Landmark 1969 Sergio Leone Western about the struggle to control water in a desert town which involves various characters: a mysterious loner (Charles Bronson), a ruthless killer (Henry Fonda), a bandit (Jason Robards) and a widow (Claudia Cardinale). Sumptuously shot in widescreen with Leone’s trademark visual flair, it also features a timeless score from Ennio Morricone and a script co-written by Leone, Dario Argento and Bernardo Bertolucci. This new Blu-ray features the theatrical and ‘restored’ cut, which are branched together, and the extras are ported over from the last DVD, with over an hour of featurettes and a great audio commentary featuring Sir Christopher Frayling, John Carpenter, Alex Cox, Sheldon Hall, John Milius and Claudia Cardinale. [Buy it on Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon UK]

Kind Hearts and Coronets (Optimum Home Entertainment): Vintage 1949 Ealing comedy about an outcast aristocrat (Dennis Price) who murders several members of a rich family, most of whom are played by Alec Guinness in a remarable performance. Directed by Robert Hamer, this version has been digitally restored and features an audio commentary by Peter Bradshaw, Terence Davies and Matthew Guinness (son of Alec), an audio interview with cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, a 1993 TV documentary about Dennis Price and an interesting Radio 3 documentary by Simon Heffer. [Buy it on Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon UK]

13 Assassins (Artificial Eye): Epic samurai film set in 1830s Japan where an evil young lord is pursued by a secret team of assassins. Directed by Takashi Miike, it stars Kōji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, YÅ«suke Iseya and was co-produced by Jeremy Thomas. Violent and stylish, it ranks amongst the director’s finest work, although viewers of a nervous disposition should be warned that it is not for the faint-hearted. [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon UK]

The Panic in Needle Park (Second Sight Films): The film which provided Al Pacino with his breakout role is also a vivid glimpse into the drug culture of New York in the early 1970s. Directed by Jerry Schatzberg, it charts the relationship between a small-time hustler (Pacino) and a drifting woman (Kitty Winn) as they live amongst a group of heroin addicts. [Read our full review here] [Buy it on DVD from Amazon UK]

Scarface (Universal): The violent 1983 crime drama about the rise of Cuban immigrant Tony Montana (Al Pacino) into a Miami druglord was initially shunned on release but has gathered a huge fanbase over the last 30 years. Directed by Brian De Palma and scripted by Oliver Stone, this violent update of the 1932 crime classic of the same name has a certain intensity and fine supporting roles for Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggia. [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD on Amazon UK]

Das Boot (Sony Pictures Home Ent.): Gripping 1981 drama about the crew on board a German submarine in the dying days of World War II. Establishing Wolfgang Petersen as an action director, it was the most expensive German film of its time ($12 million) and was adapted from the experiences of photographer Lothar-Guenther Buchheim (Herbert Gronemeyer). Starring Jürgen Prochnow, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch and Martin Semmelrogge, the Blu-ray features the 208 minute director’s cut and the original theatrical 149 minute version. [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon UK]

Boyz N the Hood (Sony Pictures Home Ent.): This 1991 drama about urban violence was a powerful debut from director John Singleton. It follows the story of contrasting characters struggling in South Central LA: Tré (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and his father (Laurence Fishburne); and Doughboy (Ice Cube) and Ricky (Morris Chestnut), who live with their mother (Tyra Ferrell). A critical and commercial success, Singleton was just 23 years old when he directed it and was nominated for Best Director and Screenplay. [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon UK]

Cathy Come Home (2entertain): Landmark 1966 TV drama directed by Ken Loach which tells the story of a young couple, Cathy (Carol White) and Reg (Ray Brooks) who struggle with poverty and unemployment in Britain. The documentary techniques used by Loach and its unflinching look at the darker edges of society meant it provoked a major public debate. [Buy it on DVD from Amazon]

ALSO OUT

A Little Bit of Heaven (EV)
Cobra (Warner Home Video)
Demolition Man (Warner Home Video)
Dexter: Season 5 (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Doubt (Miramax)
Fast and Furious 1-5 (Universal Pictures)
Fast and Furious 5 (Universal Pictures)
Fortress of War (G2 Pictures)
Modern Family: Complete Season 1 (20th Century Fox Home Ent.)
Modern Family: Seasons 1 and 2 (20th Century Fox Home Ent.)
Priest (Sony Pictures Home Ent.)
The Last Airbender (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Water for Elephants (20th Century Fox Home Ent.)

> UK Cinema Releases for Friday 2nd September 2011
> The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010