DVD & Blu-ray releases

DVD Releases: Monday 11th August 2008


In Bruges (Universal): The tale of two Irish hit men (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who have been ordered to lie low in the Belgian city of Bruges is one of the funniest films to come out this year. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, who won an Oscar for his short film Six Shooter, this is features some glorious sequences, as well as some fine acting by the two leads with Ralph Fiennes in a key supporting role. [Read our full review here]

My Brother is an Only Child (Revolver): Adapted from the best-selling novel ‘Il Fasciocomunista’, this story of two feuding brothers, set amidst the politically charged Italy of the 60s and 70s, is a highly accomplished and involving film. Written and directed by Danielle Luchetti it stars Elio Germano and Riccardo Scamarcio as the two brothers.

Son of Rambow (Optimum): A charming British comedy about two young boys (Will Poulter and Bill Milner) in the mid-1980s who try to make an ultra low budget sequel to First Blood (the first Rambo movie) using a VHS camera and their own surroundings. Directed by Garth Jennings and also starring Jessica Hynes from Spaced.

[REC] (Contender): A contemporary Spanish horror in which a TV crew cover the night shift of a Barcelona fire station and follow a team as they respond to an event in mysterious apartment building. It plays like a Spanish version of The Blair Witch Project but also has it’s own sense of claustrophobia and tension. Directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza.


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

(To buy any of the DVDs above just click on the title and you will be redirected to our Amazon affiliate)

> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check
> Take a look at the current UK cinema releases

Cinema releases

Cinema Releases: Friday 8th August 2008

Here are the films out in UK cinemas this week.


The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor (12A): One of Universal’s tent pole releases for this summer got released on Wednesday to capitalise on the summer holiday. The third film in the action-adventure franchise pits Brendan Fraser against an ancient Chinese warrior, but all the special effects and epic scale of the film can’t hide Rob Cohen‘s sloppy direction and the fact that this franchise feels as dead as the title character. The waste of Asian icons like Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, plus the miscasting of Maria Bello (replacing Rachel Weisz) only adds to the sense of woe. [Opens nationwide]

The Fox And The Child (U): Director Luc Jacquet scored a surprise hit documentary in 2005 with March of the Penguins and his latest film is a simple but charming tale (narrated by Kate Winslet) of the relationship between a young French girl and the fox she befriends. Pathe have marketed this like a traditional children’s film and will be hoping for family audiences eager for something other than Kung Fu Panda or WALL-E. However, adults taking their kids may be pleasantly surprised at the thought and craft that has gone into making it.  [Opens nationwide]

* Listen to our interview with Luc Jacquet about The Fox and the Child *

Make It Happen (PG) Another dance film in the mould of Flashdance and Save the Last Dance which sees Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a young dancer trying to make the big time in Chicago. Optimum will be hoping that this attracts the Bebo demographic (the official UK site is hosted there) and follow in the footsteps of recent dance films that have done decent box office. [Opens nationwide]


Elegy (15): The latest adaptation of a Philip Roth novel hits the big screen with Ben Kingsley playing a cultural critic afraid of committing to a relationship with a younger woman (Penélope Cruz). Altough Roth has often been poorly served on the big screen, the choice of Isabel Coixet to direct proved an inspired one as she coaxes out fine performances from an impressive cast that also includes Dennis Hopper, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard and Debbie Harry. Entertainment will be hoping the solid name cast leads to decent business amongst more discerning audiences. [Opens in key cities]

* Listen to our interview with Ben Kingsley about Elegy *

Death Defying Acts (PG): This supernatural romantic thriller directed by Gillian Armstrong stars Guy Pearce as escapologist Harry Houdini in the height of his career in the 1920s. Despite the presence of co-star Catherine Zeta Jones this got released last month in the US by The Weinstein Company to mixed reviews and a distinct lack of fanfare. Lionsgate are releasing it over here (where it was largely filmed) but it’s prospects for making much cash look slim given the lack of marketing and awareness for it. (Opens in key cities]

Elite Squad (18): The winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival is a semi-fictional look at the BOPE (the Special Police Operations section of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police). It is the feature debut of director José Padilha, who had previously made the documentary Bus 174. Optimum will be looking for decent art house buzz and audiences hungry for another brutal slice of Brazilian realism. [Opens in key cities]

Blindsight (PG): Set against the backdrop of the Himalayas, this documentary directed by Lucy Walker follows six blind Tibetan teenagers as they climb a mountain in the shadow of Mount Everest. Spark Entertainment will be hoping this award winning and critically acclaimed documentary can generate good word of mouth in a limited release. [Opens at the ICA in London & selected key cities]

CJ7 (PG): A science fiction/comedy from Hong Kong co-written, co-produced and directed by Stephen Chow, who also stars in the film. [In limited release at London’s BFI Southbank]

Singh Is Kinng (PG): A Hindi film starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif that was mostly shot in Australia. The UK distribuotr is Studio 18. [Opens at the Cineworld in Ilford, Wood Green, Wandsworth & selected cinemas nationwide].

If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies (just enter your local postcode and search)
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> Check out the DVD releases for this week (W/C Monday 4th August)

DVD & Blu-ray releases

DVD Releases: Monday 4th August 2008

Here are the UK DVD releases for this week, along with our picks.


The Elephant Man – Special Edition (Optimum): The DVD highlight of the week is this special edition re-release of David Lynch’s superb 1980 period drama about the life of Joseph Merrick (he is named John on the film). Based on the real story of a man so disfigured he was dubbed ‘the Elephant Man’, it explores how he was taken in by a doctor and his struggle to be recognised as a dignified human being in Victorian London. [Read our full review here]

Escape From New York (Optimum): John Carpenter’s smart, dystopian thriller from 1981 gets re-released on regular DVD and Blu-ray. It imagines a futuristic New York where crime has spiralled out of control to the point where Manhattan has been turned into a maximum security prison. When Air Force One crashes over the island, the prison governor (Lee Van Cleef) recruits a notorious criminal named “Snake” Plissken (Kurt Russell) to go in and rescue the leader of the free world. The major snag is that he has less than 24 hours to complete his mission and must survive in a completely lawless and hostile environment. [Read our full review here]

Total Recall (Optimum): Optimum have released a selection of Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies from the 80s and 90s on regular DVD and Blu-ray. The best of these is this 1990 sci-fi adaptation of Philip K Dick‘s story ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale‘ directed by Paul Verhoeven, which stars the Teutonic Austrian as a blue collar worker who dreams of Mars. When he visits a company offering him a virtual holiday by implanting memories, it inadvertently unlocks his ‘real’ past as a secret agent and all hell breaks loose as he escapes to the red planet for real. [Read our full review here]


  • Aces: Iron Eagle III (Optimum): The third part of the series of films about a young fighter pilot that came out in the same year as the more successful of Top Gun.
  • Cliffhanger (Optimum): A Blu-Ray release for this surprisingly satisfying 1993 action film with Slyvester Stallone battling it out with a bunch of crooks on a mountain.
  • First Blood (Optimum): A Blu-Ray release for the first of the Rambo series – probably the best of the lot as it has a darker and more serious vibe, exploring a drifting Vietnam veteran (Sylvester Stallone) who is hunted by the police in Washington State.
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II (Optimum): A Blu-ray release for the 2nd of the Rambo films, which despite it’s confusing title was the most successful. A balls-to-the-wall 80s action film with Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) going back to Asia to get POWs missing in action from Vietnam. Efficiently done, even if the climactic speech is unintentionally hilarious.
  • Rambo III (Optimum): The 3rd Rambo film also gets the Blu-ray treatment and this is perhaps the most fascinating as the plot – set in 1988 – involves Rambo allying with freedom fighters in Afghanistan against the Russian invaders. These allies would of course go on to destroy the World Trade Centre spark global warfare, but as Stallone told me earlier this year ‘who knew?’.
  • Flash Gordon (Optimum): Mike Hodges’ 1980 film version of the famous comic book character gets a DVD release and although its just too campy and dated it does have its moments notably Brian Blessed‘s immortal cry of ‘Gordon’s Alive!’.
  • Hell’s Ground (TLA Releasing): A release for this ‘Danger After Dark’ title which is notable for being Pakistan’s “first-ever splatter flick” about zombies attacking teenagers in a remote location.
  • How She Move (Paramount): The current craze for dance themed movies continues with the release of this film about a young woman’s battle to escape her crime-filled neighbourhood through step-dancing.
  • Iron Eagle II (Optimum): The 1989 sequel to Iron Eagle, which saw a Perestroika-style team-up between US and Soviet forces in order to combat an unnamed Middle Eastern country.
  • Lupin the Third: Secret of Mamo (Manga): A release for this Manga film – the first of five animated features based on the popular Lupin the Third manga character created by ‘Monkey Punch’ (aka manga writer and illustrator Kazuhiko Kato).
  • Raw Deal (Optimum): A pedestrian Schwarzenegger vehicle from 1986 in which he plays a cop taking on the mob. The highlights were probably the tag line “NOBODY gives him a raw deal….” and the scene where he shoots someone and then pours sweets over them – indications that this probably wasn’t Arnold’s finest hour.
  • Red Heat (Optimum): One indication that the Cold War was coming to an end was that Russians started becoming allies in movies rather than villains. This 1988 action film saw Arnold Schwarzenegger play a Russian cop who comes to Chicago to hunt down a vicious fellow countryman (Ed O’Ross). James Belushi starred as the mismatched cop he must team up with, whilst Walter Hill directed.
  • Red Sonja (Optimum): A re-release for for this sword and sorcery action film in which Arnold Schwarzenegger took on more of a supporting role (despite the then recent success of the Conan films) and Bridgitte Nielsen took centre stage as a mystical warrior. Rose McGowan will soon star in a remake.
  • Space Adventure Cobra (Manga): Based on the comic books by Buichi Terasawa, this feature has been described as ‘an animated space opera packed with unfeasibly pneumatic heroines, psychedelic drug-inspired imagery, cracking cosmic combat sequences, a Darth Vader-like villain and a retro-styled, wise-cracking hero for whom saving the universe is about as taxing as a walk in the park’. Well that’s alright then.
  • Stargate- Special Edition (Optimum): The 1994 action film from director Roland Emmerich gets a regular DVD and Blu-ray re-release. Despite spawning a seemingly never-ending TV spin off, the action and effects hold up reasonably well in this tale of marines and a scientist finding a portal to another world.
  • The Arnold Schwarzenegger Collection (Optimum): A DVD box set of all the recent Schwarzenegger films re-released by Optimum in one handy package which includes: Total Recall, Raw Deal, Red Heat and Red Sonja.
  • The Fog (1979): A Blu-ray release for the John Carpenter original rather than the ropey 2005 remake. Be warned though that there are no extras on this disc, so only get it if you are dying to see it in HD.
  • Trouble in Mind (Nouveaux): A re-release for this 1985 neo-crime drama directed by Alan Rudolph and starring Kris Kristofferson, Keith Carradine, Lori Singer, Genevieve Bujold, Joe Morton and Divine.
  • Vantage Point (Sony): A regular DVD and Blu-ray release for this thriller about an assassination in Spain on the US president, seen from multiple perspectives. Directed by Pete Travis, it stars Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, Édgar Ramírez and William Hurt.

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

(To buy any of the DVDs above just click on the title and you will be redirected to our Amazon affiliate)

> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check
> Take a look at the current UK cinema releases

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.

(To buy any of the DVDs above just click on the title and you will be redirected to our Amazon affiliate)

> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check

Cinema releases

Cinema Releases: Friday 25th July 2008

Every Friday from now on I’m going to post a breakdown of what’s being released in UK cinemas be it a big, small or medium sized release.

I’ve broken it down into national releases (e.g. films that play on multiplexes in most towns and cities) and limited releases (which basically means the big UK cities and other places with an arthouse cinema).

Hopefully you’ll find it a helpful guide to what’s on and – as ever – if you have any information or feedback just get in touch.

Plus, you can also check out our recent DVD release breakdown if you fancy staying in.

The UK cinema releases this week include: The Dark KnightBaby Mama and Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging.


The Dark Knight (12A): The new Batman film arrives in the UK on a wave of hype, critical acclaim, record breaking box office numbers and news that Batman himself (or rather Christian Bale) has been questioned by police(!). Warner Bros’ accountants must already be giddy, counting the $158m it took in the US last weekend – breaking the 3-day opening weekend record. It looks set to dominate UK cinemas this week and also opens in IMAX on the same day, with previews yesterday (Thursday).

Baby Mama (12A): The female orientated alternative to the Batman juggernaught is a comedy with Tina Fey as a career woman in Philadelphia who can’t have children and has to recruit a surrogate mother (Amy Poehler) who has a very different outlook on life. Universal will hope that this will act as counter-programming to The Dark Knight but with Mamma Mia already taking up that slack, things might prove tough for this comedy.

Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging (12A): Based on Louise Rennison‘s novel Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, this is Paramount’s attempt to offer an alternative to the caped crusader. This might have a better shot than Baby Mama as it is appealing to a younger demographic but it will be interesting to see how it shapes up to


The following films are released in selected cinemas nationwide, which usually means a large city or a place with a decent arthouse cinema. Check local listings (like Google Movies) to see if any are near you.

Before The Rains (12A):A limited release in key cities for the second film from Indian director Santosh Sivan set during the twilight years of British colonial rule, about a tea plantation owner (Linus Roache) having an affiar with a young Indian servant (Nandita Das).

Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame (PG) Slingshot Studios are releasing this Iranian film about the destruction by the Taliban of the gigantic statue of Buddha in 2001, as seen through the eyes of children. It is in a limited run at the ICA cinema in London before going out to selected cities from August (dates TBC).

Lou Reed’s Berlin (12A): Artificial Eye give a release in selected cinemas for this concert film by Julian Schnabel of Lou Reed performing his acclaimed album Berlin in St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn back in December 2006.

Money Hai To Honey Hai (Eros): A release in key cities for this Bollywood film about six different characters getting a text message informing them that they own a big company but must also repay it’s debts.

Paris (15): Optimum give a release in key cities for this new film by Cédric Klapisch concerning a large group of people living in Paris. It stars Juliette Binoche, Romain Duris, François Cluzet, Maurice Bénichou and Karin Viard.

Quiet City & Dance Party: A double bill of low-budget short features from young American film-maker Aaron Katz that is showing at the ICA Cinema in London.

If you have any questions about this week’s cinema releases or any upcoming titles then just email me or leave a comment below.

> Get local showtimes via Google Movies
> Find out about films showing near you at MyFilms
> See what’s out on DVD this week