DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 19th September 2011


United 93 (Universal Pictures): Depicting the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93, this drama is a searing depiction of the 9/11 attacks. Directed by Paul Greengrass, it utilises the drama-documentary techniques he used in Bloody Sunday (2002) to create a hyper-realistic style, culminating in an extended sequence that depicts the flight in real time. Made in cooperation with many of the passengers’ families, the disc also contains a documentary about their involvement and another detailing the air traffic controllers who recount their experiences of 9/11. The audio commentary by Greengrass is illuminating and goes into considerable detail about how the events were realised on screen. [Buy it on Blu-ray or DVD]

Attack the Block (Optimum Home Entertainment): One of the most entertaining films of the year so far was about a group of teenagers on a South London estate having to deal with an alien invasion. Directed by Joe Cornish, it puts a lot of other homegrown British movies to shame, by being genuinely exciting and funny. Look out for some killer night-time cinematography from Tom Townend and clever visual effects courtesy of Double Negative and Fido. Plus, the film seems to have taken on a weird new new layer of meaning in light of the recent London riots. [Buy it on Blu-ray with DVD] [Read our longer review]

Being John Malkovich (Universal Pictures): One of the most bizarrely inventive films of the 1990s sees a struggling puppeteer (John Cusack) accidentally discovers a portal into the brain of John Malkoich (played by John Malkovich). The resulting havoc it plays on his work colleague (Catherine Keener) and wife (Cameron Diaz) is brilliantly realised by screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze. One of the best films of 1999, which given the quality of that year, is high praise indeed. [Buy it on Blu-ray or DVD]

Quatermass and the Pit (Optimum Home Entertainment): Vintage 1967 British sci-fi horror sequel to the earlier Hammer films The Quatermass Xperiment and Quatermass 2. Like those, it was based on a BBC series and stars Andrew Keir as the eponymous professor, instead of Brian Donlevy who previously filled the the role. Directed by Roy Ward Baker, it co-stars James Donald, Barbara Shelley and Julian Glover. Look out for the exclusive cover art by Olly Moss, new interviews with casts and crew and an audio commentary Nigel Kneale and Roy Ward Baker. [Buy it on Blu-ray with DVD]

1991: The Year Punk Broke (UMC): Music documentary directed by Dave Markey that follows Sonic Youth on tour in Europe in 1991. Featuring candid footage of the band, it is also a valuable document of bands they toured at the time such as Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Mudhoney and Hole. [Buy it on DVD]


Arthur (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray + DVD and Digital Copy – Triple Play]
Big Jake (Paramount Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Billy Elliot (Universal Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Cedar Rapids (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Collector’s Edition (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Box Set]
Daft Punk: Interstella 5555 (Virgin Records) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Dark Star (Fabulous Films) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 – Rodrick Rules (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Glee: Season 2 (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
How to Make It in America: Season 1 (Warner Home Video/HBO) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Johnny English (Universal Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Nikita: Season 1 (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Rambo: The Complete Collection (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Box Set]
Rio Lobo (Paramount Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Seasons 1-5 (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Box Set]
Superbad (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Constant Gardener (Universal Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Da Vinci Code (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Girl… Trilogy – Extended Versions (Momentum Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Green Hornet (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / 3D Edition]
The Karate Kid (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Persuaders: Complete Series (Network) [Blu-ray / Box Set]
Tomorrow, When the War Began (Paramount Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Twilight Zone – The Original Series: Season 4 (Fremantle Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Box Set]
Unknown (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Weekender (Momentum Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]

> UK Cinema Releases for Friday 16th September 2011
> The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 13th May 2011


Attack The Block (Optimum Releasing): An horror-comedy-action film about a group of teenagers who have to fend for themselves when aliens attack their South London council estate. Directed by Joe Cornish, it stars John Boyega, Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker and Luke Treadaway. [Nationwide / 15] [Read our full review]

Take Me Home Tonight (Universal): Comedy set in the 1980s which follows an aimless college grad (Topher Grace) who pursues his dream girl at a wild weekend party. Directed by Michael Dowse, it co-stars Anna Faris and Dan Fogler. [Nationwide]

Red Hill (Momentum): Australian thriller about a young police officer (Ryan Kwanten) who must survive his first day’s duty in a remote country town. Directed by Otto Jespersen, it co-stars Tommy Lewis, Patrick Hughes. [Nationwide / 15]

The Way (Icon): An American father (amrtin Sheen) travels to France to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the Route Napoleon. Directed by Emilio Estevez, it co-stars Deborah Kara Unger and James Nesbitt. [Nationwide / 12A]


Taxi Driver (park Circus): 35th anniversary re-release for Martin Scorsese’s classic 1976 drama about a cab driver (Robert De Niro) who gradually finds himself isolated in New York. Co-starring Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle and Cybill Shepherd. [Key Cities / 18] [Read our full review]

A Screaming Man (Soda Pictures): African drama about a hotel pool attendant in Chad and his relationship with his son. Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, it stars Diouc Koma, Emile Abossolo M’Bo and Youssouf Djaoro. [Key Cities / 15]

Love Like Poison (Artificial Eye): French coming-of-age drama about a young teenage girl struggling to cope with her parent’s splitting. Directed by Katell Quillevere, it stars Clara Augarde, Lio, Michel Galabru, Stefano Cassetti, Thierry Neuvic and Youen Leboulanger-Gourvil. [Key Cities / 15]

After The Apocalypse (Dartmouth Films): Documentary about the aftermath of Soviet nuclear testing in Kazakhstan. Directed by Antony Butts, it features Bibigul Balargazinov and Dr Toleukhan Nurmagambetov. [Selected cinemas]

> Get local cinema showtimes at Google Movies or FindAnyFilm
UK DVD & Blu-ray releases for Monday 9th May 2011, including The King’s Speech, The Way Back, I Saw The Devil and Blue Valentine

Cinema Reviews

Attack the Block

Combining genres with considerable confidence and skill, this anarchic alien-invasion film marks a highly promising directorial debut for Joe Cornish.

Set during the course of one night on a South London council estate, Attack the Block begins when a gang of youths – Moses (John Boyega), Pest (Alex Esmail), Dennis (Franz Drameh), Jerome (Leeon Jones) and Biggz (Simon Howard) come across an alien creature falling from the sky.

After killing it, they realise it is the start of a bigger invasion and retreat to their tower block, where they fend off their attackers along with the local pot dealer (Nick Frost), a posh neighbour (Luke Treadaway), a nurse they previously mugged (Jodie Whitaker) and the local drug lord (Jumayn Hunter), who is out for revenge.

What’s immediately apparent about the film is the pacing and movement, as it plunges the audience straight into the action and doesn’t let up for the lean, 87 minute running time.

The main influences seem to be the genre films that Cornish grew up watching: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), The Warriors (1979), Escape from New York (1981), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Thing (1982), Gremlins (1984) and Aliens (1986).

But these films are funnelled into something lighter and uniquely British, without getting bogged down by the ponderous clichés that can often infect filmmaking from these shores.

Whereas some British directors shy away from excitement and humour, here they are ramped to the max and the end result not only features some memorable set-pieces but is genuinely thrilling and funny.

In particular, the excellent night-time cinematography by Tom Townend and fluid editing by Jonathan Amos give everything the sheen of a much bigger movie, which is all the more impressive for a modestly-budgeted UK production.

The young actors who play the gang, especially John Boyega as the ringleader Moses, are perfectly cast and wisely there isn’t any clumsy attempt made to sandpaper down their actions or characters as they try to survive the night.

Some moments feel like a mammoth piss take of recent UK urban dramas such as Kidulthood (2006) and Adulthood (2008), with frequent use of urban slang (especially the term ‘fam’, which seems like it gets used over 200 times).

But overall it manages to poke good-natured fun at all the characters who reside in the tower block as they unite against a common enemy.

The aliens themselves are an interesting creation, coming across as dark ape-like creatures with radioactive teeth, and the practical and CG effects (by Mike Elizalde and Double Negative respectively) are highly effective for the most part.

Steven Price’s electronic score, with contributions from Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe of Basement Jaxx, fits the setting well and ramps up the tension during the action set-pieces.

Given the pacing and genre trappings, it has major potential for a mainstream crossover success, although I suspect that the local slang used by the gang will prove impenetrable to mainstream US – and maybe some UK – audiences.

Despite this, it has a visual panache and sense of movement that could speak to audiences on a deeper, more visceral level and it could end up as a fan favourite in years to come.

Edgar Wright is a friend and collaborator of Cornish (even serving as producer on this film) and Attack the Block takes John Carpenter to South London in the same way that Shaun of the Dead (2004) took George A Romero to the North.

Both wear their influences firmly on their sleeve, but mash them up to create something vibrant, cinematic and funny.

> Official site
> More on Joe Cornish at Wikipedia
> Reviews of Attack the Block at IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes


Trailer: Attack the Block

This is the first trailer for Attack the Block, the new horror-comedy directed by Joe Cornish about aliens attacking a council estate in South East London.

Is it just me, or does it seem like a gigantic piss-take of Noel Clarke‘s films?

Attack the Block comes out on in the UK on Friday 13th May

> Official site
> Joe Cornish at the IMDb