The Class (Artificial Eye): The surprise winner of this year’s Palme
d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival was this deceptively simple tale of a French teacher (François Bégaudeau) at a state school in Paris. The actual French title is ‘Entre Les Murs’ – which translates as ‘Between the walls’ – which is apt as the film never (apart from one shot at the beginning) strays outside the confines of the school.
Adapted from the 2006 novel of the same name by Bégaudeau, which in turn was based on his own real life experiences teaching in a Paris school, it is a rich and deeply satisfying film. Not only did it scrupulously avoid the cliches that can plaue films set inside schools, but also managed to offer a plausible snapshot of modern French society by focusing tightly on a class of pupils and their teachers.
Although it is shot in the widescreen aspect ratio of 2:35, the camera hangs tight on each character and never really gives us a look at the French city landscape. This might sound claustrophobic, but makes the lessons and world inside of the school (the staff room, the corridors, the playground) all come alive in an unexpectedly thrilling way.
Performances – especially from Bégaudeau and a very special cast of non-professional teenagers – were outstanding but the film also had a tremendous sense of humanity to it without ever slipping into cheap sentiment. An example of a rare film that touches the heart whilst engaging the brain, The Class is a gem that I would urge you to see.
Extras on the 2 disc DVD include:
- Anamorphic Widescreen
- DD5.1 Surround
- Interview with Director Laurent Cantet
- Extra Scenes with Commentary by Laurent Cantet and François Bégaudeau
- Rehearsals with the Students
- Student Self Portraits
- Making of Documentary
- Theatrical Trailer
Bolt (Disney): The first film from the rejuvenated Walt Disney Animation Studios headed by Pixar supremo John Lasseter tells the story of a dog named Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) who doesn’t realise that the TV show he stars in isn’t actually real. Also featuring the voices of Miley Cyrus, Malcolm McDowell, Susie Essman and Mark Walton, it was directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard. The effect of Lasseter overseeing this film has had a marked on effect on the animation and writing, which contains similar levels of wit and emotion apparent in the best Pixar movies.
On the single disc DVD the extras include:
- Bonus Short: Super Rhino – Rhino, the hyperactive hamster, gets a chance to headline his very own adventure
The 2-Disc DVD is as above, plus the following additional extras:
- “I Thought I Lost You” Music Video featuring the movie’s stars, Miley Cyrus and John Travolta.
- In Session with John Travolta and Miley Cyrus – A behind-the-scenes look at recording Bolt’s signature song “I Thought I Lost You.”
- A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmakers’ Journey – First-time directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard take fans along as they traverse the road from concept to completion.
- Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt – Viewers join the voice cast in session: John Travolta (Bolt), Miley Cyrus (Penny), Susie
Essman (Mittens), James Lipton (Director) and Mark Walton (Rhino).
- Creating The World of Bolt – Bolt’s painterly backgrounds have wowed audiences across the globe. The filmmakers explain how they fashioned the unique look of this CG movie.
- Deleted Scenes with optional introductions by directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard.
The Blu-ray Disc includes all of the extras found on the DVD editions plus the following exclusives:
- Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission – In order to defeat the Green-Eyed Man, Bolt has to find his way through three challenging levels in an exciting interactive game. Viewers can join in collecting clues, conquering ninjas and unleashing the power of the Super Bark!
- Bolt Art Gallery – Animation enthusiasts can check out the film’s early creative concepts in the Bolt Art Gallery, which contains the building blocks of a big screen blockbuster, from storyboards to character mock-ups. Gallery sections include Visual Development, Character Development, Storyboard Art and Color Script Images.
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Universal): A documentary about little-known Canadian metal band Anvil, whose 1982 album ‘Metal on Metal’ influenced a generation of heavy metal bands including Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, all of whom went on to sell millions of records. But Anvil’s career took a different path: straight to obscurity. The film tracks the band as they take an ill-advised European tour and release their 13th album in a last ditch attempt to hit the big time.
- Audio Commentary with Sacha Gervasi, Rebecca Yeldham and Andrew Dickler
- Audio Commentary with Sacha Gervasi, Robb Reiner and Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow
- Deleted Scenes (x5) (17mins)
- This Feels Good (interview with band) (13mins 37secs)
- Where are they now? (interview with the original band members) (3mins 9secs)
- Interview with Lars Ulrich (30mins 3secs)
- Sacha Gervasi Rocks with Anvil (4mins 15secs)
There is also a Limited Edition On Tour CD+DVD Edition (£24.99 RRP) that packages together the DVD with the “This Is Thirteen” CD. The track list for the CD follows:
- This Is Thirteen
- Bombs Away
- Burning Bridges
- Ready To Fight
- Flying Blind
- Room #9
- Axe To Grind
- Feed The Greed
- Big Business
- Should’ A Would’ A Could’ A
- Game Over
- American Refugee
Aria – Special Edition (Second Sight)
Chandni Chowk to China (Warner)
He’s Just Not That Into You (EIV)
Kingdom Series 2 (Acorn Media)
Max Manus – Man of Wa r(Revolver)
Ouran High School Host Club: Series 1 Part 2 (Manga)
Red Dwarf: Back to Earth (2 Entertain)
South Pacific (2 Entertain)
The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Icon)
The Italian Job – 40th Anniversary Special Edition (Paramount)
The Two Ronnies: Series 5 (2 Entertain)
Wainwright Walks Coast to Coast (Acorn Media)
Woodstock 3 Days of Peace & Music Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Warner)