DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD Releases: Monday 27th April 2009

DVD Picks 27-04-09


Dean Spanley (Icon): A quirky period piece set in the Edwardian era it tells the story of a father (Peter O’Toole) and son (Jeremy Northam) who attend a lecture by a visiting Hindu Swami (Art Malik). There they encounter Dean Spanley (Sam Neill), with whom Henslowe strikes up an unlikely friendship. Based on the 1936 novella by Irish author Lord Dunsany it is directed by Toa Fraser from a screenplay by Alan Sharp.

Extras include:

  • Stereo and 5.1 Surround audio 
  • Making of featurette 
  • Cast and crew interviews

Although it didn’t get a huge cinema release, it is well worth getting on DVD.

* Listen to my interview with director Toa Fraser

North Face (Metrodome): A tense documentary that relives 48 hours in the lives of the two climbers who scaled the eponymous wall of the Eiger Mountain in 1936. Directed by Philipp Stölzl and starring Benno FürmannFlorian Lukas and Georg Friedrich.

Extras include:

  • Making Northface
  • Visual Effects Of ‘Nothface”
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Interview With Philipp Stoelzl and Kolja Brandt
  • The Myth Of The Eiger North Face
  • Timeline Of Attempts On The Eiger Mountain
  • Cast & Crew Biographies
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • UK Exclusive Trailer

Trouble the Water (ICA): An Oscar-nominated documentary that follows the story of aspiring rap artist and self proclaimed hustler Kimberly Rivers Roberts and her husband Scott as they try to survive the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina



A Bunch of Amateurs (EIV)
Afro Samurai: Resurrection (Manga)
Arabian Nights (BFI)
Ashanti (Arrow Films)
Australia (Fox)
Baba Yaga: The Final Cut (Shameless)
Barquero (Optimum)
Bedtime Stories (Disney)
Billy Two Hats (Optimum)
Black Emanuelle 2 (Severin)
Boogeyman 3 (Icon)
City Rats (Revolver)
Cold Prey 2: Resurrection (Momentum)
Cold Prey Boxset (Momentum)
Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (2 Entertain)
For Those in Peril (Optimum)
Frost On Sunday (Network)
Gunfight at Dodge City (Optimum)
Hannah Takes the Stairs (ICA)
Henry: Mind of a Tyrant (2 Entertain)
Manhunt – The Complete Series (Network)
My Learned Friend (Optimum)
Odds Against Tomorrow (Optimum)
Paris is Burning (Second Sight)
Shabby Tiger – Complete Series (Network)
Sometimes a Great Notion (Optimum)
Stormy Weather (Network)
Supernatural Season 4 (Warner)
The Canterbury Tales (BFI)
The Decameron (BFI)
The Exterminating Angels (Axiom Films)
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (2 Entertain)
The King and Four Queens (Optimum)
The L Word Season 5 (Fox)
The Private Life of Henry VIII (Network)
The Promise (Momentum)
The Small Back Room (Optimum)
Time Trumpet (2 Entertain)
Trouble Brewing (Optimum)
What Just Happened (Pathe)
Zulu Dawn (Arrow Films)


> Buy Dean SpanleyNorth Face and Trouble the Water at Amazon UK
> 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 (W/C Friday 24th April)

Cinema Festivals Interviews London Film Festival

Interview: Toa Fraser on Dean Spanley

Dean Spanley is a new film based on the novella by Irish author Lord Dunsany.

Set in the Edwardian era it is the story of a father (Peter O’Toole) and son (Jeremy Northam) who attend a lecture by a visiting Hindu Swami (Art Malik).

There they encounter Dean Spanley (Sam Neill), with whom, after a series of chance encounters, Henslowe strikes up an unlikley friendship.

It screened at the London Film Festival last Friday and I spoke to the director Toa Fraser earlier that afternoon.

You can listen to the interview here:


You can also download it as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Dean Spanley is out at UK cinemas on December 12th 2008

Download this interview as an MP3 file
Dean Spanley at the IMDb
> Toa Fraser at the IMDb
> Rotten Tomatoes UK visit the set

Festivals London Film Festival

LFF 2008: Day 3

BFI Southbank and IMAX

One of the nice things about the London Film Festival is that a lot of filmmakers are in town and today I spoke to Toa Fraser, who is the director of Dean Spanley, which screened tonight at the Odeon West End.

Set at the turn of the twentieth century and based on the novel by Baron Dunsany, it deals with a misanthropic old man (Peter O’Toole) who unexpectedly re-lives happy and painful memories thanks to the revels of a drunken curate (Sam Neill).

I’ll put the interview with Toa up on the site in the next 48 hours.

In the evening I saw the new Bond film Quantum of Solace, which aside from being one of the biggest films of the year is also having it’s first public showing as part of the festival on Wednesday 29th.

It might seem strange for such a commercial film to be part of a festival that showcases a diverse selection of films but from the organisers point of view it is a bit of a no-brainer.

Not only will the spotlight on a Bond world premiere help illuminate other parts of the festival, but the fact that 007 (like Harry Potter) is one of the few British cinema icons that connect to audiences on a global level.

The head of Sony Pictures UK (who are distributing the movie here) said before the film began that it was the first time anyone had seen it, so anticipation was high.

In many ways it delivered the goods with Daniel Craig’s more serious Bond working as well as it did in Casino Royale.

Although it looks good and will no doubt do great business at the box office, I do having a nagging doubt as to whether Marc Forster was the right director for this kind of material.

What’s odd about the film is that there seems to be more action than usual (even for a Bond film) but it’s a bit rushed and a lot of the set pieces lack the finesse and ingenuity of more contemporary rivals like The Bourne Ultimatum or The Dark Knight.

It is the character based sequences that actually work better, with the relationships between Bond, M (Judi Dench), Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and Camille (Olga Kurylenko) portrayed with the kind of wit and subtley that might surprise some audiences.

Another aspect to the film that might attract some column inches is the rather dark – if entirely plausible – view of the United States as a cynical and amoral superpower. Even the British don’t escape unscathed with one scene appearing to hint at the Blairite acquiescence to the Bush administration in the war on terror.

For more thoughts on the film check out my post here.

Quantum of Solace screens at the festival next week before opening everywhere on October 31st.

Dean Spanley opens in the UK on December 12th

> Quantum of Solace and Dean Spanley at the LFF site
> My first thoughts on Quatum of Solace
> Toa Fraser at the IMDb