Categories
DVD & Blu-ray

DVD & Blu-ray Picks: July 2014

Untitled-1


DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

> DVD & Blu-ray Picks for June 2014
> The Best DVD and Blu-rays of 2013

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray Lists

The Best DVD & Blu-rays of 2013

The Best DVD and Blu-rays of 2013

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS FOR 2013

  • Billy Liar¬†(StudioCanal) / Blu-ray
  • The Impossible¬†(Entertainment One) / Blu-ray and Normal
  • Amateur¬†(Artificial Eye Blu-ray / Normal
  • One Hour Photo¬†(20th Century Fox Home Ent.) / Blu-ray and Normal /
  • Rear Window¬†(Universal Pictures) Blu-ray / Normal /
  • The Birds¬†(Universal Pictures) Blu-ray / 50th Anniversary Edition /
  • Bullhead¬†(Soda Pictures) Blu-ray / Normal /
  • The Sessions¬†(20th Century Fox Home Ent.) Blu-ray with Digital Copy ‚Äď Double Play /
  • Blow Out¬†(Arrow Video) Blu-ray Special Edition /
  • My Left Foot¬†(ITV DVD) Blu-ray / Normal /
  • The Unbelievable Truth¬†(Artificial Eye) Blu-ray / Normal /

> The Best DVD & Blu-ray Releases of 2012
> 2013 in Film

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 10th May 2010

[ad]

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Doctor Zhivago (Warner Home Video): David Lean‘s epic adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s novel explores the impact of the Russian Revolution on several characters:¬†poet and physician Yuri Zhivago (Omar Sharif); his wife Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin), his mistress and true love Lara (Julie Christie), the scheming politician Komarovsky (Rod Steiger); Zhivago’s half-brother Yevgraf (Alec Guinness) and the mysterious Strelnikoff (Tom Courteney).

A sweeping romance told in flashback, it was nominated for 10 Oscars and won 5, though much to Lean’s chagrin it lost Best Picture to The Sound of Music. Full of stunning imagery and sequences, including a frozen dacha, the cavalry charge in Moscow and a battle seen through a pair of spectacles, it is tailor made for the Blu-ray format. Warner Bros appear to have done an amazing job on the transfer and ¬†extras include everything from the previous 2-disc DVD edition, plus a new 40-minute documentary, with the discs coming in a large 50-page digi-book including photos, essays and bios. [Blu-ray / DVD]

Where the Wild Things Are (Warner Home Video): Maurice Sendak’s much loved 1963 children’s book has been expanded to a feature length film about a young boy (Max Records) who ventures to a magical land where he is anointed king by a group of strange creatures. Charming and beautifully filmed, it marks a change of pace for director Spike Jonze, who deserves credit Рalong with co-screenwriter Dave Eggers Рfor preserving the spirit and tone of the book.

The casting is excellent. Records is not a typical child actor and has a pleasingly raw charm. The voices of the wild things are superb with James Gandolfini an inspired choice as Carol (the wild thing Max becomes closest to) as it brilliantly plays off his Sopranos persona, highlighting his joy, vulnerability and anger. Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose and Paul Dano also chip in with excellent vocal performances, making their characters as varied and complex as they should be. The Australian locations are also beautifully captured by cinematographer Lance Acord. The transfer is good (although a little dark in places) and the extras are solid, featuring an array of amusing videos from the set. [Blu-ray / DVD]

A Scanner Darkly (Warner Home Video): The best adaptation of a Philip K Dick novel since Blade Runner is this 2006 film set in a not-too-distant future where America has lost its “war” on drugs, and an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) is one of many people hooked on Substance D, which causes its users to develop split personalities, which causes majors problem in trying to track down a notorious drug dealer and figuring out who he really is.

Directed by Richard Linklater, it was filmed in live-action, and then animated using the same process used in his previous film, “Waking Life”, which perfectly suits the paranoid themes of the book which include the perils of drug abuse the surveillance society. Beacuse this was transfered directly from a digital source, it looks pristine with with terrific detail and depth. The extras are the same as the DVD release, including two insightful featurettes “One Summer in Austin: Filming A Scanner Darkly” (26 mins) and and “The Weight of the Line: Animation Tales” (20 mins), both of which include a lot of video diary footage. The audio commentary from Linklater, Phillip K. Dick’s daughter Isa Dick-Hackett and producer Tommy Pallotta is also very insightful with regard to Dick’s life and work. [Blu-ray / Normal]

[ad]

ALSO OUT

44 Inch Chest (Momentum Pictures) [Blu-ray /DVD]
Adoration (Drakes Avenue Pictures) [DVD]
Battlestar Galactica: Seasons 1-5 (Universal/Playback) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (Universal/Playback) [Blu-ray / Box Set]
Caligula: Uncut Edition (Arrow Films) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Charlie Chaplin: The Great Dictator (Park Circus) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Charlie Chaplin: The Kid (Park Circus) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Delgo (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [DVD]
Departures (Arrow Films) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Dorothy (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Eric Rohmer: The Essential Eric Rohmer (Artificial Eye) [DVD]
George Carlin: Collection – Volume 2 (Anchor Bay Entertainment UK)
It’s Complicated (Universal Pictures) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Nowhere Boy (Icon Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Paul Blart – Mall Cop (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / DVD]
The Day of the Jackal (UCA) [DVD]
Toy Story/Toy Story 2 (Walt Disney) [Blu-ray / DVD]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for Friday 7th April including A Mightmare on Elm Street, Hot Tub Time Machine and Four Lions

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 3rd May 2010

[ad]

Me and Orson Welles (cinemaNX): This enjoyable period drama set in 1937 is about a teenager (Zac Efron) who joins the Mercury Theatre production of ‚ÄúJulius Ceasar‚ÄĚ directed by a young Orson Welles (Christian McKay). Directed by Richard Linklater and co-starring Claire Danes, it was shot in the Isle of Man back in the spring of 2008 and lingered on the shelf after failing to get a distributor at various festivals. However, production company CinemaNX released it theatrically themselves (a rarity for a national release in the UK) sharing print and ad costs with Vue Entertainment. For the DVD release they have struck an exclusive arrangement with supermarket behemoth Tesco. [DVD]

The Railway Children (Optimum Home Entertainment): Adapted from E. Nesbit‚Äôs novel, Lionel Jeffries 1970 film adaptation quickly established itself as perennial favourite amongst family audiences and after a re-release at cinemas last month arrives on DVD and Blu-ray. It is the tale of a family forced to move from London to a house in Yorkshire after the father is imprisoned on a mysterious charge. There the three children, Roberta (Jenny Agutter), Peter (Gary Warren) and Phyllis (Sally Thomsett), are entranced by the nearby railway and become friendly with the locals, such as the station porter (Bernard Cribbins) and the Old Gentleman (William Mervyn) who takes the 9:15 train. It was a critical success on its initial release ‚Äď receiving three BAFTA nominations ‚Äď and has since become a much loved film through regular broadcasts on television. [Blu-ray |¬†DVD]

* Listen to our interview with Jenny Agutter about The Railway Children *

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for Friday 30th April including Iron Man 2 and The Disappearence of Alice Creed

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 19th April 2010

[ad]

UK DVD & BLU-RAY RELEASES

The Last Emperor (Optimum Home Entertainment): Bernardo Bertolucci‘s 1987 epic explores the extraordinary life of Puyi, who became the Emperor of China at the age of 3 and ended up as a lowly gardener after his country was engulfed by twentieth century events. Told in flashback, the epic scope of the narrative is matched by the lavish visuals which include remarkable use of real life locations in China. It was the first Western production allowed to shoot inside Beijing’s Forbidden City and the recreation of various historical periods remains a remarkable technical achievement. Vittorio Storaro‘s sumptuous cinematography matches his finest work and the film deservedly won nine Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. [Buy the Blu-ray / Buy the DVD]

Inland Empire (Optimum Home Entertainment): Director David Lynch followed up the critically acclaimed Mulholland Drive with an even weirder mystery. Shot on digital video, it tells the story of an actress (Laura Dern) who becomes ever more disturbed after her strange experiences with a director (Jeremy Irons); her co-star (Justin Theroux; husband (Peter J. Lucas). Add to this a strange Polish couple and a trio of giant stage-bound rabbits (voiced by Naomi Watts, Scott Coffey and Laura Harring) and you have arguably Lynch’s most surreal film. Shot over two and a half years, without a formal script, the bizarre symbolism and obtuse narrative are strangely compelling. Not for everyone but for Lynch fans it is an essential purchase. [Buy the Blu-ray / Buy the DVD]

ALSO OUT

Earth: The Complete Series (2 Entertain) [DVD]
Hamlet (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Nine (EV) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Poseidon (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Stag Night (Kaleidoscope Home Ent.) [DVD]
The Box [Icon Home Entertainment] [Blu-ray]
The Men Who Stare at Goats (Momentum Pictures) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Bitch Slap (Momentum Pictures) [DVD]
Boogie Woogie (E1 Entertainment UK) [DVD]
The Stepfather (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [DVD]
The Thick of It: Collection (2 Entertain) [DVD]
The Thick of It: Series 3 (2 Entertain) [DVD]

[ad]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for Friday 16th April including The Ghost and Cemetery Junction

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 12th April 2010

[ad]

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

The Bicycle Thieves (Arrow Films): A welcome re-release for Vittorio De Sica‘s classic 1947¬†neorealist film about desperation and struggle in post-war Italy, is the tale of a poor man (Lamberto Maggiorani) and his son (Enzo Staiola) searching the streets of¬†Rome for his stolen bicycle, which he needs to be able to work.

Based on the novel by Luigi Bartolini, it was adapted for the screen by Cesare Zavattini and used non-professional actors to create a telling picture of poverty in post-war Europe. A landmark film in many ways, it still contains scenes of great power and is ultimately a very moving depiction of the love between father and son.

The special features on this re-release by Arrow Films include:

  • Timeless Cinema: A documentary on Vittorio De Sica
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Original Poster Artwork & Lobby Stills

Henri-George Clouzot’s Inferno (Park Circus): A hybrid documentary and part reconstruction of Henri-Georges Clouzot‘s¬†unfinished project L’Enfer (‘Inferno’), an enigmatic film about a hotel manager who becomes possessed by the demons of jealousy. The story of how this project got made is a fascinating one:¬†Serge Bromberg and Ruxandra Medrea managed to persuade¬†Clouzot’s second wife, In√®s de Gonzalez, to give permission to use footage from Clouzot’s original film, which they then supplemented with interviews of cast and crew members.

Among the contributors are production assistant Catherine Allégret, director Costa Gavras, and assistant cinematographer William Lubtchansky. Bromberg also recreates certain scenes with actors Bérénice Bejo and Jacques Gamblin. A notable arthouse feature on the festival circuit last year (screening at Cannes, Toronto, New York and London) it also received the César Award for Best Documentary. [Buy on DVD]

Wonders of the Solar System (2 Entertain): One of the best TV series to air on the BBC this year sees Professor Brian Cox visit notable locations around Earth to illustrate how the laws of nature have carved natural wonders across the Solar System. The five episodes explore: the Sun;¬†the Rings of Saturn;¬†the atmosphere of Earth and Titan;¬†the size of planets, volcanoes and the moon Io; and¬†the search for life on other worlds, focusing on Mars and Jupiter’s moon Europa.

Cox is an engaging and informative host and along with the BBC shows Galapagos and Planet Earth, it is well worth checking out on Blu-ray as it is full of stunning imagery that looks fabulous in HD. The show’s¬†better than expected ratings pleasantly surprised BBC bosses, who according to Cox’s Twitter account have commissioned another series, called ‘Universal’, which they begin shooting next month.¬†[Buy on Blu-ray / Buy on DVD]

[ad]

ALSO OUT

Alvin and the Chipmunks 2 РThe Squeakquel (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / DVD] 
Being Human: Complete Series 2 (2 Entertain) [DVD]
Dolan’s Cadillac (Momentum Pictures) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Law Abiding Citizen (Momentum Pictures) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Raging Phoenix (Showbox Media Group) [Blu-ray / DVD]
The Descent: Part 2 (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Tombstone (Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.) [Blu-ray]
Bad Behaviour (Lionsgate UK) [DVD]
Blood and Oil (2 Entertain) [DVD]
Clint Eastwood: Westerns (Warner Home Video) [DVD]
Crude (Dogwoof Digital) [DVD]
Ghost Machine (Anchor Bay Entertainment UK) [DVD]
Glee: Season 1 – Volume 1 (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [DVD]
Henry Lee Lucas – Serial Killer (Lionsgate UK) [DVD]
Humpday (Momentum Pictures) [DVD] 
I’m Gonna Explode (Artificial Eye) [DVD]
OSS 117: Lost in Rio (ICA) [DVD]
Starsuckers (Network Releasing) [DVD]
The Big I Am (E1 Entertainment UK) [DVD]
Vietnam (Fremantle Home Entertainment) [DVD]
We Live in Public (Dogwoof Digital) [DVD]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for Friday 9th April including Shelter and Whip It

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 5th April 2010

[ad]

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Day of the Dead (Arrow Films): The third film in George A Romero‘s zombie trilogy has often been regarded as something of a letdown after the groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead (1968) and the iconic Dawn of the Dead (1978). It does lack the vitality of its predecessors but over the years has become a more telling satire of the Reagan era than many realised at the time.

Set inside an underground US military complex as zombies have overrun the earth, it explores the tensions between various army and scientific personnel as well as depicting the possibility of ‘humanising’ a zombie. Tom Savini’s landmark make-up effects still hold up strongly and Romero’s direction is smarter than some gave it credit for at the time. The Blu-ray comes with a raft of new extras including new commentaries and featurettes. [Buy the Blu-ray / Buy the DVD]

Delicatessen (Optimum Home Entertainment): With Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s latest film Micmacs not getting the love or attention it deserved at UK box offices, Optimum have re-released the 1991 that put him on the map. Along with co-director Marc Caro, he crafted a delightfully surreal tale about a clown (Dominique Pinon) who moves into a run down apartment building with a delicatessen on the ground floor and falls in love with the butcher’s daughter, Julie Clapet (Marie-Laure Dougnac).

Shot entirely in and around the delicatessen, it is inventive and displays a remarkable visual flair reminiscent of silent comedy and proved very influential, especially on subsequent TV commercials. I’m not sure why there isn’t a Blu-ray version yet, but if you haven’t already got the DVD it is highly recommended. [Buy the DVD]

Funny Games U.S. (Kaleidoscope Home Ent.): Michael Haneke‘s U.S. remake of his own 1997 film was a gruelling affair, even by his own dark standards, but remains a powerful piece of work. Made in 2007, it followed the exact same story with a well-to-do couple (Tim Roth and Naomi Watts) and their son who are slowly terrorised by two mysterious young thugs (Michael Pitt and Brady Corbett) whilst at their holiday home.

Some critics were appalled by what they saw as the pointless sadism of the film, but the fact that it provoked such a hostile reaction – often from the very bourgeois perspective the film directly assaults – was perhaps telling. It is a genuinely horrific film, with little in the way of catharsis or intellectual ambiguity, but remains a bracing and intriguing example of a director revisiting his own material for a different audience. [Buy the Blu-ray / Buy the DVD]

George Carlin: Collection – Volume 1 (Anchor Bay Entertainment UK): A collection of four of the great US comedians best stand up performances taped for HBO which include: George Carlin – On Location – University of Southern California (1977), George Carlin Again (1978), George Carlin at Carnegie (1984) and George Carlin on Campus (1984).

Brilliant observations about life are mixed with some hilarious social commentary and these groundbreaking performances demonstrate why he is still one of America’s greatest comedians, just two years after his death. [Buy the DVD]

* N.B.¬†The Lord of the Rings trilogy is out on Blu-ray this week and would normally be one of my picks. However, the box set consists of the theatrical cuts (with hardly any extras) and I’d¬†recommend¬†waiting until the extended Blu-ray editions come out. *

ALSO OUT

30 Rock: Season 3 (Universal/Playback) [Buy the DVD]
Married, Single, Other (2 Entertain) [Buy the  Blu-ray / Buy the DVD]
The International (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Buy the Blu-ray]
Universal Soldier: Regeneration (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Buy the Blu-ray] 
Who Dares Wins (Arrow Films) [Buy the Blu-ray]
Battle Royale (Arrow Films) [Buy the DVD]
Big Bad Mama (In 2 Film) [Buy the DVD]
Burn Notice: Season 2 (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Buy the DVD]
Chappelle’s Show: Season 2 (Best Medicine) [Buy the DVD]
Feast Trilogy (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Buy the DVD]
Forever Green: Series 2 (Network) [Buy the DVD]
Geisha Assassin (MVM Entertainment) [Buy the DVD]
Ghost Hunt: Complete Series 1 (Manga Entertainment) [Buy the DVD]
Ginger Baker and Friends: Live at the Jazz Cafe (Voiceprint) [Buy the DVD]
Laurel and Hardy: Collection (Lace) [Buy the DVD]
Le Professionnel (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Buy the DVD]
Smokin’ Aces/ Smokin’ Aces 2 – Assassin’s Ball (Universal Pictures) [Buy the DVD]
The Bridge (Metrodome Distribution) [Buy the DVD]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for Friday 2nd April including Clash of the Titans, How to Train Your Dragon and Kick-Ass

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 29th March 2010

[ad]

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

2012 (Sony Pictures): Roland Emmerich’s latest big-budget blockbuster sees an ancient Mayan prophecy come true as Earth’s techtonic plates unleash global destruction after a solar flare. An alarmed US government scientist (Chiwetel Ojiofor) discovers the disaster; a limousine driver (John Cusack) struggles to protect his family amidst the chaos; the US president (Danny Glover) tries to be stoic; the chief of staff (Oliver Platt) enacts a secret plan and various other characters all respond differently to the coming apocalypse.

Although the film isn’t in any danger of winning any awards for acting or screenwriting, the set pieces are impressively rendered and the sheer scale of CGI destruction is a sight to behold, even if there are too many ”just in the nick of time’ escapes.

The transfer to Blu-ray is excellent and although sometimes high definition can spotlight weak visual effects, here they stand up very well indeed with tsunamis, earthquakes and collapsing buildings and all manner of destruction coming across in pristine detail.

The extras are fairly extensive too, the most notable being¬†the BD-Live‚ĄĘ enabled movieIQ, which allows you to access updated information on the film‚Äôs cast, crew, production and soundtrack while watching the film. [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy the DVD]

Blu-ray Special Features

  • movieIQ and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie
  • Interactive Mayan Calendar – Enter a date to reveal your horoscope and personality profile! Delve even further into the secrets by watching Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar
  • Picture-In-Picture: Roland’s Vision-Includes Pre-Visualization, storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with filmmakers, cast and crew
  • Commentary with Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Co-Writer Harald Kloser
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Ending
  • Designing The End Of The World
  • Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic
  • Science Behind The Destruction
  • The End Of The World: The Actor’s Perspective

DVD Special Features

  • Commentary with Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Co-Writer Harald Kloser
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Ending
  • Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic

Stargate (Optimum): The other Roland Emmerich release of the week is his 1994 sci-fi adventure about an academic (James Spader) and a military unit (headed by Kurt Russell) who venture through a teleportation gateway to another planet.

The third collaboration between director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin – they had worked Moon 44 (1990) and Universal Soldier (1992) – was on a bigger budget and they crafted something more entertaining and polished. Here you can see the roots of the mega sci-fi success they would have with¬†Independence Day (1996) – although we’ll¬†politely ignore¬†Godzilla (1998).

Stargate was one of the first Lionsgate Blu-ray releases back in August 2006, but that had hardly any extras and the audio was only lossy DTS High Resolution. This version has both the theatrical and the extended cuts of the movie, and four hours of extras, including three new featurettes, a trivia track, and a gag reel. [Buy the Blu-ray]

The Informant (Warner Home Video): Steven Soderbergh’s latest film bears some resemblance to Erin Brockovich (2000), an entertaining expos√© of real life corporate chicanery concerning a biochemist (Matt Damon) who in 1992, became an informant for the FBI after his company got involved in price fixing.

What makes it unusual is the breezy comic tone and the extraordinary behaviour of the central character (who seems to be an undiagnosed manic depressive). Much of the comedy comes from the continual frustration of the FBI with their star witness who often tells the truth, but unfortunately mixes it with lies. It got a rather muted reception on the festival circuit last year, but Damon shows great comic timing in the central role, whilst Marvin Hamlisch’s score and the distinctive visuals (shot by Soderbergh under his regular pseudonym Peter Andrews), all add to the mix. [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy the DVD]

Homicide РLife On the Street: The Complete Series (Fremantle Home Entertainment): Fans of The Wire can now enjoy the first TV series that was inspired by the reportage of David Simon, as this box set includes all 122 episodes spread over 33 discs. A dark and realistic crime series that ran from 1993-1999, it was adapted from Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, the non-fiction book based on his experiences with a Baltimore Police Department homicide unit.

The action centres on the homicide division of an inner-city Baltimore police station, with a large and fluid cast passing through the precinct’s door during the series’ seven seasons on the air. Simon was a consultant and producer on the series and although not as good as The Wire, it is still one of the landmark US TV shows of the 90s. [Buy the DVD]

[ad]

ALSO OUT

Bunny and the Bull (Optimum) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy the DVD]
Cracks (Optimum) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy the DVD]
Planet 51 (EV) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy the DVD]
South Park: Series 13 (Paramount) [Buy the Blu-ray]
The House of the Devil (Metrodome Distribution) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy the DVD]
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Lionsgate UK) [Buy the Blu-ray | Buy the DVD]
Catweazle: The Complete Series
(Network) [Buy the DVD]
Extreme Prejudice (Optimum) [Buy the DVD]
Glorious 39 (Momentum Pictures) [Buy the DVD]
Godzilla (Sony Pictures) [Buy the Blu-ray]
Holly (Soda Pictures)
Impact (Sony Pictures) [Buy the DVD]
Jason and the Argonauts (Boulevard Entertainment Ltd) [Buy the DVD]
Johnny Handsome (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Buy the DVD]
Seraphine (Metrodome Distribution) [Buy the DVD]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for Friday 26th March including The Blind Side and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 22nd March 2010

[ad]

UK DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Dumbo (Walt Disney): One of the greatest animated films from Disney, this story of a shy little elephant with some large ears arrives on Blu-ray for the first time. Separated from the rest of the circus animals, he befriends a mouse who encourages him to exploit his ears for fame and fortune.

After being goaded by a group of crows, Dumbo discovers that his ears have given him the ability to fly. The animation and writing is magical and the Blu-ray comes with a decent selection of extras including behind the scenes featurettes, bonus short features, and a copy of the DVD. [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]

Fish Tank (Artificial Eye): Writer-director Andrea Arnold’s second feature-length film, and another deeply impressive piece of work after her Oscar winning short Wasp(2005) and Red Road (2006). The tale of a teenage girl named Mia (Katie Jarvis) chronicles her struggle with her mother and younger sister on an poor Essex housing estate.

Frustrated with her life and lack of options, things begin to change when she strikes up a friendship with her mother‚Äôs new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender). Unlike many British films which feature aristocrats in period costume or gangsters who swear a lot, this takes what seems like humdrum material and does something really special with it. For some reason the Blu-ray is only being released two months after the DVD (read our longer review here), but is well worth buying if you haven’t yet seen it. [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]

Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Edition (Universal Playback): With Season 2 of Twin Peaks finally being released in the UK, Universal Playback have decided to release Season 1 and Season 2 on a definitive box set. Directed by David Lynch, this series picks up from the first season cliff-hanger that saw Agent Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan) shot repeatedly as he closed in on the mystery surrounding the brutal murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).

Twin Peaks originally aired between 1990 and 1991 and quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed and popular TV series around the world. Taking root in popular culture, even today it regularly features in lists of classic TV shows. [Buy it on DVD]

The Double Life of Veronique (Artificial Eye): A 1991 French-Polish drama directed by Krzysztof KieŇõlowski stars Ir√®ne Jacob in a dual role as two women, one in Poland (Weronika) and one in France (Veronique), who have a mysterious connection.

A thoughtful and beautifully constructed film, it has an entrancing central performance from Jacob, some inventive cinematography from SŇāawomir Idziak and also anticipates the Three Colours Trilogy (1992-94) which cemented KieŇõlowski as one of the great European filmmakers of his generation. [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]

The Passion of the Christ (Icon Home Entertainment): Mel Gibson‘s unflinching and brutal retelling of the final hours of Jesus (Jim Caviezel) was one of the most successful and controversial films of 2004. From a purely technical level there is much to admire in the film: Caleb Deschanel‘s cinematography, the costumes, make-up and use of the Italian town of Matera, all combine to paint a highly convincing picture of the period.

Even for a non-believer, the spectacle of suffering and persecution is moving, even if Gibson lays it on a bit too relentlessly. The claims of anti-Semitism against the film, fuelled by the depiction of the Jewish priests as Christ killers (as they are in the Gospels), were off-base, although Gibson’s drunken rant rant in 2006 gave one pause about his own personal beliefs. [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]

Under the Sun of Satan (Eureka/MOC): A re-release for this 1987 allegorical drama, adapted from the Georges Bernanos novel of the same name, sees a French priest (Gerard Depardieu) struggle to save the soul of young woman (Sandrine Bonnaire).

An impressive examination of good versus evil, it won the Palme d’Or at the 1987 Cannes Festival, which led to verbal protests from sections of the audience and defiant gesture from director Maurice Pialat. This new release has had a new anamorphic transfer in its original aspect ratio, with new and improved English subtitle translations. The extras are also plentiful with interviews, lengthy featurettes, on set footage and a 36-page booklet. [Buy it on DVD]

[ad]

ALSO OUT

Blood On Satan’s Claw (Odeon Entertaiment) [Buy it on DVD]
Bodysong (BFI) [Buy it on DVD]
Bullet Boy (Verve Pictures) [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Galaxy Quest (DreamWorks) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Harry Brown (Lionsgate UK) [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Katyn (Artificial Eye) [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Paranormal Activity (Icon) [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Patti Smith: Dream of Life (Drakes Avenue Pictures) [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Scott Walker: 30 Century Man (Verve Pictures) [Buy it on DVD]
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Paramount) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Star Trek 5 – The Final Frontier (Paramount) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Star Trek: First Contact (Paramount) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Star Trek: Generations (Paramount) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Star Trek: Insurrection (Paramount) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Star Trek: Nemesis (Paramount) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Straightheads (Verve Pictures) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Talk to Me (Verve Pictures) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
The Neverending Story (Warner Home Video) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (E1 Entertainment) [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]
Twin Peaks: Series 2 (Universal Playback) [Buy it on DVD]
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (Artificial Eye) [Buy it on Blu-ray | Buy it on DVD]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for Friday 19th March including The Bounty Hunter, Old Dogs and I Love You Phillip Morris

Categories
Images Posters Thoughts

The Difference Between Cinema Posters and DVD Covers

When you compare the poster of a theatrical release with the DVD and Blu-ray cover you often see that they have different approaches.

Up in the Air is a recent release Рan acclaimed comedy-drama from writer-director Jason Reitman starring George Clooney as an air-mile addicted corporate down-sizer Р that recently came out on DVD and Blu-ray in the US.

You may notice that the poster you saw in your local cinema (on the above left) is notably different from the cover of the disc you will buy or rent (on the above right).

The cinema poster Рdesigned by BLT Associates Рis fairly conceptual. It depicts the three main characters of the film (Clooney in the middle, flanked by Anna Kendrick on the left and Vera Farmiga on the right) but they are distant, in silhouette and made to look small by the airport glass and plane outside.

The Helvetica font and colour scheme (cool blues, mixed with whites and blacks) are very reminiscent of an airport and the overall effect is neat as it captures both the bittersweet mood and basic themes of the film.

Reitman recently said that he got the basic idea for the poster by taking a similar photo whilst filming on location at an airport but that some folks at Paramount marketing (the studio that funded the film) were keen on getting a little more of Clooney in the image.

After all, if you have paid a considerable amount for a star, you want to get your money’s worth even if he’s working at a reduced rate on a prestige, Oscar-candidate project like this.

But now the DVD and Blu-ray has come out in the US (that would be on the above right), you can see the difference.

Althought they have inverted the colour scheme of the theatrical poster, the main image features a much more prominent Clooney (laughing) alongside Vera Farmiga, with them both laughing at a bar.

The combined effect emphasises the comedy/feel-good aspect of the film alongside the romance and downplays the more serious themes of recession, job firings and isolation that crop up eslewhere in the story.

Personally, I think it looks horrible and doesn’t do justice to the quality of the film, but – even for a home entertainment release – it also looks pretty ropey, as if an intern was asked to do it on Photoshop on his lunch break.

So, what to make of all this?

Firstly, movie posters come out of a tradition where they are seen at cinemas, bus stops and various outdoor displays which mean they have to be larger in size. In comparison, DVD and Blu-rays are smaller so they have less space to grab your attention, often resulting in a face shot of the actors.

Secondly, one of the time honoured traditions in Hollywood is for everyone to blame the marketing if a film doesn’t do well at the box office. Although Up in the Air was by no means a flop – especially given its¬†relatively¬†lean budget – maybe Paramount felt they could dupe new audiences into thinking it is some kind of romantic comedy.

Thirdly, given that the (literal) shelf life of a film is longer in the shop than it is at cinemas, you would think that more time and effort would be spent on getting it right, rather than just reacting to what happened on the theatrical release.

Finally, it seems that the UK DVD & Blu-ray release of Up in the Air has exactly the same design as the theatrical poster, which could mean that: a) We have better taste over here b) Paramount UK couldn’t be bothered to change it or c) None of the above applies.

[ad]

> A lengthy blog post from 2007 entitled Why Do Great Movies Get Awful DVD Cover Art?
> Anna Kendrick talks to me about Up in the Air

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 22nd February 2010

[ad]

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Wings of Desire (Axiom): One of the classic European films of the 1980s is Wim Wenders‘ classic tale of¬†a guardian angel (Bruno Ganz) listening¬†to the thoughts of mortals living in West Berlin only to find himself entranced by a trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin) who makes him yearn to be human. Co-written with Peter Handke and beautifully shot in¬†monochrome and colour by Henri Alekan, it won Wenders¬†the Best Director prize at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival and remains his most celebrated film.¬†This is the first time it has been available on Blu-ray in the UK and has a newly restored picture and sound mix supervised by the director. [Read the full review here]

M (Eureka/MOC): Fritz Lang’s classic early talkie is a crime drama set in 1930s Berlin which involves an elusive serial killer (Peter Lorre) who preys on children – based on the real life¬†D√ľsseldorf¬†killings – and the efforts of the police and the criminal underworld to catch him.¬†Filmed in Germany, M established Fritz Lang’s reputation in America and was massively influential on other films with its innovative use of sound and visuals.

[ad]

ALSO OUT

9 (Universal) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
City Girl (Eureka/MOC) [Buy it on Blu-ray]
Jennifer’s Body (Fox) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Just Like the Son (Eureka) [Buy it on DVD]
Katalin Varga (Artificial Eye) [Buy it on DVD]
Law & Order: UK – Series 2 (Universal Playback) [Buy it on DVD]
Lucky Bastard (Eureka) [Buy it on DVD]
Michael Jackson’s This Is It (Sony) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Open Graves (Icon) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Rob Zombie Presents….The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (Anchor Bay) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
Sons of Anarchy Season 1 (Fox) [Buy it on DVD]
Taking Woodstock (Universal) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
The Beaches of Agnes (Artificial Eye) [Buy it on DVD]
The Day of the Triffids (2009) (Showbox) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
The Shinjuku Incident (Cine Asia) [Buy it on DVD | Buy it on Blu-ray]
There’s Always Tomorrow (Eureka/MOC) [Buy it on DVD]

 

 

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray: The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker succeeds brilliantly where many films about the Iraq War have failed by examining the tense details of life in a bomb disposal unit.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow from a script by journalist Mark Boal (based on his experiences as a reporter embedded with troops), it portrays a group of soldiers who have to disarm IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in the heat of combat.

The story begins with a new sergeant (Jeremy Renner) taking over a highly trained disposal team and the tension that arises with his two subordinates, Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) as they fear his fearless attitude is endangering their lives.

Unlike the half-hearted hand-wringing that has characterised some of the films dealing with the war on terror, this plunges us deep into the anxiety and chaos of warfare.

But the clever twist of The Hurt Locker is that it steers clear of war movie clichés: the enemy is often hidden and faceless; sequences are agonisingly teased out; death is lurking everywhere; combat is a powerful drug that affects soldiers in different ways.

Bigelow wisely recruited cinematographer Barry Ackroyd to give the film a captivating, hand-held look which is reminiscent of his work on Paul Greengrass’ United 93.

As a director it is a welcome return to form and combines the energy and thrills of her best work with an attention to detail that pays of handsomely in several memorable sequences.

Since premièring at the Venice film festival back in 2008 it has deservedly reaped rave reviews and will be a leading contender at the upcoming Oscars.

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc come with the following extras:

  • Behind the Scenes (12mins)
  • Interviews with cast and crew (12mins)
  • BD Exclusive: Photo Gallery
  • BD Exclusive: Backstage (13mins)

> Buy The Hurt Locker on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon
> Listen to my interview with Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal about the film

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Tuesday 28th December 2009

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

District 9 (Sony): A sci-fi drama about aliens landing in South Africa  featuring no stars and an unknown  director became one of the surprise hits of the year with a clever mix of action, politics and dazzling SFX. [Click here for the full review]

The Hurt Locker (Lionsgate/Optimum): One of the most acclaimed films of the decade was this tense drama about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq, directed by Kathryn Bigelow from a script by journalist Mark Boal. [Click here for the full review]

[ad]

ALSO OUT

1941 (Universal) [Buy on DVD]
A Dangerous Man (Optimum) [Buy on DVD]
Darker Than Black Vols 5 & 6 (Manga) [Buy on DVD]
Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Darkside (Fox) [Buy on Import DVD]
Kitaro and the Millennium Curse (Manga) [Buy on DVD]
Kitaro Movie (Manga) [Buy on DVD]
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Season 4 (Universal Playback)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 10 (Universal Playback)
Life Season 2 (Universal Playback) [Buy on DVD]
Misfits Series 1 (4DVD) [Buy on DVD]
The Final Destination (EIV) [Buy on DVD / Buy on Blu-ray]
The Gold Diggers (BFI) [Buy on DVD]

> The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
> UK cinema releases for 2009

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray Lists

The Best DVD & Blu-ray Releases of 2009

Best of DVD and Blu-ray 2009

DVD and Blu-ray releases have effectively gone on holiday until the last week of the month so here is my list of the best UK releases of 2009.

*N.B. Some of these titles were already available on DVD but got a Blu-ray release this year *

JANUARY

DVD and Blu-ray Picks January 2009

Standard Operating Procedure (Sony) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Recount (HBO) [Buy on DVD]
Ashes of Time Redux (Artificial Eye) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Fall (Momentum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Wong Kar-wai Collection (Artificial Eye) [Buy on DVD]

FEBRUARY

DVD and Blu-ray February 2009

Gomorrah (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
I’ve Loved You So Long (Lionsgate) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
7-49UP (Network) [Buy on DVD]
Amadeus – Director’s Cut (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Being There (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Hunger (Pathe) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray Import]
The Visitor
(Unanimous Pictures) [Buy on DVD]

MARCH

DVD and Blu-ray March 2009

A History of Violence (EIV) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
L.A. Confidential – Special Edition (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Not Quite Hollywood (Optimum) [Buy on DVD]
Waltz with Bashir (Artificial Eye) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]

APRIL

DVD Blu-ray April 2009

The Bela Tarr Collection (Artificial Eye) [Buy on DVD]
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Red Riding Trilogy (Optimum) [Buy on DVD]
Dean Spanley (Icon) [Buy on DVD]

MAY

DVD and Blu-ray May 2009

Fargo (MGM) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Silence of the Lambs (MGM) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Mad Men Season 1 (Lionsgate) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Frost/Nixon (Universal) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]

JUNE

DVD and Blu-ray June 2009

Slumdog Millionaire (Pathe) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
A Christmas Tale (New Wave Films) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray Import]
Milk (Momentum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Universal) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Blackadder Remastered ‚Äď Ultimate Edition (2 Entertain) [Buy on DVD]
Bolt (Disney) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Class (Artificial Eye) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray Import]
Woodstock 3 Days of Peace & Music (Warner Bros) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Che (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Gran Torino (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]

JULY

DVD and Blu-ray July 2009

Mad Men Season 2 (Lionsgate) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Religulous (Momentum) [Buy on DVD]
Brick (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Elephant (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Pianist (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Il Divo (Artificial Eye) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray Import]

AUGUST

DVD and Blu-ray August 2009

Children of Men (Universal) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Winstanley (BFI) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Two Lovers (Lionsgate) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
La Haine (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
In The Loop (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Encounters at the End of the World (Revolver) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Battle of Algiers – Special Edition (Argent Films) [Buy on DVD]

SEPTEMBER

DVD and Blu-ray September 2009

This Is Spinal Tap – Up To 11 Edition (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Beyond the Clouds (Second Sight) [Buy on DVD]
In This World (ICA) [Buy on DVD]
An American Werewolf in London (Universal) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Belle De Jour (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Ran (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Sunrise (Eureka!) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Deer Hunter (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Elephant Man (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The New World – Extended Cut (EIV) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Prisoner: The Complete Series (Network) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]

OCTOBER

DVD and Blu-ray October 2009

Synecdoche, New York (Revolver) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Dawn of the Dead (Arrow) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Frozen River (Axiom Films) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray Import]
The Complete Friz Lang Mabuse Boxset (Eureka!) [Buy on DVD]
The Essential Michael Haneke (Artificial Eye) [Buy on DVD]
Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (2 Entertain) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]

NOVEMBER

DVD and Blu-ray November 2009

Gone with the Wind – 70th Anniversary Edition (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Heat (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Fanny and Alexander (Palisades Tartan) [Buy on DVD]
For All Mankind (Eureka/Masters of Cinema) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Moon (Sony) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
North by Northwest – 50th Anniversary Edition (Warner) [Buy on Blu-ray]
The Terence Davies Collection (BFI) [Buy on DVD]
Fight Club – 10th Anniversary Edition (Fox) [Buy on Blu-ray]
The Wizard of Oz – 70th Anniversary Edition (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Jacques Tati Collection (BFI) [Buy on DVD]

DECEMBER

DVD and Blu-ray December 2009

Inglourious Basterds (Universal) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
Mid-August Lunch (Artificial Eye) [Buy on DVD]
The Hangover (Warner) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
1941 (Universal) [Buy on DVD]
District 9 (Sony) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]
The Hurt Locker (Optimum) [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]

[ad]

N.B. As I’m based in the UK, all of these DVDs are UK titles but if you live in a different region of the world check out Play.com or your local Amazon site and they should have an equivalent version of the film.

> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> The Bestselling DVDs of 2009 at Amazon UK
> Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check
> Browse all the Cinema releases of 2009

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

DVD & Blu-ray: The Hangover

The Hangover DVDOne if the surprise hits of the summer was The Hangover (Warner Bros.), a comedy from director Todd Phillips about a bachelor party gone wrong in Las Vegas.

When three groomsmen (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) lose their about-to-be-wed buddy (Justin Bartha) after a riotous night of partying, they have to retrace their steps in order to find him.

Along the way, they encounter a tiger belonging to Mike Tyson, a stripper (Heather Graham), a naked man in the trunk of their car and numerous other troubles.

Although on the surface this looks like another goofy mainstream Hollywood comedy, it rises well above the norm due to a clever central concept (the bachelor party itself is cleverly hidden from the audience) and some killer lines and scenes.

Made for a relatively small production budget of $35 million, it proved insanely profitable after grossing over $459 million worldwide.

The DVD version includes the theatrical version of the film with the following features:

  • 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English and Italian DD5.1
  • English Audio Description
  • English HOH, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian and Italian HOH subtitles
  • ‚ÄúMap of Destruction‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Retrace each step the guys took during their fate-filled evening and see the real locations, learn about Las Vegas lore and see the filming that took place there
  • ‚ÄúThree Best Friends Song‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis ‚Äúfreestyle‚ÄĚ their own song
  • Gag Reel

Click here to buy The Hangover on Blu-rayThe Blu-ray Disc includes the theatrical and extended cuts of the film with the following features (extras are all in HD):

  • 1080P 2.40:1 Widescreen
  • English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
  • French and German DD5.1 (Theatrical Version only)
  • English Audio Description (Theatrical Version only)
  • Subtitles (Film): English HOH, French, German, German HOH, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Swedish subtitles
  • Subtitles (Extras except PIP): English, French, German, Dutch
  • Picture in Picture Commentary (Theatrical Version only, no subtitles) featuring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Todd Phillips
  • ‚ÄúMap of Destruction‚ÄĚ (16:27mins) ‚Äď Retrace each step the guys took during their fate-filled evening and see the real locations, learn about Las Vegas lore and see the filming that took place there
  • ‚ÄúThe Madness of Ken Jeong‚ÄĚ (7:56mins)‚Äď Ken Jeong‚Äôs nonstop hilarious improve
  • ‚ÄúAction Mash-Up‚ÄĚ (35secs)‚Äď Compilation of the physical comedy from the film
  • ‚ÄúThree Best Friends Song‚ÄĚ (1:23mins) ‚Äď Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis ‚Äúfreestyle‚ÄĚ their own song
  • ‚ÄúThe Dan Band!‚ÄĚ (1:08mins) ‚Äď The Dan Band performs ‚ÄúFame‚ÄĚ
  • Gag Reel (8:16mins)
  • More Pictures from the Missing Camera ‚Äď More photos exposing the events from the night of mayhem
  • BD-Live

> Buy The Hangover on DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon UK
> The Hangover at the IMDb

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

DVD: Mid-August Lunch

Mid August Lunch DVDMid August Lunch (Artificial Eye) is a beautifully observed mix of comedy and drama from Italian writer-director Gianni di Gregorio.

Although the 60-year-old is best known to UK audiences as the screenwriter of Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone’s superb 2008 drama about organised crime), he has opted for a very different kind of film for his directorial debut.

Based on personal experiences, Di Gregorio essentially plays Gianni, a bachelor in his late 50s who is the full-time carer of his 90-year-old mother (Valeria De Franciscis).

Shot entirely on location (some of it in Di Gregorio’s old flat) with a non-professional cast, it focuses on the relationships between family members and strangers in the flat, but also explores the experience of ageing with a grat deal of charm and insight.

Gianni and his mother live in the Roman district of Trastevere and the film is set around the eve of Ferragosto, the annual celebration on August 15th of the ascension of the Virgin Mary into Heaven which empties the city.

Because he owes favours to his landlord and doctor, Giovanni is persuaded to look after their mothers as a favour, along with an aunt for good measure.

The film then is a gentle depiction of their time together as he drinks, smokes and cooks for the older women.

There is plenty of humour too, as tensions simmer over television, food, medication and night time escapades, but it is one grounded in real life experience, never feeling forced or contrived.

The observations and details are superbly evoked, but the central appeal of the film is the humanity beating at the heart of it.

All of the characters are treated with a respect and dignity that is all too rare in modern society, let alone films featuring old people.

Instead of being hectoring caricatures, they have a depth and interior life which is charmingly presented and free from cheap sentimentality.

Made in a minimalist style using natural light for a very low budget of around £430,000, with Matteo Garrone producing, it fully deserved the acclaim heaped on it at various festivals around the world.

The DVD has the following extras:

  • Interview with Gianni Di Gregorio: An interesting extra in which the actor, writer and director discusses the film but also visits the older women who star in it. He deliberately selected non-professional actors and it was a wise choice – off screen they appear just as interesting.
  • Theatrical Trailer (which you can see above)

> Buy Mid-August Lunch on DVD from Amazon UK
> Mid-August Lunch at the IMDb

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

DVD & Blu-ray: Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds DVDQuentin Tarantino’s latest film Inglourious Basterds (Universal) is a World War II drama set in Nazi-occupied France and available on DVD and Blu-ray in different versions.

The story involves a young Jewish woman (Melanie Laurent) who escapes the slaughter of her family by a ‘Jew hunting’ Nazi (Christophe Waltz); a group of commandos known as ‘The Basterds’ led by a Southern lieutenant (Brad Pitt); a British agent (Michael Fassbender) behind enemy lines; a Nazi war hero (Daniel Bruhl) who has become a film star; an German actress double agent (Diane Kruger) and the Nazi high command of Hitler (Martin Wuttke) and Goebbels (Sylvester Groth).

Although it premièred to decidedly mixed reactions at the Cannes film festival back in May, it is one of the most pleasurable cinematic experiences of the year.

Whilst not in the same league as his first two films, it is absorbing, well crafted filmmaking laced with considerable wit and style. From the bravura opening sequence Рa homage to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Рinvolving a Nazi having a drink with a French farmer, is a master class in tension and sets up the rest of the story beautifully.

Much of the film involves characters talking for extended periods and there is a notable lack of conventional action sequences, but this is actually a strength rather than a weakness.

The main reason for this is that the pool of characters here are some of the best Tarantino has ever written and his uncanny eye for the right actor has paid rich dividends here.

It is being sold as a World War II action movie starring Brad Pitt, but this is a much more European flavoured film with a diverse and expertly cast ensemble.

Pitt does well as the head of the Jewish¬†commandos¬†but the real stand outs are Christophe Waltz, who is marvellous as the multi-lingual SS offficer nicknamed ‘The Jew Hunter’ and Melanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus, his Jewish nemeis who ends up owning a cinema in Paris.

One sequence between them, set in a restaurant, is superbly played with an underlying menace and tension that is tweaked quite brilliantly.

To some it will be just more ‘Tarantino speak’, but the context, the use of music and extreme¬†close ups¬†all give it a different texture from what you might expect.

The rest of the cast all do sterling work but special praise must go to Michael Fassbender and Mike Myers for their only scene together – a wonderfully played military briefing which is hilarious, although it could be a litmus test for those who love or hate this film.

Going in you might expect this to be mostly about the Basterds killing Nazis, but that is only one slice of the pie, with the real juice of the film being a revenge tale in which even celluloid itself is drafted into the plot.

Whilst much of the discussion about the film will inevitably centre around the director and his reputation, it is worth mentioning the wonderful technical work across the board.

Click here to buy Inglourious Basterds on Blu-ray

The production values are first rate, with the studio based scenes (shot at Babelsberg Studio outside Berlin) mixed seamlessly with location work and the production design by David Wasco is complemented beautifully by the costumes by Anna Sheppard.

The cinematography by Robert Richardson is beautifully composed and when combined with Tarantino’s style and Sally Menke’s editing makes for some wonderfully snappy and memorable sequences.

Music has always been a strong point in Tarantino’s previous films as he has made a point of never using an original composer and instead inserting previously recorded pieces.

Along with snippets of his beloved¬†Ennio Morricone, he makes great use of David Bowie’s¬†Cat People (Putting Out Fire), the music from¬†The Entity and even a blast of Elmer Bernstein’s theme to¬†Zulu Dawn.

For longtime fans of the director, look out for the now trademark scenes involving feet, a Mexican stand off, close ups of food (think cream rather than Big Kahuna burgers) and numerous references to films throughout.

At 153 minutes maybe some of it could have been cut a little bit more (one sequence in a bar seems to have been trimmed slightly since Cannes) but the fact is that I never looked at my watch during the film – it had me absorbed and each chapter rolling into the next was a pleasure.

Mainstream audiences may get put off by the use of subtitles (attractive yellow ones as it turns out) used in much of the multi-lingual cast and the fact that Brad Pitt is in it less than the marketing is letting on.

This is a film that exists very much in its own world, as you will see when it gets to the climax, but it is such a rich and lovingly created one that avoids the pitfalls of many movies set in World War II.

It is as much about our perceptions and fantasies of that war than it is about the actual war itself. In terms of where this fits into the director’s career, I don’t think Quentin Tarantino will ever top the expectations Pulp Fiction forced on him.

Buy the Inglourious Basterds Special Edition on Blu-ray

Since the enormous critical and commercial success of that film he seemed to be indulged at¬†Miramax (which, to be fair,¬†his success helped shape) and perhaps he hasn’t had the creative tension down the years that he needed.

His last couple of films – despite undoubted qualities – seemed to be showing an artist retreating into his own self-referential head.

Grindhouse marked the point where he seemed to be chasing his own pop culture tail and this was paralleled by the commercial misfires at the newly formed Weinstein Company.

With this film they have partnered with Universal and interestingly this is the first time Tarantino has worked with a major studio as writer-director. Maybe this has given him a new sense of responsibility and helped him creatively.

Certainly Inglourious Basterds is a refreshing change of pace from the crime and exploitation influenced work he had been doing of late.

The single-disc DVD release which offers the following features:

  • 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English and Hungarian DD5.1 Surround
  • English SDH, Arabic, Danish, Finnish, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles
  • Extended and Alternate Scenes
  • Nation‚Äôs Pride ‚Äď the film within the film can be seen in its entirety
  • Inglourious Basterds Trailers

And here are the Blu-ray Disc details:

  • 1080P 2.40:1 Widescreen
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • French and Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 DTS Surround
  • English SDH, French and Spanish (Latin American) subtitles
  • Extended and Alternate Scenes
  • Nation‚Äôs Pride ‚Äď the film within the film can be seen in its entirety
  • Featurettes on Nation‚Äôs Pride
  • Roundtable discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and film historian/critic Elvis Mitchell
  • A conversation with veteran actor Rod Taylor
  • Film Poster Gallery Tour with Elvis Mitchell¬†and more

Considering the audio specs, the UK release should be similar to the US version with extras also featuring:

  • Domestic and International Trailers
  • The Original Inglorious Bastards ‚Äď a salute to the original 1978 film
  • Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitters, the Australian beer
  • Quentin Tarantino‚Äôs Camera Angel
  • Hi Sallys ‚Äď Gag Reel
  • Inglourious Basterds Poster Gallery

There is also a limited edition Blu-ray Disc which has the following:

  • Collectable special finish slipcase and includes:
  • Inpack 4 Stoltz Der Nation poster images
  • 3 Bridget Von Hammersmack Film Poster images
  • Replica image of the Japanese Teaser Poster
  • Exclusive James Goodridge key art print
  • Momma Landa’s Old Fashion Austrian Strudel Recipe.

The running time of the extras on Blu-ray is 90 mins.

> Buy Inglourious Basterds on DVD, Blu-ray Disc or the Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc
> Inglourious Basterds at the IMDb

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD Releases: Monday 9th November 2009

UK DVD Releases 09-11-09

[ad]

N.B. For the¬†foreseeable¬†future I’m going to separate DVDs and Blu-rays into different posts. Part of the reason is that quite a few older films are being released on Blu-ray and I don’t want there to be any confusion.

I’m also going to put Amazon¬†affiliate¬†links alongside each release to make it easier to buy them.

DVD PICKS

Br√ľno (Universal): After the success of Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen returns with another mock-documentary comedy, this time playing the flamboyant Austrian fashionista Br√ľno, who wreaks havoc at a fashion show and then travels to America, where the fun continues.

Directed by Larry Charles, stand out sequences involve Bruno debating the Middle East conflict with orthodox Jews and Palestinian terrorists; an uncomfortable appearance on a TV chat show with an adopted African child; an extended attempt to ‚Äėbecome straight‚Äô with the help of religion, martial arts and the US military; and a truly riotous climax involving a cage wrestling match in Arkansas. [Buy the DVD at Amazon UK]

Extras include:

  • Alternative Scenes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Scenes
  • An Interview with Lloyd Robinson
  • Enhanced Commentary ‚Äď The true stories of how Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles pulled off their unscripted stunts with celebrities, politicians and other unsuspecting people.

Gone with the Wind: 70th Anniversary Edition (Warner): The classic 1939 romantic drama based on the Margaret Mitchell novel has gotten the full re-release treatment by Warner Bros.

Set in the South during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, it follows the life of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), the daughter of a plantation owner and her relationship with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Featuring supporting performances by Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Thomas Mitchell and Hattie McDaniel, it is still a beloved classic of cinema despite lasting nearly 4 hours.

Famous set pieces include the burning of Atlanta (which used a piece of scenery left over from King Kong) and one of the most famous closing lines of any film. In a year littered with classic films (1939 also included The Wizard of Oz, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, Stagecoach and Ninotchka), Gone With the Wind won ten Oscars, including: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, who became the first African-American to win the award). [Buy the DVD at Amazon UK]

Extras on the DVD include:

Disc 1 The Movie, Part 1

  • Remastered feature with Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
  • Commentary by historian Rudy Behlmer

Disc 2 The Movie, Part 2
Remastered feature
Commentary by historian Rudy Behlmer
Offer for a numbered Limited Edition copy of the Original 1939 Poster

Extras on the 5-disc version include:

Disc 3

  • About The Movie
  • The Making of a Legend documentary (1989 TV Special) (Narrated by Christopher Plummer)
  • Restoring a Legend – Chronicles the film/video restoration process
  • Dixie Hails Gone with the Wind -1939 Premiere newsreel
  • 1940 MGM historical short – The Old South
  • Atlanta Civil War Centennial 1961 premiere newsreel
  • International prologue
  • Foreign language version sample scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers

Disc 4

  • About The Cast
  • Melanie Remembers: Reflections by Olivia de Havilland – Exclusive 2004 Documentary
  • Cast profile – Gable: The King Remembered
  • Cast profile – Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond
  • The Supporting Players – Cameo portraits of an unforgettable ensemble
  • At Tara
  • The O‚ÄôHara Plantation in Georgia
  • Thomas Mitchell as Gerald O‚ÄôHara
  • Barbara O‚ÄôNeill as Ellen, his wife
  • Their Daughters
  • Evelyn Keyes as Suellen
  • Ann Rutherford as Carreen
  • The house servants
  • Hattie McDaniel as Mammy
  • Oscar Polk as Pork
  • Butterfly McQueen as Prissy
  • At Twelve Oaks
  • Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes
  • Rand Brooks as Charles Hamilton, her brother
  • Carroll Nye as Frank Kennedy, a guest
  • In Atlanta
  • Laura Hope Crews as Aunt Pittypat Hamilton
  • Eddie Anderson as Uncle Peter, her coachman
  • Harry Davenport as Dr. Meade
  • Jane Darwell as Mrs. Merriwether
  • Ona Munson as Belle Watling
  • Cammie King as Bonnie Blue Butler

Disc 5

  • New Bonus Disc
  • Warner Bros. Home Entertainment presents 1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year ‚Äď New documentary about Hollywood‚Äôs watershed year narrated by Kenneth Branagh
  • Gone with the Wind: The Legend Lives On — Exploring the legacy of the most beloved film through illuminating interviews, footage and visits to historical sites, events and museums
  • Moviola: The Scarlett O’Hara Wars 1980 WBTV Special never before on home video

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney): One of the greatest Disney films ever made is being re-released on DVD and Blu-ray. Made in 1937, the concept of reviving a well-known Grimm’s Fairy Tale was initially greeted with scepticism. But Walt Disney invested three years, $1,500,000, and the combined talents of 570 artists into the film.

The result was a film that was acknowledged a classic and also earned an incredible $8,500,000 dollars in gross rentals during the Great Depression. The story, characters and animation are all of the highest quality and notice the clever contrast between Snow White and Prince Charming (drawn realistically) and the Seven Dwarfs (rendered in the rounded, caricatured manner of Disney’s short-subject characters). [Buy the DVD from Amazon UK]

The extras on the DVD include:

  • Audio Commentary with Walt Disney
  • Snow White Returns
  • The One That Started It All
  • The Princess and the Frog Sneak Peek
  • Someday My Prince Will Come by Tiffany Thornton
  • Dylan & Cole Sprouse Blu-ray is Suite!
  • Learn How To Take Your Favourite Movies on the Go (Disneyfile)
  • Dopey‚Äôs Wild Mine Ride
  • Animation Voice Talent
  • Disney Through the Decades
  • ‚ÄĚHeigh-Ho‚ÄĚ Karaoke Sing-Along

[ad]

ALSO OUT

Desperate Housewives Season 5 (Disney) [Buy from Amazon UK]
Ghost Story (1974) (Nucleus Films) [Buy it from Amazon UK]
Tales of the Gold Monkey: The Complete Series (Fabulous Films) [Buy it from Amazon UK]
The Informers (EIV) [Buy it from Amazon UK]
Trinity (Fremantle) [Buy it from Amazon UK]
Lisbon Story (Axiom Films) [Buy it from Amazon UK]
Night at the Museum 2 (Fox) [Buy it from Amazon UK]
Russell Brand – Scandalous (4DVD) [Buy it from Amazon UK]
Russell Howard – Dingledodies (4DVD) [Buy it from Amazon UK]

> UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases for November 2009
> Browse more DVD Releases at Amazon UK and Play
> Check the latest DVD prices at DVD Price Check
> Check out the latest UK cinema releases including A Christmas Carol, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Bright Star, Jennifer’s Body and Paper Heart (W/C Friday 6th November 2009)

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 2nd November 2009

UK DVD Releases 02-11-09

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (2 Entertain): The most famous characters produced by Aardman Animations get the DVD & Blu-ray treatment with a box set release of A Grand Day Out (1989) which saw Wallace and Gromit fly to the moon in search of cheese; The Wrong Trousers (1993), the Oscar winning short which featured a sinister penguin lodger; and A Close Shave (1995) which involved a sheep rustling scheme.

It should be noted that the 2005 feature The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit is not on this set (presumably for rights reasons as it was co-produced with DreamWorks) but it does feature a decent selection of extras and the brand-new short A Matter Of Loaf And Death, in which the pair run a bakery but come across a mysterious plot when all the bakers in the town go missing.

For those unfamiliar with the famous characters, Gromit is the faithful canine companion of the cheese-obsessed inventor Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and they are the brainchild of Nick Park, who won Oscars for the first three films. All the characters were made from moulded plasticine modelling clay on metal armatures, and filmed with stop motion clay animation.

Information about extras is a bit thin on the ground but apparently it includes:

  • Audio commentaries
  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Various shorts with Wallace and Gromit that were created for the internet
  • A spin-off episode of Shaun the Sheep
  • A scrapbook with blueprints and a photo gallery of some of the inventions

This isn’t the first time the first three shorts have been released on DVD but the big deal here is that it’s their debut on Blu-ray. [Buy it from Amazon on DVD or Blu-ray]

It’s A Wonderful Life (Universal): The perennial Christmas favourite¬†directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart comes to Blu-ray and is worth getting if you don’t already own it.

The following specs for the Blu-ray are:

  • Black & White Original and Colour versions
  • 1080P 1.33:1 Full Screen
  • English DD2.0 Mono
  • English SDH subtitles
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Trivia Tracker
  • Picture Comparison

There will also be a new DVD release that also includes both the original and colour versions of the film, although why anyone would want to colourise a film like this is beyond me. There are reportedly no extras on the DVD, which frankly is a bit poor. [Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray]

The Proposition (Palisades Tartan): This 2005 Australian western directed by John Hillcoat and written by Nick Cave (yes, the musician) stars Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, John Hurt and Danny Huston.

Set in the Australian outback in the 1880s, the story follows the series of events following the horrific rape and murder of the Hopkins family, allegedly committed by the infamous Burns brothers gang.

Grimy but compelling, this is a timely release on Blu-ray as Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road will soon be seen in UK cinemas.

The Blu-ray Disc features the following extras:

  • Making Of
  • Trailer
  • Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Edition (Warner): The classic musical fantasy gets the full re-release treatment on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Bros in its 70th anniversary year.

Directed by Victor Fleming, it was based on the 1900 children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and starred Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Frank Morgan, with Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charles Grapewin, Clara Blandick and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins.

Originally released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, it follows the story of a Kansas farmgirl Dorothy (Garland) who gets transported to the magical land of Oz where she encounters all manner of characters including the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tin Man (Jack Haley) and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) and the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton).

Although successful when it was originally released the songs from the film became huge, with “Over the Rainbow” nabbing the Oscar for Best Original Song and the film itself garnering several nominations, including Best Picture.

However, the film became permanently embedded in popular culture when it was screened every year on US television from 1959 to 1991, becoming one of the most watched films of all time.

The UK DVD and Blu-ray Disc release is a newly remastered version with a raft of new extrasand a sing-along feature.

* For a great rundown of the picture quality and technical details of this Blu-ray transfer check out the review of the US disc on DVD Beaver *

It is available on 1-Disc DVD (£12.99 RRP), 4-Disc DVD (£19.99 RRP, HMV Exclusive) and 3-Disc Blu-ray (£22.99 RRP).

The extras on the different versions are outlined below:

Collector‚Äôs Edition Sing-Along Version ‚Äď 3 Discs BLU-RAY Release (2 BDs, 1 DVD Sing-Along)

  • Blu-ray Disc 1: Main Feature
  • Remastered feature with 5.1 Audio
  • 1080P 1.33:1
  • English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
  • English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese DD1.0 Mono
  • English HOH, French, German HOH, Italian, Italian HOH, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles (Film & Extras except commentary)
  • Commentary by Historian John Fricke including archival interviews of the film’s cast and crew
  • Music and Effects Track
  • Original mono Track
  • Sing-Along Audio Feature
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic [1990 TV special]
  • Because of the Wonderful Things it Does: The Legacy of Oz
  • Memories of Oz [2001 TCM documentary]
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook
  • Prettier than ever: The Restoration of Oz
  • We Haven’t Really Met Properly”” Supporting Cast Profiles
  • Audio Jukebox Selection
  • Leo Is on the Air Radio Promo
  • Good News of 1939 Radio Show
  • 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast
  • Another Romance of Celluloid: Electrical Power
  • Calvacade of the Academy Awards Excerpt
  • Texas Contest Winners
  • Off to See the Wizard Excerpts
  • Stills Galleries
  • 6 Trailers
  • Harold Arlen’s Home Movies
  • Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
  • It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister! The Tornado Tests

Blu-ray Disc 2: Extra Features

  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian (+ 3 others my player reports as numbers)
  • Victor Fleming: Master Craftsman (NEW)
  • L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain
  • Celebrating Hollywood‚Äôs Biggest Little Stars (NEW)
  • The Dreamer of Oz [1990 TV special] (NEW)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910 short)
  • His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz [1914 feature]
  • The Magic Cloak of Oz [1914 short] (NEW)
  • The Patchwork Girl of Oz [1914] (NEW)
  • The Wizard of Oz [1925 feature]
  • The Wizard of Oz [1933 animated short]

Disc 3: DVD Main Feature & Sing-along

  • Sing-Along Version ‚Äď 1 DVD Disc Release
  • Re-mastered feature with Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
  • Commentary by Historian John Fricke including archival interviews of the film’s cast and crew
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook
  • Prettier than ever: The Restoration of Oz
  • We Haven’t Really Met Properly – Supporting Cast Profiles
  • Music and Effects Track
  • Original mono Track
  • Sing-Along Tracks
  • Trailers

Collector‚Äôs Edition Sing-Along Version ‚Äď 4 Discs DVD Release

  • Remastered feature with Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio
  • Commentary by Historian John Fricke including archival interviews of the film’s cast and crew
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook
  • Prettier than ever: The Restoration of Oz
  • We Haven’t Really Met Properly”” Supporting Cast Profiles
  • Music and Effects Track
  • Original mono Track
  • Sing-Along Audio Feature
  • Trailers
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic [1990 TV special]
  • Memories of Oz [2001 TCM documentary]
  • The Art of Imagination: A Tribute to Oz
  • Because of the Wonderful Things it Does: The Legacy of Oz
  • Harold Arlen‚Äôs Home Movies
  • Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
  • It‚Äôs a Twister! It‚Äôs a Twister! The Tornado Tests
  • Off to See the Wizard
  • 3 Vault Shorts
  • Audio Jukebox Selections
  • Still Galleries
  • 6 Theatrical Trailers
  • L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [1910 short]
  • The Magic Cloak of Oz [1914 short] RT 53:10
  • His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz [1914 feature]
  • The Wizard of Oz [1925 feature]
  • The Wizard of Oz [1933 animated short]
  • Hollywood Celebrates its Biggest Little Stars!
  • The Dreamer of Oz 1990 TV Special
  • Victor Flemming: Master Craftsman
  • DVD Sing Along version

[ad]

ALSO OUT

‘Allo ‘Allo: The Complete Collection (Universal Playback)
All Creatures Great and Small: The Complete Collection (Universal Playback)
Blood: The Last Vampire (Pathe)
Boogie (Dogwoof)
Family Guy Season 8 (Fox)
Frank Borzage Volume 1 (BFI)
Frank Borzage Volume 2 (BFI)
Hi-De-Hi: The Complete Collection (Universal Playback)
Last Chance Harvey (Momentum)
Peep Show Series 6 (4DVD)
Public Enemies (Universal)
Samurai Princess (4Digital Asia)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Warner)
Supernatural Season 4 (Warner)
Year One (Sony)
36 (Palisades Tartan)
A Tale of Two Sisters (Palisades Tartan)
Black Book (Palisades Tartan)
Braveheart (Fox)
Godzilla (Sony)
I Sell The Dead (Anchor Bay)
It’s A Wonderful Life (Universal)
Lady Vengeance (Palisades Tartan)
Santa Claus: The Movie (Optimum)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney)
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Palisades Tartan)
The Grinch (Universal)
The Polar Express 3-D (Warner)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Warner)

> UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases for November 2009
> 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 30th October)

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: November 2009

DVD and Bluray Releases November 2009

[ad]

* To buy any of the DVD or Blu-ray Discs from Amazon UK just click on the title *

MONDAY 2nd NOVEMBER 2009

DVD & BLU-RAY

BLU-RAY ONLY

MONDAY 9th NOVEMBER 2009

DVD & BLU-RAY

BLU-RAY ONLY

MONDAY 16th NOVEMBER 2009

DVD & BLU-RAY

BLU-RAY ONLY

MONDAY 23rd NOVEMBER 2009

DVD & BLU-RAY

BLU-RAY ONLY

MONDAY 30th NOVEMBER 2009

DVD & BLU-RAY

> 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 30th October)

Categories
blu-ray DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 19th October 2009

UK DVD Bluray Releases 19-10-09

[ad]

DVD & BLU-RAY PICKS

Frozen River (Axiom Films):¬†An deservedly acclaimed American indie drama about a desperate single mother (Melissa Leo) living in upstate New York who resorts to smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States as a means of making ends meet. Written and directed by first-timer Courtney Hunt, it co-stars Misty Upham and Charlie McDermott. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, it is well worth seeking out, especially for Leo’s performance which won her an Oscar nomination earlier this year.¬†Axiom Films are releasing it on DVD priced at ¬£15.99 (RRP) and on Blu-ray.

Features include:

  • 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English DD2.0 and DD5.1 Surround
  • Exclusive interviews with writer/director Courtney Hunt and star Melissa Leo
  • Stills gallery
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for hearing impaired (feature only)

[Buy on DVD or Blu-ray]

The Essential Michael Haneke (Artificial Eye):¬†A substantial 10-disc box set entitled of the Austrian director’s work which includes all his previously released films including both the original and American re-make of Funny Games, his breakthrough film, and his adaptation of The Castle, based on the unfinished novel by Franz Kafka, which is released for the first time in the UK as part of this set.

The collection contains the following:

  • The Seventh Continent
  • Benny‚Äôs Video
  • 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance
  • Funny Games (Original)
  • The Castle
  • Code Unknown
  • The Piano Teacher
  • Time of the Wolf, Hidden and Funny Games US.

Extra features on individual discs are identical to the original releases, with the addition of the previously unreleased documentary called ’24 Realities per Second‚Äô, which is a 60 minute documentary on Haneke and which has never been seen before on these shores.

At a whopping¬†¬£74.99 it is pricey in these recessionary times, but this Haneke is one of Europe’s most accomplished living directors. The release of this coincides with Artificial Eye‚Äôs theatrical release of Haneke‚Äôs Palme D‚ÄôOr winning film, The White Ribbon. [Buy on DVD]

The Complete Fritz Lang Mabuse Boxset (Eureka/Masters of Cinema):¬†Throughout his career director Fritz Lang built a trilogy of thrillers focused on an entity who began as a criminal mastermind, and progressed into something more amorphous: fear itself, embodied only by a name ‚Äď Dr. Mabuse. For the first time on DVD, all three of Fritz Lang‚Äôs Mabuse films have been collected for one package, in their complete and restored forms.

  1. Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler [Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler] (1922) ‚Äď Lang‚Äôs two-part, nearly 5-hour silent epic detailing the rise and fall of Dr. Mabuse in Weimar-era Berlin.
  2. Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse [The Testament of Dr. Mabuse] (1933) ‚Äď A thriller with supernatural elements, all revolving around an attempt by the now-institutionalised Mabuse (or someone acting under his name and possibly his will) to organise an ‚ÄúEmpire of Crime‚ÄĚ.
  3. Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse [The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse] (1960) ‚Äď Fritz Lang‚Äôs final film, in which hypnosis, clairvoyance, surveillance, and machine-guns come together for a whiplash climax that answers the question: Who‚Äôs channelling Mabuse‚Äôs methods in the Cold War era?

A four-disc set, the features include:

  • Original German-language intertitles for ‘Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler’ along with newly translated English-language subtitles for each film
  • Newly recorded feature-length audio commentaries on all three movies by film-scholar and Fritz Lang expert David Kalat
  • Three video-featurettes totalling an hour-and-a-half in length on: the score of Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler; the creation of Norbert Jacques‚Äô ‚ÄúMabuse‚ÄĚ character; and the motifs running throughout the works
  • 2002 video interview with Wolfgang Preiss, the star of Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse
  • An alternate ending to Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse taken from the French print of the film
  • Optional English-language dub track for Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse
  • 3 lengthy booklets containing a new translation of Fritz Lang‚Äôs 1924 lecture on ‚ÄúSensation Culture‚ÄĚ; an essay by critic and scholar Michel Chion on the use of sound in Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse; new writing on Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse by critic David Cairns; extracts from period interviews with Fritz Lang; an abundance of production stills, illustrations, and marketing collateral ‚Äď and more.

All three films are presented in their complete and restored forms, refreshed and improved from previous Eureka releases of the first two films. Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse is released here for the first time ever on home video in the UK. [Buy on DVD]

[ad]

ALSO OUT

35 Shots of Rum (New Wave Films)
Columbo: The Complete Series (Universal Playback)
Darker Than Black Volumes 3 & 4 (Manga)
Devil May Cry (Manga)
Horsemen (Icon)
I Sell The Dead (Anchor Bay)
King of the Hill (Optimum)
New Town Killers (High Fliers)
Phantom & Die Finanzen des Großherzogs (Eureka/Masters of Cinema)
Rudo y Cursi (Optimum)
Staunton Hill (Anchor Bay)
24 Season 7 (Fox)
The Haunting of Molly Hartley (Icon)
The Holly & The Ivy (Optimum)
The Keeper (Optimum)
The Last House on the Left (2009) (Universal)
The Uninvited (Paramount)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox)
X: Volume 1 (MVM)

> 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 16th October)

Categories
Competitions

Competition: North Face on DVD

North Face DVDWe have 3 copies of North Face to give away on DVD courtesy of Metrodome.

Set in the summer of 1936, it tells the true story of two Germans who try to climb the Eiger mountain’s legendary North Face.

The climbing partners are Toni Kurz (Benno F√ľrmann) and Andi¬†Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas), who find the temptation irresistible, especially when they find out that the Third Reich is keen to see a swastika flying up top and have despatched party loyalists to begin their ascent.

Based on a true story (told in the 2007 documentary The Beckoning Silence), the film recreates the dangers of climbing one of the most dangerous mountains on earth.

Probably the most visceral exploration of man against mountain since Touching the Void, it was directed by Philipp Stölzl.

Extras include:

  • Making Northface
  • Visual Effects Of ‚ÄėNothface‚ÄĚ
  • 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

To stand a chance of winning a copy just answer this question:

Which 1975 Clint Eastwood film also invloved the Eiger mountain?

Just email your answers and postal address to [email protected]

Closing Date: Friday 15th May 2009

North Face is out now on DVD from Metrodome

> North Face at the IMDb
> Find out more about the Eiger mountain at Wikipedia

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD Releases: Monday 9th February 2009

UK DVD Picks 09-02-09

DVD PICKS

Gomorrah (Optimum): One of the outstanding films of last year was this dark exploration of crime in modern day Italy directed by Matteo Garrone. The narrative was based on true life stories from Roberto Saviano’s bestselling book about the Comorrah, a criminal organisation centred around southern Italy (especially Naples and Caserta).

There is a 13-year-old boy (Salvatore Abruzzese) who falls in with a criminal gang; a messenger (Gianfelice Imparato) who pays the families of prisoners; a young graduate (Carmine Paternoster) who gets involved in toxic waste management; a tailor (Salvatore Cantalupo) who wants to break free of local suppliers and two wannabe gangsters (Marco Macor and Ciro Petrone) who find a stash of weapons and want to act like Scarface.

It is impeccably cast and the ensemble acting was terrific, but the film also creates a hellishly believable modern landscape far removed from that of mob movies like The Godfather, Goodfellas or The Sopranos.

This was a world riddled with poverty, tension and despair where crime infects everyone like a rampant virus. It paints a devastating picture not only of modern Italy, but also how the tentacles of the Comorrah spread out to the wider world.

The film scooped the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, where it deservedly screened to critical acclaim. Although at times it was an uncomfortable and brutal film to watch, it remains one of the most powerful and haunting crime films of the last decade.

It is available on 2-Disc DVD and Blu-ray Disc and the extras on both include:

  • Trailer
  • Interview with Roberto Saviano
  • Interview with Toni Servillo, Salvatore Cantalupo, Gianfelice Imparato
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gomorrah ‚Äď 5 Stories: Making Of featurette

On DVD the film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with stereo and 5.1 surround audio and English subtitles. On Blu-ray the film is presented in 1080P 2.35:1 widescreen with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and optional English subtitles. 

* Listen to our interview with Matteo Garrone about Gomorrah * 

I’ve Loved You So Long (Lionsgate):¬†An intelligent and beautifully crafted portrayal of family love which¬†revolved around two sisters named Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Lea (Elsa Zylberstein), who reconnect with one another after a prolonged absence.¬†

To say too much about the plot would spoil the cleverly constructed narrative which gradually reveals their past and the reasons as to why they have been separated for so long. 

Writer and director Philippe Claudel was better known as a novelist in his native France and this also shares many of the pleasures of well written fiction: nuanced characters, slow burning emotions and a real sense of the complexities of human relationships. 

This is a film in which a lot of characters spend a lot of time in rooms talking about themselves, but at the same time manages to burrow deeply into the tangled emotions of it’s protagonist. 

Much of the power comes from two marvellous central performances and Scott Thomas proved what a captivating screen presence in what is arguably the performance of her career so far.

It is available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc and the extras on both include:

  • Interview with Philippe Claudel
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary

Burn After Reading (Universal): After the Oscar winning triumph of No Country For Old Men, the Coen Brothers return to more comic ground with this tale of a demoted CIA agent (John Malkovich) who loses the manuscript to his memoirs and then gets blackmailed by two clueless gym workers (Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt).

George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins and J.K. Simmons round out an impressive cast but this is actually a very quirky and mannered comedy. Critical reaction was mixed when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival and there is no doubt that some will find it a chilly, even condescending, film with its characters nearly all appearing to be either stupid, vain or clueless.

Despite some critics disliking it, I found much of it a welcome satire on the unapologetic idiocy of the Bush era, with some excellent comic performances. Universal will be hoping for a repeat of the US box office performance, in which the starry cast helped sell what is actually quite an uncommercial film in many respects.

Available on DVD and Blu-ray, it comes with the following extras:

  • Finding the Burn ‚Äď The Making of Burn After Reading
  • DC Insiders Run Amuck ‚Äď An all-star cast creates the world¬†of Washington, DC, insiders all trying to get ahead or find true love
  • Welcome Back, George ‚Äď This comedy piece features Mr. Clooney as he returns for his third collaboration with Ethan and Joel
[ad]
ALSO OUT

Against the Dark aka Late Night (Sony)
Angel (Lionsgate)
Are You Ready for Love? (Sony)
Bad Girls: The Musical (2Entertain)
Beehive: Series 1 (C4 DVD)
Death Defying Acts (Lionsgate)
Death Note – Volume 4 (Manga)
Hit and Run (Fox)
Merlin РVolume 2 (2 Entertain)
Moscow Zero (Sony)
Nights in Rodanthe (Warner)
Open Season 2 (Sony)
Plus One: Series 1 (C4 DVD)
Star Fleet: The Complete Series (Fremantle)
Strictly Come Dancing: The Best of 2008 (2Entertain)
Taken (Fox)
The Escapist (Vertigo Films)
The Gigolos (BFI)
The Heart of the Earth (Metrodome)
The House Bunny (Sony)
The Hunting Party (Momentum)
The Joy of Sex Education (BFI)
The New Pink Panther Show – Season 1 (Fox)
The Pink Panther and Friends Triple Pack (Fox)
The Secret Life of Elephants (2Entertain)
The Wackness (Revolver)
They Wait (Metrodome)
Thick as Thieves: The Complete Series (Network)

[ad]

> Buy¬†Gomorrah,¬†I’ve Loved You So Long¬†and¬†Burn After Reading¬†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 6th February)
Categories
DVD & Blu-ray Trailers

Trailer: Gomorrah on DVD

This is the trailer for Gomorrah, a scintillating crime drama set in contemporary Italy.

It was one of my films of 2008 and is essential viewing, despite the recent ridiculous Oscar snub.

Gomorrah gets a UK release on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 9th February

> My interview with director Matteo Garrone
> Gomorrah at the IMDb
> Pre-order the DVD from Amazon UK

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD Releases: Monday 19th January 2009

UK DVD Releases 19-01-09
 
DVD PICKS

Recount (HBO): A fascinating drama that¬†chronicles the¬†2000 United States Presidential Election¬†Bush v. Gore¬†case between Governor of Texas¬†George W. Bush¬†and Vice President¬†Al Gore. Made for HBO, it has all the class and depth that you would expect from their best work. It boasts an impressive cast including:¬†Kevin Spacey¬†(as Gore’s campaign manager¬†Ron Klain);¬†Tom Wilkinson¬†(as¬†James Baker);¬†Denis Leary¬†(as¬†Michael Whouley);¬†John Hurt¬†(as¬†Warren Christopher);¬†Laura Dern¬†(as¬†Katherine Harris) and¬†Ed Begley, Jr.¬†(as¬†David Boies).¬†

Directed by Jay Roach and written by Danny Strong, it manages to avoid the clumsy political stereotypes of this kind of drama and manages to convey the humour and despair of one of the most extraordinary elections in US history. 

Extras include:

  • The True Inside Story of the 2000 Presidential Election: Washington correspondent Jake Tapper and Recount writer Danny Strong discuss the events that inspired the film
  • Audio commentary with director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong
  • A conversation between Kevin Spacey and the real Ron Klain
  • A conversation between Bob Balaban and the real Ben Ginsberg

It was screened on More4 just before the US election and more recently on Channel 4, but if you didn’t see it then the DVD is an essential purchase just in time for the inauguration of Barack Obama. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

Eden Lake (Optimum): British horror films of late haven’t been very exciting or innovative but this one was something of an exception. Directed by James Watkins, it shows a¬†young couple (Kelly Reilly¬†and¬†Michael Fassbender) on a romantic getaway who get terrorised by a gang of obnoxious kids. Although the setup is a familiar Deliverance-style narrative, the acting and direction are a cut above films of this type and although there is violence, it avoids the tedious horror-porn cliches that have dragged the horror genre down of late.

Extras include:

  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English DD2.0 Stereo and DD5.1 Surround
  • English HOH subtitles
  • Interviews with James Watkins, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Turgoose, Michael Fassbender and Christian Colson
  • Behind the scenes
  • Q & A with Director James Watkins
  • TV spots
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Extreme trailer

* Listen to our interview with director James Watkins about the film *

Masada (Universal Playback): Before the age of HBO, the established TV networks did actually invest in decent high-quality made-for-TV dramas. Often these took the form of a miniseries such as Masada, which aired on ABC in April 1981. It was a fictionalized account of the historical siege of the Masada citadel by legions of the Roman Empire in 73 A.D..

The script is based on the novel “The Antagonists” by¬†Ernest Gann. The siege ended when the Roman armies were able to enter the fortress, only to discover the¬†mass suicide¬†by the Jewish defenders when defeat became imminent.¬†

It starred¬†Peter O’Toole¬†as¬†Roman legion¬†commander¬†Lucius Flavius Silva,¬†Peter Strauss¬†as the Jewish commander Elazar ben Ya’ir, and¬†Barbara Carrera¬†as Silva’s Jewish mistress.¬†David Warner, as Pomponius Falco, won an Emmy for his role. O’Toole was nominated for an¬†Emmy Award¬†for his performance and it was his first appearance in an American miniseries.

Despite this being a made for TV drama, the costumes and production design are impressive and the performances are all solid, even if they occasionally slip into the Shakespearean style that seems to affect anything remotely historical doene in the English language.

Extras are limited to say the least but you are getting 6 hours of content, which is pretty good value. 

[ad]

ALSO OUT

Dallas – Season 10 (Warner)
Dawson’s Weekly (Network)
Doctor Who – The Next Doctor (2 Entertain)
Louis Theroux: The Strange and The Dangerous (2 Entertain)
Scrubs – Season 7 (Disney)
The Galton and Simpson Playhouse (Network)
The Sullivans – On the Brink of War (Fremantle)
X-Cross 2 (4Digital Asia)
You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (Sony)

> Buy Recount, Eden Lake and Masada 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 16th January)
Categories
DVD & Blu-ray Trailers

Trailer: Standard Operating Procedure DVD

> Standard Operating Procedure at the IMDb
> Official website for Errol Morris

Categories
Competitions DVD & Blu-ray

Competition: The White Planet

This week we have 2 DVDs of the documentary The White Planet to give away courtesy of Optimum Home Entertainment.

It examines the impact that global warming is having on the endangered denizens of the North Pole and explores the animals in close detail.

They include: seals, giant walruses (the narwhals) and half a million caribou who make up the world’s second largest yearly migration.

To stand a chance winning a copy just answer this question:

Which 2005 film about penguins won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature?

Send your answers to:¬†[email protected]

The competition is open until midnight next Thursday and make sure to include your address and contact details.

Here are some images from the film:

The White Planet is released on 3rd November 2008 by Optimum Home Entertainment

> The White Planet at the IMDb
> Find out more about the Artic at Wikipedia

[Images © LE CERCLE NOIR pour FIDELIO. All Rights Reserved / Distributed by Optimum Releasing Ltd. Artwork © 2008 Optimum Releasing Ltd. All Rights Reserved]

Categories
Competitions DVD & Blu-ray

Competition: The Family Guy Vol. 6 on Region 1 DVD

The Region 1 DVD release of The Family Guy Vol 6 is happening this week and we have a copy to give away. 

To win you’ll have to answer a question based on these video clips about the series.

A behind the scenes look into the Family Guy writers gag room:

The writers talk about the 100th episode:

The voice actors discuss their roles:

To win just answer this question:

Which actress voices the character of Meg Griffin in the series?

Send you answers to¬†[email protected]

Make sure to include your address and contact details and remember this is for a Region 1 DVD, so it will only play on multi-region DVD players.

> Official site for The Family Guy
> The Family Guy at the IMDb

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray Interviews

Interview: Ian Freer on Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs was a gangster film that landed like a bombshell in the early 90s, making an instant star of writer-director Quentin Tarantino.

The tale of a heist gone wrong it starred Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi and Lawrence Tierney as a gang of criminals struggling to find the traitor within their group.

The innovative flashback structure, pop-culture laden dialogue, clever soundtrack and unnerving violence all marked it out as a major film of the decade even though it wasn’t initially a major success at the box office.

It is being re-issued on DVD in the UK this week and I recently spoke to Ian Freer of Empire Magazine about the film.

We discussed various aspects, including the importance of Harvey Keitel in getting it made, its impact and how it compares to Tarantino’s other work.

Listen to the interview here:

[audio:http://filmdetail.receptionmedia.com/Ian_Freer_on_Reservoir_Dogs.mp3]

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

Reservoir Dogs is out now on DVD and Blu-ray disc from Lionsgate

> Download this interview as an MP3 file
> Buy Reservoir Dogs on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon UK
> Reservoir Dogs at the IMDb
> Official site for Empire Magazine
> Ian Freer’s entries on the Empire blog

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray dvd pick dvd releases

UK DVD Releases: Monday 20th October 2008

DVD PICKS

Vertigo¬†(50th Anniversary Edition) (Universal):¬†Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic tale of a private investigator (James Stewart) who becomes obsessed with a blonde woman (Kim Novak) returns to DVD, celebrating its 50th anniversary with a two-disc set boasting new extra features.

These include: 

  • Feature Commentary with Associate Producer Herbert Coleman, Restoration Team Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz
  • ‘Obsessed with Vertigo’ ‚Äď A making of documentary
  • ‘Partners in Crime: Hitchcock‚Äôs Collaborators’ – New documentary
  • ‘Hitchcock and the Art of Pure Cinema’ – New featurette
  • The Vertigo Archives
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut Interviews

Although it isn’t quite the masterpiece some critics have claimed, it still is one of Hitchcock’s most interesting films. Not only is it a deceptively dark tale of desire and obsession but it also appears to reflect a lot of Hitchcock’s own personal concerns. The slow pace and haunting tone to the film along with some beautiful production design make it one of his most unusual and durable films. [Cert 15]

Reservoir Dogs (2-Disc Collector’s Edition) (Lionsgate): The stunning debut film of writer-director Quentin Tarantino became an instant cult favourite in 1992 and established him as one of the hottest directors of the 1990s. It followed a group of gangsters, who all refer to one other by colour-coded pseudonyms, and the aftermath of a heist gone wrong. Previously released in the UK by Momentum, Lionsgate have taken over distribution duties and this 2-disc edition appears to match their 2006 15th Anniversary Edition Region 1 release.

The extras include: 

  • Limited edition petrol can steel case with matchbox inlay
  • Collector‚Äôs art cards
  • Newly remastered/6.1 DTS-ES audio/5.1 Digital Surround EX audio
  • Pulp Factoid Viewer
  • Playing It Fast and Loose
  • Tipping Guide
  • Commentary with Quentin Tarantino, cast and crew
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Critics‚Äô Commentary
  • Profiling the Reservoir Dogs
  • Class of ‚Äô92 ‚Äď Sundance interviews
  • Tarantino‚Äôs Sundance Institute Film-makers Lab
  • An Introduction to Film Noir ‚Äď Writers and Film-makers feature
  • Reservoir Dolls
  • Securing the Shot ‚Äď Location Scouting with Billy Fox
  • Reservoir Dogs style guide
  • Dedications ‚Äď Tarantino on his influences
  • Interviews with Quentin Tarantino and others
  • K-Billy Super Sounds of the ‚Äė70s

If you don’t already own this seminal film then this is a very solid package. [Cert 18] ¬†

Eraserhead (Scanbox):¬†Director David Lynch made his feature length debut with this surreal story of a retired printer (Jack Nance) stuck in dark, urban landscape. Lynch has supervised a brand new transfer, overseeing¬†the painstaking process of cleaning, restoring and remastering the film frame-by-frame. It still remains a classic cult film and as Lynch once said, a ‘dream of dark and troubling things’.¬†The extras include¬†an interview with David Lynch about the making of the film. [Cert 18]

[ad]

ALSO OUT

Anaconda 3: Offspring (Sony)
Casino Royale (3-Disc Deluxe Edition) (Sony)
CBeebies: Bedtime (BBC)
Dear Ladies РSeries 2 (Acorn Media)
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (Fox)
Killer Of Sheep (BFI)
My Brother’s Wedding¬†(BFI)
Orphee (BFI)
Family Guy РPeter Griffin РBest Bits Exposed (Fox)
Shaun The Sheep РAbracadabra (2 Entertain)
Sisters (Sony)
Solstice (Icon)
That Mitchell And Webb Look РSeries 2 (Fremantle)
The Benny Goodman Story (Eureka)
The Clouded Yellow (Eureka)
The Horses Mouth (Eureka)
The Short Films of David Lynch (Scanbox)
The Unit РSeason 3 (Fox)
Tortured (Sony)
Triangle (Manga)
Vanessa (Severin Films)
Wanted (Universal)

[ad]

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

> Buy Vertigo, Reservoir Dogs or Eraserhead on DVD 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 17th October)

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray Interesting Interviews Podcast

Interview: Noel Clarke and Adam Deacon on AdULTHOOD

AdULTHOOD is the sequel to the 2006 hit Kidulthood and follows the story of Sam Peel (Noel Clarke) six years on from the events of the last film.

After returning home, Sam struggles to deal with life on the outside and is pursued by Jay (Adam Deacon)

The film was also written and directed by Noel and I recently spoke to him and Adam about the film which is out on DVD this week.

Listen to the interview here:

[audio:http://filmdetail.receptionmedia.com/Noel_Clarke_and_Adam_Deacon_on_AdULTHOOD.mp3]

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

AdULTHOOD is out on DVD now from Pathe

> Download this interview as an MP3 file
> Noel Clarke and Adam Deacon at the IMDb
> Official UK website for AdULTHOOD
> Buy AdULTHOOD on DVD at Amazon

[Image courtesy of Pathe © 2008]

Categories
DVD & Blu-ray dvd releases

UK DVD Releases: Monday 13th October 2008

DVD PICKS

Rashomon – Special Edition (Optimum):¬†Akira Kurosawa‘s classic 1950 film about the rape of a woman and the apparent murder of her husband seen through the widely differing accounts of four witnesses. They include: the bandit TajŇćmaru (ToshirŇć Mifune), the murdered samurai (Masayuki Mori), his wife (Machiko KyŇć), and the nameless woodcutter (Takashi Shimura). The film was massively influential on Western cinema and still stands up very well and explores the nature of seeing and believing in a way that few films have matched since.¬†

The extras on this disc are much better than the BFI release from 2001 and they include:

  • A 67-minute documentary called ‘A Testimony for an Image: Rashomon’, which interviews¬†many of the original crew members. The key surviving player is¬†screenwriter Shinobu Hashimoto, although it is interesting to hear stories from the crew members about the conditions in which it was made.
  • A six-minute introduction from director John Boorman and the original theatrical trailer.¬†

Although the transfer isn’t massively improved from the 2001 BFI version, this is still a classic film worth owning from one of the most important directors in the history of cinema.¬†

The Last House on the Left (Metrodome):¬†Wes Craven‘s infamous 1972 horror film is finally released uncut and uncensored on UK DVD for the first time in a 3-disc ‘ultimate edition’. The story is a brutal tale of revenge that¬†explores what happens when a group of teenage girls hook up with a gang of drug-addled thugs. It has a long and interesting history of being censored in the UK and because of that this DVD package has a bunch of extras that are spread over the 3 discs:

> Disc 1

  • Feature commentary by writer/director Wes Craven and producer Sean S.Cunningham
  • A 2nd feature commentary by stars David Hess, Marc Sheffler and Fred Lincoln
  • ‘Celluloid Crime Of The Century’: A 40 minute making of‚Ķ documentary
  • ‘Scoring Last House‚Ķ’: A featurette with composer and actor David Hess¬†
  • ‘Krug Conquers England’: Featurette charting the theatrical tour of the first ever UNCUT screening of the film in the UK
  • 20 mins of outtakes and dailies
  • US theatrical trailer
  • TV spots
  • Radio spots

> Disc 2

  • ‘Krug & Company’: A rare and complete alternate cut of the film
  • An exclusive interview with Carl Daft of Exploited Films, who took the BBFC to courts over the film’s banned status
  • Rare and world exclusive never-seen-before footage that was only recently discovered.

> Disc 3

  • ‘Going To Pieces: The Rise & Fall Of The Slasher Film’: Feature length documentary on the ‘slasher’ film phenomenon that followed “Last House‚Ķ”
  • Filmmakers’ commentary
  • Deleted scenes
  • Horror film quiz

Although the film isn’t the horror classic it’s reputation might suggest, this DVD package is still worth getting for horror fans or those just curious about why it was (wrongly) banned for so long.

    [ad]

    ALSO OUT

    Adulthood (Pathé): From director, writer and actor Noel Clarke, the sequel to Kidulthood (which Clarke wrote) is set against the backdrop of contemporary London.

    Babylon (Icon): Directed by Franco Rosso and starring Aswad front man Brinsley Forde, Karl Howman and Trevor Laird, this is a mix of music and social commentary to recount the everyday experiences of a small group of working class black youths living in South London in the early 1980s.

    Big Love – Season 1 (HBO):¬†Bill Paxton plays as a practicing polygamist who lives in Salt Lake City with his three wives and seven children. An businessman who runs a growing chain of hardware stores, Bill faces the challenge of meeting the emotional, romantic and financial needs of his wives: Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicki (Chloe Sevigny) and Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin) while dealing with their kids, three houses, bills and the opening of his newest hardware store.¬†12 episodes are spread across 5 discs with extras that include commentary on two episodes and a short ‚Äď Big Love: A Balancing Act on Ice.

    Boston Legal РSeason 4 (Fox): James Spader, William Shatner and Candice Bergen are joined by John Laroquette in the fourth season of David E. Kelley’s law comedy drama series. The 20 episode fourth season is spread across five-discs. There are no announced extras. 

    Death Note 2: The Last Name¬†(4Digital Asia):¬†Picking up immediately where the first ‚ÄėDeath Note’ movie left off, the sequel sees the deadly psychological duel between Light and L enter a thrilling new phase.¬†Released as a two-disc limited edition release that includes a 24-page ‚ÄėDeath Note 2′ book.

    Hellsing Ultimate – Volume 1¬†(Manga):¬†This retelling of the manga series created by Kouta Hiran is described as a much closer adaptation of the Hirano’s original work.¬†Originally announced as a two-disc set featuring the first two episodes of the OVA, Manga have since been forced to revise those plans and will now issue each OVA as a single-volume priced at ¬£14.99 RRP.

    Las Vegas РSeason 5 (Universal Playback): Tom Selleck stars as recently installed Montecito Casino owner A.J. Cooper in season five of this drama series. Episodes are spread across five-discs but there are no subtitles or extras. 

    Memories Of Underdevelopment¬†(Mr. Bongo Films):¬†Hailed as one of the most sophisticated films ever to come out of Cuba in the early days of Castro’s revolution, this is regarded as Cuban director Tomas Gutierrez Alea’s tour de force.

    Naruto Unleashed РSeries 4 Vol.2 (Manga): Adapted from the best-selling manga created by Masashi Kishimoto, the hit anime series following the adventures of a ninja boy in training continues uncut on DVD with the next 13 episodes (92 to 104) spread across three-discs.

    Naruto Unleashed РSeries 3: Complete (Manga): Priced at £39.99 RRP this six-disc set bundles together the two volumes released in April and May of this year (which comprised episodes 53 to 73)

    Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (Lionsgate): A new adventure for a younger generation of Marvel heroes: orphans bound only by their parents’ former alliance known as The Avengers. Fostered by billionaire bachelor Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), four teenagers with lineage to some of the most famous Marvel heroes of all time including Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Black Panther, Wasp and Giant Man suddenly find themselves the earth’s only hope in stopping a deadly foe. 

    [ad]

    Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic (Warner): The US comedian Sarah Silverman entertains a Los Angeles audience with several sketches, taped outside the theatre, and they are woven into a stand-up performance.

    Smallville РSeason 7 (Warner): The adventures of a young Superman continue with Season 7 of this WB series.

    Stewie Griffin РBest Bits Uncovered (Fox): One of two 2-disc sets which include Family Guy episodes focused around Stewie and Peter which also include a digital copy of the episodes and free ringtones for mobiles. It includes the episodes: Chitty Chitty Death Bang, The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Stewie Loves Lois and The Courtship of Stewie’s Father. 

    Superhero Movie (Momentum): This spoof from the creators of The Naked Gun and Scary Movie takes aim at comic book movies.

    The Guard Post (Cine Asia): From Su-chang Kong, the director of R-Point, comes a similarly themed Korean film that is part murder-mystery part horror-story. Also known as GP506 the film follows an army platoon headed by a military investigator as they are dispatched overnight to re-establish contact with the platoon stationed at Guard Post 506.

    The Incredible Hulk (Universal): Edward Norton stars as Bruce Banner in director Louis Leterrier’s take on the Hulk. The film also stars Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt

    The Ruins (Paramount): Based on the novel by Scott Smith, this surprisingly entertaining horror follows a group of friends who become entangled in a brutal struggle for survival after visiting a remote archaeological dig in the Mexican jungle where they discover something deadly living among the ruins. 

    The Tudors – Season 2 (Sony):¬†In the second season of The Tudors, Henry (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is finally free to marry Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer), however we soon find out why she is later called ‘Anne of a Thousand Days’ as the political and emotional turmoil of life at court find another victim.

    The Ultimate Gangster Class A Selection (Universal): This 10-disc set brings together five gangster films to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Scarface. The titles are: American Gangster, Carlito’s Way, Casino, Mean Streets and Scarface. The set includes a disc of exclusive Scarface related extras, a disc of exclusive American Gangster extras and an exclusive 32-page American Gangster booklet. 

    Tokyo Zombie (Manga):¬†Based on the manga by Yusaku Hanakuma, and written and directed by Sakichi Sato (writer of Takashi Miike’s ‚ÄėIchi The Killer’ and ‚ÄėGozu’), the horror-comedy Tokyo Zombie stars Tadanobu Asano and Miike regular Sho Aikawa as an unlikely pair of heroes hilariously pitted against an army of flesh eaters taking over Japan.

    Zombie Strippers (Sony): Adult film star Jenna Jameson and horror legend Robert Englund star in this zombie adventure.

    [ad]

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

    > Buy Rashomon РSpecial Edition or The Last House on the Left on DVD 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 10th October)

    Categories
    DVD & Blu-ray Random

    The DVD pile

    The DVD screener pile

    One question I get asked a lot is:

    How many DVDs do you have?

    To which I usually reply: ‘not as many as you might think’.

    The truth is that although I have a reasonable collection, most of the DVDs I watch in a week are screeners of forthcoming releases that I have to review.

    Most of the new films I see are screenings of upcoming cinema releases and when I check out DVDs it is often to review regular releases or re-issues of notable films.  

    Above is my current backlog of DVDs I have to check out for review.

    As you can see they don’t look like regular discs in that they come in sleeves or basic plastic cases without the full retail packaging.¬†

    Despite that, they nearly always have the full set of features although occasionally smaller film companies send you a basic screener of a limited theatrical release.

    (For anti-piracy reasons they are usually timecoded or watermarked in someway).

    The current crop of DVDs I’m getting through include the following titles:

    When I finish getting through them, I’ll put them up in my usual Monday rundown.¬†
    If you have any questions about forthcoming releases or any other queries then just email me or leave a comment below.
    > Check out this week’s DVD picks (W/C Monday 6th October)
    > Bookmark this link for any DVD activity on the site 
    Categories
    DVD & Blu-ray

    UK DVD Releases: Monday 6th October 2008

    DVD PICKS

    In Search of a Midnight Kiss (Contender): This low budget US indie film is proof that sometime low key gems from outside the studio system can find an audience.¬†Directed by¬†Alex Holdridge¬†it follows a young¬†29-year old man (Scoot McNairy), recently moved to LA, who faces¬†New Year’s Eve alone. When his best friend (Brian McGuire) persuades him into posting a personal ad on Craigslist. It leads him to a young woman¬†(Sara Simmonds)¬†desperate to be with the ‘right’ man as the New Year kicks in and explores the connection between this unlikely couple. Since it¬†premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007 this has become a real festival favourite around the world and even got a limited run at UK cinemas earlier this year.¬†

    John Carpenter: The Collection (Optimum): A lavish box set of the films of John Carpenter which includes some of his very best films: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Prince of Darkness (1987) and  (1988). Although his career has tailed off quite badly in the last 20 years his best work is smart and splendidly entertaining. Although Halloween and The Thing are now famous horror films, this set gives new viewers a chance to check out gems like Assault on Precinct 13, a low budget cult classic and They Live, his 1988 film about the greed and deception of the Regan era which is now more relevant than ever. You can get it on Amazon UK for just £39.98, which even in these credit crunch times is a bargain.

    [ad]

    ALSO OUT

    A Secret (Arrow):¬†Writer-director Claude Miller’s adaptation of Philippe Grimbert’s novel, stars C√©cile De France, Patrick Bruel, Ludivine Sagnier, Julie Depardieu and Mathieu Amalric in the story of a 15-year-old boy who unearths a family secret.

    Assault on Precinct 13 РSpecial Edition (Optimum): This John Carpenter cult classic from 1976 about an LA police station under siege from gangs is being re-released by Optimum.  (See above for the Carpenter box set) 

    Battlestar Galactica РSeason 4 (Universal): While technically Season 4 of the re-imagined sci-fi series has been split into two parts for broadcast (with the second batch of episodes yet to air) the first part consisting of 10 episodes is being released here on UK DVD as Season 4.

    Bullet Boy (Verve Pictures): A re-release for the London set drama from director Saul Dibb, starring Ashley Walters as a young man caught up in London criminal gang. (Note the appalling cover art for this title)

    Buso Renkin РVolume 2 (Manga): Based on the popular manga series written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki, this action-adventure anime series mixes comedy, drama, fantasy and romance. 

    Code 46¬†(Verve Pictures): Michael Winterbottom’s overlooked sci-fi drama with Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton set in a future where travel is restricted and thoughts and emotions can be controlled by drugs.¬†

    Criminal Justice (Acorn Media): Originally screened on BBC1 in July over five consecutive nights, this drama centres around Ben Coulter (Ben Whishaw) a normal 21 year old who, after one crazy night finds his life changed forever. This two-disc set includes all five hour-long episodes.

    Days of Darkness (Revolver): The debut directorial feature from British ex-pat Jake Kennedy (Fangoria: Blood Drive II), is a gory hybrid of alien bodysnatcher movie and traditional zombie film. The plot involves a group of people Рmysteriously unaffected by a killer extraterrestrial bug that has infected humanity Рholed up in a remote compound under siege from a horde of undead human flesh-eaters intent on feeding on the last of the living.

    Death Note РVolume 3 (Manga): Based on the best-selling manga by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata (Hikaru no Go), the supernatural thriller Death Note tells the story of Light Yagami, a high school student who suddenly finds himself holding the power of life and death in his hands in the form of the Death Note.

    Diff’rent Strokes РSeason 1 (Sony): Diff’rent Strokes tells the story of the Drummonds, a wealthy Manhattan family headed by Mr. Drummond (Conrad Bain), who adopt their former maid’s children following her death. When Willis (Todd Bridges) and Arnold (Gary Coleman) move in with their new family, a comedy of errors begins that would run for eight seasons. 24 episodes are spread across 3 discs with the behind the scenes features.

    Entourage РSeason 4 (HBO): Loosely based on the personal experiences of executive producer Mark Wahlberg as an up and coming movie star, the fourth season of Entourage opens with a behind-the-scenes documentary look at the filming of Vince’s (Adrian Grenier) new film Medellin on location in Bogota, Colombia.

    Felon (Sony): Val Kilmer, Stephen Dorff, Harold Perrineau, Jr. and Sam Shepard star in this prison drama, the story of a family man who is convicted of murder for killing an intruder who enters his home, threatening the lives of his wife and son.

    Female Agents (Revolver): A WWII action-drama starring Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu, Marie Gillian and Deborah Francois. Directed by Jean-Paul Salome, the film is set in Spring 1944 where grieving Resistance sniper Louis Desfontaine (Marceau) is asked to recruit a team of five to rescue a British agent who has fallen into German hands.

    Her Name is Sabine (ICA Films): Directed by Sandrine Bonnaire, this is a very personal portrait of Sandrine’s younger sister Sabine. Combining film footage taken at Sabine’s current care home as well as 25 years of home-movies, Sandrine charts the heartbreaking journey of her sister from a young independent woman with special needs to an adult in need of constant supervision.

    [ad]

    I Dream of Jeannie РSeason 1 (Sony): Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman star in this 60s TV series about a US astronaut whose life is turned upside down when he crash lands on a remote island and unwittingly releases a beautiful and mischievous genie from a bottle. Returning home, it isn’t long before Jeannie is granting her master’s every wish, turning his life upside down. 30 episodes are spread over 4 discs.

    Impact Point (Sony): A pro beach volleyball star encounters a psychotic stalker in this psychological thriller starring Brian Austin Green and former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Melissa Keller.

    King Lear (Metrodome): Recorded in High Definition at Pinewood Studios, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s King Lear stars Ian McKellen and is directed by Trevor Nunn and Chris Hunt. The tragedy is about a headstrong ageing king who decides to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters, depending on which declares their love the strongest. Cordelia (Romola Garai) is the only daughter to reply truthfully yet Lear disowns her, and so follows one of the most compelling stories of greed, betrayal and blindness to one’s self ever committed to the stage. 

    Moonlighting РSeason 1 & 2 (Sony): First two seasons of the hit 80s series which combined drama, comedy and wit with a huge amount of sexual tension, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis as private detectives who take on quirky cases. 

    Reeker 2 (Metrodome): In this horror sequel, a sheriff and his son chase casino robbers, only to find the all of them are being chased by something else.

    Spooks РSeason 6 (Contender): In its sixth season spy-drama Spooks takes on a new format as it explores one storyline over the course of its 10 episode run.

    Takeshi Kitano: Collection (Second Sight): One of Japan’s most well known and all encompassing entertainment personalities, Takeshi Kitano has forged a name for himself as one of his country’s most beloved and internationally renowned directors. This six disc box set comprises of the legendary actor/director’s first six films; Violent Cop, Boiling Point, Sonatine, Getting Any?with A Scene At The Sea and Kids Return making their UK DVD debut.

    The Entrance¬†(Entertainment):¬†Directed by Damon Vignale, this is a ‘supernatural and psychological’ chiller ‘inspired’ by true events.¬†

    The Go Master (ICA Films): Tian Zhuanzhuang’s The Go Master is a biopic of Wu Quingyuan, considered by many to be the greatest player ever of the table game Go. Developed in ancient China but finding a new home in post-Meiji Japan, Go’s adherents treated its rules and regulations in a fashion far stricter and more disciplined than that of its Chinese roots.

    The Passage (Entertainment): Stephen Dorff stars in this horror from first-time director Mark Heller which is shot entirely on location in Morocco.

    The Vanguard (Lionsgate): The Vanguard tells a gruesome, bloody and merciless story where the world is in utter chaos and the future of mankind hangs in the balance. 

    Timber Falls (Scanbox): Directed by Tony Giglio (Chaos) and starring Josh Randall, Brianna Brown and Beth Broderick, Timber Falls is a tale of hikers in peril.

    Two And A Half Men РSeries 4 (Warner): Charlie Sheen stars as an unconventional family man in this hit sitcom about two brothers and a son, as well as the crazy and charismatic women who surround them.

    We Dreamed America (Drakes Avenue Pictures): This documentary about the Americana music scene in the UK examines the relationship and ongoing exchange between British and American roots of music. Director Alex Walker looks at the fascination with the most American of genres.

    Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! – Zombies vs Strippers¬†(Revolver):¬†Strippers – Dakota (FHM model Jessica Barton), Dallas (Former Mrs. Oahu Lyanna Tumaneng) and Harley (Hollie Winnard from America‚Äôs Beauty and the Geek ‚Äď go up against Zombies in this horror film.¬†

    [ad]

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

    > Buy In Search of a Midnight Kiss or John Carpenter: The Collection on DVD 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 3rd October)

    Categories
    DVD & Blu-ray dvd releases

    UK DVD Releases: Monday 29th September 2008

    DVD PICKS

    Zodiac – 2 Disc Director’s Cut (Warner Bros): One of the best films of the last few years finally gets the re-release treatment it richly deserves. It tells the story of the Zodiac killer who terrorised the San Francisco area in the late 60s and 70s. It explores three key figures related to the case:¬†Robert Graysmith¬†(Jake Gyllenhaal) – a newspaper cartoonist fascinated by the case;¬†Paul Avery¬†(Robert Downey Jr.) a crime reporter who covers the killings; and Dave Toschi¬†(Mark Ruffalo) – the detective assigned with solving the murders. Director David Fincher has long been one of Hollywood’s great visual stylists and here beautifully captures the period whilst also creating a pervasive sense of dread. It is almost as if he is revisiting Se7en by way of All The President’s Men.

    The script by James Vanderbilt also does a great job of spanning the years the killer was on the loose, highlighting the frustrations and mysteries the case threw up. Indeed, the conventions of a lot of serial killer movies are abandoned in favour of a much more thoughtful and serious approach. The ‘directors cut’ has about 10 minutes extra footage and this version has a¬†commentary by Fincher,¬†plus¬†a second commentary by Gyllenhaal, Downey, producer Brad Fischer, Vanderbilt and writer¬†James Ellroy. The 2nd disc contains a raft of superb extras including¬†documentary features on the Zodiac case and a look at the extensive visual effects used in the film. Definitely one of the DVD highlights of the year. [Cert 15 / Also available on Blu-ray]

    Mongol (Universal):¬†A rich and visually spectacular biopic of Ghengis Khan, this takes a much more sympathetic approach to a much maligned historical figure. Directed by¬†Sergei Bodrov, it explores the early life of the young Genghis and his rise to power as a famous general in¬†Mongolia.¬†Tadanobu Asano¬†plays Khan and¬†Khulan Chuluun¬†stars as his wife and love interest. An international co-production between companies in Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia, it makes great use of the Chinese and Kazakhstan landscapes in creating a memorable and often surprising story. The main extra of note on the DVD is¬†the 26-minute ‘The Making of Mongol ‚Äď The Rise to Power of Genghis Khan’.¬†[Cert 15 / Also available on Blu-ray]

    [ad]

    ALSO OUT

    Caligula: The Imperial Edition¬†(Arrow Films): The¬†opulent multi-million dollar depiction of the decadent Roman emperor with Malcolm McDowell, John Gielgud, Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren. This 4-disc edition¬†features three separate versions of the film:¬†the full, Uncut Version (2 hours 36 minutes); the UK Theatrical Version (1 hour 42 minutes) and the Alternative Version (2 hours 33 minutes). The latter replaces most of the more sexually explicit sequences with alternate scenes and alternate camera angles. The fourth disc of Extras features a variety of materials (documentaries, interviews, press notes, etc.) that provide a comprehensive background on the history and the making of the film.¬†

    Cassandra‚Äôs Dream¬†(Optimum):¬†Set in contemporary London, Woody Allen’s tale of two brothers (Ewan MacGregor and Colin Farrell) caught up in a murder is sadly one of his poorest films. Ever.

    Dangerous Parking (Anchor Bay): Peter Howitt’s adaptation of Stuart Browne’s novel stars Howitt alongside Saffron Burrows, Sean Pertwee, Racahel Stirling, Alice Evans, Tom Conti and Dervia Kirwan.

    Daylight Robbery (Liberation Entertainment): A British crime movie that follows a group of England football fans robbing a London bank, whilst using the Germany 2006 World Cup as their cover. Written and directed by Paris Leonti, the film stars Geoff Bell, Paul Nicholls, Vas Blackwood, Justin Salinger and Shaun Williamson.

    Doctor Who: The Trial of a Time Lord (2 Entertain): Colin Baker era Dorctor Who.

    Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (Momentum): This B-movie comedy horror is Jon Knautz’s directorial debut and stars Trevor Matthews, Robert Englund, Rachel Skarsten, Daniel Kash and James A Woods. 

    Loaded¬†(Icon): An¬†action thriller starring Jesse Metcalfe, Vinnie Jones and Monica Keena that follows one man’s descent into a world of drugs and violence as his new acquaintance turns out to be exacting a long-harboured revenge.

    Made of Honour (Sony): A romantic comedy with Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan as platonic friends since college who have never entertained the prospect of romance Рuntil she plans to get married to another guy. 

    Nomad (The Warrior)¬†(Optimum): Set in 18th Century Kazakhstan, this is the story of a boy who is destined to one day unite the three warring tribes of the country who have survived and fought for centuries ‚Äď against invaders, against their formidable enemies and amongst themselves. Directed by Sergei Bodrov, the director of¬†Mongol (also out this week), the film stars Kuno Becker, Jay Hernandez and Jason Scott Lee.

    Oasis of Fear¬†(Shameless):¬†Also known as ‚ÄėDirty Pictures’, Oasis of Fear is a sexploitation thriller from Umberto Lenzi (Paranoia, Cannibal Ferox, Nightmare City) in which two young hippies, Dick (Ray Lovelock) and Ingrid (Ornella Muti) get stuck in a mysterious house.

    One Missed Call (2008)¬†(Warner):¬†In this remake of the Japanese horror film “Chakushin Ari” (2003), several people start receiving voice-mails from their future selves — messages which include the date, time, and some of the details of their deaths.

    P2 (Palisades Tartan): Co-written and produced by Alexandre Aja (writer-director of Switchblade Romance, The Hills Have Eyes and the forthcoming Mirrors) and Gregory Levasseur, this horror stars Wes Bentley and Rachel Nichols and is set in a parking lot.

    Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai (Network): This Pokémon movie features Ash and Pikachu on another adventure.

    Robot Chicken РSeason 1 (Revolver): Created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, Robot Chicken is an affectionate assault on pop culture. Utilising stop-motion animation Season 1 comprises of 20 fifteen minute episodes of fast-paced sketches.

    Salò or The 120 Days of Sodom (BFI): Pier Paolo Pasolini’s final and most controversial film has been banned, censored and reviled the world over since its first release in 1975. It did not receive UK certification until late 2000, when it was passed uncut. The film is a brutal allegory based on the novel 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade.

    Starship Troopers 1-3 Box Set (Sony): This three-disc set includes the Walt Disney Special Edition release of Starship Troopers along with the Sony releases of Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation and Starship Troopers 3: Marauder.

    Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (Sony): The war against the Bugs continues as a Federation starship crash-lands on the distant alien planet OM-1, stranding beloved leader Sky Marshal Anoke and several others, including comely but tough pilot Lola Beck. Colonel Johnny Rico, reluctant hero of the original Bug Invasion on Planet P, has to lead a team of Troopers on a daring rescue mission.

    Strip Nude for your Killer (Shameless): The death of a fashion model leads to a revenge-driven trail of death that soon has the modelling agency she worked for in a frenzy of panic as the clothes get slashed and the sluts get slayed. Edwige Fenech stars as the woman trying to avoid being the next to shed her clothes for the killer.

    Tales of the Riverbank (Metrodome): An¬†animated update of the BBC children‚Äôs series which tells the story of three friends ‚Äď Hammy Hamster (Ardal O‚ÄôHanlon), Roderick Rat (Steve Coogan) and GP the Guinea Pig (Jim Broadbent) ‚Äď who, having been swept down-river in a violent storm, embark on an epic journey in search of their lost homes. The narrator of the story is Owl (Stephen Fry).

    The Animals Film (BFI): A controversial and confrontational film about how and why modern societies exploit animals for food, fur, sport, entertainment and science. In the UK it was broadcast on Channel 4 during its first week on air in November 1982 and caused uproar and thereafter was shown in cinemas and on TV around the world. It is narrated by Julie Christie, with music by David Byrne/Talking Heads and a score composed and performed by Robert Wyatt. This is the uncut and digitally re-mastered version, featuring a new conclusion.

    The Designated Victim¬†(Shameless): A¬†remake of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train from director Maurizio Lucidi about a character named Stefano (Thomas Milian) who meets a wealthy Count (Pierre Clemente), which then leads to a plan where both will do each other a murderous favour.

    The Fantastic Four РComplete Season 1 (1994 series) (Liberation): This 2 disc set, features all 13 episodes of Season One of the heralded 1990’s animated series. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Season One contains a faithful re-telling of their original comic book stories.

    The Incredible Hulk РSeason 5 (Universal Playback): Season 5 of the 70s show with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. There are no extras.

    The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Series (Universal Playback): Seasons 1-5 of the 70s show.

    The Red Hand Gang: The Complete Series (Fabulous Films): First broadcast on BBC 1 in September 1977 and then repeated during the summers of 1980 and 1982, The Red Hand Gang still remains something of a cult show. Like The Famous Five, The Red Hand Gang were a group of five inner-city pre-teens who unwittingly found themselves foiling heists, robberies and kidnaps. They were so called because they left their trademark red hand print to mark where they had been. This series was thought to be lost until Fabulous Films unearthed it this year. All 12 full length episodes have now been fully restored for this release.

    [ad]

    BLU-RAY

    The following titles are also out now on Blu-ray disc:

    Army of Darkness (Optimum)
    Batman (Warner)
    Batman & Robin (Warner)
    Batman Forever (Warner)
    Batman Returns (Warner)
    Blow (EIV)
    Evil Dead II (Optimum)
    How the West was Won (Warner)
    Made of Honour (Sony)
    Mongol (Universal)
    My Best Friend’s Wedding¬†(Sony)
    Night of the Living Dead (Optimum)
    One Missed Call (Warner)
    Rise of the Footsoldier (Optimum)
    Salò or The 120 Days of Sodom (BFI)
    Starship Troopers 1-3 Box Set (Sony)
    P2 (Palisades Tartan)
    Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (Sony)
    The Shawshank Redemption (ITV DVD)

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

    > Buy¬†Zodiac – 2 Disc Director’s Cut¬†or¬†Mongol¬†on DVD 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 26th September)

    Categories
    DVD & Blu-ray News

    The Godfather on Blu-ray

    The Godfather trilogy is released today in the US on Blu-ray Disc.

    Although the UK release doesn’t come out here until October it is worth writing about what is a key release for the Blu-ray format and also a significant re-release of two of the greatest films ever made (and yes I’m talking about the first two parts).

    What’s interesting about this version is that they underwent extensive frame-by-frame digital restoration that was closely overseen by writer-director Francis Ford Coppola.

    The process took more than a year to complete and each of the films includes a commentary by Coppola.

    Bill Hunt at the Digital Bits explains in more detail as to how this restoration came about:

    The result is that the films have not only been rebuilt and saved, they’ve been restored to quality as good or better than the original theatrical presentations – quality consulted upon and approved by both Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis.

    Thankfully, a couple years ago, director Francis Ford Coppola contacted Steven Spielberg (then newly partnered with Paramount and Viacom) to see if Spielberg might be able to use his clout to help save the films.

    This he did, and so a complete physical and digital restoration was eventually done under the supervision of our very own Robert A. Harris and his Film Preserve (with the help of many talented artists – and artists they are, believe me).

    To make a very long and complex story short, the best photochemical elements from around the world were gathered, allowing the films to be reconstructed literally piece by piece.

    The footage was then scanned in 4K resolution so that print damage could be repaired digitally and the original color-timing could be recreated precisely.

    For more on the restoration process check out this extensive article by Stephanie Argie in American Cinematographer, which includes some interesting information, notably that the original negative – surely one of the crown jewels in the history of cinema – was in poor shape:

    As he got into the project, Harris discovered that the negatives for the first two Godfather films had sustained additional damage in the 1980s, when Paramount sent them to an optical house to make new prints.

    The original rolls were disassembled and then reassembled incorrectly, a cheaper but chemically damaging fill was used, and the films‚Äô lyrical 12′ and 16′ dissolves were replaced with dissolves of generic length for ease of printing.

    He recalls, ‚ÄúI locked a current print into a synchronizer with an original print, which is what I always do when I begin a restoration, and they were not tracking at all. Paramount knew nothing of this [damage].‚ÄĚ

    It also explains how they recruited the original cinematographer Gordon Willis to help them with their work:

    Harris believes it’s critical for a cinematographer to be part of the restoration process, and because Willis lives in Massachusetts and could not be in Los Angeles for the many months the restoration would require, Harris asked Daviau to consult on the project.

    ‚ÄúAllen standing in for Gordon was one master standing in for another,‚ÄĚ says Harris. ‚ÄúAllen has the best eyes in the business ‚ÄĒhe‚Äôll see a quarter-point difference shot to shot.

    The first thing I asked him to help with was figuring out exactly what ‚Äėblack‚Äô is in these films; that was our biggest challenge in terms of Gordon‚Äôs work. Allen donated his time, and without him and Gordon, we would have been lost.‚ÄĚ

    The new extras are on the fourth disc, along with all the special features included on the trilogy’s initial 2001 DVD release.

    The brand new featurettes on the Blu-ray version are all in HD and include the following:

    • The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t (29:46): A feature on how Coppola’s production company Zoetrope was created at a time of great uncertainty for the major studios like Paramount and the numerous difficulties the film faced before and during the production.
    • Emulsional Rescue (19:05): Goes in depth about the process and the effort involved in restoring these films.
    • When Shooting Stopped (14:18): Looks at the post-production and editing for all three films.
    • Godfather World (11:19): This looks at the extraordinary influence of the Godfather films on popular culture with contributions from other filmmakers and writers.
    • Godfather on the Red Carpet (04:03): Various actors and celebrities comment on the films.
    • Four Short Films on The Godfather (07:20):Not exactly self contained films but ‘The Godfather vs. The Godfather’, ‘Part II’, ‘Cannoli’, ‘Riffing on the Riffing and Clemenza’ are short segments of interview footage that include anecdotes and trivia from the series.

    If – like me – you haven’t made the jump to Blu-ray yet, the Godfather films also will be available on standard DVD as The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration DVD Collection, with five discs ‚ÄĒ including one of the old special features and another of the new.

    * N.B. Just to recap the UK release date for the Blu-ray Disc and regular DVD sets is October 27th *

    > Official site from Paramount Pictures
    > The Godfather at the IMDb
    > Find out more about The Godfather at Wikipedia
    > Bill Hunt reviews the Blu-ray set at The Digital Bits
    > Find out more about Blu-ray at Wikipedia
    > DVD Beaver has a detailed review and screengrabs

    Categories
    DVD & Blu-ray

    UK DVD Releases: Monday 15th September 2008

    DVD PICKS

    Cool Hand Luke (Warner Home Video): One of Paul Newman‘s most iconic roles was as the lead character in this 1967 prison drama, directed by Stuart Rosenberg. He plays Lucas ‘Luke’ Jackson, a prisoner in a Southern chain gang, who stands up to authority by repeatedly escaping. In the process he becomes a hero to his fellow inmates but also attracts harsher punishments by the sadistic guards. This new special edition from Warner Bros is newly remastered and contains some new featurettes, including: ‘The Making of Cool Hand Luke’; a profile of Donn Pearce – the novelist, co-screenwriter and real life inspiration for Luke – and an audio commentary by Paul Newman’s biographer Eric Lax. [Cert 15]

    Basic Instinct (Optimum): This erotic thriller about a San Francisco cop (Michael Douglas) who falls for the chief suspect (Sharon Stone) in a murder case caused considerable outcry when it got released back in 1992. It was probably the most sexually explicit mainstream film up to that point and also provoked protests from the gay community during the actual filming, due to the perceived depiction of certain characters. Revisiting it now, it looks a little dated but there is still something trashily enjoyable about it – even if it remains less interesting than some of director Paul Verhoeven‘s other films. This DVD re-release contains a decent behind the scenes featurette plus an interesting audio commentary from Camille Paglia, who is a huge fan of the film.

    Shotgun Stories (Vertigo Films): A highly impressive US indie about the conflict that breaks out between two sets of half-brothers in rural Arkansas after the death of their father. It has a brooding atmosphere of tension and violence that is expertly teased out by writer and director Jeff Nichols and it also contains a raft of fine acting from the likes of Douglas Ligon, Glenda Pannell and Barlow Jacobs with Michael Shannon especially fine in a key role. David Gordon Green served as a producer and it bears some stylistic similarities to his early work, notably George Washington and Undertow.

    [ad]

    ALSO OUT

    Dante 01 (Momentum): A futuristic sci-fi horror with Lambert Wilson playing the sole survivor of an alien encounter who is charged with the murder of his entire crew and sentenced to a life of medical trials onboard Dante 01 ‚Äď a psychiatric space prison.

    Deceit (Optimum): A TV movie about a man (Matt Long) returns to his hometown after his father’s death and soon enters into an affair with the wife (Emmanuelle Chriqui) of his old best friend (Luke Mably).

    Doc (Optimum): The 1971 film version of the western heroes, Doc Holliday (Stacy Keach) and Wyatt Eart (Harris Yulin), set during the 1880s.

    Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday (2 Entertain): Although this was the 2nd episode to be broadcast starring Peter Davison as the Doctor, it was the first to be recorded with him in the role. It is a four parter by Terence Dudley which sees the time lord and his companions Nyssa, Tegan and Adric (Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse) battling the Urbankans whose leader Monarch (Stratford Johns) believes he is the divine creator of the entire universe.

    ER – Season 12 (Warner): The 12th season of the popular medical series sees plotlines involving a severe flooding of diverse patients, a baby involved in a suspicious car crash with her mother, a heart-attack victim visited by his sex-therapist and a comatose woman who suddenly awakes

    Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Universal): The latest comedy from the team behind ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ follows a struggling musician (Jason Segel) who is dumped by his long-term girlfriend, TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). When he goes to Hawaii to escape the torment he finds that Sarah is at the exact same resort with her new boyfriend, the wildly successful rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand).

    Foyle’s War: The Complete Series 1-5 (Acorn Media): Created by scriptwriter and novelist Anthony Horowitz, this mammoth 19-disc set features every investigation ever undertaken by Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle in one collection.

    Full of It (Optimum): A comedy a young boy at a new school is forced to live out the lies he told to become popular.

    Ghost In The Shell: SAC Trilogy Box Set (Manga): A four-disc set which brings together the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex OVAs – ‘The Laughing Man’ and ‘Individual Eleven’ alongside the double-disc edition of the third “Ghost in the Shell” feature film, ‘Solid State Society’.

    Grey’s Anatomy – Season 3 (Disney): The third season of the hit medical drama based in Seattle, starring Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey), Patrick Dempsey (Derek Shepherd), Katherine Heigl (Izzie Stevens), Sandra Oh (Cristina Yang), T.R. Knight (George O‚ÄôMalley) and Isaiah Washington (Preston Burke).

    Legend of the Lost (Optimum): Adventure film with Rossano Brazzi as a man who arrives in Timbuctoo in search of a guide to help him cross the Sahara in search of a lost city. John Wayne plays his guide but the two clash when when they come across a slave girl named Dita (Sophia Loren).

    Man of the West (Optimum): Gary Cooper plays a former outlaw now gone straight, who makes the acquaintance of card shark (Arthur O’Connell) and shapely dance-hall singer (Julie London) whilst travelling on a train with $1600 in his possession to find a new schoolteacher for his pioneer town. When the train is held up by his Uncle Tobin (Lee J Cobb) and other members of his former gang, the three are taken hostage and left behind when the trains resumes it’s journey.

    Outpost (Sony): Set in war-torn Eastern Europe, a band of mercenaries undertake a dangerous mission that leads them to a disused military bunker, where they discover a terrifying secret that has laid buried for half a century.

    Roger Corman: The Collection (Optimum): Six Corman films (with four making their UK DVD premiere) are included in this set. They are: Five Guns West, Gunslinger, Haunted Palace, Premature Burial, Masque of the Red Death and Wild Angels.

    Smart People (Icon): Directed by Noam Murro and scripted by novelist Mark Poirier, this comedy about a dysfunctional family stars Dennis Quaid, Ellen Page, Thomas Haden Church and Sarah Jessica Parker.

    Soldier Blue (Optimum): A controversial western which follows the adventures of Honus (Peter Strauss) and Cresta (Candice Bergen), the only remaining survivors of a Cheyenne Indian attack, as they journey across the unforgiving wilderness of the old west in search of refuge.

    Terror in a Texas Town (Optimum): When a local businessman (Sebastian Cabot) ruthlessly kills a local landowner, the victim’s son (Sterling Hayden) heads out to avenge the killing, armed only with a harpoon.

    The Air I Breathe (Pathe): Directed by Jieho Lee and starring Forest Whitaker, Andy Garcia, Kevin Bacon, Julie Delpy, Brendan Fraser and Sarah Michelle Gellar, this film centres on the ancient Chinese proverb of Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow and Love, and sees the lives of four previously unconnected individuals weaved together by a crime boss (Andy Garcia).

    The Barbara Taylor Bradford Collection (Acorn Media): A six-disc set collects together five film adaptations of the successful novelist’s best-loved books, Voice of the Heart, Act of Will, To Be The Best, Hold the Dream and her first ever novel, A Woman of Substance.

    The Day of the Outlaw (Optimum): Burl Ives stars as the head of a gang who ride in to a Wyoming town where he meets two local ranchers (Robert Ryan and Alan Marshal) locked in a dispute supposedly about territory, but in reality more about a woman (Tina Louise).

    The Flying Doctors – Series 1: Volume 1 (Freemantle): Set in the Australian Outback this medical drama series follows the trials of The Royal Flying Doctor Service – the pilots and nurses covering thousands of miles of rough country.

    The Spikes Gang (Optimum): Three Texan farm boys run away in search of adventure and decide to emulate their hero Harry Spikes (Lee Marvin), a bank robber. Harry boasts to them of his exploits but it soon becomes apparent that Harry has had more bad days than good and his life seems doomed to failure. The question is, will he drag the boys down with him? Also stars a young Ron Howard.

    Three and Out (Worldwide Bonus Entertainment PLC): British comedy starring Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney and Gemma Arterton, that provoked protests from tube drivers earlier this year.

    Tin Man (Brightspark): DVD release of director Nick Willing’s TV series that reimagined The Wizard of Oz, starring Zooey Deschanel, Richard Dreyfuss, Alan Cumming, Neal McDonough, Kathleen Robertson, Raoul Trujillo and Anna Galvin.

    XXY (Peccadillo Pictures): The debut of Argentinean writer/director Lucia Puenzo is this drama set in Uruguay about an intersex child, Alex (Ines Efron) who was born with physical characteristics that don’t fit the definition of male or female.

    Young Billy Young (Optimum): Robert Mitchum stars in this Western as a man haunted by the memory of his dead son, murdered in Dodge City by a man named Frank Boone (John Anderson), for whom he has been searching ever since. Also starring Angie Dickinson and David Carradine.

    [ad]

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

    > Buy Cool Hand Luke, Basic Instinct or Shotgun Stories on DVD 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 12th September)

    Categories
    DVD & Blu-ray dvd releases

    UK DVD Releases: Monday 8th September 2008

    DVD PICKS

    21 (Sony): Based on the best selling book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, this is tells the story of the MIT Blackjack Team who won millions in Las Vegas counting cards. Jim Sturgess plays a talented student who is persuaded to join a group of maths students (who include Kate Bosworth, Aaron Yoo and Liza Lapira) headed up by a professor (Kevin Spacey) who orchestrates lucrative weekend trips to Vegas casinos. Directed by Robert Luketic, it has changed some aspects of the book but is still a breezily entertaining caper with some nice performances from Spacey and Laurence Fishburne in a supporting role. It is Sturgess though, who stands out in the lead role and he could well go on to have a successful Hollywood career. [Also available on Blu-ray]

    * Listen to our interviews from back in April with Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey about 21 *

    Caramel (Momentum): This debut film by Lebanese writer/director and actress Nadine Labaki explores the lives of five women working together in a Beirut beauty parlour is a charming and eye-opening treat. Refreshingly free of many of the cliches that dog films set in the Middle East, it manages to make some salient points about women in that region of the world. But it is also a spirited portrayal of different characters finding solidarity with one another. What’s perhaps most impressive is the series of fine performances that Labaki has drawn from her non-professional cast who imbue the film with a rare energy and spirit.

    [ad]

    ALSO OUT

    Arctic Tale (Paramount): A documentary about a polar bear cub and a walrus pup narrated by Queen Latifah.

    B.T.K. (Lionsgate): A film based on the real life of Dennis L. Rader, the notorious serial killer who brutally bound, tortured and killed his victims.

    Botched (Optimum): A zany horror film set in Russia about a professional thief (Stephen Dorff) who finds himself dealing with serial killers, insane hostages and double-crossing psycho Russian hard men.

    Brave Story (Optimum): Koichi Chigira directs this Gonzo animation studios production about an 11-year-old who is told he can change his destiny by entering a magic gateway into another world.

    Caught (Second Sight); A re-release for director Max Ophuls‘ 1949 drama about a young secretary (Barbara Bel Geddes) married to millionaire (Robert Ryan) who falls in love with her employer (James Mason).

    CSI: Miami – Season 5 Part 2 (Momentum): The second part of the 5th season of the Miami version of the popular forensics drama.

    Grindhouse Trailer Classics 2 (Nucleus Films): Another compilation of trailers from cult and exploitation (or ‘grindhouse’) movies including promos for The Black Gestapo, The Depraved, Bloody Pit Of Horror, The Pink Angels, Foxy Brown.

    In the Night Garden: Hello Tombliboos! (BBC): The BBC’s preschool TV show about excitable, tumbly, knocabout pepper-pot toys gets released by BBC Worldwide.

    Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (aka Doppleganger) (Universal): This 1969 sci-fi movie written by Gerry Anderson is set one hundred years into the future when scientists discover an exact duplicate of Earth orbiting on the other side of the sun.

    La Ronde (Second Sight): Director Max Ophuls’ adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s play is set in Vienna in the early 1900s and is a series of tales woven together by the Raconteur (Anton Walbrook) as each segment introduces a new character, who then moves on to an affair with another.

    Man of the East (Optimum): A western with Terence Hill as a naive young man trying to make a name for himself with the help of his father’s three old friends: Monkey (Dominic Barto), Holy Joe (Harry Carey Jr.) and Bull (Gregory Walcott).

    Monk Season 6 (Universal Playback): Tony Shalhoub returns as the phobia-laden detective Adrian Monk for the 6th season which includes guest stars such as Alfred Molina, Sarah Silverman and Snoop Dogg.

    Navajo Joe (Optimum): Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti western with Burt Reynolds as an avenging Native American called on to help a town fight back against outlaws.

    Nothing But A Man (Metrodome): This 1964 drama, directed by Michael Roemer, is a love story about a man (Ivan Dixon) who is forced to confront prejudice and self-denial when he falls in love with an educated preacher’s daughter (Abbey Lincoln).

    Protégé (Liberation Entertainment): A Hong Kong crime thriller about an ailing druglord (Andy Lau) who is unaware that his protégé (Daniel Wu) is actually an undercover cop.

    The Eye (Lionsgate): A US remake of the Pang Brothers film of the same name, this stars Jessica Alba as a woman who after undergoing surgery to restore her sight begins to see inexplicable and frightening images that haunt her.

    The Hills Run Red (Optimum): A spaghetti western about two confederate army buddies carrying a shedload of money to help the cause at the end of the civil war when they are set upon by Yankees.

    The 2 Sides of the Bed (TLA): A romantic farce, which is a follow up to The Other Side of the Bed.

    Tortured (Sony): A thriller about an undercover FBI agent who has to track down a mysterious crime lord’s money. Stars Cole Hauser, James Cromwell and Laurence Fishburne.

    What Happens in Vegas (Fox): Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz star as two mismatched strangers who ‚Äď after a wild night in Vegas ‚Äď find themselves married. But a huge gambling win complicates the anullment and a judge (Dennis Miller) sentences them to six months “hard marriage.”

    Spooks – Code 9 (Contender): The new BBC Three drama from the producers behind Spooks and Life on Mars comes to DVD the day after the last episode airs.

    [ad]

    > Buy 21 and Caramel on DVD 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 5th September)

    Categories
    DVD & Blu-ray dvd releases

    UK DVD Releases: Monday 1st September 2008

    DVD PICKS

    Doomsday (Universal): Although this post-apocalyptic action-thriller shamelessly rips off Mad Max 2 and Escape From New York, it remains something of a guilty pleasure. When a futuristic Britain comes under threat from a deadly virus, Rhona Mitra heads up a team of soldiers who have to venture into the forbidden wastelands of Scotland in order to find a cure. Director Neil Marshall brings an undeniable flair to the action sequences and although this isn’t nearly as accomplished as his last film (The Descent) it is watchable enough if you don’t take the hammy acting and clunky dialogue too seriously. [Also available on Blu-ray]

    * Listen to our interview with Neil Marshall about The Descent *

    Jerry Maguire (Sony): You might have forgotten that this 1996 film was one of the first to be released on the DVD format way back in the Spring of 1998. It has taken a little longer for it to reach Blu-ray, but if you have made the jump to Sony’s HD format then you might well want this charming comedy-drama to be part of your new collection. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, it is the charming tale of a sports agent named Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) who goes it alone with his assistant Dorothy (Ren√©e Zellweger). He soon falls for her and also has to deal with a pushy footballer client played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). Along with Almost Famous and Say Anything, it remains one of Crowe’s best films.

    Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (Optimum): Morgan Spurlock came to fame with Super Size Me, the hit 2004 documentary about fast food and has followed it up with this exploration of where the world’s most wanted terrorist is. Although not as groundbreaking or successful as his previous film, there are some interesting sections including illuminating visits to Egypt, Saudi Arbaia, Israel and Afghanistan. Perhaps where the film suffers a little is in it’s premise – surely a more interesting question (and film) would be: ‘Why hasn’t the US found Osama Bin Laden?’.

    * Listen to our interview with Morgan Spurlock about Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? *

    ALSO OUT

    Alive (Optimum): Based on the comic books by Tsutomu Takahashi, this is a live-action sci-fi horror directed by Ryuhei Kitamura.

    Cashback (Universal): An ‘offbeat comedy’ directed by Sean Ellis about the unconventional life of an art student (Sean Biggerstaff) after he is jilted by his long term girlfriend (Michelle Ryan).

    Erin Brockovich (Sony): A Blu-ray release for this Julia Roberts vehicle which dramatizes the story of Erin Brockovich‘s first fight against the American West Coast energy giant Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Not only did it scoop Roberts an Oscar for Best Actress, but it also cemented the return of Steven Soderbergh to the directing A-list after a few years in the indie wilderness.

    Fool’s Gold (Warner Bros):An ‘adventure comedy’ starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson as a just-divorced couple who bicker and banter whilst searching for treasure.[Also available on Blu-ray]

    Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control (Warner Bros): A tie in DVD-only release with Masi Oka and Nate Torrence as Bruce and Lloyd, Maxwell Smart’s techie friends from the recent Get Smart movie remake.

    Illegal Tender (Universal): An action thriller about a Latino mother and son in ‘a quest for honour and revenge’, written and directed by Franc Reyes.

    In Memory of my Father (Scanbox): Written by, directed by and starring Christopher Jaymes this examines  a narcissistic Hollywood family struggling to deal with the fallout caused by the death of its patriarch.

    Lilith (TLA): An ‘erotic horror’ that follows Sister Katherine (Tina Krause) and her group of curvaceous female students on a college field trip exploring pagan customs.

    Psych – Season 1 (Universal Playback): The complete first season of the US comedy series following the misadventures of fake psychic Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his cynical friend Gus (Dule Hill).

    The Muppet Show – Season 3 (Disney): Jim Henson‘s famous puppets return with the voices of Frank Oz and this series introduces audiences to Miss Piggy and also stars Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Animal and a host of other characters.

    The Oxford Murders (Contender): Based on the Argentine author Guillermo Martinez’s 2003 novel, this crime drama is directed by Alex de la Iglesia and stars John Hurt and Elijah Wood as a professor of logic, and a graduate student who investigate a series of bizarre, mathematically-based murders in Oxford.

    The Puffy Chair (Scanbox): Directed by Jay Duplass this comedy is about three young adults who find some of life’s answers and several more questions during a cross-country road trip to deliver the film’s eponymous piece of furniture.

    Tweenies: Messy Time Magic (BBC): The Tweenies are back on DVD with their mix of music and mayhem in this new release from BBC Worldwide.

    Two-Minute Warning (Nouveaux): This 1976 thriller about an a sniper killing people at a football stadium finally gets released on DVD in the UK. Directed by Larry Peerce and starring Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, Martin Balsam, Beau Bridges, Jack Klugman, Gena Rowlands and David Janssen.

    Vexille (Momentum): Directed by Fumihiko Sori and utilising the talents of the creative team behind the groundbreaking CG anime Appleseed, Vexille is a CG animated sci-fi feature that deals with the theme of genetic enhancement and modification.

    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 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 29th August)

    Categories
    DVD & Blu-ray dvd pick Film of the Week

    DVD Pick: In Bruges

    In Bruges is the tale of two Irish hit men named Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) who have been sent to lie low in the Belgian city of Bruges.

    There they have arguments with one another and upset all manner of people from the locals, US tourists and even the crime boss (Ralph Fiennes) who sent them there.

    Written and directed by the playwright Martin McDonagh, who won an Oscar in 2006 for his short film Six Shooter, this is one of the most impressive debut features in recent memory.

    Not only does it contain several memorable sequences, but it contains the sort of ballsy, politically incorrect humour absent from a lot of mainstream comedy movies.

    It also features some excellent performances, most notably from the two leads. Gleeson is his usual dependable self whilst Farrell shows what a good actor he can be when released from the constraints of big budget Hollywood productions.

    Ralph Fiennes also makes a startling impression in a menacing supporting role that owes more to his turn in Schindler’s List than some of his more recent performances.

    If you are familiar with the sensibility of McDonagh’s plays, such as The Lieutenant of Inishmore, you will find much to feast on here – it feels like Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter remade by Quentin Tarantino.

    It opened the Sundance Film Festival back in January and got a wider US release in February, with a UK opening following in April.

    Although it had a relatively low budget, it still didn’t really get the attention it deserved, which may have been down to bad marketing (the US one sheet poster was horrible, with the UK one not much better) or maybe the title confused people.

    But the DVD is an essential purchase as this is easily one of the best films to come put this year – smart, funny and superbly made.

    The extras include:

    • Deleted and extended scenes: There is a generous amount of unused footage (11 deleted and 2 extended scenes), some of which are very funny, the highlight being the scene with Ralph Fiennes’ character on the train.
    • Gag reel: Perhaps less impressive is this gag reel which consists of the actors cracking up on set.
    • When in Bruges: A solid 13 minute making-of featurette featuring interviews with director Martin McDonagh and the main cast, exploring the ideas behind the film and the experience of making it.
    • Strange Bruges: This is a 7 minute feature the cast and director discussing the Belgian town where the film was set and made.
    • A Boat Trip Around Bruges: A 5 minute film about the history of Bruges filled with some nuggets of information and trivia.
    • F**king Bruges: A short feature in which the most prominent word in the script is repeated over and over again.

    Watch the trailer here:

    In Bruges is out now on DVD from Universal

    > Buy the DVD from Amazon UK
    > Listen to our review on our podcast back in April
    > In Bruges at the IMDb
    > Read other reviews of the film at Metacritic
    > Find out more about Martin McDonagh at Wikipedia
    > The Guardian profile Martin McDonagh
    > The Times interview Colin Farrell and Martin McDonagh about the film