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 Cécile 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 – Special 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 – Season 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 – Volume 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 – mysteriously unaffected by a killer extraterrestrial bug that has infected humanity – holed 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 – Volume 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 – Season 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 – Season 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 – Season 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 – Season 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 – Season 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 – Series 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’s Beauty and the Geek – 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 MongoliaTadanobu 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 – 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’s 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 – until 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 – 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 ‘Dirty 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 – Season 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’s series which tells the story of three friends – Hammy Hamster (Ardal O’Hanlon), Roderick Rat (Steve Coogan) and GP the Guinea Pig (Jim Broadbent) – 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 – Complete 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 – Season 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

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 – 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’Malley) 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 – after a wild night in Vegas – 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 (Renée 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)