DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Picks: Monday 3rd December 2012


The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Home Video): The opening of most anticipated blockbusters of the summer was overshadowed by a tragic shooting incident and a slightly less-than-stellar critical reception. Nonetheless, whilst it may not quite have scaled the heights of The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan managed to bring his customary intelligence and technical skills to the comic book genre. Like the previous two Blu-ray releases this disc comes with a lot of extras, with the option of watching them ‘in film’. Full technical details can be found at DVD Beaver and I’ll write some longer thoughts about the film soon. [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon UK]

Luck: The Complete First Season (Warner Home Video): Another project that was overshadowed by unfortunate events was this HBO crime series set amidst the world of US horse racing. Created by David Milch, and executive produced by Michael Mann (who directed the pilot), it was ultimately cancelled after three horses died during production. Solid reviews and the pedigree of the participants (Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, Nick Nolte and Michael Gambon) might make this a cult favourite in years to come. [Buy on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon UK]

Umberto D. (Argent Films): One of the greatest Italian films to emerge in the post-war period is this classic 1952 neo-realist drama. Directed by Vittorio De Sica (who also made Bicycle Thieves), it explores the struggles of an old man in Rome and his trusty dog Flike (called ‘Flag’ in some subtitled versions of the film). Masterfully written, directed and edited, in light of recent European austerity this deceptively simple tale takes on a new resonance sixty years on. It also features perhaps the greatest performance by a dog in cinema history. [Buy on DVD at Amazon UK]

> DVD and Blu-ray Picks from April to November 2012
> The Best DVD and Blu-rays of 2011


Luck on HBO

The new HBO series Luck sees director Michael Mann and writer David Milch combine forces with Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte.

Based around a group of characters at a horse-racing track, Milch spoke about the premise to Variety last year:

“The pilot is about a bunch of intersecting lives in the world of horse racing,” Milch told Daily Variety. “It’s a subject which has engaged and some might say has compelled me for 50 years. I’ve joked that if I just can make $25 million on this show, I’ll be even on research expenses. I find it as complicated and engaging a special world as any I’ve ever encountered, not only in what happens in the clubhouse and the grandstand, but also on the backside of the track, where the training is done and where they house the horses.”

Although it looks like an ensemble piece, it appears Dustin Hoffman will have the biggest role as a man ‘deeply involved in gambling’.

Both Mann and Milch have a considerable pedigree when it comes to TV shows: the former was showrunner for Miami Vice in the 1980s when Milch was doing the same job with Hill Street Blues.

With Martin Scorsese directing the pilot of Boardwalk Empire for HBO, it seems like the venerable cable network is fast becoming a refuge for directors who want to flex their creative muscles outside the studio system.

Luck is scheduled to air sometime in 2012.

> HBO page for Luck
> Find out more about Michael Mann and David Milch at Wikipedia
> New Yorker profile of David Milch from 2005