DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 27th September 2010


Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Lionsgate UK): Werner Herzog’s brilliantly surreal remake (or is it?) of Abel Ferrara’s 1992 film is relocated to New Orleans where a corrupt, drug addled cop (Nicolas Cage) finds himself involved with a drug dealer (Alvin “Xzibit” Joiner) who is suspected of murdering a family of African immigrants.

On top of this he struggles to keep his life in check, which includes his prostitute girlfriend (Eva Mendes); his hot-headed partner (Val Kilmer); a local bookie (Brad Dourif) and all manner of surreal visions. *Read the full review here * [Blu-ray / DVD]

The Killer Inside Me (Icon Home Entertainment): Adapated from Jim Thompson’s 1952 novel about a deputy sheriff (Casey Affleck) in Texas who is also a secretly depraved sociopath. Directed by Michael Winterbottom and co-starring Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, the film caused considerable controversy earlier this year due to the graphic violence in certain scenes.

Despite that kerfuffle and some sequences which drag, it manages to effectively convey the dark side of Eisenhower’s America. * Read the full review here * [Blu-ray / DVD]


A Nightmare On Elm Street (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / DVD]
American – The Bill Hicks Story (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / DVD]
City of Life and Death (High Fliers Video Distribution) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Death at a Funeral (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Fringe: Season 2 (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Fringe: Seasons 1 and 2 (Warner Home Video) [Blu-ray / DVD]
House: Season 6 (Universal/Playback) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Infernal Affairs (Palisades Tartan) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Rush: 2112/Moving Pictures (Eagle Rock Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
She’s Out of My League (Paramount Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Space Chimps 2 – Zartog Strikes Back (EV) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Stephen Hawking’s Universe (Demand DVD) [Blu-ray / DVD]
StreetDance E1 (Entertainment UK) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Tetro (Soda Pictures) [Blu-ray / DVD]
The Deep (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Wake Up Sid (UTV) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Warren Miller: Dynasty (Demand DVD) [Blu-ray / DVD]

The DVD and Blu-ray releases for September 2010
The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009

Cinema Thoughts

The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me is an interesting adaptation of Jim Thompson‘s dark 1952 novel, although like a lot of films tagged as ‘controversial’ is neither as accomplished or shocking as its reputation might suggest.

Set in a small Texas town, it is the story of a deputy sheriff (Casey Affleck) who is a closet sociopath, covering up his corrupt ways with increasingly cunning and desperate actions.

Among the people who cross his path are a local prostitute (Jessica Alba), his schoolteacher girlfriend (Kate Hudson), the Sheriff (Tom Bower), a local businessman (Ned Beatty), a local union leader (Elias Koteas), the suspicious county attorney (Simon Baker) and a grizzled lawyer (Bill Pullman).

For director Michael Winterbottom, it represents another change of direction in a genre-hopping career which has seen him tackle the novels of Thomas Hardy and Laurence Sterne, the siege of Sarajevo, the Manchester 80s music scene, Afghan refugees, the Tipton Three, the death of Daniel Pearl and a family drama set in Genoa.

Only the second film he’s made set in America, it is a reasonably compelling portrait of Thompson’s literary vision.

John Curran‘s script captures the action and tone of the novel in an efficient manner, using for voiceover to clever effect by drawing us closer to the central character.

The production design and period detail paint a convincingly grimy portrait of small town 50s America, where corruption and dark deeds simmer beneath the surface of a society about to undergo major convulsions.

Unusually for this material, Winterbottom and regular cinematographer Marcel Zyskind have opted for a fairly bright visual palatte, which gives the action a strange and arresting quality in contrast with the shadows and dutch angles reminiscent of classic film noir.

Given that his character dominates the film, much hinges on the performance of Affleck in the lead role, and he is memorably creepy, managing to convey the pathological thinking and sinister charm of someone in a dangerous position of authority.

There are eerie similarities with his role in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (both characters even share the name Ford) and he is fast becoming one of the most interesting actors currently working in Hollywood.

The other performances aren’t quite on the same level, although Beatty and Pullman fit their roles very nicely, and it is a shame that Alba and Hudson feel miscast in their roles, despite containing some of their best work in quite some time.

Overall, it is an impressive adaptation with some fine acting but there is something missing in how the film moves along. At times the languid pacing and mumbling dialogue become distracting, especially when a lot of narrative threads are being weaved and eventually tied up.

This is apparent in the disappointing climax, which not only stretches credibility but is also a little overcooked in terms of the visuals and action.

Given the controversy surrounding this film at Sundance and on its recent UK release, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is one of the most violent films in recent memory.

There are two disturbing sequences (one of which is particularly brutal), but by modern standards of they don’t really compare with the violence in films like Irreversible (2002), Switchblade Romance (2003), Hostel (2006), or the Saw sequels.

I can only assume that some of the more ludicrous attacks are by journalists unaware of how violent some modern films have become and were further stoked by the fact that violence was meted out on female characters.

But is the shocking nature of the acts on screen dictated solely by gender? Is violence somehow less shocking if done to a man? A child? An animal?

In the context of the film, surely the sequence raising most hackles is there to accurately depict the emotional and physical destruction wrought by violence? It is hard to watch, but then it is meant to be.

Some critics have labelled Winterbottom and the film as ‘misogynist‘ because the male characters don’t suffer as much as the females. This is perverse logic. Do we need quotas on how many male and female characters suffer on screen?

When it comes to the climactic scene, another sequence that has caused anger, a certain character’s actions are sadly plausible and, in any case, surely the aim of these scenes was to render Thompson’s material faithfully?

Cinema is a medium with a unique directness and throughout its history many films have pushed the social boundaries with The Wild Bunch (1969), Straw Dogs (1971), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Reservoir Dogs (1992) all attracting controversy for the way in which they depicted violence.

But I doubt if The Killer Inside Me will actually be remembered alongside these landmark controversies.

It is an accomplished adaptation, not without its flaws, and when future audiences stop to consider the film, they will have the benefit of doing so without the reductive shrieking from the media sidelines.

> Official site
> The Killer Inside Me at the IMDb
> Find out more about Jim Thompson at Wikipedia


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 4th June 2010



She’s Out Of My League (Paramount): A romantic comedy about a dweeby airport worker (Jay Baruchel) who forms an unlikely relationship with a glamourous event organiser (Alice Eve).

Mixed reviews and box office in the US might mean limited box office prospects for this comedy, which is being released in a period where the big studios are doing their best to avoid the World Cup. [Vue West End, Nationwide / 15] (The Works): Writer, director and actor Noel Clarke tries to broaden his appeal from the Kidulthood films with this heist tale set in the US and UK.

Starring Clarke, Emma Roberts, Tamsin Egerton, Mandy Patinkin and Kevin Smith (as himself), it could tap into the audiences that made Kidulthood and Adulthood successes here in the UK. [Odeon West End & Nationwide / 15]

Death At A Funeral (Sony Pictures): The US remake of the 2007 British comedy about a day in the life of an American family as they gather for a funeral.

Directed by Neil LaBute and featuring an ensemble cast including Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, James Marsden, Danny Glover and Luke Wilson. The mixed reviews and the fact that this is being release in the pre-World Cup dead zone suggests that problems may be afoot. [Nationwide / 15]


The Killer Inside Me (Icon): Adapated from Jim Thompson’s 1952 novel about a deputy sheriff (Casey Affleck) in Texas, who is secretly a depraved sociopath, which has severe consequences for the people in his private life.

Directed by Michael Winterbottom and co-starring Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson, the film arrives on a wave of controversy due to the graphic violence towards women that has upset audiences at Sundance, Berlin and various critics. Icon will be glad it has got so much publicity here in the UK, although the tough material may put off art-house audiences. [Cineworld Haymarket, Curzon Soho, Odeon Covent Gdn. & Nationwide / 18]

The Brothers Bloom (Optimum Releasing): Despite screening at festivals in 2008, this quirky comedy caper is about two con-artist brothers (Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody) who try to rob a rich heiress (Rachel Weisz). Directed by Rian Johnson (who made Brich in 2005), it is a disappointing film given the talent involved and its box office prospects seem reduced from the poor buzz and reviews. [Curzon Soho & Nationwide / 12A]

Bear (Metrodome Distribution): A thriller about a grizzly bear spoiling a holiday trip into the woods. Directed by John Rebel, it stars Katie Lowes and Patrick Scott Lewis.

Girl On The Train (Soda Pictures): A French drama about a young woman who claims she was the target of an anti-Semetic attack, causing a media sensation. Directed by Andre Techine, it stars Emilie Dequenne. [Key Cities]

Kicks (New Wave Films): A British film about an introverted Liverpudlian teenager (Kerrie Hayes) and an aspirant WAG (Nichola Burley) who bond over a footballer they love. [Odeon Covent Garden & Key Cities / 15]

Shrink (Lionsgate UK): A US indie drama about a shrink (Kevin Spacey) who treats members of the entertainment industry in Hollywood. Directed by Jonas Pate, from a script by Thomas Moffett. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus / 15]

Videocracy (Dogwoof): Documentary about the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his effect on his country’s media and democracy. [Odeon Panton Street & Key Cities]

DVD and Blu-ray Picks for Monday 31st May including The Book of Eli and The Damned United
> UK cinema releases for June 2010
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